Walk in the Woods
It was cold. I could see my breath escape into the air from my lungs as I nervously waited for his figure to appear from the darkness that was the treeline. He lived in the woods; hidden away from all the worldy troubles that faced me daily. My luck with love had been all but successful. Was this time going to be different? Probably not. I've always been a hopeless romantic. Heartbreak and hope teased my anxiety as I thought of all possible outcomes with this guy I was about to finally meet in person.
There he was. He walked with a confident stride out of the woods that immediately let my guard down the slightest bit. He wasn't scary, but I was nervous. How could I not be when I had only seen him in pictures. Pictures that did no justice for the masterpiece he was. As he came to meet me at the car door, I could smell his cologne. Hints of bourbon and mahogany tickled my nostrils as he beckoned me out of my car and toward the trail. I felt like the thirteen year-old girl curshing over her prepubescent Tumblr crush. He led me further from my car and beyond the treeline. Immediately, I felt safe with him. His voice was calm and confident. When we spoke, it felt as though our souls weren't meeting, but reuniting. Everything was natural. His fingertips on my skin sent chills down my spine.
He guided me through the woods; catching me any time I stumbled on the unfamiliar ground until we reached his place. When we finally finished the walk up to the door, he opened it and let me in. My heart was beating out of my chest as I sat down on the couch next to Jesabel, his rescue pitbull; now our dog. If he was nervous, he surely didn't come across as such. The night started with talking and laughing. I couldn't take my gaze off of him. His smile was contagious and his laugh melted the most frozen parts of my heart. I had never been so entranced by one person. The conversation was endless and I didn't want the night to end. The hours flew by and one day turned into five in the blink of an eye.
A whirlwind. A fast-flowing rush of unconditional, overwhelming love came into my life. My worries and my anxiety began discintegrating before me. This is what love is supposed to be. Our love grew intense, strong, and so naturally in no time. In a moment, my life was changed forever.
I am Starving.
As a child, I always thought artistic jobs were just dreams for rich people or those living with other financial support. I never thought creative hobbies could be jobs, but today, they are. I have been freelancing for about two to three years thus far. I started my journey with just general art, and now I am also a tattoo artist. I would sell paintings, make custom pieces for people, commission unique crafts, and more. I love creating new things for people, but it is very difficult to make a livable income off of it. Not only do consumers not always see the value of handmade work, but the cost of being a business owner or freelancer is much higher than that of someone working under someone else.
Why do I do it? Why is the hard work so worth it? As your own boss, you have more flexibility. I may be starving for money at times, but at least I'm happy. I get to live my life on my own schedule. I have the privilege of creating one of a kind works on and for people. Being an artist has led me to so many amazing people, experiences, and places. I can't imagine getting the opportunities I do now, sitting at a 9-5 job. Experiences in life are worth so much more than your net worth at the end of the day. I care more about how I can impact and better people's lives through my passions rather than giving a company my time and effort to be underappreciated.
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Be a Good Girl
I didn't grow up praying at the foot of my bed. I didn't have daily devotionals waiting for me at the table with breakfast. I did grow up Christian, though. I grew up being told that my duties were to please the men above me. I grew up being told that I had to give every part of me to others in order to be happy with myself. Give, give, give.
"You don't need to pay your bills, God will do it for you."
I was told I could pray all of my troubles away. I was told that if my prayers weren't answered, it's because I wasn't praying hard enough or doing enough for this invisible man to be my hero.
Throughout my adolescence, I went to countless youth groups, missions trips, and outings for the church. Growing up, I endured the most judgement, bullying, and hate from people I met "through God" than people I had met on the "outside world". As I grew and became more exposed to others, I began to form my own beliefs. I saw that good people aren't just Christians. In fact, there are bad people in all walks of life, no matter what goodness claims to be there. I felt betrayed, hurt, and lied to by the people that had told me the only "truths" I had known.
My truth now is not Christianity. Now I know that acceptance comes from all kinds of people. Peace is being able to have differing opinions and beliefs without persecution. I didn't learn to love others and myself through bible classes and tithing. I learned supporting others, being encouraging, understanding, and helpful is love. When I was being raised, everything was based off of judgement and doing your duties. Now, my life is full of love. My relationships and decisions are made out of thoughtfulness. I can love my neighbor, no matter their gender, race, preferences, and opinions. Because true love doesn't come with judgement.