A cross-country move, a year + later

Last night, as Mark and I lain next to each other, he asked,

“Do you wish you still lived in Houston? You seem like you had so much fun there.”

After yesterday’s poem to my hometown, you may be wondering the same. Quite simply, the answer is no.

Do I miss it?

Boy, do I. But given the opportunity to move back today, I wouldn’t. Continue reading

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Houston, EX

Late last night, I got back from a nine day visit to my hometown, Houston and birthplace Corpus Christi, Texas. Last time I visited was during the 2017 Houston Half Marathon, and so much has happened within me since. Because this was the first time visiting since I’ve felt settled here in Connecticut, I was able to feel all of the tough feelings associated with it.

I wrote this poem (my first since high school, maybe?) throughout the trip and wrapped it up before takeoff. Enjoy.

Houston, EX

I flew back
into your arms
ten-lane highways
open and wide
Then was grasped
bumper-to-bumper tight

Welcomed.

Continue reading

Create like you’re eight

Remember when I wrote about how to raise an artist? Not too long ago, my son started taking his art very seriously. He was shutting himself in his room all of the time. On weekends, when he’s able to use his computer, he was watching YouTube video after YouTube video underneath his loft bed, littering his floor with crumpled printer paper with half-done drawings, and aside from the occasional whir from his automatic pencil sharpener, there was hardly a trace of him.

On school nights, after homework, the sight was similar, but minus the screens. Door shut and increased interest on his art. This even showed up.

please knock

I respected his newfound assertion of privacy, but at the same time, I was a bit worried.

Eventually, we decided that if he was going to spend that much time watching YouTubers, he should contribute. After some encouragement from my sister, we made his first YouTube video to share the art he had been working on.

He got such a great response, and he’s kept up making the videos week after week.

I’m new to video, it’s something I’ve never experimented with before. I already have a subscription to the Adobe products on the creative cloud to edit photos, but these videos have been the first things I’ve ever used Premier Pro to create.

It’s funny, because with writing, drawing, painting, designing/decorating a room, or anything else creative, I’m so slow to finish. It can be a brief blog post, but it gets drawn out to days or weeks of labor. It can take me six months to buy the materials for a project I’ve been dreaming of making.

But with these videos, it’s different.

I’m okay with not knowing what I’m doing and with being kind of bad at editing the videos, for a change. He’s eight and I’m twenty-eight, but as creators, we’re so both so intolerant of imperfections. We have these creative ideas and want everything to look like it was when we first imagined it. He has his floor littered with drawings that missed the mark. My abandoned ideas are more hidden: half written essays, twenty-two unfinished posts in my drafts folder on wordpress, a collection of supplies from craft mishaps.

During the first video, if he was worried about mistakes, I’d just keep reminding him: “You’re eight! No one expects you to be perfect!” And as I edit them, he has to remind me the same.

If only I could take that stance for the other things I do, if I could take the pressure off and recognize that I’m not expected to do anything just right, right away. The pressure is self-imposed, but it’s been hardwired after years of good taste but not-quite-there-yet levels of skill. It’s so challenging to be a beginner and an amateur that few ever get to be where they want without giving up.

My hope, for my son, for me, and for you, if you’re afraid to start or afraid to share your work, is that you’ll do it anyway. And that when you see people proudly share their work, you’ll remember the bravery that it takes to do so. That you’ll always keep in mind that to share something created is exposing the most vulnerable parts and that it’s scary as all get out to do.

Take it from one of the greatest:

finish it

How’s he doing now?

Now that I found a way to get more involved by sharing of what he makes, he’s more open to sharing during the process. He’s not hiding in his room the same way. As you can see above, we’ve been doing weekly videos for six weeks now, without fail. It’s something we can do together, and I’m showing him how to work the programs as I’m learning.

It’s hard, because bullies from school go to his channel and ridicule him. One even insulted his artwork. While my heart is breaking, he is still confident: “Well, where’s his videos? Where’s his art?” The bravery that he exudes in the face of adversity is admirable.

Create like you’re eight

  1. Create because it’s fun. Not to be the best.
  2. Allow yourself be a beginner.
  3. Share fearlessly, so that others know it’s okay to be a beginner. Your progress will show over time.
  4. Be consistent.
  5. Notice who throws insults, and don’t take it personally.
  6. Never stop having fun!

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Where am I?

It’s been a little over four months since I deactivated my personal Facebook page and stopped posting on Instagram. Once active on the sites, it can seem strange to my friends and family. My grandmother asked if it had anything to do with what I considered minor family drama. My mother, who liked to show her coworkers the posts of mine shared by brands, couldn’t understand why I stopped sharing my photography so suddenly.

In truth, it wasn’t suddenly at all. Stepping away from those spaces is something I considered doing for years, but always had a different excuse. First, I worked in social media. I couldn’t deactivate my Facebook page or I wouldn’t be able to post for the businesses I represented. Second, how would I share my blog to a bigger audience? How would I encourage readership? Is that even possible without social media? Third, how would I stay connected to people whom this was my only method? Continue reading

Crafting a Creative Kid: How to Raise an Artist

My eight-year-old son is the creation I am most proud of, and becoming a mom at nineteen & figuring this all out as I go along is no doubt my greatest adventure of all.

creative-kid-tobias-eli-9

When I studied writing, I learned with the rest to “write what I know.” This is why this is not, nor could it ever be a Mommy Blog. Read: I have no idea what I’m doing. Half of what I know about raising a family I learned from twentieth century sitcoms like Family Matters, Full House and The Brady Bunch. No lie.

Sometimes my husband asks, “Why do you bake him cookies for after school? That’s a dessert, not a snack.” And well, that’s why. Leave it to June Cleaver. I cringe when people tell me I’m a good mom, because it invalidates my constant negative self talk and second guessing myself. What do they know? They haven’t seen me loose my temper!

That being said, as I meet more children that are my son’s age, I find that he’s pretty darn creative. When he’s not working on his studies or doing his household chores, he’s making something, no doubt.

creative-kid-tobias-eli-3

Jamming out in the basement while making clay sculptures

Sometimes people ask me how I pull him away from video games long enough to make things and how he’s so creative. I don’t think this is something that’s hardwired, and there’s a few things that I’ve done to facilitate his  artistic attempts. Continue reading

2017 Resolutions

Tomorrow is day three of 2017, but with the boy returning to school, the man returning to work, and I beginning to freelance, it seems like day one. So much excitement, I can’t seem to sleep. I’ll keep this short and sweet.

In 2017, I will…

  1. Pursue my version of minimalism.
  2. Continue to improve with maintaining the budget.
  3. Spend more time creating, less time looking for inspiration.
  4. Social media: who needs it? I’ll take some time away from my online presence outside of blogging. It isn’t serving me.
  5. Hit “Publish” more often. Let go of perfectionism. Post those old drafts.
  6. Become an Ironman.

& I’ll be okay with having six resolutions and not seven. Yes, seven is a better number than six. Refer to resolution 5. 😉

While I wasn’t Facebooking…

After the first presidential debate, I started to realize that Facebook no longer felt like a safe space for sharing or reading what others had to share. It went from a place where I would congratulate people on their daily accomplishments, compliment their dress/baby/whatever, and give suggestions to those who were crowd sourcing to a place where the news I was already reading was being littered with people’s opinions, misinformation was being shared far too often, and I was experiencing an echo chamber of what was going on in the race that I was already upset about.

So faster than you can say “pussygate,” I signed off.

Plenty of “Facebook-worthy” things happened in the time frame: Continue reading