An Open Letter To My People
Monday, January 2, 2017
We made it!! Happy 2017!! I don't know about you, but the sun has been BEAMING through my parent's living room window since yesterday morning, and for the first time ever, it really feels like a New Year. I'm not sure why this year feels so different from all the others. Maybe in part because there was such an overwhelming, worldwide, collective-desire to leave 2016 behind. But truthfully, I felt different. Unlike every other family member of mine, my eyes welled with tears when the clock struck midnight on January 1st. I was SO sad to see 2016 go.
2016 was an enormous year for me both personally and professionally. I landed some major dream clients, from Dior to Emirates, filmed a campaign commercial in Hong Kong with DFS (absolute bliss!!), had a gallery show with Gemfields and IMG during NYFW, shared breakfast with the incomparable DVF, and got a mention in the New York Times. I paid off all my student/start-up debt and finally made it safely into the black. But beyond all that, 2016 took me around the world to make peace with my past, in ways I can't quite explain here. I revisited some of my favorite places on earth but also saw so many of my dream destinations for the very first time.
When I write all that down, it feels fairly obvious why I would hate to bid adieu to 2016. But life, and all of its great mysteries, do not allow you to live in the past. We must move forward no matter how hard we try to stay still. So the question I can't help but ask myself is: what in the world comes next? How the hell do I sustain this momentum? Better yet, how, and in it what ways do I want to take my business to the next level? Ok, so maybe I have more than one question for myself here, ha!
You see my friends, one slightly negative thing about Instagram is it tends to become a never-ending highlight reel of all the best moments of one's life. No one, or very few of us, are posting moments of defeat or self-doubts. I never post the frustrations of chasing late payments or navigating difficult areas of running your own business. But it's all there and it's all true. I'm not saying those highlight moments aren't real, because they absolutely are. But so too are all the cloudy, murky moments of confusion. I guess I can't help but feel the tense pull between needing to do what's best for me and my business behind the scenes, and keeping the color filled world of Travel Write Draw alive on Instagram.
What makes this year slightly more difficult is that I have to decide (rather soon!!) whether to pursue my Green Card or renew my O-1 for another 3 years. After 8 years in NYC, it absolutely feels like home, but I have to ask myself whether I really see myself here for the long run. I ultimately need to want to stay the next 7-8 years in NYC in order for the Green Card to be worth it...
I wish I could conclude something here and say that I know how everything is going to play out, but that would be a boldface lie. Part of the great thrill and challenge is NOT knowing. The irony is, I just finished writing a piece for you all here on the top 5 tips for freelance fashion illustrators, and the truth is, I don't have all the answers. I'm figuring this all out alongside every one of you. Even this holiday break made me a bit anxious over posting less on Instagram for fear of being left behind. How do we stay peaceful, balanced, and in-tuned with ourselves, when the world is so preoccupied with our outside accomplishments?
I hope this letter at the minimum, gives you a little glimpse into my world and current state of mind. No matter how successful we are, there will always be things we dream of accomplishing. And if I can advocate for something positive, it would be to look back on how much you've already done!! Part of why I didn't want to leave 2016 is because I didn't spend enough time relishing in all that was good while it was happening. And now I feel like the slate has been wiped clean again and we start from the beginning. Lets be real, you can't win an Oscar every damn year, but maybe, just maybe, you can win something even greater: peace of mind. The glory, after all, is in you...
I look forward to sharing this new chapter with you as it reveals itself.
Much love always and Godspeed,