Sunday, May 4, 2014

The Monster-Fixer, or, Everything is Unfolding as it Should

My best friend and I were talking about not wanting to rush so much in art and life. We figured out that some of our reasons for rushing and keeping busy were to feel that we were involved in important endeavors, as well as a way to allay anxiety by always being occupied.

Recently on a walk around the neighborhood with my boyfriend, I started yelling and arguing with him. He threatened to walk away and said how much he disliked the way I got like that on walks. I asked him why he thought that was, and he replied something to the effect of "You're out of your element and your brain needs to be constantly occupied about something. You need to be fired up at all times."

I thought that was pretty accurate.

I've been slowly evolving the way I do and think about things. One value that I want to hold to myself these days is taking things at my own pace. With my art, I like to work slowly sometimes because I like to spend time and respond totally to it, and I think that also extends to the way I experience life. I don't enjoy rushing around and feeling like I have to do everything at once. When I think back to important moments in my life, there were times when I had to act quickly and intensely, for example when my apartment caught fire and I had to move out and prepare for a conference that was coming up soon. In some ways I felt rushed, but more so I felt it was necessary action.

There's a difference between seizing the moment and rushing. There was a freedom in making a decision quickly that I felt right about, and it released the energy I needed to get things done.

When it comes to long-term goals, I've decided to pace myself. I am much more trusting of life and its timing. If something doesn't work out, I trust that it wasn't necessary. And things that I really want to work out, like creating and earning a living income from my art, I know (not hope or wish) will happen one day. Whatever is right and true will happen because I am seeking/gravitating toward it and incorporating it into how I think and do.

These days I find ways to to do the best I can with what I have... to not always seek the most rushed or difficult way to do things... and to just have some faith that everything is going well.

I've always had a very active mind and imagination. As a child, I worried about EVERYTHING. My fearful anticipations felt like realities. I believed that the worst would happen, and felt so relieved when it didn't. I'm still like that. My dad would always tell me "Your fear isn't real" but it didn't help me. It was like telling a child that the monsters under her bed that she was terrified of weren't real.

Here is a drawing I made in college called "The Specialist." For me, it's about a person with a very specialized job who goes into monsters to fix them. There's a door on the monster for him/her to get out, so there's no need to worry about being trapped. At the time, I was going through a lot of emotional trauma. Creating this piece was a way for me to make my monsters more objective, less scary.

These days I'm facing some monsters. They come in the forms of the anxieties of running my art businesses in a very active active and directed way. I am afraid of making mistakes, of angering people, of not living up to what I promise, of being unsuccessful. I'm reading a lot of books/articles/blogs about how to organize myself and about the different art industries I'm interested in. Learning about these realities, as well as realizing that I don't have to do things perfectly or even well at first, has helped me feel more at ease and happy in my life.

It's an amazing confidence booster to try to get better at something that I was afraid of or thought I could never be good at. It makes me feel more whole, if that makes sense. And it reminds me that life is a constantly unfolding process, not some race from start to finish.

I'll leave you with some inspiring words by Max Erhmann. I used to have a mug with the second part of this quote written on it:
"You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should."


  1. Aijung, I am so happy to have found your shop on Etsy! I am in love with your print "Ecdysis III", and find your zines to be little packages of delight. I am moving my studio soon into an old house, and will find a place for your work to inspire me there, if I ever get the very necessary remodeling done! I take solace, too, that the universe is unfolding exactly as it should, because I feel as if I haven't made art in forever, and I am spending days and days scraping paint off plaster walls. But eventually the walls will be painted, and my easel set up, and so on and so forth. Until then, the necessary action is paint scraping. Ah... Anyway, you have a new follower! Your work is so so lovely and fresh!

    1. Hi Stephanie, thank you so much! your work is super-beautiful, and i can understand your anxiousness at not being able to work. i also don't envy your paint-scraping, but i'm sure everything will look amazing when it's done! good luck with finishing it. once you do, you will feel that it was all worth it.