When irony strikes. My last post was quite some time ago about “How to overcome procrastination” then I suddenly disappeared for a very long time. For those of you who only follow my blog but no other social media channels, you would probably think that I was doing the opposite of what I had just talked about. The truth of the matter is that I was doing exactly that, overcoming procrastination. The problem was, it wasn’t procrastination in art, it was just life in general.
A simple drop of water can cause a ripple that extends beyond the drop that created it.
I recognized that I had been gaining a decent following on social media, I was getting likes on my artwork, I was getting people asking me questions, and from the outside looking in, everything was going great. However, from the inside, life was hardly that. Relationships were stretching thin, I was depressed, unhappy and recognized that I needed a change.
Often, I’ll type as a way to distract myself, help me focus my thoughts and clarify something to myself. It just happens to help others in the process which is totally awesome.
When Depression Strikes
I keep to myself. Like they say, depression is the silent killer. Though I’ve never been one that would end my own life, there where way to many thoughts along the lines of, “If a car drove into me on the freeway and killed me, I’d be okay with that.” Now, we know those are far from healthy thoughts to be dealing with. I recognized that and I just didn’t care. Nobody knew I was depressed and that’s how I wanted to keep it.
As I kept going down this spiral of self-loathing, more and more negative things started to happen to me which made things even worse and more and more thoughts kept on creeping in.
Then something happened. A simple blog post that changed everything. Almost a year ago now, I wrote a blog called “Overcoming Procrastination.” It was a simple post, one of those posts to help me get my mind right and it made a huge impact. It simply got me thinking differently about things. I mean, it’s not one of those “aha moments” where your life goes from shambles to perfect. Instead, it got me thinking that where I was in life was because of a series of choices I HAD MADE. That’s right, my life was exactly what I had made and if I wasn’t happy, I needed to change it.
Overcoming Money Issues
Many people have money issues. I had money issues, still have some in all honesty, but this was one aspect I couldn’t neglect any longer. We live under the illusion of social media. People look at followers and comments as success, I can tell you that followers and comments don’t necessarily translate into success. Instead, I had to look at where my money was already coming from and enhance that, then move on to the next thing, and the next thing.
The real place my money was coming from was marketing and design. Not art, I mean, everyone has heard the term “starving artist.” Anyway, I put my focus onto marketing and my freelance started to pick up. I then had to change it to a full-fledged company that I named Rebel Ape Marketing. I noticed that the harder I worked the money naturally followed, as did my happiness.
I mean, I wasn’t a total workaholic that neglected everything and everyone but I will say, I’ve worked harder for my clients and their success than I ever have. 1:00 am work nights are a common theme for me, but I found that since I liked my clients, I liked watching their companies grow in part by my work, my happiness increased even more.
Friends and family were letting me know that I had become distant and unresponsive. Sometimes you hear this stuff and you just don’t care, well, you don’t when you are depressed. I realized that it was time to refocus to what brought these relationships to life in the first place. I started focusing on them and energy started to infuse the relationships. The started to show signs of movement so I put even more into them.
As the life came back to these relationships, as did some life come back to me. Colors seemed more colorful, everything that would irritate me became less irritating. I stopped yelling and started giving out more hugs, more compliments, and that brought more happiness. Now, relationships are better than every, some very negative people have been cut from my life, some great people went their own way, but now I’m surrounded by a few that I can give more attention to and it has helped.
Where do we go now? For one, it’s time to focus on what really makes me happy, what are hobbies, and where I want to take things. There is more work ahead of me that I have ever had but with a new life, a new view, and new happiness, everything I’m doing is taking me down the road I want to go down. As long as I continue to set obtainable goals, strive for the unobtainable, but keep focus, life will continue as it has been this last year, depression free.
I’ve been finding that as I keep focusing on me, good things follow. If I’m happy, relationships do better. If I’m happy, money follows. And so on. My wife has started school, I’m pursuing my passion of Rebel Ape full time. I need to get the art back up and going, but it’s like a caterpillar who has become a butterfly. I need to fly to the unknown, explore new things, meet new people, and with that, comes some uneasiness of what is going to happen next.
Instead of being fearful, which is easy to do, I need to focus on the positive and strive for it. Nobody knows what is going to happen in the future, nobody knows how long you have left to live. We need to work on our happiness, continue to strive for more experiences and live like today is the last day we have.
I’m going to continue working on Rebel Ape and as I structure it more, I’m hoping to bring more tutorials for art as I’ve found I really enjoy teaching art more than just making tons of paintings. Though paintings are fun, this is part of being honest with myself and teaching is the big part of it.
Rebel is going to continue to grow. It’s been a wonderful addition to my life and has now become my full time gig after putting everything I have into it for a year straight now. It’s been quite incredible, really. This blog will probably become a mix of art I’m working on and just some life thoughts I have in general as that too makes me happy.
You Are The Engine
You are the engine of your own life. If you don’t give an engine oil, change the spark plugs, and keep the wires right, it’s going to eventually stale out on you. The same thing is true in life. You are the engine of your own life and if the engine isn’t running right, nothing in the car can run either. That’s your relationship, your job, your view on life, everything related.
Take care of yourself first. After all, if you can’t take care of yourself, how are you going to take care of anyone else? Take a step back, evaluate, and start to make the small changes now that need to be made so when you look back, you can see that all these small changes have made a huge combined impact.
You are great, you are important, and you can make changes too if you need to. If you are already happy, don’t forget to keep focus on what makes you happy and hold on to that.