Oh yeah, okay... so for a little while I've been struggling with some struggles (haha) when it comes to design, my career, my past accomplishments, what I'm doing now, what I'm creating, who I'm creating it for... all of that. I got stuck in this rut of feeling like my best days as a designer were behind me. Oh hey... remember that time you designed graphics for a snowboard and it was ridden in the 2006 Olympic games? Oh you forgot? Well here's a visual... (click the "watch on YouTube" link and fast forward to the slow-mo replay at :50 seconds).
So that was a career highlight right? And then you went on [I'm talking to myself here if you haven't noticed...] to design boards for 3 more years until your teaching life took over and your focus changed from designing what you love... to inspiring hundreds of fabulously creative young designers to design what they loved.
And you did that... and you loved it for 5 years. You met some of your favorite people, it was beyond rewarding... it still is! But a small piece of your heart was missing. A small part of you envied your students and you longed for the days when you were the one getting your hands dirty... messing with watercolor, scanning in textures, playing with type. You tried to find that balance... of design and teaching... of combining both of the things you loved... but it was impossible to put your whole heart into both... when you focused on one... the other suffered.
So you decided to leave teaching and move back to your favorite city to do what you missed... and it hasn't been easy. Five years of ideas were in your head... it was overwhelming... more than overwhelming... it was paralyzing. What do you want to do first... what should you focus on? This or that... or wait what's that over there?! So you let that paralyzing fear take over and you settled into a [good paying, actually kind of fun, but not what you set out to do] corporate web design job. And that's all good and fine... but you set out to do something different... not to get too comfortable working in a cube.
This brings you to... today. [Okay, back to first person.] Today I realized something. And it's kind of silly... but I blame it on Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. At my corporate web design job... during down time... I listen to all kinds of interviews, podcasts, and music... and most recently I started listening to and watching a lot of Macklemore and Ryan Lewis videos. I was so jealous of the fun they were having as musicians... making those videos and performing for live audiences... I started to wish I was better at hip hop dancing so I could go join their crew and be a part of that exciting energy. Just something to be a part of that creative explosion of fun. In every interview Macklemore talked about his struggles as an artist and how hard he worked to get to where he was today... Never. Giving. Up. No matter what. Through addiction, through self doubt... he kept moving forward. After record labels turned him down... so what... he went ahead anyway. Macklemore and Ryan Lewis made their dreams come true... on their own. So, I didn't land a full time job at some fancy company... so, I didn't get that illustration job I was hoping for... Was I giving up?
The answer was, yes. Yes, I think I was... or at least I started to. Yeah, I did some cool things in my design career. When asked about it... I even found myself referring to it as "my past life". Your past life, Melissa?! NO! That was your life... it IS your life... this life. Not some past existence of some stranger. Not a former state of being when you were strong and went for what you wanted... you are strong and you do go for what you want.
I want to create imagery that inspires people to follow their hearts... to design what they love... or to teach what they love... or to go be an Aesthetician if that's what you love... do things that make you happy! Okay you're stuck at an 9 to 6 job and you don't really like it?! That's okay... we all have to eat and pay the bills... but there are 48 solid hours on Saturday and Sunday that you can devote to living your life to the fullest! Life is too short to feel that you're trapped and you can't do what you want!
I'm not talking about quitting your day job... for those of you that can do that... that's awesome! I'm talking about no matter what... taking the time you have... those extra hours in your day and devoting them to something you love. Something that makes you happy. And then, hopefully sharing that love and excitement and passion with others. We all need someone to show us that we can live the life we want to.
So here's to a fresh perspective... an eye opening design dance party. Design is what makes me happy. The excitement, love, and passion that I see in the musicians and bands I adore... that love they share with their audience... that's the same love and happiness that I want to share... through my designs.
I know it's gonna take some time... I know I still have a lot of figure out... but I'm beyond excited to finally get past those feelings of self doubt, frustration, and insecurity and to remember... DESIGN is what I LOVE. Oh yeah! I remember now, DESIGN EQUALS LOVE and I'm not gonna let people forget that.
Below is how design makes me feel... dance, cry, laugh... a really really really good time. Macklemore and his hot skinny glittery bod couldn't express my feelings any better. Take my hand, let's have a blast...
And yes, I AM gonna design that booty off... 'cause tonight's the night... am I right?