Self-Care For Creatives in the Month of Love

Hey all! It is February and I’m back!

I realize it’s been a couple weeks since my last blog, and I do apologize for that. I was on a business trip and it’s taken me longer to bounce back from the jet lag and altitude sickness than I expected…So, apologies. But honestly, it was worth it – check out where I went….

That’s right, Park City, Utah – for Sundance Film Festival, through work. It was an incredible experience and I am SO grateful. However, it was exhausting. I am anything but fit, and actually rather overweight and out of shape, so combine jet lag with that and being at 7,000 feet, and you get one very exhausted Taylor.

But I’m back now and settled and ready to get back to the blogging. I actually do have a specific topic today – I’m talking about self-care and self-love in the “month of love.” In the Western world especially, we celebrate love and Valentine’s Day in February, and it’s generally focused on romantic love, partner-love, soulmate love, things like that. I feel, however, that it can be a great opportunity to celebrate and invest in the most important relationship any of us will ever have in this life: our relationship with our own self.

It’s difficult, in our world today, to feel love for ourselves. Even when we focus in on it, it’s a challenge to love our whole self, or even any part of it. We are constantly told that we’re not good enough. And I don’t just mean the billboards telling us that we are too short, too fat, too dark, too whatever – I mean the pressure on us to “live up to the standards” for financial wellbeing, career path, academic achievement, possessions, and so on.

  • Massive student debt? We’re told we should have worked our way through college (despite the fact that no college kid can get a job that will fully pay tuition semester by semester).
  • Not in our dream career? We’re told that we shouldn’t be settling for a retail job. (The phrase “didn’t you get a degree in _____, though?” comes to mind.)
  • Didn’t make it through college? We are immediately questioned about our academic performance. (Never mind that some of us couldn’t afford it or don’t have the stability, health, or temperament for college. It’s truly not for everyone.)
  • Don’t have a car? People just stare and laugh. (I’ve taken the bus for the past seven years and it works fine for me for now, thanks.)

It’s sad, really, that we are, all of us, all ages and generations, so insecure that we have to trash people for the paths their lives have taken. But what can we do it?

Know thyself. And then love thyself anyway.

It’s not easy. It’s a big task. But it can start small: Spend a dollar more to get the body wash you actually like. Pull that one really comfy, soft T-shirt out of the closet, and wear it when you’re at home (or, hell, out and about). Replace some of your super-processed candy bar snacks with fruit. (I’m not being judgemental – this is just one thing that really helps me feel like I’m properly caring for myself.)

Then try bigger things. Treat yo self. Take yourself on a micro-vacation to a local park or lake. Sit with your favorite book, even if you’ve read it a hundred times, and read. Spend a little time every day journaling. Be gentle with yourself when you screw up at work. Clean up your act when appropriate, but don’t join the crowd of people who will beat you up about it. “The world is going to be hard enough on you; they don’t need you to volunteer to help with the task.”

In the past years, I’ve worked my way up to daring to do really big things for myself – daring to have a long-term relationship, learning to travel on my own, getting my dental repairs done, and, perhaps most dramatically, shifting into a more risky but incredibly more rewarding career as an artist.

But honestly, it started small. It started with body wash. It started with soft T-shirts. And before that, it started with deciding maybe I was worth good things. Maybe I deserved body wash and T-shirts and vacations and love. It wasn’t certain; I was not sure at all that i deserved anything good. I just was willing to consider that maybe, maybe I deserved better.

I started low. When I started my self-care journey, people had to teach me that you ought to shower every day (my parents had taught me, of course, but I had forgotten). I was lucky to have people around me to teach me. Since I know many of you don’t, here are 12 small ways to take care of yourself, that are actually good ideas:

  1. Drink 3 bottles of water a day.
  2. Brush your teeth regularly.
  3. Take a shower every day.
  4. Journal often. Yes, it’s worth your time, even if you’re not a writer, even if you never read them again.
  5. Wear what you like. I mean it. Screw the haters.
  6. Listen to music that makes you feel like you can rule the world. A few of my songs are “Jump” by Van Halen, “Shooting Star” by Owl City, “Fight Song” by Rachel Platten, “I Love It” by Icona Pop, and “Fighter” by Christina Aguilera
  7. Read a few good books on the creative life. I’m personally a big fan of “The Right to Write” by Julia Cameron.
  8. Take selfies. You don’t have to post them. They’re for your, not the public.
  9. Do your creative work. Are you secretly a writer? Write. Are you secretly an artist? Make art. Again, you don’t have to share it with the world. It’s for you.
  10. Celebrate your birthday, or some other day that is special to you and which allows you and those close to you to celebrate the fact that you’re here in this world. It is definitely worth celebrating.
  11. Be gentle with yourself when you’re sick. Pushing yourself past the edge doesn’t help anyone. I know it’s not always possible to get out of work and such, especially when you have low income, but at least minimize the other extra stuff while you’re ill.
  12. A final note about more serious and/or specific health stuff: Make whatever health adjustments are appropriate for you (and okay with your doctors). For some of us, that means diet and exercise. For others, it means definitely NOT diet and exercise. And for some, it’s more about reconstructive work, or gender transition, or mental health management, or even reconciliation with parts of our bodies with which we have complicated relationships (hello to my fellow assault survivors – Me Too). Heck, for some of us, it’s just getting back to yoga, therapy, or support groups. Or going for the first time.

Sometimes self-care is difficult. I know for sure that I fight some days just to treat my body and myself with the very base level of respect that I deserve. The important thing is not whether I manage that every day. The important thing is that I try, and I believe I do deserve it.

Like anything worthwhile, self-care takes work. It is difficult but not complicated.

I love the old movie, Field of Dreams, that coined the phrase “If you build it, they will come.” The protagonist in that movie was given a task that seemed absurd, seemed illogical, seemed like a waste of energy. Who was going to use that baseball field? What magic was going to happen?

Well, go see the movie. And then remember that if you build the framework for self-respect and self-care, the self-love will follow.

It all starts with a belief that maybe the magic can happen.

Okay, that’s all I’ve got for today. Thank you for reading this (very long) blog post, and thank you for being part of my little world here.

Go forth and love yourself.

-Taylor

Life Hits The Fan | Finances, Insurance, Day Jobs, and The Future Of My Art :(

Hey guys. It’s Julian.

Things ain’t good.

flatwash_cube_paint
“Cube.” 9×12″, ink and watercolor.

I’m likely losing my insurance and most of my income in September, and now it’s looking like my day job is in danger, too. My disability kept me out of work for 5 years; I’ve only been working again for 5 months.

I’m frustrated, but I’m beginning to realize that I may not be able to keep up this “conventional work” thing. It’s terrifying, though, because my disability benefits are disappearing in two months, and without them, I’d have NO income – which is not a good situation, for a single young person who can barely afford rent and bills as it is.

The answer that seems obvious is for me to go full time with my art – the one thing that’s really working in my life, the one thing I’m good at – but I just don’t have that kind of popularity/platform yet. I would LOVE to live off of commissions and Patreon, but it’s actually REALLY difficult to get that kind of thing started. I’m not well-known enough to be able to sell my art for what it’s actually worth. And I can barely afford my supplies as it is.

flatwash_flower_paint
“Chicory.” 9×12″, ink and watercolor.

But for right now, at least, I do have a pretty good supplementary income from my Etsy shop – mostly from my traveler’s notebooks – and that provides about $50-$100 a month to fund my art habit. It doesn’t sound like much, but I go through a sketchbook every couple of months, notebooks require supplies, and I use at least a pad of watercolor paper every month…that adds up.

So I really, really appreciate everyone who has been supporting me. If you want to support me further, please remember, you DON’T have to spend money – just favoriting items from my shop, subscribing to my social media accounts, or just reading this blog, pushes me higher in search results, and that in turn results in more hits and sales on my shop.

flatwash_crystals_paint
“Crystals.” 9×12″, ink and watercolor.

But if you do have a few bucks, there’s a lot of fun stuff on my Etsy shop – including my comic My Life On The Sidelines, notebooks and notebook supplies, and even some prints. Items range from $2 to $60-ish and there’s usually a sale going on.

Again, thank you so much to everyone who has been supporting me through this time. I have noticed a spike in Etsy orders, which is wonderful, and I hope this will continue. I’m just dreaming of the day that I won’t need a day job and can just draw and paint and make things for you guys all day. 🙂

I hope this wasn’t too much of a bummer. I just wanted to keep y’all updated. The reality is hitting me – that this is a Tower card moment, this is one of those moments of massive upheaval that throws everything off course. This, my friends, is a Saturn Return. (I turned 29 in June; this is normal, astrologically.)

I’m uploading more and more on my YouTube channel, so check it out if you’d like to hear me ramble about art, Tarot, and more. 🙂

All the best,

~Julian

Crisis Averted: I’m Back!

Hey y’all! I do apologize for the radio silence; I had a bit of a medical crisis and had to take a little time off to work on things. However, I am quite well and on my way back to normal Julian Jaymes life!

The Etsy shop has been put in vacation mode for now, just because I’m still getting settled back into “normal life” and am really in no position to ship or print or make things. I plan to return to Etsy selling in September.

My Facebook is being revived, gradually, and this website will soon be active once more.

I so, so appreciate your patience. I’m glad I’ve been able to take this time to reorganize, re-prioritize, and refresh my soul. Much has changed, but I remain Julian, and I will go on fighting the good fight.

Abundant Blessings,

Julian