Passion takes Practice

When I was young, my ideas of love were so fanatical that I look back now and laugh. It was such a perfectionist view of an extreme emotion that I viewed it as purely magic and fantasy. If two people were meant to be together, it would happen no matter the circumstances – place, time, situation. The way I saw it, God predetermined who would match up together and that was final. While there is an element to love that still fascinates me, it’s not as glorified and incredulous like I used to think it was. It’s beautiful, but now I realize it’s a work in progress that develops from people willing to make the parts work. It’s a little like working with what you’ve got. And while that sounds sad, it’s really not. Love takes work and smoothing out the kinks and grooves in the time and place particular to your situation. Love does not appear out of thin air.

Similarly, there’s this idea of passion. Find your passion, people say. When I graduated from college, I was lucky enough to have “found my passion.” I wanted to be a nurse and I knew I would like it.

But what about the people that didn’t?

The more I reflect on the different parts of my life that I am “passionate” about, the more I realize that, like love, passion didn’t appear out of thin air. Passion was cultivated into existence and up until that point, there were only clues that pointed me in the direction of how. I realized I liked one thing, which led to another, which led to another, and before I knew it, my mind was in a trance of losing track of time and immense satisfaction and happiness from what I was doing. I suddenly realized I was passionate. But this did not come until later. This did not come until I was able to sit down and explore my emotions in relation to what I was doing.

I write this now because I know I am passionate about making art, but it’s not something I practice everyday. After work, I’m usually too tired to pull out a paper pad and paint brushes. I know that if push comes to shove and I did, I would enjoy it. But getting there takes practice, and just like anything else, it takes time and action to physically get it done.

Some new supplies came in for my practice grant. It’s exciting and has lit a fire under my butt to start creating again. Again, I’m finding myself in these moments of flow and it’s amazing to get so lost into the ink flowing that I forget that music on my Spotify playlist stopped playing a long time ago. I’m just in my zone. But it’s nine o’clock at night, I worked extra today, and I’m tired. I wanted nothing more than to watch TV and fall asleep. But to get into my zone, I needed to carve out the willpower to put the pen to paper, and here I am.

Like anything else, passion takes practice. It’s special, but it’s nothing that you couldn’t get to.

Where are you on your journey towards being passionate?

Kickoff

New pens have been ordered for my hand lettering practice grant. I’ve also been making makeshift birthday and goodbye cards at work for coworkers. I’ve also been asked to design some wedding signs for another coworker as well. It’s exciting to see my design life start to kick off a bit. I realize I need to make time and devote myself to this craft more often if I’m expecting serious results from this journey.

Here are some signs and cards I’ve made for coworkers in the past. There are a few I never took pictures of, but I love designing new nursery, wedding, bridal shower, and engagement party signs!

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Steps

I started creating templates today for my patients to trace during treatment. I’m taking messages of inspiration from friends, family, strangers (whoever is willing, really), and translating them onto templates that will be laminated and traced by patients getting treated with chemotherapy. This part of the process makes me really excited and inspired because I feel like I’m pulling from so many meaningful parts of my life – my social life, my work life, and my creativity – and mashing them together in what will hopefully be a meaningful experience for people going through a tough time. A big thank you to people who had a message to contribute this round! More templates to come.

My Aunt Ate My Homework

My aunt used to tear up my homework and make me rewrite it if she thought my handwriting was too ugly. If the words didn’t hit the lines just right, the spacing made the text illegible, or there were just too many downright erase marks that made for a nice, unwanted background of what could hopefully pass as intentional gray clouds, it wasn’t good enough. And so I’d have to start the tedious task of rewriting all of my homework over. Only this time, I’d pay more attention because the words had to be just right. The size, the spacing, the line height . . everything.

Growing up as a little kid infatuated with Pokémon, you can imagine how frustrated I was every time she did this to me. The flurry of ripped papers came down over me like rain, and I was caught in it without an umbrella. I resented her for cutting into my precious GameBoy time. But some twenty years later, I’m totally glad she did what she did.

Shredding my homework to pieces fostered a sense of precision, perfection, and respect for the letters I so carefully crafted from there on out. I’ve been told my work looks like it’s been typed my entire life, and that’s because I had to make sure I got it right every time. This craziness, coupled with my love for doodling in classes (or maybe my lack of interest in classes, whatever floats your boat), soon involved into makeshift tattoos inked with Sharpie marker at college parties. Then, I graduated. And it gave me a shit ton of extra time to finally do what I wanted.

I was finally given the time to explore hand-lettering and typography more, to delve into the craft of curating these beautiful letters. I followed Instagram artists whose simplistic styles blew my mind; I read books; I looked at tutorials . . really, I tried to find my own voice in a sea of already established artists. It was a catharsis and nightmare – on one hand, I was ecstatic to learn there were other crazy people out there like me who did this work, and did it professionally and as a career. On the flip side of the coin, I was just starting out. And I had no idea where I wanted to take this.

Fast forward two years later, I’ve started working on an integrative practice grant merging my love for nursing and hand lettering, which really came out of sitting in class bored out of my mind. It restores my faith in fate and patience. You gotta keep a tally of the things you love and the things that speak to you and tuck them away in a careful place in the back of your mind, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant. When the right opportunity jumps at you, you take those pieces out of hiding and show it all you’ve got. It’s like what Tom Brady did when Bledsoe went out with an injury. Bledsoe never got his job back after that.

I don’t mean sit around and wait, because, trust me, I’ve tried to force some things into being. Ultimately those routes were never successful, and now I understand why. Everything has a time and place.

Just steady pacing.