After an accidental but oddly refreshing blogging hiatus, I am here just to say hi and chat a little. I am however, not making any claims about blogging regularly, as lately it just feels inauthentic, though as much as I’ve thought about it, I can’t seem to figure out why.
Maybe it’s the state of the world, maybe it’s the pandemic, maybe it’s just me, but I do know that this little break has been refreshing. In that past, when I’ve taken (much smaller) breaks, I felt a ton of guilt surrounding it and the pull to post even when I didn’t feel like it. At the beginning of summer I vowed to just step away for a while without guilt and see where life took me.
Needless to say, I haven’t gone very far, or anywhere really (uh, hello quarantine life is still pretty much the same as it has been since March)… but the idea of shooting outfits and doing DIYs or even just talking about my life at all feels so boring lately and since I don’t really know why I have zero passion for my once-passion, a break was my only option.
I did sit down and open my laptop on more than one occasion to write a post, jotted about two sentences down and then well, wasn’t feeling it. It was the NOPE of all nopes and then I’d just close my computer and walk away. It took a while to rid my anxious mind of the guilt and overthinking, but eventually I felt peace with not being here in this space. Though if I’m being 100, there is still a small little nagging voice in my head telling me to get back to it. I can’t seem to shut her up entirely, so I just avoid listening to her on most days… until today, I suppose.
Owning a small business during a mass pandemic…
This pandemic has been rough on everyone, obviously, and for a variety of reasons, but small business owners are really feeling the heat. While billionaire’s are earning more billions than ever and some people are having record years financially, us little guys are struggling. And as a bar/restaurant, we don’t have very many choices to keep business going other than well selling food and beverages. We had to close in March and open for takeout only until June when we suddenly were all given the okay to open our doors to the public again as long as we were following the Covid rules, which we were. We had a record month, we all felt almost normal again, everyone stayed healthy and social distanced and then BOOM! at the beginning of July we had to close again.
Since they were allowing outdoor dining, we scrambled to build a patio and makeshift outdoor area that would accommodate a small crowd while still adhering to all the rules. The addition of the outdoor seating area is something I’ve wanted to do since opening because it allows kids (or anyone under 21) to join in the fun (outside only), which is a bonus, but we’re still only bringing in about half the revenue of our normal monthly sales. It’s better than takeout only, obviously, but still isn’t business as usual. And just like other small businesses and well, the world at large, since we’re all affected by this pandemic, we’re making it work and chugging along, but it’s a completely different atmosphere than we’re used to.
So much has changed and yet nothing at all…
So much can happen in so little time yet when we’re in the middle of whatever we are in the middle of nothing feels temporary, it feels like forever. I’ve been talking about uncertainty since my divorce in 2016 and yet with all the epic disasters that have made up 2020 so far, we can only be certain that the future will hold even more uncertainty.
It’s overwhelming and feels like one fight or flight moment after another, yet we’re all kind of stuck in the unknown. We don’t know what’s going to happen, when the pandemic will end, who will be our president, what lies we’re being told about all of it, what to believe and what not to believe, and for God’s sake what our future will look like. Our grasp on reality means nothing and the control we thought we had over our own existence is out the door.
I know that I can’t be the only one who has really started questioning everything from how we live our lives (priorities) to what is important (productivity) and by the look of real estate on this mountain in the last few months, it seems like there is a great exodus from big cities to smaller towns. I’m sure being able to work remotely is a big part of this movement and one of the reasons I left LA almost 8 years ago, but I have to also think that people might feel a little safer in smaller, more sheltered areas from things like mass pandemic illness. I do anyway.
I wrote this piece months ago about Dogwood being a screaming baby and yet now, everything is different – while still being the same. The stress is just not there like it was, I have ample free time and the business is running pretty smoothly because it’s at a much smaller scale. So though business and sales are way down, the stress is down as well, which for lack of better word, is pleasant, to say the least. I’m not sure if it’s a catch-22 or silver lining, but it’s a bit of a relief to be honest.
And though I’ve had less stress and more time on my hands to blog and get creative again in this space, my heart isn’t in it. I’ve been struggling with this since my divorce and opening Dogwood and it was easy to blame both of those things, yet here I am, free and available, and though it’s on my mind daily, it’s the last thing I want to do.
Though I have many theories on why this must be, the easiest one to fall back on is the fact that I don’t have a real office or dedicated space to create for the first time in over a decade and this could be a huge part of it but the theory that feels most relevant is that maybe the blog represents my old life and I haven’t found a way to transition my new life into it. And maybe it’s just that I don’t want to create the way I used to. Maybe there’s no room for it in my new life… but also, I’ve done it for over a decade and you know, interests change, life changes, people change. I don’t feel like I’ve changed per se, but my life sure has. And maybe that’s the bottom line, I just feel like this is my past and don’t know how to transition it into something that I feel passionate about anymore. Style posts feel boring and vapid. Maybe it’s my age, maybe it’s the quarantine and pandemic, but maybe I’m just done with it. The thought of getting dressed and shooting photos for an outfit makes me want to run the other way. Even DIYs just feel blah. I don’t know. Maybe it’s just the world we are living in and I’m overthinking it? All things are possible. My hope is that I can think outside of the box a little, outside my own box I’ve created for myself and turn it into something that feels authentic to me now while also giving back to all of you in some way as well.
Since the quarantine back in March, we’ve had the girls every other week for entire weeks instead of shorter, weekend visits. It’s tiring and fun and all the things life is when you have kids. But remote schooling is not high on my list of fun things to do, nor is it on theirs. It’s like pulling teeth, though it seems that schools have it figured out a little better now that school is back in session because home-schooling is not an easy task, especially when you’re thrown into it and are a part-time parent. I know that all parents out there or at least most of them HAVE to be feeling the same on this issue.
Summer has been super fun though with the kids since we have access to our friend’s boat and lake days are a blessing. It really feels like little vacations and allows us all to relax and not think about life as we know it now or work or stress about anything.
Personally, I’ve been reading a LOT and drawing and painting as well. I seem to always go back to art when I’m in a life pickle and looking back, I wonder why I’ve never pursued it fully, since like writing, it’s been a true passion since I was a kid. I remember in my late teens thinking about my future and specifically thinking well, I’ll become a graphic designer so I can still be an artist in some way but also get paid. I was not interested in being a “starving artist” but there is so much opportunity for art now that there wasn’t then. Thinking about how after a few years of freelance graphic and web design I began working full and part time for an art dealer, surrounded by art on a daily basis and even sharing my favorite art and artists here since the beginning of blog-time. Looking back, it just seems so obvious. I mean, if someone else was explaining their life journey to me I’d ask… Why didn’t you ever pursue art? It seems like it’s where your actual passion lies. As Billie would say, DUH.
And I would have to agree. But I tend to pick it up only for short stints until I find something else that pulls my attention entirely and so I never really do it long enough to find my own aesthetic. It’s as if it’s my portal back to myself and then shoots me onto something else entirely. But why? My only thoughts on it are A. that I don’t value it because it doesn’t come with a price tag (sad but true) B. I don’t feel like I’m good enough. And yes, even to me these thoughts are odd considering I created a pretty great career right here, out of thin air practically, by focusing all of my skills and talents and creative passions into one place. So it’s not impossible to do. In fact, I’m a firm believer that nothing is impossible! And as someone whose motto is LIVE WHAT YOU LOVE, it doesn’t make sense why I don’t do it. So there must be some fear hidden deep within my subconscious that holds me back… and I bet it’s the same for writing as well.
So for now, I want to spend more time in this kind of creative arena, painting and drawing and I guess just see where it takes me. If nothing else, it’s the most peaceful space I can be in when I’m in the flow, and that always feels wonderful.
These are a few of the drawings/paintings I’ve done in the last month or so… you can see the real-time progress on my Instagram highlights if you’re interested 🙂 It’s crazy to see where they start and how they finish. Each time I start a new one and get a general shape down I look at it and think how on earth am I going to do this? How am I going to make this blob look like the photo I am looking at and using as a muse? And then 5 hours later I have something that looks much better looking back up at me. It’s kind of crazy really. I am not claiming to be great or even good, but I surprise myself with each new piece I create, and that’s kind of fun. I’m really enjoying watercolors lately and painting these dripping flowers. They look a little more interesting in real life since there’s more texture than in the photos, but you get the picture.
Anyway, enough about me… how have YOU all been holding up during the last few months? How are you mentally during this ridiculous new life we find ourselves in? There are good days and bad. Strong mental days and some major breakdowns. Taking care of our mental health during these times is just as crucial as our physical health. Meditation, walking, stretching, getting out into nature have all been beneficial to keep me balanced lately. I hope you are practicing all the self-care and feeling wonderfully in spite of all this craziness!