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Beyond #threesixtyfive

Today is December 2nd. You might be wondering what that is supposed to mean. It's not a least to my knowledge anyway that anyone is collectively celebrating. It's my day though. Not my birthday or anything like that. For a long time, it has been my reset day. My launch day. My day of reflection into a renewed journey. My new year so to speak.

If you've been following me for a long time, then you know that before the pandemic I was doing something I called my #threesixtyfive journey. The idea was to do at least one productive task a day in service of my purpose and passion in life. My big goal when I first started was to become a full-time artist. It worked for me. I did it for six years straight, never skipping a day. Some days I did more than one thing. I did that until poetry and art centered work was almost all I was doing.

Then the pandemic hit and changed everything. I skipped a bunch of days because my mom went to the hospital. Thankfully, she's fine but the stress of it all naturally threw me off course. And I had to accept it. Sometime later last year, I had this grand idea that I was going to pick a new day and start over. I told myself that COVID can't have this dream that I've been working on consistently for six years. Tried to talk myself into doing stuff. Well, that didn't last long. For one, it felt so arbitrary, like I was focusing on doing stuff when that was never what it was really about. It was more about intention than production although the two were tied together. The big question ringing in my head was SO WHAT NOW? My biggest lesson out of this pandemic was hit pause when you need it. Don't just bulldoze through because you feel like you have to.

It made so much sense to pause. Somewhere in my journaling moments, I discovered that I had already reached my goal. I am a full-time artist. It sounds silly that I didn't fully recognize that. Like why didn't I fully know that before. It's like running a race and still running after crossing the finish line. I felt like I should have stopped and celebrated reaching my goal. Most of my time goes to creating my own art and art spaces for others. Most of my income comes from creating my own art and art spaces for others. I had to ask myself what I was running towards if I reached the original finish line already.


So today is December 2nd. I have much to celebrate about what I've accomplished in my life. But today, I am starting fresh on my day. It's not enough to be productive. I want to be free. I want this life I've created to be sustainable. I want to be able to spend time with family whenever I want and wherever that is. Losing an aunt and an uncle in the span of a month, I've been reflecting on what it means to be more present while there's time. This past Saturday, my fiancé turned 50 and my father turned 75. I'm so grateful. I am reminded of celebration even in the midst of grief. So what now? Sure, I can call myself a full-time artist but what does that mean for my time and at what cost? That's with any work I suppose. Find the priorities. Everything else is fluff.

The other day, I bought a new notebook for new poems. I got myself a new planner. I've spent weeks mapping out my artistic and financial goals. Full disclosure, I owe over 100k. Forever, I've laughed it off. I've been depressed about it. I've tried to pay it off. I've been angry. I've cried. I've been embarrassed. It's like a bottomless pit. But today, I have renewed intention to be free. To celebrate myself despite it all and because of it all. To create and to be compensated. Without shame. To hold space for and renew an abundant mindset. To be intentional with my time and clear about my priorities. To be with the ones I love and to love. To grieve and to celebrate. To heal, I think they must all exist.

At my desk, on the wall in front of me, I have a collage of my dreams, a sort of vision board. I have a candle burning that smells like pineapple and coconut with the words strength and energy written on the glass. There's an Audre Lorde quote from the poem, "New Year's Day" on repeat in my mind: "I am deliberate and afraid of nothing." I am on my way.

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