Something about this time of year causes my heart to stir and grow restless. Perhaps it's because we're nearing the end of summer, or maybe it's because I just turned another year older (probably the latter) but it's always around this time of year that I begin to seek change and renewal.
Three years ago around this time my husband and I began making preparations for our year-long stint in Taiwan. If you've been following my lettering journey from the beginning, then you know that it's during my time in Taiwan that I discovered lettering.
What you might not know is that I created this website many months before I even began lettering. This space was intended for me to share my photographs, travels, and musings about faith, food, and everything in between. Basically, it was going to be my online journal (so innovative, right?).
But then lettering (and Instagram) happened and I forgot why I started this site. Two years have flown by - two years of lettering and calligraphy practice, two years of sporadic and hodgepodge blog posts, two years of getting to know amazing letterers via Instagram; being fully immersed in this world and little of anything else.
Don't get me wrong, I am beyond grateful for all of the tutorials/videos/knowledge fellow letterers have freely shared so that I've been able to get to this point. I'm thankful for the friendships I've made in this community. However, being constantly immersed in this world of amazing art and styled images has become mentally/emotionally debilitating this past year. I even eluded to it in this post.
The comparison trap has been real. So real that I found/find myself struggling to be supportive of my #calligrafriends. So real that I've had to unfollow calligraphers/creatives as I constantly felt less-than; that I was always falling behind, and would never be good enough.
We all struggle with this in some way, and there's even a whole #communityovercompetition movement to combat that negativity. But as much as I try to embrace it, it became much harder and harder for me to see it that way - especially when fellow calligraphers that started around the same time (or after) have progressed and accomplished such amazing work (some on a daily basis!).
Coupled with the fact that the Instagram algorithm has wreaked havoc on the engagement of my posts - I started to feel defeated. Not to mention, suffocated. My life is more than just lettering/calligraphy/art, so why am I posting that way on Instagram? Why am I following mostly calligraphers/artists? Why am I revolving my life around lettering for Instagram?
All of these questions have been swirling in my head for months and things finally came to a head this past weekend. It began with a timely email inviting me to an online Bible study (more on that in a future post), then talking things out with a friend over dinner, and finally, spending time with my family on my birthday.
Turning 39 really makes you stop wishing/worrying/agonizing. You realize you don't have that much time to waste anymore. No time to worry about hurting people's feelings if you unfollow them. No time to agonize over why your follower count is going down instead of up. No time to seek approval/acceptance in the form of IG likes/comments*. You realize what truly matters - family, true blue friends, and a God that loves you just the way you are - warts and all.
You realize that in order to grow, you have to remember why you started.
If you've read this far, please know that I appreciate you. Thank you for following and supporting my journey even when it seems like all I post about is matcha. ;)
*To my fellow calligraphers/creatives, I'm constantly in awe of the work you put out on a daily basis - your endless creativity amazes me! While we may have initially connected over lettering, I've connected with many of you beyond that. I hope you know who you are - please know that my admiration for your work runs deeper than Instagram likes and comments. I apologize if my lack of interaction/engagement/enthusiasm inadvertently caused/causes disappointment on your end. This is not a reflection of how I feel about you but a step to preserve my mental health. My focus now is to get back to my faith - to rely on God to give me strength and confidence; to get back to a healthy mental and emotional place so that I can genuinely love and encourage others. Thank you for your understanding, and for all of your support and encouragement!