Thursday, January 26, 2017

365 Reasons to Flourish 2017 Calendar Poster

The Story Behind The Poster
This post is more than another push of my products, it’s the deeper story, a recap of the year that brought us here, and the reason I continue to come back, making things, earning things, building, and growing.
Since college graduation, I’ve made Christmas presents and cards for close friends and family members. After my divorce, I was hit with the notion that if I were to survive (happily) and really thrive, I had better use my talents as a form of income. I was determined to take my first steps into the second half of my life with my OWN shoes on, even if that meant being terrified that I might fail. That experiment has so far proved to be very successful. I’ve carefully crafted a schedule, audience, and pace for my work, and have largely gotten the most joy returned to me from my students. Clients are wonderful and all that, but students and colleagues and peers… that’s where all the love comes pouring in, in buckets and tons and mountains and…
My use of social media has become increasingly valuable. It is so interesting that I sell a craft of making and learning how to make handmade things, using the technology that is supposedly killing it. It’s not. This is great news! We can all have both! And aren’t we lucky. The voice I use on Instagram and Facebook is extremely personal - I like it that I can reach people via this medium and my musings and yearnings are amplified to the world - I love our connectedness - this garden I have carefully tended to over the years. It’s a garden I’ve cultivated - I’ve been careful about unfollowing accounts that don’t bring me pleasure, I’ve blocked a few haters here and there, and stay in touch with folks I haven’t seen in years - and even developed close friendships with people I may likely never meet in the flesh. It’s a beautiful place to be - to be kept in the loop of the lives of others. I’ve depended upon the accounts of many of you who stay connected in areas I don’t know very much about or subjects I don’t have much of a stomach for. And I like to think that what I share is of unique interest to some of you who sometimes yearn for a curse word surrounded by flowers or a Mary Oliver poem, or a sharpie drawing on the back of a beautiful person… I do it all, am it all.
I’ve tried to keep my nose clean for years and years and really don’t have much of a stomach for political news - I hate the way both sides exaggerate their point of view by ensuring their message is delivered either by inhumane cold indifference or wet and hysterical finger pointing. I can’t stand it and can smell it before it hits the web. This kind of news is crushing and it’s really super duper no fun at all sometimes to be an empath, a highly sensitive person, an introverted counselor - when your world - your garden - is packed with mud, emotional carnage, strangling weeds, blocking our my view of the light.
But when Trump ran against Hillary - it was all too tempting to not watch. I joined in with gusto, with brash confidence that he would lose. I got nice and dirty and I loved it, getting my fix of negativity. I felt a part of things and deliciously connected to my own anger and addicted to yours. And the eve of the election, I was ready to take a deep sigh of relief that the fight would be finally over. I would this holiday season, make my usual holiday card - maybe something about Star Wars or Girl Power or flowers fucking or who knows… I was happy and so excited.
And then the worst happened. 911 all over again - trauma and disappointment at my doorstep - my fingertips - my country broke up with me and chose THAT guy. I, like many of you, cried for days. Just so bereft. No words, except one thought - one delightful, venomous phrase popped into my head the next morning - I know what my 2016 Christmas card is going to be - a poster a big as fuck, in my best lettering “FUCK 2016”.
I spent a good portion of my Thanksgiving break sketching it out. I did version after version, turning the leaves and flourishes to flow with the occasional poison berry and prickly holly leaf… I was piping mad and disgusted. Fuck this year. I’d spent many times by the fire on my phone, clicking through one article after another until I’d read myself into a migraine. I’d had an RA flare that effected my work flow, I ended a toxic relationship I hadn’t known was toxic at the time, I was recovering and healing and doing my best to grow - and then this. I was going to solve that angry, pulsing ache with a card that would sum up what the last year had been like for me. FUCK YOU, 2016, the year that shall not be named again.
And then something happened.
I remembered who I was before any of life began to scar me and support in the contortion of Anne into all the other Anne’s that really weren’t me at all. I thought of my boy - who was watching his mom manage her own career - create a brand for herself - make LIFE and all the times he gets to watch me do what I do, knowing he’s gonna use my presentation of myself as a partial reference or his own choices in life. All I had to do was remember myself and remember that this is still MY garden, MY country, and I have control over how I frame and respond to what’s going on around me.
I am, at my core, the flower gardener who draws the garden. And after many conversations with a close mentor and friend, I was told that just because there is mud or weeds or sharp plants in the garden, doesn’t mean it’s my job to pull them or cut them down and pretend they aren’t a part of a thriving ecosystem. What’s different is ok. I must allow, if I am to be happy, while being true to myself and remembering how important it is for me to stay connected.
So I decided to create a calendar for the new year. I want my first step into 2017 to be on a good foot. There is plenty of time for me to curse again - to fling the mud and rant and rave and go bananas, but right now, I’m healing and offering light. A seed of solid hope for every single day of the next year ahead. That’s what this poster is all about.
Blossoming love - without law. It’s the single most thing that I do best.
So for those of you who marched on a cold rainy day, who keep your fingers on the pulse of all the details of this fucking awful storm that is shaking all of us at our core, I thank you. I thank you for being where you are - where and when it feels right to you, and for being here with me right now, just for reading.
“Love is the flower of life, and blossoms without law, and must be plucked where it is found, and enjoyed for the brief hour of its duration.” -D.H. Lawrence
Up for sale today is my 2017 Calendar Poster.
I’ve made three versions: 

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