Dear Art at 27

Dear Art at 27

Dear Art at 27,

I’m already so proud of us. We have already accomplished so much this year, I can’t help but already be proud of you for things I know you will accomplish at 27. That’s honestly how confident I am in us. It’s so much bigger than being perfect or having It all figured it, it’s about being true to ourselves and just doing the best we can in this crazy, beautiful, wonderful life we are blessed to have.

Art at 26 showed out honey! I mean, we freaking moved to Chicago, on our own! We started a new job that changed our tax bracket. We’re navigating a new, completely different city on our own. I mean, can you say growth? We started THERAPY! Thank God for Therapy! We had Hoodie Season 2! It’s just so much. Even without a list of technical “accomplishments”, I’m so very proud of all the mental and emotional growth that we’ve done in this INSANE year.

Sorry that you couldn’t be celebrate the 4th annual ART Weekend with your friends in Atlanta due to the Rona (Coronavirus) messing up your plans, but don’t fear, this birthday and this year will be amazing. I’ve been doing a lot of reflection on life and I can fully say that while this year has been no crystal staircase, your life has been very fulfilling and blessed in so many ways. I honestly can say “Job well done, beautiful!”.

I really wish I could put into words the amount of emotional and mental growth that has happened this year. It’s honestly part of the reason I haven’t been putting out as many blogs because so much has happened. So much is still happening and I really don’t have all the words. Everything just feels different. I’m literally sitting and typing in the middle of a pandemic and I’m so calm. I’m happy. We’re happy going into our 27th birthday. We feel so good. It feels like all the mental work we’ve done by establishing boundaries, maintaining peace and overcoming trauma is paying off. The crazy part is that we’re still in the thick of it, but this is a peace that surpasses all understanding. It feels like a miracle honestly. It feels like a blessing. It feels like God.

What’s crazy is that as much as I’d love to be with my friends and eating the best fried shrimp in Middle Georgia, I feel like I’m right where I/we should be. This year I’ve realized that past Alena has gotten us through so much. From past blogs, journal notes and therapy sessions, I’ve found a way to leave myself multiple resources to get through the toughest of times. That’s why I know Art at 27 will be okay.

Art at 27, you have 26 versions of yourself that have consistently found ways to be there for you before they even knew you would be here. I don’t have much advice or predictions for what this year will bring. I just know that you will be okay. You’re a survivor. You’re a thriver. Regardless of what life brings, you’ve done a damn good job with everything you’ve been given. You’ve made lemonade out of lemons. You’ve overcome things others will never know. You’ve had very hard conversations with the people you love. You’ve made some very difficult choices. You haven’t given up. You may have had to re-adjust, but you haven’t given up. I can’t say enough how damn proud I am of you.

Whatever this year brings you personally, never forget your worth and how amazing you are. I’m once again going to say Job well done already because I’m already proud on day 1.

I love you beyond measure. Stay beautiful, stay true and trust your growth.

Love,

Art at 26

The Art Experience | Finding The Feeling of Freedom

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July 16th was the day I felt freedom for the first time in a long time. In my favorite city of Chicago, sitting on the floor cross-legged, I had a blank canvas in front of me. My friend, Rachael, was already painting. As the “Have a Good Day” Spotify playlist played in the background, I looked at my blank canvas. I had to think. I couldn’t put anything onto the canvas until I had an idea. So, I finally eyed the color that I wanted. It was a beautiful turquoise color. It stood out among the bunch. This was it. I was finally going to paint.

In the corner of my eyes, I see Rachael going to town on her canvas. With little regard to any vision she may have had, she just layers colors on colors. Her fingernails are now a different color with a mixture of acrylic paint slowly drying on her hands as she is in her own world. I’m jealous because I won’t let myself do that. I’m trying to make sure that the paints stay on the clean plate I’ve put a couple dabbles on. The horror to imagine the paint getting into my manicured nails. I don’t know if this will stain or now. So, I carefully caress the canvas with my flathead brush as I cover the canvas with a sea of seawater blue. Every stroke feels like I’m transferring any stress from my body to the canvas. The energy is turned from stress to relief. However, in the corner of my eye, I see Rachael has now taken a cup, mixed with various colors proceeds to pour the entire cup onto the canvas. My GOD! I’m not OCD, but the mess! I’m freaking out in the inside, but more than anything I’m jealous. She’s so free. She is painting to paint without the restrictions of a vision. How ever her canvas turns out, it will be great. It’s a guaranteed masterpiece because of the energy put into.

At this point, I decide to get a little “frisky” and take a copper, metallic paint and softly stroke some on the canvas. It’s always a stroke. Precise and intentional. Boring. It’s okay. I’ve definitely painted something like this before. I know how it’s going to true out before I’m even finished. It’s my usual. It’s creative, but not risky. Just enough not to get me out of my comfortable zone. I don’t know what to do next because although this is quite boring, it’s nice. But, I’m jealous. I’m jealous because I realize I care completely too much. I was so close to asking Rachel to give me another canvas because this one was ugly (more so basic). It wasn’t going to be revived. I almost said that. But, thankfully I did something that I will forever be grateful for.

Taking a note from Rachael, I take all of the colors that spoke to me and I squeezed them on the back of the plate. Then I did something I would NEVER do at home. I took my perfectly structured canvas and splatted the paint on my canvas. And I did it again. And I did it again. And I did it again. When I ran out of paint, I put more on the plate and repeated the process. Every time I splattered the plate onto the canvas, I didn’t know what would happened, but I kept on going. I just did what felt good. I kept on splatting until I was satisfied. Then I looked at my canvas in complete shock. It was nothing I would expect, but it was everything I loved. It was free. It was freedom.

My canvas turned into art because I gave myself the chance to be free for once and not put expectations on the outcome. I did what felt good. I did what felt free. Sitting and looking at my canvas, I couldn’t believe I made something so out of bounds. What a masterpiece. What a mess and a masterpiece at the same time. My hands were now covered with paint. I didn’t even reach for a paper towel. I just asked for another canvas because I wanted to feel that again. I wanted to allow myself to feel and not think. Just do what feels good. Art is about feelings. If you don’t feel when you make it, no matter the sentiment, you aren’t really making Art. So, I attribute July 16th as one of my many recent awakening moments. That’s the night I fell in love with painting because I felt it. So, thank you to Rachael for being fearless and showing me that it’s okay to let loose. Here’s to painting more blank canvases and allowing myself to be free.

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So, whatever makes you feel free, do that.

Signed,

Art Undone

Stop dissing your Razor now that you have an iPhone

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You ever get a new phone and start acting brand new like you didn’t use to be so excited about that Pink Razor you got in seventh grade? You change everything over and you’re hype. You mention it every chance you get that you got a new phone. You send out a mass text and let everyone know you’ve upgraded.

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You casually mention it in conversation and you have to make sure that all the group pictures are taken on your new phone so people can talk about how nice the camera is. It’s a whole movement. It’s a visual representation of the glow up and you couldn’t be more excited.

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It’s the same thing we do when it comes to our personal glow ups. We “subtly” mention the glow up every chance we get because we’re proud of our progress. However, when mentioning the glow up, we tend to completely stunt on who we once were.

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We tend to forget that just because we’ve upgraded, once upon a time we were just as hype to get that new razor. It was the best thing out at the time and everything we wanted.

Now that we have better options and new information, some of our old decisions seem pointless and even ‘stupid’, but were they really? I would say no. That’s why I think we should be a little more forgiving and understanding of the decisions we’ve made in the past. While we should all grow and glow over time, we should also be less hard on the past versions of ourselves. We did the best we could.

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Lately, I’ve been thinking about how I treat my past self and I’m not too proud. She was me. She is a part of me. If it was not for her, I wouldn’t be where I am today. No matter if I made the best decision or the worst decision at a certain point and time, it’s no reason to beat her up. I can’t change the past, all I can do is learn from it and be better because of it. She deserves appreciation and not depreciation. She was just doing the best she could. And if she wasn’t doing the best she could, she at least learned a lesson.

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So, I’m going to stop being so rude to my old self now that I’ve experienced some growth. Instead, I’m going to be appreciative of everything she taught me and continue to move forward. I don’t want to be that person who has to degrade my past to appreciate my future. If you can relate, I would hope you do the same.

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Our past experiences are still painted strokes on our ever-evolving masterpiece. They’re not going anywhere, so you might as well embrace their beauty within your journey. #Embracethepaint

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Signed,

ART Undone & Unashamed