Do Easy Buttons Exist?

Do Easy Buttons Exist?

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My hand, holding two crystals, warming them in the sunlight. 

One of my very favorite humans, Glennon Doyle, writes:

“Maybe my reliance on numbing is keeping me from the two things I was born for: learning and loving. I could go on hitting easy buttons until I die and feel no pain, but the cost of that decision could be that I’ll never learn, love, or be truly alive.”

I didn’t set the text to be that big, but when I copied and pasted her words they appeared front and center, eager to be seen by all. I call that, a God Moment. Glennon Doyle has taught me many God Moment’s over the last few years of becoming more familiar with her work (her memoir Love Warrior I continue to revisit monthly), her earnest and inspiring Family Meeting’s on Facebook, and her slapstick presence on Instagram. I’ve written about her work frequently on my blog. I seek solace in her sentences and feel calmed by her messiness (she too, is like me, like us). I’ve been thinking about the Easy Button daily now for many, many, many weeks. Too many weeks. I’ve felt slovenly, exhausted for no good reason, caught up in the every day minutia, letting my projects take up the tail-end of my days, in bed by 10pm.

There’s nothing necessarily wrong with the rinse-repeat schedule I’ve cobbled together for myself, but there is something…boring about it. I think I needed the space to live and breathe without working a minimum-wage job. I needed to think and feel and listen to my body and my breath, to my greatest fears (I will fail, I will fail). Ultimately, I think I’m coming out the other side, but what’s important to me now is to hold onto this seeing-the-light feeling and persuade it to stay for another day. My work-ethic, frankly, sucks. My ambition to follow-through on projects and classes is really lackluster. I’ve continued my #100dayproject practice because it’s easy and something I can do on the go. I don’t feel claustrophobic or overwhelmed by the prospect of making one tiny peephole a day. Everything else feels…large. Like too much. I always felt like I was too much, too something, but now I feel like the reverse: too small in a too big world.

 

This weekend, I was forced to stand up for myself, to defend the life choices I was making, to defend my partnership. It felt hard to believe. How do I need to defend my choices (I am a 24-year-old woman). Is it because I’m Queer? Is it because I have an advantage over others and don’t necessarily need to work right now? I’d started “When They Call You a Terrorist” on the same day I found myself defending my relationship, my self-worth, among other things. The feeling of prejudice I felt, is only a slim slim fraction of what (MOST) people feel every single day of their lives. That obviously doesn’t make my feelings any less, but it does make me angry and sad. Angry because it’s not fair and sad for the same reason: because the stories in that memoir are harrowing as much as they are heart-warming, because there is just so much pain in this world, and I’m choosing to tether myself to a routine that pains me.

Glennon Doyle has found a way to use her privilege, but she’s also found a way to use her pain: an outlet to bring people together, from all backgrounds, a collective, “yes, sister.” Meanwhile, my Easy Button. I want to EB my way out of today, by rolling over, by not signing-up for another class, by not reconnecting with tarot, by refusing to write and letting this, my, corner of the web gather dust. Why? Because I am so damn tired. But, I’m also so damn angry and sad and privileged. I have an Easy Button! Hello! That’s a privilege right there, I think. I also have a way out. I have a solution. I have a network, I have writing, and books, and sheroes, and all the other beautiful things that make me smile.

This morning I hit an Easy Button, but a different one, the one that said, “WRITE.” All I had to do was hit that button and I was brought here, a blank page waiting to be filled with words. Easy, right? For me, not so much. I literally have to find every reason not to write or why I can’t write before I actually write. I’ve decided to make a list for you here of ways I’m going to use the EB, to help instead of hurt me in my everyday life, because what if we took how we procrastinate and turned those things into how we live?

  • Water the plants
    • Spend time in nature, even if it’s of your own making
  • Refill your water bottle
    • Drink more water!! Cute bottles help, but ultimately the goal is to drink them, not display them
  • Rearrange things
    • I need to rearrange comes from somewhere deeper than boredom, you actually need to like where you create and live and sleep and poop.
  • Sitting on the toilet on your phone
    • I know we all do this, but I’m just going to say it aloud. If you’re doing this do something better than scroll.
  • NETFLIX AND CHILL
    • Fine. But you don’t need to watch 10 episodes of the Housewives. Educate yourself!
  • Play hard to work hard
    • Contrary to what the adults say (I am one too, but like the older adults), life is actually meant for you to play in and with. We are not here to work until we die. Well, some of us are, but the majority of us are meant to do things like sigh into this stanza from this overly-shared-with-good-reason Mary Oliver poem:
      • Tell me, what is it you plan to do
        with your one wild and precious life?

You get the idea, I hope. I am so hard on myself for what I don’t do, but less eager to praise myself for what I do. Try to do the opposite thing today and maybe everyday this week. Want to sit on the couch for 2 hours? Go for walk and then bottom’s up (or, down). Want to not do the thing that you actually really truly know you need to do, (for some people this is taxes for me this is writing. As in, I would be more content with doing taxes than putting together my manuscript)? Set a timer for 2, 3 hours, and GO. I promise you’ll get more done working against a clock than listening to your own internal dialogue of, “how much longer till we’re there?”

Easy Buttons should be, well, easy, and therefore used when you really need Plan B, or a dog walker for one-entire day so you can write, or a maid service because you really just don’t want to clean the tub, or any other thing that will allow you to focus less on what you can’t do and more on what you can. I have flitted away so much time on this planet just looking for the nearest exit — the door that would allow me a quick escape from my life and into a newer, cleaner, thinner, straighter one. Guess what? False advertising. If there is one phrase that has been repeated to me with so much frequency it’s a little scary it’s this one: You have one life. That’s it. The gig is up eventually. And the catch is we don’t necessarily know when. Mary Oliver knew:

“Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?”

It does and it will and probably nothing, but everything you’re waiting to do tomorrow. I write “you” a lot when I write, but I’m really writing to myself. I feel less lonely, when I write to a universal “you.” Embrace the good easy button’s, set aside the ones that serve only to allow you an exit from this messy, beautiful life. Don’t go. Yet. Or as a beautiful, sober friend said to me when we magically met in Arizona a few weekends ago for a retreat: Baby, stay.

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Loss and Leaving My Past Behind

Loss and Leaving My Past Behind

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This is my face, photographed by my love. Love sees us in the most beautiful of ways. Always.

Packing it all aways. That’s the sentence which came to mind when I sat down to write. Actually I sat down to listen to a welcome video for my friend Holly’s Hip Sobriety School. Then I wrote a gratitude list, made day 2 of my #100dayproject, and am now listening to my friend Laura’s new podcast, Spiritual-ish while thinking about becoming a life coach. I’m serious. Also, sort of want to puke rereading these sentences. Because I’m also hoping on the sober wagon (can I use that?) again. It’s day 2 of the rest of my life and life is hard, but good, and I’m happy, but also mourning years are…shit. So much shit. Like why? Metaphorically…but it feels all too real. Years of abuse and bad relationships and poor choices and exhaustion and alcohol and trying antidepressants and therapy and a therapist going MIA (yup, that happened) and friendships ending and an engagement and…you get the point, a lot. And some of it’s really really good shit, and some of it makes me not want to get out of bed. But, I am out of bed, and dressed, with coffee, and wrrrrriting which in itself feels like I should get some sort of metal to wear saying: TODAY I DID THREE THINGS. But, the truth is a metal wouldn’t mean shit and I don’t need more stuff. I just really need to keep coming back. Some of my best work is done when I give myself the space to breathe. Some of my best sentences come to me at the most inconvenient times like when I’m in a pysch session or when I’m on a packed T car. Also, social media y’all. What a time-suck, but what a magical hole. I suggest it, but with B.O.U.N.DERIES. I really need them. I put myself to bed two nights in a row, reading two chapters, drinking tea, and actually wanting to get up in the morning because I’m not drained from falling down the Instagram-hole of “I want to be her.” Phew. I really feel like social media, along with 10,000 other things is just a way to distant ourselves from ourselves. Because we really do not have enough things separating our selves from our selves. Drugs, alcohol, work, money, stuff, stuff, stuff, shit, shit, shit, parents, family etc. It’s hard. I just heard Laura say, “the sheer volume of them (Instagram posts) mean we can’t appreciate one of them.” I couldn’t agree more. Think of the last time you did something and didn’t take a photo before or after, or shoot a text to someone with a quote you loved etc. Those things, I feel, do improve my life in some way, but they also feel like they takeaway from my real life. The life I have with my dog and my partner. The life that includes doing dishes and picking up poop, and feeling the sun (the 1 out of 7 days it decides to show). The reason I quit my job is because I stopped caring. It didn’t bring me joy to put on uncomfortable pants and take a bus to sit in a class and take notes. That job didn’t bring me joy and I just couldn’t do it. I felt like I stopped mattering to me. I felt exhausted. I felt like for the first time, in a long time, I just needed to stop and pause and figure out what exactly brings me joy. Almost four months I feel like I’m finally getting my mojo back. I finally feel like I sort of know what I want to do, but most importantly what I need to do. The list looks like this:

1. Read. It’s one of my favorite things to do, but something I really put on the back-burner, much like 2…

2. WRITE. I am a writer. I went to school to write. I stopped writing. And stopped. And stopped. I felt like I wasn’t good enough and had nothing relevant to say, but then the #metoo campaign started and I thought, “me too,” and then I wrote and wrote and wrote about me too. You can read that here.

3. Be sober. You can be sober, you cannot be sober, and life may in fact feel exactly the same, but for me I always feel that (even if it’s just an inch) better. I am 2 (3 days sober today, 2 when I’m writing this). It’s a relief. I don’t care if you think I should be, shouldn’t be etc. I had a friend who used to say about things that don’t concern us, “not my monkey, not my circus.” That’s how I am trying to approach alcohol right now.

4. Listen and connect to my friends who CREATE. Literally. All my feeds are bursting over with beautiful words and art and creations. I’m trying to engage more in a way which feels healthy and productive to me. It feels good to comment and like and love. Better than sitting on the sidelines wishing I was X or Y. I’m not, but that’s ok.

5. Love is ALL YOU NEED. Glennon Doyle says this daily. I have those words hanging on my wall. I believe them fiercely like they are tattooed on my soul. LOVE. IS. ALL. YOU. NEED. Say it with me.

6. My work will always be authentic to me…if I keep it that way. I spent literal years catering to others and trying to be like others and trying to buy what they had. This sounds like a cheesy bumper sticker, but oh well, “You cannot buy you. Likewise, you cannot buy them.” I don’t care how much money you have or who you know, you just can’t. Take it as someone who has worked tirelessly to do exactly that.

That’s 6 I feel really truly. I’m also thinking of my public and private lives and right now I’m ok releasing all of these very real, very hard things into the world. I am a writer. I choose to write my story in a very public way and I am ok with that. Please know I also respect any other way YOU choose to tell your story. Keep it locked up in a journal under your mattress. Do what feels organic and real and I am so tired of doing anything else.

One last line:

I’m sorry, does not mean it didn’t happen.

Keep this in mind today and in life. Because I spent 5 years dragging this shit around and today, I’m leaving it here.

 

#100DAYPROJECT

#100DAYPROJECT

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Just wanted to pop on here and say you can follow my #100dayproject on Instagram under the hashtag: #100daysofpeepholes. I loved loved loved doing this project last year. It was the first time I ever made art in my adulthood and saw that I was more than just a writer. I was an artist! Yeah. That was pretty cool. This time around I’m being conscious of doing this project daily and working towards a more long-term goal after the 100 days. Maybe an art deck or tarot deck of some kind. The thought makes me giddy! Anyway, click the links to follow both the project as a whole (there are so many cool ones) and mine. My project idea is seeing the world through a more narrow lense and imaging what could be on the other side.

Reading About Forgiveness, Discontinuation Syndrome, & An Innate Need to Be Heard

Reading About Forgiveness, Discontinuation Syndrome, & An Innate Need to Be Heard

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I had another vivid weird dream last night. This one has me up at 2am checking the peep-hole in our hotel room because I became convinced there was an intruder. I’m currently tapering off of Zoloft and everyday feels like a strange hangover that doesn’t get better as the day progresses – I feel stagnant and weak and it doesn’t help that I’m constantly feeling my pulse, imaging it plummeting, racing to the ER. Of course, this is why I was on the Zoloft to begin with: because I’d categorize myself as a hypochondriac and unlike addict, have zero issues with embracing the label and even wearing it slightly proudly.

This morning, while my fiancé snores next to me, I pull up my friend Laura’s blog to read her newest blog post. This post is on forgiveness. Forgiveness. Damn it even feels heavy to say. It’s a weighted word, but I word, I feel, we throw around casually. “Please forgive me?” “Do you forgive me now?” “What can I do for you to forgive me?” Often I’ve found myself eager to get it and eager to give it away. But, I had an internal battle brewing as I read through her post: I’m forgiven already. I don’t need it. Right? Self-doubt always popping up, making sure I’ll never be 100% satisfied. Right. Actually, yes. I’m forgiven and what I’m starting to learn is it matters less and less of person A utters that sentence or if person actually means what he or she says. They don’t dictate that, I do.

There’s something inside of me that’s always fought against my better judgement. I think some would call it, a self-destructive streak. I’m going to call it Mr. Nice Guy. My Mr. Nice Guy just wants everyone to get along. I mean EVERYONE. Years of carpet sweeping & carefully filing away hurts, only to be looked into deeper later…whenever that is. I’ve allowed him to ruin countless friendships, conversations, DAYS, vacations (yup he doesn’t discriminate). I’m so desperate for the back and forth of apology followed by forgiveness. I’m so eager to just move past it. I’m so determined to wrench any life out of what’s left. I have a friend who has no interest in having me in her life. She’s got bigger burdens to battle, but I couldn’t sit with that. I needed to be forgiven for my actions. I’d hurt her. Intentionally, she felt. That warranted some sort of closure, right?

I wish someone had told me weeks ago, no. I wish someone had sat me down and asked me, “did you account for your part? Did you pray? Have you told another human about this?” I wish they’d reiterated what I already know to be true, but have trouble remembering when I need to most, I am forgiven again and again. Because it’s really not about this disagreement, it’s really got nothing to do with this other person. My street is mine for a reason. Keeping it clean, ain’t her job. It’s mine. Maybe this is a selfish view. I’m not saying don’t seek closure, what I’m saying is running out of options doesn’t mean you don’t get to feel better. Running out of options often means you get what you needed: external confirmation that only you can do the inside work. Forgiveness: that’s an inside job. I have another friend who’s a little obsessed about what I have and she doesn’t. She’s resentful. She’s uncomfortable.

I’m determined to apologize for my wealth and any moments where it becomes obvious. Today, not so much. Today I woke up and saw the RADICAL difference in what I did and what I need to do: accept that this is her way of thinking, but my path leads to forgiveness. I forgive her, not because I think her actions aren’t odd and weird and make me uncomfortable, I forgive her because of all that. I forgive the piece of me that utters “I’m sorry” when I bump into a wall or scrape against a corner.

Forgiveness has more to do with me than it does the other person or persons. Cheryl Strayed writes this:

Forgiveness doesn’t just sit there like the pretty boy at the bar. Forgiveness is the old fat guy you have to haul up the hill.

He takes work. He takes healing. He doesn’t take another person. I’ve read and reread that quote so many times over the years…but never did it make so much sense to me as it did right now. The way we treat apologizes and forgiveness are with an ease and cyclical feeling that unnerves me given any time to truly look. Are we that needy? Are we that unsure of our own selves? How much self-assurance not from us does it take us to see the word SELF? How much is too much? Personally, I need forgiveness on both those situations, but I’m only going to get it if I accept myself for who I am: a flawed person who makes mistakes (because who isn’t), but a person who knows she’s already forgiven. Forgiveness doesn’t run out. Time does. Don’t spend the time you’ve got left lamenting forgiveness. I forgive you. Today.

The Work of My Life

The Work of My Life

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Making my own damn sunshine last week. 

Writing has always been a love of mine, but it goes further than that, it feels ingrained in me, like without it who would I be? Would I be me? Unfortunately, writing is also that thing (we all have them) that I put down time and time again because of an endless litany of excuses I won’t bore you with other than to say, none of them are legitimate and all of them take me further and further away from a passion I’ve had since I was 10 years old and discovered that the books on the library shelves were made  by people just like me and one day, I too could do that which seemed so elusive to me, a gawky girl, with bushy brown curls, and a love, no, a deep passion for, words. Why then has this blog remained mute for the past few weeks, untouched except for the new reader who stumbles upon this, a collection of words that make up the last two years of my life’s work?

There was a time when I felt desperate to supersede those in a similar line of work, with a similar passion. They talked about newsletters and statistics, the number of readers who visited their site, and the content they produced. I tried to fit in. I really did. I started a newsletter that I would send out weekly, I produced weekly “content,” even beginning an interview series, an ode to the days of my fashion blog where all I really did was interview. But it didn’t, couldn’t, wouldn’t stick. And, much like my periods of sobriety, I soon gave it up. This morning while walking to get coffee in the pouring down rain, it hit me, why all these previous projects (blogs, lists, newsletters, even sobriety to an extent) have failed to stick: I’m not building a brand, I’m building a life.

I’m not building a brand. I’m building a life.

The number of people who read my work won’t really matter if I stop writing, a newsletter is really insignificant if I have nothing to really promote, and my platform isn’t going anywhere, unless I continue to produce content. Content that is meaningful to me is the only way I’ll continue to show-up day after day. A writer’s life can oft be lonely and uncomfortable (depending on the material you choose to delve into). I’ve never been good at holding things back, I studied nonfiction creative writing in school, because I knew that my story, your story, is the only thing we really have at the end of the day. I admit, I got distracted by my peers. Social media feeds the sleeping beast in me who just wants to keep up with the crowd. I let other people’s success define who I am and in the process I lose myself and most importantly, I stop producing my own work. I don’t want to produce a newsletter weekly or build a brand. I don’t want to start a series, or a podcast. I don’t truly give a shit who reads my work or not.

What I care about, is writing. Daily. Words filling a blank page, straight from my heart to my fingertips, to you. I care about the power of a few words, the journey of a story, the kingship one feels when they see themselves in you. Those things are meaningful to me, the ties that I have to the page and beyond, the way that I feel when I get into a certain flow, and I can hardly keep up with myself. Exploding on the page is really what I live for regardless of who else shows up. Writing, is not for everyone, I’ve talked to people who look at me in true awe, they ask why I studied something that demands so much work on my end and seems to produce so little in return. I’d say that there is some truth in that, writing will never pat me on the shoulder and tell me I had a good quarter. Writing is not a 9-5 kind of gig. But, writing gives me so much.

When I first started to write, write seriously, outside of the confines of a 5-paragraph high school essay, I discovered a certain freedom in the anonymity of the blank page. I free wrote with my tutor before starting homework. I applied to countless poetry contests, even reading my work at a few Housing Work Bookstore kid night’s. I was a fan of Patti Smith and Charles Bukowski, in both writers I recognized a transference of pain to the page. I wanted to do that. I needed to do that. Late at night I moved words around in papers I wrote for english class, outside of the confines of the theme, but so heavy with descriptions and leaden with time, my teacher encouraged them. I am grateful I had teachers who saw talent in my early on. I needed their encouragement, and as I got older I learned to rely on the conversations I had with those who read my work, to help me evolve and strengthen both my writing and myself.

I quit my job five weeks ago to write. I quit because the work I was doing wasn’t feeding me creatively. But, then I didn’t write. I poured my heart into my relationship and my dog, and honed a new skill (for me) of successfully outfitting myself in thrifted finds, taking pride in wearing bold colors and patterns, but I didn’t write. Until I did. In part, I started writing again after reading, my sober peers, Holly and Laura’s words on why they are ending HOME Podcast (their podcast which has been a fundamental tool for many grapsing onto and living a sober life). Their decision seems wrought with the pain that only big changes can bring. Reading their words reminded me of my own abandoned craft. I’d stopped fighting for writing, so it had stopped fighting for me. This morning, Laura wrote: “Go out and do things.” This is me, going out and doing things. Me sharing my story, bits and pieces of it at a time, with you regardless how high my readership is or what my brand looks like. Hat’s off to everyone who works tirelessly to build their brand(s), we need you, I am in awe of you, but I am not you and your work is not mine. This separation feels almost painful. I’ve found myself somehow mourning the loss of the teachers I’ve chosen to follow for years. But, I think it’s time for me to break away, to do things that are meaningful to me. Writing is one. Sharing bits and pieces of my life through Instagram is another.

Writing is a way for me to communicate with the parts of myself I feel have been quieted down by so many people, places, and things. I try to write honestly, even if that honesty is ugly. Even, and especially, if I feel myself judging myself as I put the words down on the page. It is a powerful thing to have the tools to tell your story, the wherewithal to show-up for something that doesn’t give much back. It is powerful to know when it is your time to break away from the pack and do so only with the best of intentions, both for you and for them. I am a writer, a teacher, a student. I am here to communicate what I’ve been through, to share it with you, and to in turn learn from you. Listening is a vital part of my writing practice and my living practice. Listening is easy to do when you’re invested, yet harder to do when you’re struggling, feeling lost, unsure, and/or uncomfortable.

Today, I listened to the little voice inside me that said: write. It doesn’t matter that currently our friend is over, and that my girlfriend and her are indulging in brunch, or that my sandwich is getting cold, or that this seat hurts my butt and their conversation plus the music in the background is something I feel myself fighting through. All I care about are these words. Writing demands that you be selfish. You need to show-up for it. You need to be prepared to be a little rude, eat cold sandwiches, and learn to ignore the noise.

I’ve had many moments in my life where I’ve recommitted myself to the page, I’ve also had many moments where I recommit to living a sober lifestyle, sans alcohol. I’ve called my process and myself many things over the years. I’ve struggled to find a title or two that truly seemed to fit. Alcoholic. Blogger. Memoirist. Heavy drinker. Teetotaler. I’ve shrugged them off, like an ill-fitting cardigan, they were itchy, confining, and ultimately not mine. Writing with abandon is like tasting the air right before it turns to fall. Like the way the sky turns a brazen pink, peeking up between the buildings. The way a kiss feels everywhere, the electricity, the butterflies, the blushes. Writing is in my bones, it’s deep and it’s wide. It’s what I have always had and never lost. It is wholly mine if I make it so. I have read Stephen King’s On Writing twice. Each time I’ve taken small nuggets away, but I’m feeling like it’s time to return to it with a blank-slate, asking it to be my teacher, and myself to be its student. These are the words ringing in my ears as I shutdown my laptop and go to join the world for the rest of the day:

“Writing isn’t about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid, or making friends. In the end, it’s about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life, as well. It’s about getting up, getting well, and getting over. Getting happy, okay? Getting happy.”

 

Christa David

Christa David

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Christa David by Matt Serger

I started this interview series as a way to start conversations with women who are doing incredible things in their field. These are the women who inspire me daily. There work is something I value very highly in this world. Our conversations feel like a huge privilege and one I am so grateful to share with you. If you feel like you’d be a great addition to this series please don’t hesitate to contact me either on my contact page or at etchedinawe@gmail.com. Thank you for reading! 

Name/Occupation/Location

H E L L O I’m Christa David. I’m a New York City based collage artist and painter. A year ago, I quite my day job as a public health researcher to make art full-time. It’s been crazy scary and crazy beautiful; I LOVE my Mondays now.

Did you become what you wanted to be as a child?

Nope. Well not exactly. When I was a kid I wanted to be a doctor, specifically a surgeon. I wanted to fix people where they were broken. Medicine didn’t work out but art is working and truthfully, art is the best medicine there is. Art heals us in places we didn’t even know were broken.

What piece of artwork first spoke to you?

Now that’s a good question. My memory tells me Monét’s Lillies. I saw them up close when I was a teenager and was really blown away by the scale.

How did you start making? What was the beginning process like for you?

I first began making art seriously while a high school student at LaGuardia High School of Music and Art and the Performing Arts (also known as the FAME school). Prior to age 11 when I first started painting, I had only thought about math and science seriously. I loved both these subjects. But thank God for art teachers! My 7th grade art teacher noticed my watercolor botanicals one day and said,“these are pretty good, have you thought about auditioning for Laguardia.” LaGuardia was some of the best art education I’ve received to date. I rotated through almost all of the disciplines and media — sculpture, painting, ceramics, acrylic, oils, watercolors — before finding comfort and focus in oil painting. When it was time for college, I decided for very practical reasons, that art and being an artist wasn’t serious enough of a career path to follow. So I stopped making art and went back to my first loves — math and science. I was pre-med in college and ended up becoming a public health researcher.
But, when something is for you, it’s for you. Art is for me. About eight years ago I started making art again just as a form of therapy and refuge from the stresses of life and work. My art practice grew more serious and demanding as the years passed until finally I wanted to be in my studio making art more than I wanted to be doing public health research. So a year ago I leapt into full-time art making. Yes, it’s been an emotional rollercoaster trying to work out the business of making art, but I love my crazy beautiful artist life and wouldn’t change a thing.

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How does it feel to sell a piece of your artwork? Did it take time to feel comfortable adding a price to your work?

Each piece of art I make is unique and holds so much meaning and memory for me. In the beginning it was incredibly hard to let my art go, but it got easier. The more I reminded myself about why I was making art, the easier it became to let the pieces go. I make art to trigger experiences in myself and others, experiences that will hopefully help us to see ourselves — the depraved parts and the holy parts.

How did your morning Instagram stories begin? What do you get out of them?

I am totally in love with INSTAGRAM! I had been sharing my full-time art making journey via weekly Facebook Live shows called Sunday Summary, but when Instagram Stories and Live were released I quickly jumped ship. Setting up for evening live video shoots in my dark apartment was just a pain. Instagram Stories and Live is so easy to use and so low maintenance. I can still share my process without making it into a big production.

My morning coffee ritual is just that my morning coffee ritual.  Making coffee before heading into my home art studio has been my ritual for years. My coffee grounds literally ground me and get me all caffeinated and pumped for work. One day I just started sharing my coffee time on Instagram Stories and the rest is let it bloom history (HA!).

Sharing my process as an artist working daily to figure out the business of making art while living in one of the most expensive cities in the world interest lots of people. Other artists and creatives are curious and I want them to see how hard but rewarding it can be to make art your business.

Most importantly though, I want to make art and the art making process accessible to everyone #fineartforeveryone. I really believe that art enriches our lives in ways that vital but sometimes hard to put into words. Everyone should own a piece of art that speaks to their soul. Everyone. Hopefully, my Instagram Stories and feed invites more folks to embrace art — mine and other artists — and make more art collectors out of us all.

Have you ever had to work harder for something than your male peers? Does that frustrate you?

In my public health career, I was fortunate enough to work in a profession where the ratio of women to men was about 70% to 30%. I didn’t have workplace pressures to work harder than my male counterparts mainly because there weren’t many. I imagine things may be different as I immerse myself in the NYC art world. I generally work hard and compete with myself. I’m a high-achiever and innately driven. I am my biggest competition on any given day.

Who inspires you right now?

Anyone who has decided to live their life awake and on purpose — despite how it feels — inspires me.

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What does your work space look like?

My primary work space is a hot mess right now. Thirty-two color studies are strewn about work table number one. I’m prepping these mini original paintings to sell this holiday season. In progress acrylic and oil paintings line the walls and a handout collage, my laptop and Wacom tablet are on work table number two. Thankfully, I recently set up my second bedroom to be a showroom/gallery for all my finished work. Clearing space inspires me to make more! And yes, I share all of this in my Instagram Stories. Come see.

One piece of advice for someone who is just starting out on the creative path?

Here is my daily note to self: make lots and lots of work. Experiment. Take Risks. Play. Don’t expect anything just focus on making the best work you can as often as you can

If you want to check out Christa’s artwork you can hop on over to her website & shop or follow her on Instagram.

This Time of Year

This Time of Year

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One of my fondest memories of Christmas is really simple: sitting on our living room couch, reading a letter from Santa. Back then, it was still a mystery: how the gifts ended up under the tree, how you could make a list and he just knew exactly what to get you, how he possibly got down that chimney. I don’t remember exactly when I stopped believing in Santa, but I do know my loss in belief aligned with my loss of holiday cheer. The holiday’s became something complicated, something I had to fight to believe in each time they came around. Often they meant more time at home which meant more time trying and failing to get along with my family. Once I moved out my holiday’s felt lonelier albeit calmer. This year I feel a mix of things. I’m sad. I miss my family. I know that I will make new traditions with my new partner. I know that celebrating comes in all shapes and sizes, there is no one-fits-all solution for how to survive the holiday’s, but here is a list of some of the things I’m prioritizing, both to keep myself sane and this December easier than previous ones.

~Daily gratitude lists and I mean DAILY.

They keep me focused on what’s truly important and they are really enjoyable to create.

~Making sure I’m reading just as much as I’m indulging in TV.

I’m trying to make my Goodreads goal of 50 books this year…I think I have 11 left. Do we think I can make it?

~Making sure I’m communicating when something feels off or when I am unhappy.

Communicating is key and although confrontation is difficult for me, I know that the consequences for staying silent are much worse.

~Trying to feel good in my skin as much as I can.

I’ve really struggled with this one for a while, but I know that feeling cute in my clothes, investing in special pieces of jewelry that make me smile, and saying kind affirmations to myself all help me feel extra good.

~Focusing on the good, instead of the bad.

I struggle with this one, especially because the world seems extra scary and sad right now. I tend to be a really optimistic person, but when I get down, I get down. Therapy has really changed my point of view on things as well as reminding myself that the things I have today, I prayed for last year.

~Embracing a vice that doesn’t hurt me

I’ve definitely struggled with my fair of addictions: from eating to relationships to alcohol, but recently I’ve been all about crystals. I’ve been collecting them for a few years, but started a brand new collection just the other week. I love having tangible reminders to help  me stay calm and remind me of the beauty in small things.

~Keeping my eyes on my own page

This is actually some sage advice from my highschool guidance counselor, but I definitely still need it. Comparing myself to others whether on social media or in real life is always a sure way to get me down, especially around the holidays. Focusing on posting real and raw daily moments in my life and following people who do the same help me stay focused and less wrapped up in despair.

~Surrounding myself with love

It’s not about the quantity of people in my life, but the quality. I like to invest in my people who want to invest in me! It’s really hard and draining to befriend and stay friends with folks who can’t support you. I’ve done enough of that, so my goal for 2018 is to show-up & embrace being shown up for.

I hope these little bits of wisdom from many years of stressful and sad holidays help you conquer any fears you may have in the coming weeks. Remember you can say “no,” and that blood isn’t always thicker than water when it comes to family. You get to choose this holiday season, but I choose love and happiness for you!