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  • Jessica Timberlake

Why I Waited 6 Years to Start a Blog

My heart hurt.

Yep. My heart hurt. Really badly. So badly, I didn't know. Six-ish years ago, I was doing everything possible to avoid grieving my brother's death and healing through my creativity. I just didn't realize it. I didn't know that I was burying myself in building a new life in a new country. Trying really, really hard to make new friends. And impress my new coworkers by being the first one in, the last one out, working weekends and evenings 'behind the scenes.' Busying myself with more projects than I could count and, well, busy work. I thought I was just living my best life - while anxiety simmered below the surface, kept barely in check through working out 5-6 times a week and picking fights with my S.O. as an outlet.

Let me be clear, here, though. I was happy. I was "in it" by choice. I have more great memories from this time than not. I was making new friends, traveling, taking a photography course here and there, submitting to galleries, exhibiting once a year, taking the lead on important work projects, growing my connections in the industry... yes, it was all there. I am not seeking your pity - my life was not a struggle and my problems could be neatly filed under 'first world' or 'champagne.'

This pattern seemed endless, and then...

2019 rocked me. More on that later - if ever. Some things just aren't meant for public consumption.

2020 woke me up. Deep in the throes of navigating business during COVID-19, on my first day off in probably, two months, I picked up a copy of Spirituality & Health magazine. I don't remember any specific article, but one theme throughout the issue jumped out at me: every contributor was happy, at peace, independent, creative and working towards their higher purpose. I sobbed for the rest of afternoon because, all these wonderful aspects of my life aside, I knew I wasn't living my truth. I am prone to self-pity but I will not wallow in it. One thing I learned over the last few years is that you have to take action to change. So, that very same evening, I dried my swollen eyes and I dug out my copy of the Artist's Way, which I had purchased the summer prior, grabbed a journal, and read Chapter 1.

Over the next 12 weeks, you bet I did it all. I woke up early, sometimes as early as 5AM, to write my morning pages. I spent two hours each week on an artist date, doing things just for me. I took hours upon hours of online art classes. I painted, I sketched, I knit, I daydreamed. I tried all kinds of media. I turned down date nights and walks with friends and I even started leaving work on time so that I could remain committed to myself. I learned how to set boundaries and how to prioritize my emotional and creative health (the two are closely tied). I purged childhood pain, reminded myself of happy childhood memories, wrote letters to influential people in my life. I set goals, drafted bucket lists, cleaned, organized and cleaned again. I started a daily gratitude practice. I thanked myself. I treated myself to simple pleasures and luxuriated in them - something as ordinary as lighting candles in the evening became an indulgent activity to pause and enjoy. While the world was shut down, I was perfectly content being home in my own little bubble, doing my best for me, and only me, for the first time in my life.

And, as a result, I started chipping away at my art business which had long been sidelined, celebrating tiny wins along the way to stay encouraged. First, I couldn't even look at my social media accounts or this website. As the weeks went by, I made a social media calendar! I wrote goals! I updated my website! I organized photo series! I sold a painting! I was commissioned for a custom painting!

Yes, you know what's next... I started a blog. Because I found my voice.

And though it took six years since I started my journey as an artist, the best part is, my voice will be with me forever.


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