30 Paintings in 30 Days
I am not where I thought I would be. When I decided to close my shop for the summer, I thought, come September 1st, I would be settled into a new home, new studio, and new family. What a happy little picture with a neat little bow tied around it. I thought that being 8-10 months pregnant with no day job would allow me to paint all day every day. I'd have oodles of new paintings to sell, and everything would be exactly as I imagined. This is not my reality. I'm one of those people who just push through being sick or injured, never stopping to really rest. It isn't until it's all over that I look back and say "wow I was really sick. I probably shouldn't have gone to work (or worked out, or maniacally cleaned the house, etc.) That's exactly how my third trimester went. I painted exactly one painting. I didn't realize how exhausted and out of it I was until it was over.
I'm still living in my parents house with no concrete path out. I don't have a new house. I don't have a new studio. My paintings are still in bubble wrap. I haven't replenished my turpentine. I haven't cracked open my oil paints. No pretty paintings all hanging in a row. No sunny afternoons spent barefoot and wearing a peaceful, happy baby while I'm up to my elbows in messy work. In fact, last night was the best night of sleep yet. Our Noodle slept from midnight to 7 am only needing a diaper change around 4:30! I feel surprisingly settled into motherhood, but completely unsettled in my life. I have no routine, nothing of my own to take care of, and no alone time. In fact, the small paintings I just listed, were painted in fits and starts between Noodle's gassy fits and starts.
I could choose to dwell on these things. For a long while it was impossible not to. It was impossible to not feel the looming (self imposed) deadline of September 1st. We are out of income and were frantic about insurance for our newborn. I was trying to be faithful and just make it to the next day. The next day is when things would finally work out. Or I could choose trust. I can trust that everything we need will be taken care of. I don't have to sit paralyzed in fear. I don't have to wait to follow my dreams. The thing about trust is that it's black or white. You either trust our you don't. There is no room for fear when you trust. It is absolute.
I chose trust.
So I decided not to wait. I decided, that even though there is nothing logical about diving into multiple time consuming and potentially expensive creative endeavors when you have a newborn, no income, and a very small savings, I have to trust and just do it. I can't live my life on hold any longer. It's not really living. It's sitting and waiting. It's being a spectator to your own life.
I've come to this realization largely in part to my friend Jessica. She's been one of my dearest friends for 10 years. We had an instant connection, and have gone through ups and downs, career changes, moves, depression, and triumph. It's a real and gritty friendship. She's seen me at my worst and best. She's supported me and called me out when I needed it. In fact, Kenzi Cox Paintings only exists because she encouraged me to do it. It is because of her insistence that I was good enough and with her constant help, I opened my kenzicoxpaintings instagram account just over a year ago. We tend to share our goals with each other as a way to keep accountable. In our most recent goal share, she mentioned wanting to write for her instagram 4 days a week in the month of September. A week later, I stumbled upon a challenge to paint 30 Paintings in 30 Days. Something inside me just screamed YES. Before I could logic my way out of it, I texted Jessica immediately. Her response? Let's do it together. So for the month of September, I'm going to paint a painting every day, and Jessica is going to draw inspiration from said painting for a short story. I feel like there is nothing more perfect or scary than to do this right now. This kind of accountability and action is exactly what my life needs. I have a newborn and will probably be moving and a million other reasons it's not the right time. But, I've decided to trust. I feel a calling, and I'm going to follow it. Logic be damned. So if you don't already, be sure to follow me (kenzicoxpaintings ) and Jessica (wild_writing) on instagram to see this creative collaboration! September feels so full of promise and challenges. I can't wait to see what happens when I choose trust over fear and just dive in.