Transitions are a normal part of life. Although I am sure we can admit that change isn't easy, it can leave us feeling uncomfortable especially if we are facing the unknown. What has been the most significant transition in your life so far?
Transitions are inevitable. I can think of many that have happened. One that really stands out and seemed really scary at the time was when I initially changed "careers" from teacher to hairstylist. I wasn't married with a second income. Had massive amounts of student loans, and was making a big choice based on a strong intuition. Completely unnerving, and life changing. Thankfully my intuition didn't steer me in the wrong direction. The great thing about getting older is you start to see patterns in the underlying meaning behind choices you make over time. Each choice I've made was a choice that would bring me closer to being able to live an artist life. So each transition has been somewhat significant to me, because it keeps bringing me closer to what I am here to discover for this life of mine.
On the flip side I feel like some transition tend to happen organically and naturally as well. Have there been times that you have found yourself at point B wondering how you got there?
Oh my goodness yes. I would have to say the transition from the timid tiny little part of me that started to listen to my intuition of making painting a full time priority and being terrified to put myself out there, to actually doing both of those things. There were a few years of major discomfort since both transitions (changing careers, and taking charge of what I feel called to do) happened back to back. But I think each step prepares you for the next. And the second transition of putting my art into the world, happened over two years, so organically, that when I look back, I'm proud, and totally surprised it happened and that people have responded to it at all!
A fun fact that we both share is our career as hair stylist juxtaposed with our artistic practice. I came to my career as a stylist in a-round-about way. What lead you on that path? How did that transition effect your art?
This is kind of a long answer. I came to be a hairstylist because I was at a crossroads in my previous career. I studied Elementary education and fine art in college. After I graduated I ended up getting a job as a preschool director for the same university I went to school at. I loved the creativity of designing curriculum and taught mostly Montessori to about 30, 3-5 year olds. There were so many things I loved about what I was doing, but three things happened. One thing was that, for some reason, I couldn't shake the feeling that I was supposed to move towards something else. Secondly, 2008 and the bad economy. I wasn't able to survive on the smaller income that I was given, and the school couldn't afford to pay me a standard teacher salary. Thirdly, I would have to go back to school to get my Masters in Education if I wanted to keep my teachers license in WA. So I started searching. Looking for doors to open. Pursuing my art career seemed way to muddy to navigate at the time, so I kept painting on the side, but ignored that voice of putting my work out. One thing I always put money away for was, getting my hair done. Even if I had to eat Ramen for the month, hair was "important"! (Maybe a tad vain and irresponsible, but led me where I am now). Whenever I got my hair done at the salon I went to, I always noticed how happy all he stylists were. I was also drawn to its creativity and design element. I started asking my hairstylist questions about the career as a whole. Not only was she one of the owners of the salon but a good friend of mine. As soon as I started asking questions about being a hairstylist, she immediately kept saying, "Do it! Do it!" So... I went back to school and, did it. Now I work at that same salon!
You are currently going through a big transition, building a house, working in a studio space outside your home. Do you feel a bit in limbo at the moment?
I absolutely feel in limbo at the moment! It seems like I'm just at the beginning of finding some sort of momentum in my heart's desire, and I can't fully lean into it. Juggling many important aspects of life all at once. Even though It's mostly all good things, doesn't mean it's easy. But the definition of limbo (for me) implies, that it's temporary. And in the grand scheme of life, this limbo is a gift. There's too much pain in most of the world, that the discomfort of limbo is nothing in comparison.
Do you have any advice on navigating your way through life's transitions? Is there a trick that you have found to make that in between time more manageable and less scary?
Keeping a bigger perspective is the only way to get through. I am extremely stubborn about finding silver linings. Going down the rabbit hole of feeling bad for myself or negative for too long is not an option. Don't get me wrong... I don't ignore the bad thoughts. I just don't let them take up room in my mind for too long. Guided meditation, prayer, painting and spending time with loved ones that listen, make a big difference also. I am 100% aware that having the opportunity to pursue my passion is not something to take for granted either, and I am extremely thankful that I can. As Elizabeth Gilbert coins in her book "Big Magic", I am willing to eat the "Shit Sandwich" in order to do what I've committed and vowed to do. And that attitude can get you a long way when road blocks arise in your artist journey.