That's a Wrap: A 2017 Reflection
Among all the self-help, self-organization articles which surface as the shade closes on 2017, one struck a strong note with me. 8 Self-Care Resolutions for 2018 from Pittsburgh Experts by Rossilynne Culgan of The Incline dives into a deeper level of self-care. It goes beyond eating well and spa days, though no argument they are crucial. A local yoga teacher, Alyssa Kuzins, provided an eloquent explanation of self-care, one which hit home for me.
“To me, self-care means actively trying to understand what your needs are in any given moment (note: these are not always your “wants”), accepting that those needs are valid and important and real, and doing your best to meet those needs in a way that’s healthy and fair, both you and to the people around you.” [full article here]
Right now, what I need is to reflect and record. With most years, my 2017 was built on trials and challenges. I reread all the year's posts, all 19 of them, and found a feeling of absolute on the other end. From sentence structure to communicating ideas efficiency, I saw growth and maturity in my writing. A second birthday of this space was celebrated. I am reminded I am not concise; the gift of gab follows me onto the screen (I do not see this changing in 2018). I faced an open wound which continues to search for healing and resolution. A post was finally published which was a work-in-progress since the winter of 2014. Let's take a look back.
Infertility continues to be an open wound for us. After this piece posted, Ben and I received such encouragement. People bravely shared their journeys on the often-silenced subject. This support was not the goal of the piece, but was an unforeseen (and grateful) result. I needed to emerge from hiding to bury the sense of failure which was building. It was an act of self-care (see above definition). I needed this piece of writing. We continually receive inquiries and positive words from folks, and please know we thank you. These words coupled by your support helped me, and Ben, accept this challenge as merely a part of our story, and not the whole narrative.
Writing full-time was a goal set in the winter of 2014. On September 15th, 2017, this goal reached its start and continues to be active. Set Free announced my freelance career. It is full of pride and appreciation for the journey it took to get, well, here. From this piece comes a line I read every day: All these entrepreneurs deal with fear. They wrestle with doubts and hesitation. I am discovering those who can coexist with their fear, even listen to it, go on to create great things.
I had the honor of working with brands who allowed me to stretch my creative arms this year. Local brands as well as global ones appeared in my writing. This spectrum came full circle in my latest partnership piece, A New Time is Set: Panthère de Cartier at Orr's Jewelers. This piece is on a pedestal for me. Unlike my typical writing style, it is concise. The brevity makes it powerful. Every word has a purpose. My friend Travis was brought on as an editor. He has the gift of objectivity despite knowing me for ten years. Poking through my story identifying ambiguous sentences and ideas, Travis pushed me find the frankness in my storytelling. The 513 words coupled with the exquisite point of view of fine art photographer, Joey Kennedy, made for a compelling partnership story.
This year brought me a friendship and a partnership I hold dear to my heart. Sarah Collins is the mastermind behind Rose Colored Creative. You have seen her art here. She shoots about 90% of the visual content in this space. Our first shoot occurred in the later part of 2016. The imagery produced far exceeded the words paired with it. I knew immediately Sarah would not only elevate my writing, but we would have a damn good time creating together. She is respectful of my vision while ensuring it reaches its highest potential. I see us as a noncompetitive, supportive, entrepreneurial family of sorts. Her success is my success, even if the success does not involve me. Our collaboration is built on communication, passion, and risk. You may be behind the camera, Sarah, but your contribution to this site is palpable.
Words provide more truthful reflection for me than a mirror ever could. This was on display during my piece celebrating Wavy Alabaster's second anniversary. I purchased a scroll, 4 1/2' wide by 36' long, and wrote various words from you - readers, friends, family. It was therapeutic to re-write them, it allowed me to absorb the support. It proves when you pursue what you want, all the world conspires for you to achieve it [theme from The Alchemist]. Thank you for not only reading, but connecting.
All the love and self-care (whatever form it is) to you as we wrap this year and turn the page for the next.
Cheers (!!), Jessa