Dear Internet, 

This is my first official blog post for Black Tulip! In my "letters", I hope to reveal to you a little more about the "person behind the paintbrush/nib/marker". It is a goal of mine to not only share with you, but to learn from you, whoever you actually are... 

Anyway, let's talk about balance. No, not standing on one foot with your eyes closed, finding balance of your chores, your hobbies and your passions..

Let's rewind for a moment to the first week of 2019. I'm sure we all saw lots of "words of the year" being chosen. At least, I know I did. I questioned the purpose/effectiveness of boiling down an entire year's worth of life lessons into one word. I realized that people choose a word or mantra of the year for all sorts of reasons; some for empowerment, others for inspiration. I appreciated that it could help others, but didn't think it was something I could possibly benefit from..

Recently, I've been on a social media silence. It was not planned and not particularly pleasant if I'm being perfectly honest. A few weeks ago I was in a car accident wherein a woman t-boned me after she "stopped" at a four-way intersection. My car is thankfully not totaled, but needs a lot of repairs and is still in the shop. This accident agitated some of my preexisting health problems, and although I'm so very thankful I can walk away from this accident, it has still had quite a toll on my physical and mental health. 

Something I struggle with on a daily basis is balancing work life, personal growth and my physical health and wellness. I have several *currently untreatable* congenital and developed issues with my spine that make it difficult for me to sit or stand for longer than 30 minutes without some level of pain. As an artist, this is very difficult for me to get a handle on. When I get started on a piece, I don't ever want to stop. It's really hard to just peel yourself away when you're in a creative flow. Instead of addressing my back pain as it creeps up, I usually try to ignore it and push through with endless fidgeting and switching between seated positions until I can't take it anymore. I end up spending the rest of the day in pain and feeling like a useless human being. I feel lazy if I stop and lay down on the couch to decompress, and since starting my business, I've begun to feel guilty for taking a break from client work, because I know someone is on the other end of my project and I hate making people wait. 

I have been working very hard for nearly four years now to make the best of life with my diagnosis. Exercise and movement, positivity, patience, yoga, CBD, reishi, and rest. These are a few of my tools that I use on the daily to help ease the pain. They help, to an extent, but all of this maintenance requires time. Time that I wish I could spend on my business and my passions. I've never been someone who likes working out, and now I must be the person to work out Monday through Friday, balancing cardio with stretching and strength training. I stick to a strict physical therapy routine three days a week and do yoga in between it all.  It's tiring to put so much effort into something you're not even a tiny bit passionate about. It's also defeating when you must prioritize these things over your passions, or suffer the painful consequences. Lately I've been having such a struggle finding balance between growing my business and managing my chronic back pain. 

It finally hit me a few days ago, I might have a word worth calling my "2019 word of the year" after all; BALANCE. No matter what you are struggling with, there are going to be highs and lows. There will be times you think you've to it all under control and then the rug gets swept out from under you. For me, that was the car accident, although I never really felt like I'd been in full control to begin with. Over the last few weeks especially, I've been reminding myself to take it slow and to keep a BALANCE. I can no longer ignore my pain and get lost in my art making, but I cannot throw my hands up in defeat and sleep all day on the couch, either! I need to be gentle with my mind and not blame myself for needing to take a break. I need to allow that BALANCE of passion and maintenance. 

The takeaway I hope you get from this story; not everything is awesome 100% of the time, and that is OK. You have to be kind to yo' mind and allow yourself the opportunity to create balance in your life. If you are struggling, or are feeling overwhelmed or challenged, I wish for you BALANCE in 2019. 
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