2016 was a year for wake-up calls and broken hearts. We lost many legendary artists (most to drug and alcohol addiction), a reality TV star won the US presidential election, and many of us were left grieving.
Personally, I started last year at a low point. We lost a cousin to suicide and I slipped back into depression. Again I found myself at the bottom of a pit with a tiny shovel.
Therapy, art, and writing all helped. At least I had already created a foundation with those things after earnestly pursuing my passion earnest almost three years ago.
With head down, shovel (pen and brushes) in hand, I got startled by a blog award nomination. The thought of it sent me flying. At first, I felt like an imposter then later, pride. Somehow I landed myself in a room among incredible bloggers and they accepted me into the fold.
The night of the awards, I could hardly feel sorry for myself for not winning because another milestone/ bucket list/ goal glimmered on the horizon…my first art exhibition.
Many happy hours were spent in my new studio (and in outer space) painting until my hands and fingernails were caked with acrylic. Building up stock, churning out ideas.
Driving to the show in a car loaded to the ceiling with artwork, the annoying and negative voice started telling me that I didn’t deserve this. I took a few deep breaths, turned up the music and pushed through traffic. The show was an incredible success. I made friends, sold stuff and felt completely loved and supported.
How was it all possible? I learned to set boundaries. To say no to some things so in order to say yes to others. I wandered WAY outside my comfort zone.
A few other highlights- I taught my first two art workshops. I’m still playing with the format but plan on doing more in the future. Also, I tried building a community with my project, Makers Monthly. Each month (or so) I invited my Australian Etsy peers to post links to their shops and items and I paid to promote the post in the hopes that we would all get some eyeballs and sales. It worked for some and the posts were shared widely on social media.
This year I’m going inward. I plan on finally learning photography. I’ve loved it since childhood and always felt like it was a way to show people how I saw the world. At Uni I took digital photography, felt intimidated by photoshop, and thought ‘it’s just not my thing.’ This year I’m allowing my secret creative desires to step into the light and will continue to work on my self-esteem with all of it.
When I look back at 2016 I will remember it as the year of professional rewards and of governmental failure. The year I learned there is so much more work to do in our communities, as women and with our children. The year that taught us we need to buckle down, to work harder, to be better.
These are my top ten most popular posts for 2016 I think you can see they are reflective of everything that happened in my family, in my art, and in the wider world.
Top Ten Kangaroo Spotting Posts: 2016
- 8 Things I Did To Recover From Postnatal Depression And Anxiety I really wanted to help people by sharing my experience.
- When Is The Best Time To Have A Second Child? Everyone has a theory, this is mine.
- Makers Monthly December Great gift ideas.
- Makers Monthly September: Preparing for an Exhibition Getting ready for the art show.
- Awards Night and A New Lease on Blog Life Blog awards rundown.
- Why it’s Easier to Talk to Non-Americans About the US Election It’s just the way it is.
- Makers Monthly August So many crafty things here.
- Breastfeeding Sucks Pun intended. Excellent video with real Mums talking about breastfeeding experiences, with a few snippets from yours truly.
- Relationships Can Survive Renovating A sneaky peek inside our newly renovated home!
- Morning Motherhood Ritual I love this piece, it’s more a story about how I find ‘me time’ every once in a while and what I do to savour it.