Money Maker

I’ve been drawing something every single day for around a year now. It has been a great habit to start. It helps me spend some time being playful and creative each day. The only issue I’ve encountered at this point is running out of ideas. Well, that and the ever-increasing stack of drawings I’ve started accumulating. In an attempt to think of some interesting drawing ideas, I came up with the idea to start doing drawings for the children I work with. A few people had suggested that I make a collection of my sketches into an adult coloring book. While this was a great idea, given that I don’t ever like to color my art, I didn’t feel much inspired to do so. After thinking on it for awhile, I decided I would feel more passionately about putting it together if it were a coloring book full of positive affirmations for children and teens.

One day early on in my career when I still felt very awkward about waiting with the children while my coworkers spoke with their parents, I decided to make a drawing for a little girl while she was busy playing. Even though I was too anxious to go join her or carry on a conversation, I didn’t want it to appear that I was cold or disinterested. So I did what I could, in my own socially awkward, anxious way. I drew a picture of a cute Japanese-style dragon with cherry blossoms around it. I added a banner that said: You deserve to be happy. Before she left I crouched down by her side and gave her the picture. I told her that I drew it especially for her while she was playing. I told her what it said and that I wanted her to always remember that and believe that it’s true. Even though it took a lot for me to build up the courage to do that, it was all worth it when I saw how happy it made her. She was so eager to show her mom. I can still hear her precious mousey voice saying, “Look mommy, she made this for me!”

Just thinking about that day makes me tear up. That experience is what inspired me to make more drawings with positive affirmations for kids. The first few I drew made me so happy and excited. I couldn’t wait to show my coworkers and see what they thought about the idea. I already knew they liked my art, but I really underestimated how much they would love this new endeavor. They immediately started talking about copyrights and publishing, selling them to therapists and other child advocacy centers, all the potential money there was to be made. They urged me not to do anything with them until I put legal protections in place. I was excited and flattered and more than a little embarrassed. I never know how to respond to praise or compliments. Soon those feelings began to fade, though. They were replaced by hesitation, regret, anxiety, and fear.

I went from making a new coloring page every day to once a week, to not at all. It feels as if all the passion behind this idea has drained out of me. Now whenever I think about it I become lost in a fog of copyright law, fees, plagiarism, business plans, and marketing. I had only been waiting for my coworkers’ approval before happily handing them over to each kid that came in. Now it seemed like a much longer wait was ahead of me before I could start giving them away. All I had been thinking about was being useful to my advocacy center, to the children I see every day. I was excited about how this gift would impact them, if the words on the page would some day make a lasting impact on their hearts and minds. However, dollar signs were first and foremost for everyone else.

Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful that my friends at work thought so highly of my art that they want me to protect it and make a profit from it. I’m sure they have no idea how this business advice left me feeling deflated and frustrated instead of proud. I never wanted to make any money off of this idea. My only desire was to make children happy, to introduce them to the power of intention, self-talk, and positive thinking. Now I feel pressured to secure my claim to these images before sharing them with the world. I feel pressured to come up with a way to profit from this work. I feel as though it would be stupid of me not to do these things. That others would think me stupid for not doing these things.

It reminds me of a study I read about once. One group of children was told to do a fun activity, then rate their enjoyment afterwards. Another group was told to do the very same fun activity, but with the added bonus that they would be paid afterwards. This group surprisingly rated their enjoyment much lower than the first, non-paid group. You see once money becomes a motivator, it becomes work rather than play. When you shift your focus from intrinsic motivation to extrinsic, a task becomes much less fulfilling. Making art to positively impact the lives of children, means a lot to me. Making art to make money, leaves me feeling empty.

It all comes down to caring too much about what other people think of my actions and decisions in the end. No one is forcing me to guard these drawings and add price tags. I am free to give them away whenever I see fit. The only thing holding me back is the opinions other people may have about that. But I’ve got to trust myself and hold on to the passion that led me to start this project in the first place. This was never about money or even what other adults would think about it. This is about helping children. This is about making small, vulnerable humans feel happy and loved. That is what motivates me. That is what sparks joy in my heart.

Dreamland

I’ve heard comedians and people makes jokes about how boring it is to listen to other people talk about their dreams. That has always surprised me and made me wonder if people really feel that way. Dreams have always been absolutely fascinating to me. I love hearing about other people’s dreams. It think it provides such an interesting peek into someone’s subconscious mind.

I’ve also always loved metaphors, and I think of dreams as complex metaphors themselves. I know neither science nor psychology has really been able to definitively tell us what dreams are, what they mean, or why we even have them to begin with, but I wholeheartedly believe that they matter. And in my experience whatever you believe matters does matter.

I sometimes am able to use my dreams to guide me toward important insights about myself. They can often lead me to different perspectives on certain situations that have been troubling me. I believe the common reoccurring characters in my dreams are important people in my life or perhaps represent something important to me. I’ve certainly always found mulling over these nightly self-told stories to be worthwhile.

I have been writing down my dreams every morning for around a year now. It can be really helpful in order to remember them more easily and notice patterns or themes within them. For instance, I noticed I dream a lot about my middle school boyfriend whom I only dated for probably three weeks and haven’t spoken to since we graduated. This continues to puzzle me, but I’m sure I’ll discover the reason eventually. I’ve even had prophetic dreams and been able to prove as much by showing where I had written down a similar event occurring in a dream a week before it happened in real life. I have no idea how that happens or what it could possibly mean, if anything.

For all of these reasons and many more I’m sure I’ve forgotten to mention, I adore dreams. I feel very connected to my personal dreamscape. Dreaming is like being able to live a whole other life every night. A life where anything is possible. Not to mention that time itself is distorted. In the span of only a few hours we can live an entire lifetime potentially.

Dreams are one of the reasons I decided to study psychology. I don’t understand how anyone is able to disregard them or say they are meaningless nonsense. If our brains are manifesting them, there must be a good reason. At least that’s what I think. So even if it’s true that other people are bored by even the thought of hearing about someone else’s dream, I’m going to keep talking about mine. Because if nothing else, they are at least amusing.

I may even begin posting my dreams on this blog or perhaps another I would create solely for the purpose of sharing them. I would love to have dream discussions and get feedback about what other people think they could mean. Not to mention I would love to read about everyone else’s dreams! Let me know if a dream blog is something you would be interested in or if you have any neat dreams to share with me.

Sneak Peak: Preliminary Sketches

As it states in my about page, I have been toying around with the notion of creating a vegan clothing company. Today, I wanted to share with you the first few sketches I have been working on for T-shirt designs. Keep in mind that these are unfinished. I still have to do a little tweaking and of course add color to them. I also have yet to order a high-quality camera, so these are not the best photos. Hope you like them:

Protect the Innocent Rabbit

Protect the Innocent Fox  LSD  I'm so Fancy  Stay Peaceful Scarab

I haven’t yet decided on a name for the brand, so if you have any interesting ideas feel free to leave them in the comments! Also, let me know what you think and if you would enjoy owning a shirt with one of these designs. I would also appreciate any advice someone who has had more experience with graphic design or entrepreneurship may like to share. I will try to keep you posted on any new developments with this project, and I hope you all have a peaceful day! ❤