Well, it is hard to believe where this little WordPress blog began compared to where it is now. After graduating university I had no idea what I was starting … no idea what kind of journey I was beginning with those first steps I took in creating this blog. All I knew was that I wanted a way to showcase my art. I had zero expectation.
In my journey in the art world there were slow points; very slow points where art, this blog, and creating sat completely idle. During those points I was exploring, I was learning who I was, I found adventure and love. I began to embark on a second journey that I actually believed in more, that I sincerely believed was my future and my passion. This journey was teaching. I put so much time, energy, and money into my teaching career because of how much I believed in it, that I left my art idle. Although I checked in on the blog and the world of art on occasion, usually with months or years in between, it was only when I began to run into frustrating road blocks, what felt like failures and surprising reality checks that fostered many disappointments in the teaching world, that I truly discovered again those first steps taken here on this WordPress blog. I turned back to look at this first path I had started on but basically abandoned, and began to slowly let smolder a tiny spark of hope. I didn’t yet know what it was or what it could be but I opened myself up to it.
Maybe this art journey was something to believe in.
Maybe I could believe in both.
Perhaps there was a future where these two very different roads could merge together as one; because lets face it, I am not one to give up easily. Despite what feels like a never-ending hike up a mountainside that my teaching journey has taken me, I will continue to climb it. This slow climb has actually given me a chance to take in the view around me. In slowing down and feeling that sting of rejection, what felt then as failure, I let my mind, heart and soul open up to other possibilities that I had not let myself believe in before. I let my artificial perceived view of my future become fuzzy at the edges. It no longer had to necessarily fit in the mainstream box of our society’s expected “career path”. I saw multiple futures, ones that would have the abilities to change and evolve. I was also allowed the time to put some energy back into this art journey. At the time I didn’t even realize what I was doing and amazingly, just over a year later here we are. — Jenna Stewart Artist and Author.
The “Author” part had never been there before, and funny enough it was the “Author” part that launched me back on the road of my art journey. This first journey is nowhere near a full time career, but the difference now is I believe in it. I don’t know what it will or could become but I believe in it. When I allowed myself to open my mind, heart and soul and I let go of the rigidity of that “in the box” thinking, creativity flooded back into my life.
The first step to getting there was allowing myself to freely believe in this endeavor. The next step was to put in the work without harsh judgment of myself. You can’t gain anything without taking risks and with risks comes the fear of failure and rejection. It is amazing how freeing it is to take the pressure off yourself to be perfect; to not have to fit into that pre-described mold society sets out for you; to accept failure and rejection as a natural part of the process. It is hard to explain, but I do believe that the little bit of success I am currently finding with JSAA is a combination of two things.
Firstly, finding that freedom to believe, to reach for the stars, to dream dreams. When I reach back into the deepest parts of myself where I am the happiest, I find it’s a place of no judgment and no pressure. It’s the place where I lived as a child, where the world is beautiful and the air is filled with magic. It is this place that I go to when I dream. I do my very best to grab hold of this place and carry it with me in my work. I have found that when you release yourself from your own judgment and predetermined idea of success, that’s when magic happens.
Secondly it is an ability to evaluate your decision making with a balanced combination of clarity, logic, and hope. Keeping this balance is continually on going. Without hope logic often tells you “No”. Without logic hope could lead you astray. Finding that balance is key, and then you must believe. I find it is the people around you that help you with this balance. I would not have taken on this project if it weren’t for the people in my life inspiring me to do so, but they also help keep me in check. You are many, and you all know who you are. Thank you!
I am only at the beginning of both of these journeys. There is still so much to learn and experience as I walk these roads. Each step I take forward is thrilling. The roadblocks and failures I continue to experience in my teaching journey are no longer so hard to handle because I am simultaneously making gains in my art journey. This positive mindset my art is helping me maintain is what is keeping me going in today’s frustrating world of teaching. It is exciting to be paving my own path, breaking the rules a bit and surging forward despite the competition. The most exhilarating thing about my art journey is that there are no rules. It’s not a pre-described mold. I am creating it as I go. I am in charge of its future.
These two different journeys are already intertwined, my hope is that one day they can and will become one. When I decided to breathe life back into this blog and believe in my art, I got off the crowded highway the rest of the world was on. I took a back road where the view is amazing and I am no longer in gridlock traffic. My destination is still a similar one but I am open to new roads and new stops along the way. There Is This Place was my exit. I dare you to find yours.