It’s official—Diabolical Whimsy is being revived.
For those of you who have been following me for a while, I’m sure you noticed that my posts have decreased dramatically over the last five years (my last website blog post was in November 2018!!) My focus during that time shifted to my day job and art creation/promotion took a back burner. To be honest, I started to view my art as a hobby. At first this was nice—it took the pressure off of having to sell my work, and allowed me to just make art for me. However, the combination of a highly demanding job and the pandemic caused me to have a pretty low creativity rate, so in recent years I barely was creating art, even just as a hobby.
This all changed when I got separated (i.e. fired) from my job. I want to talk about this, because I think there is a lot of stigma around being let go from your place of employment. I remember thinking being fired was something that would never happen to me—people only get fired if they do something seriously wrong, like steal or harass someone. I am a rule follower and goody-two-shoes. I never even got detention in high school, so there is no way separation could happen to me…right?
Turns out, there are a lot of reasons one can be let go from a job. While, of course, doing those reprehensible things mentioned above are reasons to be let go, sometimes it happens because you make a mistake, the company needs to downsize, or maybe your boss just doesn’t like how you do things. In my case, I believe it was a combination of an honest mistake and a leader who no longer saw potential in me for some reason.
The mistake I made was failing to enforce a sign-in sheet that the employees I was responsible for should have been using. I knew this sign-in sheet was a gap in my store, but coming off a really tough month (in which, among other obstacles, I had COVID) I chose to prioritize other things and let it slide. When my leader noted the mistake, I owned it. I immediately had my team correct this error, and everyone began using it after that date, but the fact that it was consistently not filled out was grounds for my dismissal. I was so shocked at this conclusion of my employment, partly because I had never even had a write up. While I understood that there needed to be consequences for my actions (or really lack of action), I honestly feel that my leader had lost confidence in my abilities, and pushed to have me separated instead of just being given a write-up.
In some ways, I am still struggling to come to terms with this outcome. I loved this job so much, and although it was not perfect (it came with a lot of stress and ate up a lot of my time) there were many aspects that I loved and believed in completely. I always struggled with certain aspects—namely planning/prioritizing—but I devoted so much energy into doing the very best job I could. Over the last few years in my role, I had improved significantly. I am honestly still shocked that this one error led to my separation.
Over the last month and half, I have let myself grieve. This job was a huge part of my life over the last 7 years. There were many months where I spent more time at my job than at home or with my family. This job saw me through several family deaths (including both my parents), my marriage to my wife, the purchase of our home, and many more life events. I devoted so much of my life to this job; I truly struggled to see myself as separate from it. I was this job. I found myself thinking, "Who am I if I don’t work there any more?"
This question led me to do some deep reflecting. Luckily, my wife supported me to take a trip up North to visit with some family in my hometown of Potsdam, NY. This escape helped give me the space I needed to not only come to terms with the loss of my job, but also for me to determine what I want to do next...
So what is next, you ask?
I debated several options, but the one that kept calling to me again and again was simply to be an artist again. To work for myself, do freelance work, and sell my art. I know this will come with many challenges, but I am certain that it will make me happier overall. While I really did love my job, and I don't regret trying it out, I can see now that it wasn't the best fit for me. Yes, it had lots of great benefits, including a lot of financial stability, but it also cost me a lot in terms of time and energy to create art and spend with my family, both of which are very important to me.
The exact plan for art as my main profession is still evolving (and probably will be for some time) but I do know I am going to focus on my personal mission in life: to transform the mundane into the magical! This mission encompasses my artistic pursuit of fantastical imagery in both mixed media photography and mixed media drawing.
To help ground myself in my mission, I’m going to try to adopt Neil Gaiman’s advice from Make Good Art moving forward:
So I'm back--let's celebrate with a SALE!
To celebrate my return to art, I am hosting a sale on my website! All items in my newly updated store are 30% off now through November 6! Just use code REVIVE22. As an additional THANK YOU to anyone who makes a purchase, I'll be including a mini original artwork in all orders as well. <3
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Kendra's rantings and ramblings about various topics, including art making, events, writing, movies, music and other inspirations.