FEELING LEFT OUT?

Me too.

In fact, I often struggle with feeling like the uninvited left-out kid pressing my nose to the candy-store glass looking in at people having all the fun. But I know this is ridiculous. I just wish my head would let my heart know this. I mean… yes, I do get out of the house (except for the past month or so while my hubby’s car has been down and we are having to share my car). I go to Bible study and to MOPS and my son has several extra-curricular activities I need to attend with him. But even in these groups I feel like the one on the outside looking in at all the moms and friends going about their lives connecting and enjoying each other’s company, and somehow, I always feel like the one set-apart because of illness or family’s illness, or some thing that I have never fully understood. It is like I somehow set people uneasy. So I start yammering on trying to make them comfortable, and end up making the situation worse. Does this ever happen to anyone other than me? Am I the only one waving this freak flag?

 

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This ridiculous feeling also extends to my work. In fact, I have allowed it to brew itself  (we all know what they say about holding on to comparing ourselves!!) into a type of jealousy. I have found myself making comments in my head saying, “This girl has been working two years, and is already making a living from this.”  More recently, has been the bigger voice saying, “I cannot believe that mid-westerner is getting the bridal show in MY state!!” Ugly voices that I know are not healthy.  I will be happily following along with someone, then they reveal they started their “calligraphy journey” a WHOLE TWO YEARS AGO!!  I think to myself how I have been studying it for the better part of 25 years now, and practicing since 2012, and still consider myself a newbie student.  I find myself thinking jealous thoughts, and feeling even older and more left out. Yes, I am self-teaching, but so have A LOT of these ladies. One in particular I allow to really get under my skin: she taught herself not only calligraphy, but the business of calligraphy as well, and is pulling in a good income now. Of course, she has worked her tail off, I am certain. But that knowledge does little to impede my feelings of inadequacies. I suppose that is what this boils down to, right? Not feeling good enough.

 

So, not being one to allow myself to revel in despair, I came up with a game plan I thought I would share with you in case you are ever feeling the green-eyed monster stealing your joy and robbing you (and me) of our right to feel proud of ourselves. After all, we have the right to pat ourselves on the back for a job well-done too!! It is no small feat to self-teach, but add to that mix a special-needs son and a hyper-toddler, a husband with anxiety disorder and other health problems; holding down family obligations as well as keeping up with the nine-million mom duties, a house that isn’t going to clean itself (they can make computers that sit on the end of a pencil, but can’t seem to make carpet that cleans itself????), and I know in my head I have MUCH to be proud of. So what if these twenty-something girls without a family to take care of, (or at least kids) are making enough money to be able to buy and sell me? I will not allow myself to be bitter. I will not allow myself to be bitter. I WILL NOT ALLOW MYSELF TO BE BITTER. And every day, I learn a little more to move myself closer to earning a living myself with my business.

 

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So, as promised, here is a little action plan to help when the monster takes his turn with your self-worth.

  1. Understand that how you speak to yourself speaks louder than you may realize. Whether or not you lend credence to the “Law of Attraction,” the basic principles at it’s core is a powerful one psychologically: the words we speak are what we believe, therefore, that is what will become our reality. So, the first and most important thing we can do for ourselves is to speak kindly to ourselves, and speak positively. Get a self-worthy, uplifting mantra (affirmation) and speak it to yourself. EVERY. DAY. It could be something as simple as saying, “I can do anything I put my mind to because God made me exceptional, and I am exceptionally His.”
  2. Understand that loving yourself is not egocentric or selfish, but it is a necessary- even mandatory-  part of being a healthy, whole individual.  It is about having self-love and treating yourself with the same compassion, tolerance, and generosity as you would your best friend. You need to be your own best friend first and foremost. Again, it is important to recognize that God made each of us exceptional, and we are exceptionally His.
  3. Trust your instincts: or trust your gut. This is one I have the hardest time with.  Drawing the line with well-intention-ed friends or family and taking their love, advice, words of wisdom to heart, but listening to your own heart and internal voice is what you should be making your final choices with. God gave us a brain and a conscience to use, not to lock away and depend on (or be led by) others.
  4. Analyze and re-evaluate yourself often. This could also be taken as “Know Yourself”. For us list makers or journal-keepers, this is an excellent time to weekly (or even daily depending on your personality) put down on paper questions to know ourselves better and to continually strive toward self-discovery and growth. Questions like:
    • What skills do I have?
    • What are my strengths/weaknesses?
    • What do I want to be doing with my life? Am I doing this or taking steps to do this?
    • What makes me feel fulfilled? Am I working on these things, or am I constantly working towards/on other’s fulfillment?
    • What makes me happy?
    • This last one is probably the MOST important one. One that I am almost certain that we all do the most frequently: stop making your self-worth contingent on other’s opinions!! I think that one bears repeating too, STOP MAKING YOUR SELF-WORTH CONTINGENT ON OTHERS OPINIONS. If we try to live up to others expectations of us, we will never be able to see our own expectations, AND, we will NEVER meet their expectations. (I have learned this the hard way). It is very hard thing to feel that you are letting someone down and their opinion of you down, but it is a shaky bridge to walk across, and without a doubt, that bridge will not hold you up forever. If a parent or loved one or even friends or teachers- anyone- who knew you as a child, their opinions of you are often skewed and it is not healthy to allow them to determine your own thoughts, actions, or self-worth. Their opinion is fine…it is their own, and it often has little to do with the person you are as an adult. Let their opinions stay their own and not affect who you are.

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So, there we have it…my little attempt at a pep-talk to let go of the (my) green-eyed monster or help you build some positive self-worth. I hope that you can take something from this post, or that it helps someone out a little bit. Until next time, friends!

STYLED SHOOT PORTFOLIO

STYLED SHOOT PORTFOLIO

When it comes to photography, novice doesn’t begin to describe my knowledge or technique. In my rare moments of spare time, I have been doing tutorials and taking online free courses in order to learn some basics to up my Insta game.  So when the opportunity arose to be involved in a styled shoot came my way, I was beyond excited! Not only would I get to be a part of a group of amazing artisans all working toward a common goal to be publicized (which we were VERY excited and honored to be a part of Artfully Wed’s publication), but it was an amazing opportunity for some high quality, beautifully professional photos of my work (keep scrolling for a look).

 

I highly recommend you getting involved with a styled shoot if the opportunity arises. Typically these are non-paid collaborations, but the payment you receive in seeing your work in print and getting your name out, is well worth your effort; not to mention getting some amazing photographs. The amazing photographs below (along with all the work from the rest of our amazing team you can read about if you follow the link above to Artfully Wed’s blog) was photographed by the amazingly talented, witty, kind, and beautiful soul’d Brandi Cutshall of Unbound Images.

 

 

 

GREYLILY EXPANDS

GREYLILY EXPANDS

I have been wanting to delve into the world of holistic health for many years now. Something has always held me back…wasn’t the right time, too busy, children too young for me to divert my attention… you see where I am going with this. But I have decided that no time is like the present, so after much research and asking questions of companies that I respect and love, I have found the proper fit for my online continuing education.

I am excited to be applying to the American College of Healthcare Sciences. I am already a college graduate (in 2004, BS Criminology). I have been out of school many moons, and this is a little intimidating for me, but I am excited to get this journey on a roll. My interests lie in both herbalism and aromatherapy. I threw around the idea of obtaining two MS degrees, but after speaking to the advisor, I think the best fit for me right now is the certification in natural product manufacturing. I plan to make my little tinctures and salves at home, and sell in my etsy store. Ah, the old etsy store. That is another entire blog post on it’s own. Tell me friends, are you finding selling in an overly-saturated marketplace exhausting, intimidating, frustrating, time consuming? Is it just me?

I have busied myself trying and reaching out to other all natural companies whose products I love and appreciate, and use. I am excited to try a few new ones. I received one in the mail today, from Herbivore.

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I hope to begin this journey this summer. My plan is to begin manufacturing all-natural (organic when possible) products and using my calligraphy for my labels, packaging. This opens a whole new world for greylily. We hope to help fill a niche in the market for educated holistic skincare. Wish me luck friends!

THE BUSINESS OF WRITING

THE BUSINESS OF WRITING

Hello, friends. I have been debating on whether or not to take on the added responsibility of a blog for some time now. I decided to go ahead with this endeavor because there are so many times I would like to share something on my mind about this stage in my life and business, so… here I am.

I am currently on Instagram (who isn’t these days? – as I am finding an overly saturated market) as greylilycalligraphy and, for lack of a better way to put it, am learning the business end of a craft while learning the craft itself. I am finding this isn’t for the faint of heart.

I took a step out of my comfort zone the other day, and sent out a “questionnaire” to some of the calligraphers I admire the most. I was at a loss as to how to grow my following, and thereby, grow my orders (shop temporarily down). I got some very interesting responses, some positive, some not so much – from surprising sources. In any case, I did receive some helpful information.

I am going back here, to how it all began for me. This is a little bit of my journey to how I arrived here, today, writing this.

But, my friends, learning while doing is a difficult task, no matter who you are. My background is in criminology of all things. Years worth of work in a degree field working to obtain my Bachelor of Science degree, and during the years of hard work, working up to 4 jobs at a time, carrying a full load of course work, taking care of my mom in the end stages of cancer, all while assuming the responsibility of caring for an invalid sister…well, they were difficult years. And during those difficult years, I knew my heart was not in the field. My hopes were to go straight in to my MS in forensics, but life had other plans for me. I sacrificed my life for others. Not as noble as that sounds, because I have regrets, I let fear be in the driver’s seat. Much of what I did was out of fear…letting people down, trying to keep all the balls juggling in the air. And, as is the due course of trying to keep too many things going with not enough resources, dropping many of those balls (re: finances) with devastating results.

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Looking back now, I see the silver lining. Not finding work in my field for years (while being at home with my sister and then, later, my special needs son) led me to reach for the things that were in my heart. I brainstormed at one point and discovered, if I had listened to my heart to begin with (and not been afraid of letting my family down), I would have gone into history from the start of my college career. Of course, that path may not have led me anywhere but where I am now, so who knows? Fickle fate, or being led…I am not certain anymore. However, my path did lead me to dig into what my passions really were, and through finding history, I specifically came to realize that I have always had an admiration and love for writing and communication, and then, “beautiful writing”. So I set out to study it, that was a good 15 years ago now.

I started reaching out to (harassing, really) calligraphers years ago. Where I live, the arts are not a focus. It was difficult in those years (these were the days before having the internet was an everyday thing for everyone) to find people to reach out to. Eventually, I was successful, I found IAMPETH (here) on this journey. I could not travel because of the responsibilities of caring for my sister and son, so I reached out. Eventually, people started putting things online, resources, and even classes. I grabbed for those every chance I got. I have now been practicing (I call it that, because calligraphy is one of the arts you never really “arrive” at…you simply continue to practice and hone your hands. There are those few that reach such a level of perfection they are deemed “masters”. To my knowledge, there are around 10 of those in the world), for around 5 years now.

During the years of practice, and taking my little photos of my “aha!” moments, there was a change in the social media world. A “professionalizing,” with people seizing the opportunity of a free means of advertising, both with good and bad consequences. Hence, up arise the individuals offering the “business skills” in “getting you followers.” I once made the (possible) mistake of telling one of these such people who were offering me a “follow and follow back” that I was looking for “quality over quantity”. Silly me, I didn’t realize what I was doing. After I realized I was going to have to step up my game with social media, I began taking courses in business…in Instagram itself (of all things!), and any other part of selling of myself and my skill I could find. This business is not easy. But I am learning.

So, in the end, I have found that I need an outlet to discuss and share the things I am learning and doing other than the business arenas of Facebook and Instagram, and even Twitter to some degree. Therefore, I am writing. I do love a good blog, and have made some connections with people who are so dear to me. I have hopes of doing the same with this one myself. Won’t you join me?

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WELCOME

WELCOME

Welcome

 I am so glad to meet you!  Here you can learn about what greylilycalligraphy is all about. Please feel free to post any comments with questions or any interesting discussions you care to share with us! I would like for my blog to be a place of open communication with other artists, calligraphers, business minded people, or just anyone loving the arts and willing to share! I believe in open and honest communication to foster a spirit of friendship and community, and if it helps anyone on their journey, my heart is grateful.

 

About

I will never forget the day my mother gave me my first fountain pen as a ten-year old. It sparked an interest that stayed with me throughout my life. I’ve had a love for writing for as long as I can remember, and was always fascinated with how beautifully my grandmother wrote. As I got older, I realized the older generations had been taught penmanship- based on a form of calligraphy. 

My interest in writing never waned, nor my love of the arts. I took several art classes in high school and college, but went in the direction of science in college, & graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Criminology. After graduation and starting a family, my interest in calligraphy re-awakened. I began researching the foundations of writing itself, then the history of calligraphy (meaning “beautiful writing”), and that led me take courses in calligraphy. Several years later, I am still researching and learning and practicing this beautiful art form while raising my two beautiful children, Grey and Lily in our beautiful hills of east Tennessee. I want to instill in them what it is to pursue your dreams, to never forget the true love of what is in their hearts…  

 

Neglect not the gift that is in you  1 Timothy 4:14 

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Why Us?

With a deep love of history and the foundations of elegant writing, my fonts are rooted in the historical foundations of Copperplate calligraphy. This pointed pen “writing” is much loved for its elegance and universal appeal as a beautiful hand. 

As a member of Letter Writers Alliance and IAMPETH (International Association of Master Penman and Teachers of Handwriting), I am committed to the continued preservation and education of this beautiful art form.