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Friday, January 1, 2016

Re-New Years Resolution

Today is the start of the New Year for 2016. Many will make "New Years Resolutions", myself included.  However, nothing "new" will be on my list. It will be more like "renew".  I plan to reclaim all the things that excite me and put them back into my foreground instead of the background. 

In addition to reclaiming things that excite me, I'm also ridding things that don't give enough return on my self-investment that produce too much aggravation that outweigh benefit of it of keeping it. One of those things is my "Corporate America" job with a "steady paycheck".  After living with "feast or famine" finances as a self-employed person, it was nice to have a steady cash flow for awhile so I didn't have to live on a "money roller coaster" every month. 

But the world has changed so much in the last few years, I don't even recognize it anymore. There's such pressure to be "homogenized" with no regards or respect for being authentic and unique.  Opinions and people's perspectives are the "new norms" regardless if they are fact or truth based, without checking what the motives might be for expressing them or bashing someone, unjustly. Corporate America is one of the major places that forces you into an "unnatural conformity" that goes against anything individual. 

I feel like I need to "hold the line" as there are so few who can sustain from being crushed by a culture that says they want "heros", and cheer for them in the movies, but really don't. Because with real life heros, they force people to evaluate themselves to change to help support the "hero's cause". But when they realize it's a lot of work, they'll try to force the hero into "conformity" since it's easier to convince someone else to a status quo, then change themselves. As one person quoted, "I'm fat, happy, and content".  That clearly is the "mantra of the masses" these days.

This year, I'm reclaiming all that I had to sacrifice for steady money: individualism, creative thinking, doing things on my own timeline, self-respect, unrelenting boldness to speak without fear. Whether people realize it or not- we now live in a society of fear and it has nothing to do with terrorism.  That fear is "other people's opinion". 

My mother had always stressed to take "people's opinions with a grain of salt". In the sea of vast wastelands of feedback, they still hold true for me forty years later.

As a beginning artist in college, there was always a level of insecurity around those where more experienced in the medium. But thankfully, my mother's words were echoing as I got a taste of my first experience that made them ring "loud and clear".  During one winter break, I was experimenting with free-form shapes and glazing in a ceramics class through the Student Union. I called these free-form candlesticks, "Clogs". I was thrilled with my results and couldn't wait to do another batch when normal classes resumed through the university again. I made them at home and when they were dried I brought them into to be fired. My enthusiasm was met with resistance from the lab assistant, who was also a student that taught for her master's degree and ran the lab. According to her, "they're not even worthy of wasting gas."  Needless to say, she wouldn't fire them. So I brought them back to the Student Union that fired the original ones with no problem. 

Her opinion was considered "gospel" to most in the ceramics class. But not me. Her nasty comments  hinted an "undercurrent" that I couldn't prove. Had I listened to her and BELIEVED her feedback which everyone else did- I would have missed the opportunity to make lots of money. These "Clogs" were a hot seller not only at the university sales at the Student Union, home sales, but also in upscale retail boutiques that had my work on consignment.

One day in the ceramics class, one of the other students approached me to inquire about my Clogs she saw drying on a rack in one of the interior rooms. It was a surprise to me since I hadn't been allowed to fire them in the class kilns. Even though I told her my story and why they couldn't be mine,  she insisted on showing them to me. When I pulled back the drying plastic to look at them, it revealed the name of the maker of my "imitation clogs".  It was the lab assistant's! She had produced similar ones even though she bashed mine. 

My "Clog Candlestick Holders" are a great reminder to have faith in yourself, even though the world tells you something different.

I hope my story has inspired you to take more risks in your creative journey...and listen to people less. 

You can purchase these Clogs at my Etsy Store:   vyktoryas - Etsy

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