New Year, New Direction?

Monday, December 26, 2011

Merry Merry My Loves,

Can you believe Christmas has already come and gone?! I worked right up until Christmas Eve and have been unwinding ever since from the whirlwind that is my life. It's amazing how disconnected you can become from yourself when you spend months racing against a ticking clock; aka my authorized working status in America. Somewhere in the eye of the storm you lose all sense of perspective, why I even went to New York in the first place, and your life is reduced to getting from one day to the next without a nervous breakdown. Finally now that I'm home, the clouds are beginning to part for the first time since June 2011.

It's been months since I last sat down at my computer and wrote a truly honest confessional on my blog. I realized this yesterday when I was reading one of my favorite blogs, Final Fashion, authored by Danielle Meder (a fellow fashion illustrator from Toronto now living in London). I was drawn to her remarkably raw posts documenting her move to the UK, something that I have and still dream of doing. She talked candidly about the difficulties of moving to one of the most expensive cities in the world, being plagued with loneliness and bouts of poverty, while working in an extremely competitive and volatile profession.

She writes:

"Is it a risk if it is not a choice? It feels like if I were a sensible person, I would not choose to be a fashion person. I am drawn towards the fear, the flux, the fantasy, against better judgement. Everyone I talk to in fashion envies the people with steady jobs and simple pleasures, with a sigh and a sense of fatalism. Because, at this point, what else could we possibly do? We are in too deep to give it up."

For the first time in the last 7 months since graduating, I feel like my concerns are shared. I'm not alone; the fatalism and frustration I feel everyday for loving what can only be described as a difficult profession, is not unwarranted.

Here's the thing friends, I went to New York to pursue a degree in a field that I truly, wholeheartedly love. It has always been my dream to be a business owner, a fashion illustrator entrepreneur, selling products and prints with my drawings all over them. I'm 7 months out of the gate from graduating, 5 months into my 12 legal practical training in the U.S., and the pressure is surmounting. If I plan to stay I need to be sponsored in order to have both healthcare and security in a country that I don't belong to. If I'm employed full-time by someone else, my dreams of a flourishing freelance career fall by the wayside.

Lets be honest, there are only 24 hours in a day and 7 days in a week. With no stability yet at a full-time job how can one possibly keep it all going, sending out your portfolio to magazine editor's and the like, while fighting tooth and nail for full-time employment in a jobless country and flailing economy. I hate sounding defeated, or feeling sorry for myself ever. Ultimately I chose this path and I don't regret it for one second. But the internal struggle is hard, the unknown is terrifying. Everything from my emotional, mental, geographical and physical state is up in the air. I honestly don't know where I will be living come July.

Part of me is obviously gripped with fear. I have always been the girl with a plan, ambition that never sleeps, and for the first time in my whole life I have no idea which way to go. Do I want to stay in New York, do I want to leave, do I want to return home for a while, regroup and obtain my two year work visa to live in London? Do I want a full-time job or do I want to buckle down and full-on pursue a freelance illustration career? Do I want to forget it all, embrace the nomadic life and just travel like I have always envisioned for Travel, Write, Draw? The options are endless, the cash flow is not, and I'm not getting any younger lol.

Times like these are a true test of character. Do you give up and admit defeat with your tail between your legs? Is it really even defeat if somehow being where you always imagined you would be no longer makes sense? From the outside my life must seem so charmed. I read such beautiful press about my blog stating how I'm living the life; a young fashion illustrator based in New York. In 2011 alone I illustrated and exhibited at W New York Times Square, drew for ODLR, Lord & Taylor, and Urban Outfitters. I gained two huge clients on my very own within the last 6 months, both FLARE and Fashion Snoops, while the global economy crumbled.

I wouldn't even say I am defeated. I'm unsure, above all else, of which way to turn. So many questions remain unanswered, too many factors aren't yet in my possession. I had no idea what to expect in my young illustration career but I never imagined the heart-crushing disappointments of opportunities lost. For the last 5 or 6 months I have felt like an ant building its sand castle only to have greater elements wash it away. Perhaps if my days weren't numbered in America I wouldn't feel so panicked. How could one ever expect the career they dreamed of to appear overnight, in six months, in a year, in two?

Despite everything, despite all the fears, and the anxieties, I still don't doubt myself. I believe in me and I believe in my tenacity. I know what I want long-term in my career, I have for at least four years now, I just don't know how I'm going to get there. Although we can't look to the past or to others to feel assured in our own pursuits, I still have to believe. If you stop, what do you really have to live for? For fear of becoming too existential, I want to leave this blog post on a positive note. If I've learnt anything at all, it is that your life is what you make it. Interpretation is everything and every dead end is an opportunity for reinvention and a new beginning.

I hope if there is anyone out there who took the time to read this that you found comfort, at the very least, in going through my thoughts. Just know that you aren't alone, and every dream is worth having if it makes you feel alive. Sending you so much positivity and support.

Much love,
Meag xx


  1. Meag,

    I know it will happen they way it's intended. Dream big, no need to feel defeated, we all have doubts.
    I'm keeping my fingers crossed.
    And ... maybe it would be a good idea to work for someone for sometime. Most freelancer do so before going freelance.

    All the best in 2012!

    :: Marta

  2. Thank you for sharing this, I know how you feel on so many levels, with my own life about to take a new fork in the road come January 2012. What lies ahead, I don´t know, but I hope I can enjoy the ride. All the best for 2012, i hope you achieve all your short and long term goals that you set for yourself. xoxo

  3. I love this post Meagan. You have inspired us to do great in spite all the struggles that we pass. The road maybe narrow but you'll get there. I believe in you and your talent Meag. :)


  4. thank you for posting this, some how i feel better.. you talk about fear, uncertainty etc but you give hope too ;)

  5. The proobably is definitely getting there, but we always have hope that we will get to the place we want to in our careers. I've been out of college since the summer of 2009, still working in retail and doing art/design on the side. Our time will come. (:

    I don't know you personally, but if anyone could do freelance, I think you probably could. Just with how popular your blog has gotten.

    I wish you the best! Have hope and faith! It'll all work out. :)


  6. Thank you Meag, this post is really beautiful and explain a lot of your life. This 2011 was for me like this too. Stressing and strange because a lot of things changed and truly changed me. I started university and I feel so bad staying away from home. But it' have to fight for our dreams and keep going despite everything :( My house and my town can't offer me a fashion career, so I have to go. And I dont understand why a thing that I chosed for me makes me feel so bad :(

    But "I'm a fashion person, and fashion is not only about clothes, it'a about all kind of changes" said Karl Lagerfeld ;)

    Happy Holiday and HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

  7. Oh, I understand what you're going through!

    I'm starting my first job next week but now I may have 2 other job offers in totally different industries, so I'm torn.

    But no matter which path we all choose, I think it's important to just take it a step at a time ;)

  8. I apologize in advance for a very long comment. Here is the thing: I absolutely and completely know how you feel as I was there (btw loving the final fashion as it seems much more brave than I am with my posts. I am usually ashamed of my "failures"). For me it's a tad harder cause I can't even get the 2 year working visa. For people from outside the EU even that is very hard to achieve. But I share you dilemma on whether to work full time or go completely freelance. In my case I am sick and tired of not having any money so I chose working and than drawing in free time. This is half successful as it was working for a while but then I got very tired of it... So I have not been drawing in weeks now. So this is very risky territory as well... You run the risk of losing your goal from sight due to day to day pressures. There is no win/win situation here... I feel you (and me) need to do the absolute best we can, give it 150% and just hope for the best.
    So this is what I know:
    There is no guarantee that any path you choose is gonna be a winner. But it will be your life, so don't go for easy ( no need because we are not afraid of hard) but go for what you feel will make you the happiest in that next short period of life you can control. And enjoy the process as it seems to me the point is to be a fashion illustrator and you are one with a visa or without.
    Lots of kisses dear and talk soon!


  9. Meags,

    I've been without internet access for quite a few days now, but I hope that our long talk before christmas might have helped in some way. I know that this is a long process for you to think about what you want/how you want to get there, but I'm so proud of you for taking charge of your life like this.

    Thats how I know you will be very successful with anything you choose!




Proudly designed by Mlekoshi playground