Blog| Social Media Free Weekend

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I’ve been seeing a lot online about these digital detox challenges and camps. Essentially, You spend a weekend to a week without social media, your phone, or television. Pretty much any electronics.

I will admit: I am addicted to my phone. Mostly because I handle everything through it. Events and business contacts and the different things I’m in charge of are all handled through Facebook, Messenger, or Email. I’m a control freak so I need to constantly be able to be reached at all times.

Yes, I am glued to my phone and usually have it in my hand all the time. Which isn’t great. Notifications give me anxiety so I always have to check them to make them go away (turning them off just gives me anxiety that someone is contacting me and I don’t know). I have two laptops and hardly use them because I have my phone! A few minutes can turn into a few hours and more times than not, my productivity goes down the drain with my battery life.

So I thought maybe it was a good idea to try one of these “detoxes.” And even though no one was forcing me, boy did I make a lot of excuses. I couldn’t do it this or that weekend because I had events or meetings and what if someone tries to get a hold of me??? Rarely do I have a weekend where nothing is happening. I was just going to have to suck it up.

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Saturday

I compromised and instead of nixing out all digital devices, I pledged no social media (and email/games) which is what I use a majority of time on my phone anyways. No Facebook, Instagram, Email, or Snapchat. I don’t really use Twitter or Tumblr and I made an allowance for Youtube (on the TV only) because we don’t have cable.

My routine is I usually wake up and mess around on my phone for an hour or two before I get up. This morning was the first day we actually got Fall weather. It was cool and cloudy and rainy and the dogs were snuggled up with me. I ended up sleeping until 10-11. Yep. Good start.

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Instead of grabbing my phone, I grabbed one of the many books I had on my bedside table that I’ve been meaning to read. I had started Alias Hook forever ago and hadn’t gotten very far so I picked that up again. I think I got about a third of the way in by 1pm and then we had to get up and get ready.

First on our agenda was our friend’s pagan meet up at the park. We finally got to throw on some layers and were all set to go….except then we accidentally locked ourselves out the house without our keys.

Our house has two different locks. We always lock the bottom one as we leave and then lock the top deadbolts with the keys. Naturally, I turned the bottom lock and shut the door as we left. Rony hadn’t grabbed the keys thinking I had them and I hadn’t because I thought he had them. And the backdoor was locked.

So, naturally, I picked our front door’s lock with bobby pins. I’m not even lying or exaggerating. Rony was upset because we were going to be late and were going to have to call a locksmith and I figured it didn’t hurt to try to break in ourselves. I had seen different videos on picking locks (for writing purposes!!) and if that didn’t work, I was going to try the credit card trick. Luckily I had a few bobby pins in my purse. I stripped them, looked into the key holes at the tumblers inside and somehow managed to get it unlocked in five minutes.

Rony was impressed (so was I, to be honest) and we are now going to make sure those other deadbolts are locked at all times because holy shit it should not be that easy to get into our house.

The pagan get together was nice and we had a good time chatting with people and eating snacks. We didn’t get to stay long because I had an art meeting after that and Rony had to drop me off.

When he picked me up, we got Starbucks and food and snuggled on the couch while he watched the news and I kept reading my book. I am a fast reader. Always have been. I finished that book in one day. It was about 11 at night when I was done and cleaned a bit before bed.

At the end of the night, I had 57 freaking notifications and it was kiiiiiiiilling me.


Sunday

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Sunday was another lazy morning, snuggling with the dogs. Rony totally forgot about the Magic Prerelease happening and was going to do that at 1pm and I was determined to get the house totally clean by the end of the day. We did all the laundry, put the animals away and let the kittens out of the room to play in the entryway and let Mae Mae roam the house, and swept and mopped the dinning room and kitchen.

I took breaks to start reading Basic Witches and we ate cereal for breakfast. The dogs ran around the house and as Rony was getting ready, we finalized our 31 Days of Halloween movie list. I sketched out Inktober ideas in a new sketchbook he had bought me and drank tea and it was surprisingly very relaxing.

Yes, my phone went off all the time. I had to put it on silent. I almost just straight turned it off, but then I had anxiety that something would happen and no one would be able to reach me.

That was really the hardest part. There was so much anxiety from not checking those notifications, even though I knew none of them were important or pressing or needed immediate attention. I have an admin team now for the Artist Collective to take care of things, people could get a hold of Rony if they really needed me, and nothing was life or death.

Did I want to Snapchat or Instagram my day? Absolutely. Did the world fall apart because I didn’t tell everyone immediately my feelings on Basic Witch as I read it? Nope.

The house got cleaned, we were productive, I spent time with all the animals, the house smelled WONDERFUL (seriously, Bath & Bodywork’s Fall candles are the best), and I didn’t feel this claustrophobic cluttered feeling from my surroundings anymore. The laundry even got all put away.

We hung out at Rony’s work for a few hours and I did more sketches in my notebook. I filled up about 5 pages in it and figured out my Inktober theme for the month. My planner got filled in and updated and I felt a little more prepared for October. I even packaged up some orders I’d been meaning to fulfill.

The weekend was over and all in all, I had 107 notifications.

And wanna know what? NONE of them were important. None were life or death and I didn’t miss out on anything just because I waited a whole weekend to get to them.

I think that helped. It had been a while since I was able to have a nice, relaxing weekend just with myself and a book and Rony and the animals. I felt relaxed and productive and realized I didn’t need to be attached to my phone all the time.

So will I do it again? Definitely. I think a break is needed from social media every now and then, especially with how it is now in days. It’s a break from the comments and arguing and constant need to post post post. I don’t need to check up on other people’s lives when I have my own to live.

-Sam <3

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Blog| Fall Equinox & Changes

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Fall Equinox has come and it’s officially the best time of the year!

I thrive in Fall weather. I always get too hot in the summer and freeze in the winter (Spring doesn’t exist in Texas), so Fall is the perfect middle ground for me. And by some miracle, we actually are experiencing Fall weather right on time! It’s rainy and chilly and I can wear sweaters without dying!

And with the Fall Equinox, comes a bit of introspection. It’s been a hard month. Getting Leon back felt like a tipping point. I was working on so many things and as soon as he disappeared, everything stopped. Once we got him back, I thought we could go back to how it was but things had changed. We’re always so busy that I felt it had been ages where I could just sit down for a weekend and breathe, watch a movie or play with the animals.

We’re constantly going from event to meeting to event all the time and being so busy, we were neglecting not just our house but also the animals. I wanted to be able to go and hang out with friends without it being an event I’m hosting and go to the movies and attend galleries because we want to, not because we have to.

We have less than a year left in Lubbock. This is our last holiday season and it’s always busy and flies by so fast. I love what I do, but I also need to realize that I need to take time for myself and live and appreciate everything before suddenly, it’s time to go.

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So what does that mean?

Well for starters, I unfortunately dropped 365 Project and #52Selfies. When Leon went missing, I stopped doing them and I don’t think it’d be right for me to just continue as if there isn’t almost a month’s gap. I’ll have to attempt them again January 1st.

I’m cutting down on some of the events I do and was planning. I’ve had to turn down a couple of galleries so far just because it wasn’t worth killing myself trying to get artwork done so fast to meet the deadlines. I want to enjoy my artwork and the process and the pressure isn’t always the best at making it a fun experience. That’s the opposite of what I want. It’s suppose to be a stress relief and that’s less likely if I’m being forced to do it.

I’m also cutting the blog down to Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays instead of Monday-Thursday. That’ll help me put out better content and get my shit together, honestly. I love my blog but I don’t want to just put out crap for the sake of something getting put out. Taking the photos takes a while and I’d love to have everything written out ahead of time.

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Processed with MOLDIV

October is almost here and it’s a huge month. I’m laying out my plan for Inktober and we’re attempting to do the 31 Movies in 31 Days challenge, on top of making plans for Disneyland, parties, traveling, animal costumes, and our Halloween Instagram. October kicks off the big holiday season for me and it doesn’t stop until March so I need to get prepared. I do not want it to become this overwhelming chaos where I need to drop stuff.

There’s also the kittens. Two have been adopted so far, but we’re taking care of them until they’re a little bigger and when we have time to take them to the new owners. We still have to find homes for Stripes and White and Mae Mae. We’ve been letting them roam the house every now and then and the kittens have turned into crazy little monsters, getting into everything and playing with whatever they can find. Plus they go through a tooooon of food and litter.

Unfortunately, we recently found out that Mae Mae has miscarried and will not be having anymore kittens. It happened this past week, her due date week, and it’s been a hard thing to process. We went from preparing to help her give birth to making sure she and the other kittens are okay. They said sometimes it just happens or she could have had a parasite or any number of things. Whatever it was, it was out of our hands.

It’s topped off a pretty crappy month and hit us hard. For now, we’re focusing on getting her well and taking care of the kittens we have. We’ll be getting her fixed and will be adopting her out as well. She’s a complete sweetheart and loves people and pets and attention. If we didn’t already have 5 animals, I would love to have kept her and one of the kittens. But they’ll be very good pets to someone.

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Things are going to get crazy soon and I don’t want a repeat of last year where I completely overwhelmed myself and knocked myself back into depression. I’m getting help from people and delegating and making plans. I’m not getting rid of galleries I am holding or our Fall Ladies Night, but I am stepping back a little.

Am I anxious about cutting things back? Definitely. I have this fear of irrelevancy that if I’m not out there all the time, everything I worked or will fall apart. That’s the control freak in me. But the thing is, is it worth it if I’m missing out on things myself? I can do what I can to better the community, but there’s always going to be work to do. There’s no point in killing myself and making myself unhappy.

I’m doing this for me.

The Autumn Equinox is about balance and self evaluation and rebirth. It’s the time to reclaim your power and put yourself back on track to being who you are meant to be. My favorite part of the Equinox has always been tied to mythology.

In some older versions of the story of how Persephone came to be Queen of the Underworld and in my favorite version, Persephone is not kidnapped but wanders into the Underworld herself, either out of adventure or to comfort the crying souls herself. She is adventurous and merciful, but confident. She chooses to be there and is not a pawn in a game. Her choices are her’s alone and the balance of 6 months in Spring and Winter is her choice. And so now we celebrate the Fall Equinox,  the time when night and day are equal and when Persephone descends back into the Underworld and reclaims her spot as Queen and reclaims her power.

I love Persephone and I love what she has come to symbolize. It’s my favorite story and I see her as a figure of confidence and growth and coming into yourself. And maybe it’s time I take a page out of her book and find a balance for myself and become my own Queen of the Underworld.

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-Sam <3

#FindLeon and What to Do When You’re Puppy Goes Missing

It’s been quiet on here for a reason.

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Saturday, August 26th at 8am our dogs got loose. I noticed within 10-15 minutes of it happening and raced into the backyard, calling for Rony as I did so. They dug a hole in the corner of the yard and pried off a couple of boards off the fence, escaping into the alley. Almond is a runner and has escaped a few times, giving us heart attacks as we chase her down and she plays keep away, but this was Leon’s first time being gone. He follows Almond wherever she goes and would have followed her out that hole.

Almond was found crossing one of the major, busy streets by Marisa and was brought home safe. We didn’t find Leon.

For 6 days/144 hours, he was missing.

We hardly slept at all. We ate whenever we had a chance to pause, scarfing down chips or snack bars, or whatever people would bring us and go back out. We’ve searched almost non-stop, from 7am in the morning to 1am at night. My bones and muscles ached from walking, my fingertips were raw and peeling from posting flyers, and any ground I had made on getting over being sick was shot to the wind and I felt awful. I couldn’t breathe from congestion and my eyes were swelling shut and I kept having migraines. We couldn’t stop though.

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Saturday was not only going to be my first Pride after coming out but it was also National Dog Day. It felt like being stabbed every time I saw people post pictures of their dogs while I had no clue where Leon was. Was he safe, hurt, taken, hiding, scared? We’ve checked the shelter every day and nothing. They have a binder of deceased dogs and it was nauseating to flip through, hoping we didn’t see him every day.

That first day, we walked 6 miles looking for him. Sunday we walked 10-11 miles and then Monday 3 miles. All together, we walked 32 miles looking for Leon. We visited every shelter and pet store and groomers, giving flyers. Asked people on the street. Checked every tip, no matter how crazy. I’ve made hundreds of lost pet posts online and taken out ads and have done everything. He had his tags and collar on when he went missing and was micro-chipped, but no one had found him or called or brought him in to a vet or shelter.

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On top of it, we also adopted 3 kittens that are about 4-5 weeks old. Mae Mae took a while, but she’s adopted them and is feeding them and watching over them. We think they belong to one of our strays that passed away last week. Our neighbor heard them crying in her backyard. They’re cute and distracting and kept me busy, which was good because I was so near falling apart.

We have literally posted over a thousand flyers. That’s not hyperbole either. We literally have printed and posted around 1300 flyers. We’ve put them everywhere. Every time we found a blank area, we put them all over. We asked businesses, put them in high populated areas, shopping centers, the university.

This is what hell feels like. Being in pain, exhausted, but not being able to stop or else the hopelessness crushes you because your loved one is out there and you don’t know if they’re hurt or scared or being taken care of by a good family.

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We got so many tips that ended up being different dogs or dead ends. Our most promising ones were a girl that said she saw him with a kid and a mom less than 10 blocks from us, in the direction he was seen running. She said she tried to see him and the mom cussed her out, saying she doesn’t care where he came from and that he was theirs now. The location wasn’t far from our house and we staked it out for 2 days, but when we finally saw the dog it wasn’t ours.

An older man called and thought he saw Leon by the park by his house. I raced over at lunch and he ran to the park to show me, but it was also the wrong dog. Two different ladies in our neighborhood said they saw him with a dog gang. We woke up early at 6am, and scouted the streets looking for them. We found them in 15 minutes. It was 3 Chihuahua looking dogs and a white/brown pit. They were sweet and ran up to the car and gave kisses. Not much of a gang, but also not Leon.

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At the same time, we had a lady say she thought she saw him by his house and was trying to track him down. I was texting her when I got a call at about 630. A guy said he may have Leon ten blocks from our house. I described Leon’s tail and figure and he said he was almost sure it was him. We turned around and drove there, looking for a corner house and a guy with a dog sitting on the porch.

When we found the house, we burst into tears because it was finally Leon. I ran out the car before it was even fully stopped and ran to him. He jumped and wagged his tail and licked my face while I sobbed my heart out. This whole week it hadn’t sunken in that he was gone, like at any time I’d wake up and he’d be home. I couldn’t see how we could do so much for everyone else. Events, charities, promo-ing, dog sitting, fostering, helping other people find their animals. While searching we helped like 3 people and took in the kittens. We needed luck on our side and I refused to let go that our dog was gone forever, but it was starting to feel so hopeless.

Having him in my arms was heaven. The guy had been walking his dog near the high school and had grabbed one of our flyers. He saw Leon and managed to grab him and called us, waiting on the porch until we showed up. Him and his partner had lost their dog a year ago and knew how it felt and were so happy to find him for us, they didn’t want the reward. We’re going to donate it to the Humane Society and aid or Hurricane Harvey.

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Leon was skinnier, but uninjured and happy and still had his collar on even. We have no clue what he had been doing for almost a week and had patrolled that area so many times that we don’t know how we didn’t find him.

I sat in the trunk area with him while Rony talked to the guys and just cried and hugged him and called everyone. Almond was excited when we got home and Leon drank all the water and ate 4 cups of food. They ran around and played and it was like he hadn’t left.

It took all morning to call and let everyone know and just relax and know he was okay. It still feels surreal but he’s home and I can’t thank enough people for helping us search for him. We literally painted the town in his flyers and we have him back.

It’s been an exhausting process but it paid off.

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So, if you are missing your dog, all I can do is write down some tips that we learned. No one can say we weren’t dedicated to finding him and he’s probably the most famous lost pup in town now but it got results:

Tips for Finding your Puppy

  1. Immediately search the entirety of your neighborhood as fast as you can after they go missing
  2. Find all the Lost and Found Facebook pages/group and post to them all daily
  3. Post on Pawboost
  4. Post on your neighborhood app (NextDoor is the one we have)
  5. Check the shelters every day, don’t just call. If you do it an hour or so before they close, most of their trucks should be in from picking up animals.
  6. After a few days, email or check the shelters of nearby towns. Dogs can travel a lot at night
  7. Put some of your dirty clothes or their toys outside so if they’re lost, they may try to find their way home. Don’t put food because you’ll just attract other dogs.
  8. Post flyers on all major intersections, busy areas, and stores that will let you
  9. Give flyers to every vets office and groomers/boarders that you can
  10. Put flyers on your car and put a big sign in your yard so that if someone finds them, they know where to return them
  11. Check with neighbors, anyone outside, or joggers in your area.
  12. Follow all tips, no matter how far they are from your home.
  13. As soon as you can, see if you can get your friends to do a search party
  14. If your dog has a microchip, register it as Lost and make sure to tell your vets office
  15. If someone has seen him in your neighborhood, try to walk from your house to the tip spot and see where they could have gone from there
  16. If you can afford it, do a Facebook and Instagram ad.
  17. Post on Craigslist
  18. Ask your mail carrier when you see them, police officers, or city services if you come across them. They drive around constantly!
  19. It’s weird, but don’t be afraid to ask homeless people and give them flyers. A lot of times they’re very happy to help (especially if there is a reward)
  20. Don’t give up hope.

And when you get them home, make sure your fence is secure! Nail any loose boards, pour concrete along the bottom, or if you can’t then chicken wire it down so they cant dig to get under it! You can bend it along the base and stake it down!

I can only hope this helps someone else looking for their baby. Our animals are our children and it felt like my heart had died while he was gone. We couldn’t go on with our lives until he was home and I’m so glad he is. I’m never letting him go.

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-Sam <3

 

Blog| Curveball

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It’s been a bit quiet here. For those that don’t know, I’ve been sick for a bit over 2 weeks which has completely blown apart any plans I had for this month. At first I had a toothache which turned into a severe infections which wiped out my immune system and ended up with me sick. I was on a cocktail of medication to help with the infection, fever, severe congestion, and then I ended up scratching my eye because the medications dried me out. So my eye swelled.

The tooth was pulled and it’s been a long, hard week of trying to recover. My mouth hurts. I still can’t breathe through my nose. I just want to sleep all the time.

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To top it all off, we took in a little stray kitty we named Mae Mae. She’s been super friendly and we’ve been feeding her outside, but today we take her to the vet and start trying to introduce her to the other cats. She’s pregnant and so we’re going to foster her and her kitties and try to re-home them all. I’ve never had a pregnant cat or dealt with something like this so it’s all new, but I’m excited to help her with her little kitties. She’s a complete sweetheart.

I’m also redoing my office and clearing a bunch of junk out of it. I feel like I go through periods where I just feel claustrophobic and I just want to throw everything away. So I’m tossing my desks and looking into just getting one long desk or building one. I have some plants in there now and I condensed everything to my art shelves. It’s looking nice but still has a bunch of work.

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Being sick, I haven’t been able to do much. I’m still doing my 365 Project, I just need to upload all my pictures and post them. I need to work on a bunch of paintings with deadlines soon. My goals for the month are shot to hell. Maybe this week I’ll try to do a catch up post.

Next month is going to be busy. I’m headed to Dallas for my sister’s gender reveal party, Staple in Austin the following weekend, Hub City Comic Con, and then we’re taking a weekend trip to Meow Wolf in Santa Fe. Almost every weekend is busy.

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And then Halloween season is fast approaching along with Inktober. I need to catch my breath before it all starts and I need to avoid overwhelming myself again like last year.

We’re staying busy and these will all be great experiences. I’m getting better. I just need to get organized, get focused, and get back into my rhythm.

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So look out for new posts, but give me a bit of time to get back into things. I’m gonna try and do some more art posts, I have a style post in the works, I’ll do one about Mae Mae, and Pride Fest is this weekend.

All the pictures in this post were taken by my sister when she was down to visit us. Tabby had a lot of fun playing with all the cats and we managed to wrangle the dogs to take an updated family photo.

Be sure to check out her work at Amanda Raylee Photography and follow her on Facebook.

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Until next time

-Sam <3

Blog| The Comparison Game

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If you’re not aware, I’ve been sick for the past few days which would explain the lack of a blog yesterday. Our house is full of sick people and animals at the moment between Demo getting his arm amputated, Almond not feeling good, and me getting knocked out by a severe cold.

How do I spend my sick days?

Mostly by scrolling through Instagram and watching YouTube videos. Like most artists, I follow a ton of other artists as well. My YouTube is filled with speed paint videos, studio vlogs, and all sorts. On Facebook I see video features and articles about other local artists and projects and all of their art.

And then I started to feel bad about myself. I am surrounded by artists so it’s hard not to compare myself to them a bit. I see their amazing works and galleries and projects and my mind goes, “Why can’t I have any of that?”

Comparison is a double edged sword. Most artists do it in some way. They look up to other artists and take the styles and techniques they love and try to emulate them in some way. It can be healthy to do this. A lot of artists learn through emulation and there’s nothing wrong with that (as long as you’re not passing it of as your own and selling it.) We do it all the time, taking qualities we like and inheriting them.

Advice from Facebook:
“You do you. Every artist, regardless of medium, find fault in their own work, so having the balls to put it out there to the world is huge. You are not anyone else, and no one else is you. Be you, do you.”– Emily H

“I would say everyone’s art journey is different. Don’t compare your work or how you approach being artist to other artists. Your story will be unique to you. In addition to that, don’t look down on other artists if they don’t follow what you consider the proper way to go about being an artist.” -Kendra M

The problem gets to be when you do it too much. When it no longer is about growing yourself, but looking at your growth and diminishing it because it’s not as good as someone else’s. Comparison tends to lead to jealousy and envy. It’s a struggle not to do this. Humans are competitive and that permeates the art world, especially with the surge of social media. It’s a battle for followers and likes and shares.

That’s when comparison can become mostly a negative. It’s a fixation of “Why am I not selling pieces? Why can’t I get my own gallery? Why don’t people want to feature my work anywhere?” Artists put so much of themselves into their work that it gets personal when they see another artist they think had an easier time get more of a spotlight; it can lead to resentment and jealousy.

Advice from Facebook: 

“It’s normal to compare your efforts to the works of someone whose talents you admire. The trick is to compare without criticism.” -Billie A

” The world is full of different tastes so even though you might like and admire someone’s art, you shouldn’t push yourself to be too much like someone else because plenty of people will like YOUR stuff.” -Ana H 

“A flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it. It just blooms. ~ Zen Shin” -Lisa M

We’re all not immune to it. I’ve been doing art seriously for 10+ years now. I’ve done small galleries and group shows and now help run one. I am not immune to it at all. I watch these videos of artists being able to work full time in their art studios and create all day while I have an office job and barely get the time and energy to work on my own pieces. You look at everything and wonder what you’re doing wrong.

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Here’s something not a lot of people know.

A year or so ago, my depression was on and off and I seriously considered giving up pursing art as a career and resigned myself to boring office jobs. I hadn’t sold anything after putting hours into my paintings and watched as my friends sold piece after piece and got commissions and invited to do cool events and workshops and everything while I was struggling. I thought there was no point. Everyone said they liked my work but it wasn’t showing.

I had spent years in the art community and had gotten no where and was tired of being passed up. I wasn’t in galleries, no one knew who I was. It was pointless.

Advice from Facebook: 

“Stop that shit!” -Todd G

” Let your light shine.” –Greg F

I love art. I need art to keep myself sane and balanced but comparing myself to everyone else had put me in this dark pit that I couldn’t get out of and I wanted to quit. I was so tired of fighting and climbing uphill. It took Rony to talk me out of it and keep going. Things got better. I stopped focusing so much on everyone else. I took the time and focused on what I wanted to do.

I do both original fine art and fan art, but not solely either or. It puts me in this weird category where since I don’t do constant fan art I don’t get the recognition for that but because I do fan art, I don’t get the recognition for my fine art. I’m in limbo. It was one of the reasons why I’ve been trying to make the Lubbock Artist Collective galleries so diverse. I want to allow room for both fan art and fine art you can be good at both.

The artists I follow online are in the same category as myself, but it’s hard locally. Lubbock is small and the art community is tight. Even surrounded by artists, I feel like an outsider.

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There are times where I still get bouts of jealousy and self-deprecation. It’s hard not to, but I’m working on it. Now when I see others succeed, I have to remind myself it doesn’t affect my own journey and I should be excited for them. I look at my Instagram feed and the Youtube videos and use these glimpses into other artists worlds to inspire me rather than put me down. I use it as motivation.

Seattle will have more opportunities. I’m growing my own opportunities here for now.

It’s not easy and it’s never going to be easy. Paintings don’t sell and pile up, you email galleries constantly looking for a place that will accept your art. Opportunities go by while you see your friends get more and more. It happens. But you have to keep going. The hard work pays off eventually.

Advice from Facebook: 

“I know art is cathartic for a lot, including me, but remember it’s fun and that it’s okay to just make stuff that isn’t great sometimes, so long as you enjoy it.” -David P

“We’re our biggest critics. Focus on your work and what you want to do. Don’t compare to others, because they’re on their own journey and see things through different eyes than you. We’re all human and have a tendency to be too hard on ourselves and think the next person is better. More often than not, that person you think is better, is probably thinking the same thing about someone else.” – Natasia M

So remember, no two people are alike. Each person grows differently. Some fast, some slow. It’s okay to look up to other people, but don’t diminish your own growth and put yourself down. Comparison can be good in small doses to motivate and inspire but you are one of a kind and can’t be anyone else. You’ll get there. Just keep going.

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What advice would you give someone? Have you struggled with comparing yourself?

-Sam <3

Blog| A is for…

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Personal territory here. Be advised.

Self-discovery is an ongoing thing. You never really finish learning but sometimes you don’t question enough things that seem concrete and settled. I’m learning that. Things I thought about myself aren’t as permanent as I thought. The things I want change and the things I like as well.

I never thought I’d change my diet, be in charge of big things, drop out of college, etc. But I did. I’m not the same person I was ten years ago, a year ago, a few months ago.

Self-discovery is weird but good and can come at unexpected times.

IMG_0606IMG_0602During a discussion, Rony joked a while back and asked if I was sure I wasn’t Asexual. I laughed but before I could think I said, “Maybe???”

Maybe I was. I’d never thought about it, but it kinda made sense.

Asexuality is the lack of or complete non-existence of a sex drive. You just aren’t interested in sex. There are different types of asexuals like graysexuals and demisexuals where sometimes you have to be in a specific circumstance to feel those urges or where you feel them, you just have no desire to act on them. Sexuality is a crazy wide spectrum of differences and nuances and not everything has a name, but it exists.

And no, it’s not that they just haven’t had a good experience, aren’t doing it right, or haven’t found the right person. Asexuals just don’t desire sex and that’s okay.

I’ve never questioned my sexuality. I’m a straight, cisgendered woman of color. That’s it. Nothing more. Permanent fact. But I don’t think that’s so anymore. I fell into a hole of research and Googling and questioning. Was I actually Asexual or just someone with a low sex-drive?

 

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I’m not new to the LGBTQIA community. My grandmother is a lesbian. I grew up never realizing it was anything different. It wasn’t until I was a bit older and got weird looks when I talked about my grandma and her girlfriend that I realized it wasn’t the usual. But that didn’t matter to me.

Most of my friends growing up were queer. Lesbian, gay, bi. They were wonderful people and why shouldn’t they love who they wanted to.

I just never thought to question MY sexuality. But then again, this whole relationship stuff is still new to me. Rony is only my second long term boyfriend and the first was an awful on and off relationship in high school that ended after less than a year and we had never had sex. How was I suppose to know if I was Asexual? Sex was never a priority for either of us and I was new enough to dating that I wasn’t going to throw it out there.

I attributed my lack of interest to uncertainty and never thought twice.

 

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There’s a heteronormative expectation on people. Most people are straight and cisgendered. it’s the “default” to a lot of people. I didn’t question it, never thought I could be queer or something was different with me. But as soon as the question was proposed, the straight label didn’t fit.

So what am I?

I don’t know. I’m new to this whole thing and still learning. I think I’m Graysexual which means I get urges but never feel like acting on them. Am I straight? I don’t know. Maybe. Maybe not. I always attributed my lack of sexual attraction to anyone not a man as me being straight but maybe it was just being asexual. I was expected to like men so I equated romantic attraction as sexual desire. It wasn’t though. I’m attracted to a lot of women, I just don’t want to have sex with anyone and I equated that with not being interested in women period.

It’s weird and confusing but that’s another thought and conversation.

Am I LGBTQIA? Yes, I think. There’s the whole argument if Asexuals should be part of the LGBT and it’s confusing and I’m just trying to adjust to one thing at a time.

It seems to be the hardest thing to wrap my brain around. I’ve always associated being queer with my friends and family but never myself. I was an Ally, that’s mostly it. Now I may actually be asexual and bi or pan romantic? Who knows. I certainly don’t. Not yet at least.

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What does that mean for me? It’s an adjustment. I feel more settled into my own skin but talking about it is still weird because it has nothing to do with my romantic inclinations, just my sexual and that’s a weird conversation to talk about with other people besides my partner. Luckily, Rony has been very understanding and supportive. It’s not that big a deal to him and he’s learning. I’m learning. We’re learning together.

Is this me coming out? I think so? I’ve never had to come out before. Yes, I think.

In one part of my brain, this whole thing is just not a big deal. I’m asexual. Cool. It doesn’t affect my life and my goals and art all that much. On the other hand, it does. Something that I thought was wrong with me isn’t and this guilt and confusion I’ve had is gone. It’s an understanding that hey, something isn’t wrong with you. You’re just wired differently. It’s a part of me so I should tell people. But it’s still weird.

I have a lot to learn still. I want to learn more. There’s a lot of adjusting in my brain and I’m still wrapping my head around it. Permanent facts are no longer as permanent and the foundation is shook, but I’m settling in now.

If you’d like any information on Asexuality feel free to read these!

http://www.whatisasexuality.com/intro/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asexuality
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gray_asexuality
http://everydayfeminism.com/2016/02/what-is-graysexuality/

And look up more if you’d like! We can all learn together :)

Thanks for taking the time and reading about me having an existential crisis!

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-Sam <3

Blog| Zero to a Hundred

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I do a lot of events. Like a lot of them. Two to three years ago if you had told me I’d be planning and organizing events and galleries, I wouldn’t have believed you. I was shy and had a hard time emailing or calling businesses and people, much less being in charge. But here I am.

When things slow down for me, my brain starts to overwork and fixate. It’s a good and bad side of my brain that tends to cause me anxiety. Someone suggests or jokes about one little thing and my brain will fixate on the idea until I end up either doing something drastic to my hair, the house, or coming up with a new project to focus on.

That’s what happening now. I did two of those three, but we’ll talk about one of them later.

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A year or two ago, Rony did a design event in Albuquerque called Createathon where he and a bunch of different graphic designers were assigned a project for some non-profits and were given 24 hours to work up logos and marketing material and sometimes website. They did a lock-in and worked from like 11am to 11am the next day. I drove him and some of his coworkers to it so I could drive them back safely and let them sleep in the car.

He tweeted about it the whole night and I followed along while I stayed in the rental house. A lot of good work came out of it and it seemed like a fun idea.

I have no clue what made me think about it again, but it kept bouncing around in my head. I wanted something new to do that would be interesting and push artists to create. I wanted to do a 24 hour lock-in for art and maybe we could display the work and donate part of the proceeds to charity.

When I started Ladies Night, all I had to do was email Robert at Star Comics with the idea and it somehow came together. We set a date, I did art for the flyer, Rony put the flyer together, and the rest was trial and error. Geek Girl Brunch is a collaboration with the other officers. The Pokemon Art Drops were trial and error but easy overall. And the galleries came from experience and brainstorming.

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Everything I’ve done so far has been simple in concept. Previous events give me inspiration for new ones and the experience to push myself forward.

I’ve somehow become an event coordinator and have learned how to market and push events to get the attendance.

This is different. This is harder. Even with the Star Wars charity event we’re doing in December, that’s pretty easy since I have help.

Where do I start? Who do I contact? What are the details?

I’m been thinking about it all week, talking it over with Rony and friends on Facebook. I’m emailing galleries and looking up places that have done stuff like this before and seeing if we can rent churches or gyms and what about live streaming the event? We need a place to hold the actual lock-in, need a place to display the art, need a date, need to figure out requirements for participation, figure out snacks and food and necessities to supply artists for 24 hours, advertisement, what charity are we giving too, do we need to write up proposals, etc etc.

It’s a lot, but the thing is: I don’t mind it. My mind is being kept busy. I’m working on art which sometimes is a mindless task for me. Art just happens and flows and I don’t have to think too much when I’m in the zone. But I like events because they’re a challenge.

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I like making a difference. A few years ago I didn’t have any information or places to display my art or things to participate in. I want to provide those opportunities for new artists and help them get involved.

My problem with fixation isn’t always great. It can lead to big, impulsive decisions but sometimes it works in my favor to keep me motivated and growing.

I’ll figure out how to make this event work. I always do. And one day, maybe I can do events as a career and be able to make more of a difference. But for now, I’m busy, I’m happy, I’m covered in paint and I’m working to make the art community a more fun place. I think that’s pretty good.

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-Sam <3