It’s been quite a long while that I’ve been on this journey of self acceptance. Long ago there was an anonymous submission area on my blog and I got the sweetest message from a reader who said, “I wish you would be yourself and embrace it instead of hiding behind _____.”
I did hide. I hid behind my mom as a child, I hid behind Ben (my first love) as a teen/young adult, and I even hid behind Audrey Kitching and some other friends I did design for (I wasn’t as codependent with them) online and played with offline. I gave Audrey my illustrations and original artwork, I sent her inspirations daily, I blogged for her, I designed for her. We were close then, but I was always in the shadows. She would sometimes copy other designs from other artists and I didn’t want to promote any of my work because I was afraid if I took credit for my Tokyolux cats, designs, and pop art that it would be assumed I was taking credit for ALL of the copies as well.
That often happens to people who were traumatized in their youth. I was happy to create amazing things that everyone loved as long as I got to be in the background and no one really knew me.
When going through divorce or trauma it’s easy to do whatever you can to forget your memories and the pain. Embarrassingly enough, I imploded and “acted a fool.” I even pushed a lot of those friends in that community away back then. I met them all one last time at a Sanrio VIP party right near the end of my shadow self life. I was tired of being in the box I allowed myself to be placed in and I just freaked out and ran away.
I closed my store and I stopped updating my website. I fell off the online world to hide from it and isolated myself.
Now I’m 35 and I feel like I’ve been starting all over the last few years. I started traveling again and participating in shows in LA and NYC again (prior to the CORONAVIRUS of course). I started reconnecting with my old friends again. Like actually connecting. As myself.
I also started, 3 years ago, doing work for myself and I’m learning how to be comfortable promoting ME and MY WORK. IT’S HARD. It’s hard everyday. I often slink away and still struggle with quieting myself because I’m afraid. I’m afraid of what you will think of me or what you will say if I’m not who you expect or want me to be…
… but I’m done with that! I’m pushing myself harder each day to be MYSELF for ME. Not anyone else. I’m set on not becoming anything for anyone else. Except of course a loving mom who encourages her daughters to be powerful and NEVER stifle theirselves for ANYONE.
Thanks for coming along. I hope you brought snacks. xx