Thank You, Next.

I think it’s important to note that some things are irreplaceable. Without them, things will just not be the same. No matter if there are millions of that one thing, you won’t ever be able to get that special one you once you had back. And this fact sucks. It sucks so bad that you may cry. You may cry and always compare everything else to what once was, but you eventually have to face reality. With reality, you may have to mourn or celebrate the experience or object, but eventually, you have to let go of the attachment and find a way to move forward. It’s not easy, but necessary to make room for a new thing. Not the same thing, but a new thing. A new normal.

So, today, I’m mourning the loss of a pinnacle item in my creative life, my beloved laptop. The way I’m going to do that is to share all the memories I had with it before I let it go. This may be absolutely too personal, but I need to thank it and I decided I would share in its celebration because there would be nothing worse than making my creative being suffer because of a series of unfortunate events.

Instead, my laptop would want me to find a way to post anyways and continue the creative and educational legacy we started from the day we met. So, before I start with my mourning/celebration process, I’d like to credit Tidying Up by Marie Kondo because watching her show will hopefully help me get this closure… although I can’t hug my laptop and hold it close….*Goes to cry for a second*. Also, I’m totally fine with being called dramatic for my processes. HOWEVER, I’ll always live in my truth, no matter how extra it may seem. Tuh! I’d also like to note that about a year ago when I blogged about a hard reset, this is NOT what I meant… Anywho, let’s get started…

  • First and Foremost, thank you for being a reliable resource for me to get my thoughts out when physically writing wouldn’t do the trick.
  • Thank you for the countless amount of hours we spent together watching The Office.
  • Thank you for housing thousands upon thousands of my beloved pictures that I’m going to miss so dearly. My Pictures :-(.
  • Thank you for helping me graduate from college!
  • Thank you for helping me learn Spanish in order to go to Spain, TWICE!
  • Thank you for being with me on late nights when I was looking and searching for my first internships and jobs.
  • Thank you for always having my playlists ready to go on Spotify.
  • Thank you for being a getaway.
  • Thank you for handling my multi-tabs when my head was all over the place and I couldn’t decide what I wanted to do next.
  • Thank you for being there for me on nights I couldn’t sleep and decided to start a new project instead.
  • Thank you for holding some of my most precious thoughts and allowing me a blank canvas to create as I pleased.
  • Thank you for being a tool that was utilized in my personal and professional growth.
  • Thank you for always waiting to die until I found the charger.
  • Thank you for being a superior computer that allowed me to be an efficient remote worker when needed.
  • Thank you for being an encyclopedia of some of my most cherished moments…
  • Thank you for teaching me an invaluable lesson because of your tragic loss…
  • Thank you for lasting as long as you did, especially when sometimes I didn’t take care of you as well as I should have.

So, yeah, thank you Laptop. I’ll miss you and all the memories you held dearly. Maybe the universe will have you return to me unscathed. However, if that should not be in our future, thank you for everything and I promise to make sure I take care of my new bae better and back up everything…. Later gator.

Love,

Art Undone.

Welp, This Didn’t Go As Planned.

Instagram Post – Welp This Didn't Go As Planned.

Last year, I attempted to prepare myself and everyone else for 2018. I thought I was ready for the new year with 10 ART Lessons for the upcoming year. I just knew I had this down-packed. The thing is that the lessons were good. They made sense and I was happy to share. I don’t regret it at all. However, life has a way of life-ing and 2018 through your girl for a LOOP! Whew Chill-lay!

Since producing the 10 ART Lessons, I’ve definitely re-visited them and, in some instances, they have helped, in others not so much. Why? Because this year has been crazy and no amount of reading or writing could prepare me for what I experience. Although he is cancelled in my book, I can say it was a beautiful, dark, twisted fantasy. From deaths to health issues and bizarre accidents, I could not prepare for what I’ve never experienced.

So, now to experience this year, I know I won’t have every tool I’ll need to get through the next year. What I’ll have is me. I have to have the confidence in myself and my ability to overcome whatever obstacles come my way. This year taught me just how strong I am. I’m more confident than ever to go into this next year for a few reasons: 1.) I know what I want 2.) I know I have what it takes to get it. I know life will life but I also know Art will Art. I’m not arrogant in the least bit. But for once, I really really believe in myself and my dreams and visions. I need to make some things happen. I will make some things happen. In order to do that, I’ve already started to make this transition a little easier by starting my 2019 earlier. Everything I want to do and feel in 2019, I’ve started in the month of December. I’m not waiting. Another way I want to help myself, because my memory can be really bad at times, is to write down what I’ve learned this year. I probably won’t remember everything but writing it down will help me and maybe it could possibly help you too.

  • Listen to your body. If you are still enough, your body will tell you what it needs. If you listen and your body is still not responding like you want it to, don’t be afraid to get professional medical help. Also, be consistent and unwavering if you know something is wrong. Don’t let anyone try to tell you that you’re overreacting.
  • Your worth isn’t connected to your work. Stop feeling useless and worthless because you can’t produce work. It’s okay to sit out and take a break. Never forget your purpose but by all means do what you need to do to be okay before you push yourself to produce just to feel like you are valuable or worthy.
  • Just being here is enough. Sometimes we’re just here and that’s it. Life is hard so the fact that you are here is something to be proud of.
  • The more you say yes to everyone else, the more you say no to yourself. Say yes to yourself more. It’s okay to be selfish with your time, mental space and body.
  • Let yourself feel. Don’t continue to bottle up your feels. Allow yourself to feel whatever you need to feel completely. If you continue to bottle them up, they’ll come out sooner or later. It’s okay to let them out. It’s going to be uncomfortable ASF, but worth it. It’s really a cleansing process.
  • Do what makes you feel free. If you find yourself always tensing up and never feeling freedom, it’s time to do so. Painting makes me feel free. Dancing makes me feel free. Find what makes you feel free and do as much as you can. Life already has so many rules, it’s good to get outside of your head, break any mental barriers and life a free and fulfilling life.
  • Don’t torture yourself with hypothesis. What ifs are the devil! Let them go and live in what is. Unless you are willing to put those hypothesis to the test, LET. THEM. Go! You’re just torturing yourself for the hell of it.
  • Be quiet enough to listen to yourself. Noise has a great way of ridding you of much-needed you time. Sometimes you’re doing things you don’t even like just because you haven’t taken the time to process your feelings. Please listen to yourself.
  • Take 30 seconds to think through any snap-decisions. Yes, this sounds like common sense, but if you just take out 30 seconds to think through snap decisions you can save yourself time, money and resources that you may regret utilizing because of quick decisions.
  • Pay attention to people’s actions more than their words. The truth is in the action, not the words.
  • No one owes you anything so be appreciative of those who still decide to be there for you.
  • Say less, Do more. Stop looking for validation and congratulations on things you haven’t even done yet. You just announce things and once you get the instant gratification, it takes away the incentive to get the actual thing done. Just do it.
  • No one should make you feel bad for doing what’s best for you.
  • Don’t be so hard on yourself for how you react to things you’ve never experienced before.
  • Love on yourself, especially when you aren’t at your best. You’ll need all that love. Shower yourself with it.
  • Stop using “thinking” as an excuse not to be “doing”. Also known as procrastinating.
  • You can’t be good if your health isn’t good. Take care of yourself.
  • Smile in the mirror every single day before you go out into the world.
  • A good dream that is bad for you is still a nightmare.

It’s so much more and I’ll probably add more later. I need to get this out though. Why? Idk, but I need to release it so here it is.

I love you and I hope you smile a lot this year and many years to come.

Signed,

ART still Undone but Better.

 

You’re Already At Your After

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You’re not who you were a year ago. You got through some things that you thought would take you down. You have accomplished more than you thought you would. You are at after. You’re not the same as before.

Think about it. Think about how much you’ve changed mentally or emotionally. Are you able to see the change? Do you process information differently? Do you think before you do now? I know somewhere between the more experiences you’ve had, that you’ve made some progress. It may not be drastic, it could be incremental, yet, it still is change.

You are at a point where it is okay to acknowledge that change. Little by little you’re doing something better. You’re becoming a better version of yourself.

You are living your best life means you are making the best out of every situation that life throws at you. That means every step you take forward is the best version of yourself you’ve ever seen.

I’m so proud of you! I’m so proud of you acknowledging your growth. Your after has arrived, so enjoy it and move forward again. How amazing is it to know that you are constantly getting better with time and experience?

Keep going, I’m rooting for you.

Love,

ART Undone

Three Years Later

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I’m currently sitting and waiting for my very dear friend to come out from the back of my alma mater’s  2018 Commencement Ceremony. It’ll be three years since my graduation next week and I can barely remember how it felt to graduate other than almost falling before I got to stage because I was rushing to put on lip gloss at the last minute (Typical Art behavior). So, here I am, taking in what I did over 3 years ago. It feels a little surreal honestly, even after such a long time of being out of school.

It’s quite amazing what the human does without thinking. We eat, laugh, sleep and even graduate without completely conceptualizing the very act of what we’re doing. Our 20’s seem to be about completing a goal and moving to the next thing that we’re supposed to complete without ever actually appreciating what we’ve just completed. It’s like our story always ends in coming soon and never in a reflective time to think about what has already been done. So, here I am, three years later taking in what I should’ve taken in so long ago. I freaking graduated from college and worked my butt off!

It makes me sad to sit here and see people get their rewards for working so hard and realizing that I just saw this day as a stepping stone and not a real prize. I should’ve cherished it more. Instead, I fell into the same trap of trying to figure out what to do next because something done is never enough. It’s always a “next step” because we have to move forward right? But what’s the point of moving forward without celebrating what it took you to get here in the first place?

So, celebrate your wins as they occur. Don’t be afraid to enjoy the now before looking for the next. You’re right here and deserve all your applause. Hell, even ask for more applause if you need to. It’s okay to celebrate. You accomplished something so great, don’t let what’s next diminish that away. No matter what you accomplished, remember YOU completed something. Gas yourself up and enjoy your moment.

gas me up chance the rapper GIF by BET Awards

Signed,

ART Undone

Experience Needed.

Instagram Post – Experience Needed.

I’ve realized that no matter how much you practice scenarios in your mind and no matter how many books you read, it won’t mean crap unless you put it to the test. Woulda, Coulda & Shoulda doesn’t mean anything until you prove it. How do you prove your theories? Experience. You have to practice what you preach. You have to put it to the test. You can think you know what you are going to do and how you are going to react, but none of that matters until you actually put it to the test.

It’s like thinking you want to be a meteorologist but have never been in front of a green screen. You’ve read all the books on what it takes to be one and you feel like that’s what you want to do. You can see it. However, until you actually experience it and test it out, nothing is concrete. Why? FEELINGS. You can’t predict how you will feel about something until you actually experience it. That’s the only way to truly know if that’s really what you want. So you know what that means? You have to take risks. Risks you don’t normally take that may end in failure. You can only know if you will succeed or fail if you try. That’s it.

I’ve found myself in a predicament that I didn’t think I would be in. And it’s making me realize that what I thought I would do, I’m not. Why? FEELINGS! Since going through this process, I’ve realized I need to be more open to listening to my feelings as I’m going through new experiences that I’ve only played in my head. It’s not the same. Experience is needed to know how I feel about certain situations, as well as how I will react with new information. I can’t be so hard on myself for things I’ve never experienced before.

Signed,

ART Undone

Changing Directions | Making the Turn Anyways

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When it’s time to make a change or turn in your journey, you have to prepare yourself for the turn. Or, you can take the risk of losing control and just moving into your new turn without any warning. The more seasoned and prepared you are for a turn, the easier it is for you to maneuver curves and keep control.

Ever instantly identify a new driver on the road by how they slowly inch towards the turns on the roads? Or the super anxious new drivers who give their parent whiplash by not slowing down and drifting the curves like they’re auditioning for the 20th installment of the Fast and Furious?

The thing is that as long as you don’t crash or hurt yourself, a turn is a turn. A lesson is a lesson. Don’t be afraid to take that turn if you know you can make it. Don’t be embarrassed because you drive slower than molasses to get to the turn. You still got there. You’re still making a move towards somewhere you’ve never seen or experienced.

Regardless of how your change happens, make it happen. Even if you crash, pinpoint what you did wrong and don’t be afraid to get up and try again.

No one asks a driver how they exactly got to a destination. The point is they got there. So, if there is somewhere you want to go that’s off of your “projected” path, take that leap of faith and make the turn. Even if you have to slow down and bit, make the turn. Even if you missed a few of the warning signs that the turn was coming up, if you still can, make the turn.

A change in direction is not a setback if the destination is where you’re meant to be. Make the turn and if it doesn’t work out, it’s now just a path you know not to take anymore.

Signed,

Art Undone

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

The Mental Diet | Watching What You Think

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I’ve been on a new diet and it’s unlike anything I’ve ever done before. It’s something that’s been much needed because honestly my previous diet was filled with a lot of trash with no nutritional value. It’s called a mental diet.

I’m on a mental diet where I’m consciously watching what I think by looking at my mental intakes. Basically, the information I consume on a daily basis dictates my thoughts, therefore watching and limiting certain mental intakes helps me to think better thoughts and be a better person.

My junk food of choice happens to be social media, specifically Twitter and Instagram. Mostly Twitter, if we’re going to be honest. So, Twitter is like my Zaxby’s of mental food. It feels good after the first and second bite, but too much and I’m useless. From celebrity news to regular news, my consumption on a daily basis invades my thoughts, subconsciously, and makes me feel full. Full of thoughts that are just illusions of nothingness that don’t contribute to any beneficial nourishment.

So, here I am, now on a mental diet trying to live a better life. Not completely cutting out the mental junk food, but limiting my intake until I have more discipline.  I’m working on supplying myself with nourishing mental meals in the forms of books, articles, blogs, marketing information and even my own thoughts (writing). I realized that part of the reason why I wasn’t writing as much as I used to was that I wasn’t giving myself much to work with. I needed the energy, knowledge, and thoughts to even operate on my normal schedule. Therefore, I had to really put myself on a mental diet, no matter how crazy that sounds.

So, how does a mental diet work? Here are some pointers that I’m learning on my journey:

  • Write down the thoughts that occupy your mind the most during the day as an assessment
  • Identify the things offer you some sort of nutritional benefit and the things that offer no nutritional value
  • Point out 3 things you want to learn about for your personal or professional growth
  • Find multiple resources that you can consume on a daily basis to learn about those 3 things
  • Create reminders and fillers to replace your mental junk food with something more beneficial
  • If social media is an issue for you, update your phone with more useful apps and move the ones you use too much to a less accessible place or take them off of your phone until you can achieve a new normal
  • Find a happy balance for your mental diet that works for you. Cheat days are completely understandable

Well, good luck! Let me know how this goes for you and I’ll do the same!

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.

who's this? GIF by Arika Sato

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

Dear ART at 25

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Dear ART at 25,

Hey Girl! I can’t believe I just typed 25! Woah, it’s crazy how time flies when you’re living life. I feel like we just turned 24! Anywho, here we are, live and in color.

So, ART at 25, I wish this that your 25th year is one of the best years of your life. This past year has definitely been one for the books. It’s been a fun ride that had its twists and turns. You thought you were done learning about yourself, but every day there seems to be more layers to this work of ART.

As you continue to live life, I hope you continue to learn and love yourself a little more every day. Also, don’t be so hard on me and your past. While we have made mistakes, we’ve always tried to do the best we can. It’s a learning process. You’ll make mistakes this year and possibly let yourself down in a few areas, but the good news is that if you stay true to yourself, you’ll make a way through.

Even better news, I’ve set you up for the ultimate come up! You know what you have to do, you just have to do it. Don’t spend so much time pondering what needs to be done. JUST. DO. IT. Yes, get up and do it and stop talking yourself out of your greatness. I may not have made every layup, but I have the ball in the air; All you have to do is catch it.

Side note: you know that one thing you ridiculously afraid of failing at? Do it anyways.

This year, I hope you surprise yourself. I hope you exceed every expectation you once had of yourself. I hope you get out of that comfort zone and rise to the occasion. You are gathering all the tools you need for your journey, the only thing that is missing is you putting your all into it. I hope you decide that you deserve to give life your full court press.

It’s important to remember that you’re not always going to be at 100%. Sometimes, you’ll be operating at a much lower level. That’s completely okay. It’s okay to do something, instead of nothing at all. Stop holding yourself back. Progression over Perfection.

Let’s not forget: No matter how strong you are, you didn’t get here on your own. You have been blessed with an amazing support group that shows up and shows out for you constantly. Don’t take them for granted. They have helped you grow exponentially. It still takes a team. Nurture those relationships.

Also, don’t forget to make yourself smile. I see some new things entering your life. Remember that the essence of ART is ART. Don’t forget about ART. Love her. Cherish her. Appreciate her and all her forms.

Remember, instant gratification is a sham. Save your coins so you can take even more trips.

Finally, just do the best you can with what you have. Cherish your family. Save your coins. Read more. Please read more. I can feel that this upcoming ART year is going to everything you could ever want in the best possible way. Get ready girl, because your future is BRIGHT and ready to shine.

I love you girl, don’t you ever forget it.

Love,

ART at 24

P.S. This year was LIT! Don’t let anyone tell you different. You lived your best life as ART at 24. Doors have opened that you have never even thought of and more great surprises are on their way!

P.S…. Every day the world is changing more than we ever thought it would. In some ways, it can be very terrifying. Please don’t forget that there are good people out there. Remember that you are one of them. Don’t compromise your truth for temporary gain or satisfaction.