One. Halloween happened. I went to a party in a big, beautiful old house. Pumpkin carving, Harry Potter themed cocktails, a portrait drawing studio, dance floor, and lots of good food shared by friends in killer costumes. The entire cast of the game Clue was present. I literally found Mrs. Peacock in the dining room with the candle stick. Walter White left tiny packets of Blue Magic in some of the food bowls (I think it was rock candy, based on my lack of post-consumption high). I got to quote one of my favorite movies of all time with Hot Rod himself. And I managed to spend $0 on my strawberry costume. I love Halloween.
Two. This work week was CRAZY. In the best way.
- Jane Chu, Chairwoman for the National Endowment for the Arts came to visit ArtForce. She spoke to the participants in Lift Off (a workforce/design program in partnership with Children & Families of Iowa), asking them what they enjoyed the most about being there and YOU GUYS!! Their replies were so perfect and heart warming, you would have thought we scripted them.But they were just simple, honest, on the spot answers. “I enjoy growing with this community,” “I love getting to work with these other artists and hear feedback about my work so my designs get better,” etc. Then Jane and crew were instructed by the youth in screen printing their own tees. Jane is an awesome lady full of positivity and a seriously great southern accent. When she was describing the challenges and benefits of her life as a first generation Chinese American living with immigrant parents, she said that she lived a, “Bok Choy/Corn Dog life”. Lol.
- We received grants from four different organizations/companies in one week.
- We had a poetry night for Creative Pathways on Wednesday and the kids had the option of reading a poem out loud or writing their own and surprisingly, the majority of them wrote their own. And they were amazing!
- We received a mini-van from DART, which will help sooooo much with transporting to and from programs.
- There was a beautiful article by Micheal Morain in The Des Moines Register.
- There was a news spotlight on WHOTV.
- There was radio coverage from Chairman Chu on Iowa Public Radio.
- We did a sub finalist pitch for a grant on Friday and found out that we moved on to the final round! Some Lift Off youth screen printed statistics that were included in John Mark’s speech. They were rockstars. We celebrated with a good ol’ greasy spoon brunch at Waveland Cafe aaaaand the day ended with a staff meeting that included celebratory champagne in plastic cups.
I felt like a proud mama bear all week. And I am really, really thankful for everyone who believes in what ArtForce is doing- whether you previously or currently teach and mentor, serve on the board, sponsor, or participate in the programs. It’s growing because of all of you! Yaaaaaaaay.
Three. A few different people had mentioned this Headspace app to me and I finally downloaded it this week. It has 10 minute guided meditation sessions that you can use on-the-go or lounging at home. I fell asleep the first two times I used it…it’s that relaxing. I blame the use of a British guy for narrating. But the whole idea is that it helps you apply mindfulness to your daily activities, which is supposed to be effective in treating pesky things such as worry, stress, addiction, lack of focus, relationship problems, etc. I’d highly recommend it, especially if you’re an insanely busy person or you work in an environment that can be pretty draining on your headspace.
Four. At the moment, I am all about knitting, Gong Fu’s Scarlett Ginger tea, and reading from a real book (no more of this e-reader screen business).
Five. From the aforementioned book…
“The irony is that we attempt to disown our difficult stories to appear more whole or more acceptable, but our wholeness– even our wholeheartedness– actually depends on the integration of all of our experiences, including the falls.” – Brene Brown
Seven. I have a roof over my head. My grandparents are lending me their car to drive. I have a part time job that I genuinely like and it keeps me from going completely broke. I have the best friends and family I could ever ask for. I just spent the past year getting a Masters degree in one of the most beautiful cities in the world. I have had a full life for only being 25. I have a great life. I know this. But I feel down and out. And when everything…all the changes, unsettledness, transition, heartache, anxiety…when it all catches up to me and I start bawling out of nowhere as I drive down 163… there’s this voice in my head that says,
You have no right or reason to feel this way. You know a lot of people who do have reasons to and you are NOT one of them. This is stupid. You’re being ridiculous. Stop it.
So, I start judging myself for seeming so ungrateful.
Then I feel guilty for judging myself aaaaand feeling depressed in the first place.
All of which is super effective.
I am a huge advocate for writing down or telling yourself truths on a regular basis. Normally, I find this to be a really helpful way to not let thoughts and feelings derail you. But thoughts and feelings don’t always match circumstances. That is a thing that happens sometimes. It doesn’t mean that you are oblivious to the good that is happening in you and around you. It doesn’t mean you should use your energy to list all the reasons this is the wrong thing to feel. Being depressed or anxious is exhausting enough without having to work through a layer of judgement or guilt first. If you’re falling off the ledge, be kind to yourself. And patient. And supportive.