I can’t even tell you how hard the April project for the Make Art That Sells class was for me to do. We were assigned to dig into our past and find 5 situations that we conquer courageously, then we needed to create imagery to go along with all the feelings. In the end, our primary task was to make a mind map of sorts.
My mind map became more a journey map of my life. I broke it down into 5 different sections. College, freelancing as a customer in my 20’s, becoming a wife and mother, the Modern June years, and coming home to be a homeschooling SAHM again.
It’s my life on a page. I had a rough childhood, so I feel like my life began when I went off to college. I was the first in my family to go. I was made to feel like I was “too big for my britches” to think that I could do such a thing. My mom told me that I should just go to secretary school and be just like everyone else. Or, better yet, if I really wanted to go to college I should join the Army and use the GI bill to go. Um, have we met each other before now?
Anyhow, I went to college at a small state university in Missouri, now called UCM, and became a technical theater major and specialized in costume design. My mother’s only comment on my choice was, “How will you ever feed yourself!”
After college, I moved to Richmond, Va and planned to go to VCU to get my major in Theatrical Costume Design. Once I got here and settled in, I started to work in local costume shops and decided to learn my craft on the job. This set me off on a journey that took me from the south to the western desert, up into New England and back to Richmond! Eventually, theater jobs lead to film productions, and I started working in costume shops and movie sets. It was really a great life.
Soon after I met the man of my dreams and settled down to have a family. I didn’t know what to expect with motherhood, so I told the Richmond Ballet that I wasn’t interested in a full-time job. Thank goodness, our first baby cried constantly and slept half the time all those stupid books said a baby should sleep. Staying at home was chosen for me, and it made a better mom of me too.
I spent the kid’s toddler years rehabbing our 90-year-old fixer-upper. Later, that fussy baby turned out to be an overwhelmed sensory kid, and I became a homeschool mom of two beautiful kids. But soon, I needed a little something for myself, and I started selling vintage aprons at the local farmers market.
It didn’t take long for that creative outlet to turn into a full-time biz. Before I knew it, I was balancing 2 major jobs, while traveling far and wide to a dozen Country Living Fair’s and writing 2 sewing books. After 10 wonderful years of owning a handmade housewares biz, my family and I were ready for me to come back home.
It’s been 15 months since I closed up Modern June and I have become very content with my role as a homeschool mom. I’ve graduated Mac from high school, and my young adult is getting all A’s at a local community college, and I’m enjoying teaching Aidan one and one each day. I have to admit, it’s a cake walk to just teach one kid at home, especially when that teen prefers to do all his work on the computer. I am stunned that we are finishing up Aidan’s junior year, only one more serious mom year left.
As for me and my creative needs, I spend my days being a happy little housewife. Seriously, I love it, and I am lucky to be able to do this. I have been rehabbing our home, one (to five) room(s)at a time. Someday I might actually finish a project or two. I’m taking back our yard from the weedy jungle that grew while I was growing a company and raising kids.
But, the most courageous thing I’ve been doing lately is learning how to be an artist. Until 2 years ago, I hadn’t drawn or watercolored since college. I had to start from the beginning, and I’ve struggled to find my own style and to teach myself Adobe Illustrator.
The other day I had to tell a group of people what I did, who I was. People get nervous when a 49-year-old woman says that she’s a SAHM. I guess most people think that only young moms with young kids work that job. Anyhow, it was the first time I called myself and artist, and I must say, it felt great!
So, like my journey map says, my next journey starts here.