I am, occasionally, accused of working too much (usually by well-meaning friends).
It’s probably true. I work a lot. Longer than 8 hour days, by far. Probably closer to 10-12.
But it doesn’t usually feel like work to me. This is what I’d be doing for fun if I had a cubicle job. This is what I would choose to do over almost every other activity. I get really excited about art and business. I always have, ever since I realized that it was totally possible for me to do both those things.
But it goes deeper than that. It’s not just “this thing I do for fun.”
It is my passion, and my life line. More importantly, it’s how I remember who I am.
Most importantly – it’s mine.
Mine and y’all can’t have it.
I started my business because I felt like nothing belonged to me anymore. My body hardly did – it belonged to the doctors who poked and prodded at it. I was completely dependent on my parents for everything. I had no form of independence. My life wasn’t my life anymore. My life belonged to medication, naps, doctors’ offices and attempts to finish school.
But when I started my business, it had nothing to do with those things. My parents tried to give well meaning advice and wanted to help me run it. I think they were baffled by how protective I was of it. I didn’t want their help. I didn’t want anyone’s help. I wanted to make these decisions on my own. I wanted to do things by myself.
My business was my first taste of independence. As I breathed life into it, it breathed life back into me. It gave me something to think about, even if I was too sick to leave my bed for a month. It gave my life purpose, meaning.
It gave me hope.
Now it’s my safe place.
When life gets scary, or hard, or it hurts, I usually retreat to my business. I work harder, longer hours. Partially I do it to forget, but partially I do it to heal. My business reminds me that I have something bigger to work on than the day to day pettiness of life. It gives me perspective, helps me to step back by giving my mind something else to chew on apart from my own fears.
Sometimes I’m writing here, sometimes I’m planning new marketing tactics, sometimes I’m just painting, or photographing my work. Doesn’t matter. There is a calmness in working on my business that I don’t get from a lot of other things. It helps me to center, to remember myself amongst the chaos.
My business is my baby, as much my own creation as any of my paintings. Not everyone understands, but it’s mine.