During my 52 weeks of counseling in my last year of college, there were many reoccurring themes that pointed to why my life wasn’t working out for me. One of those themes was the way I approached relationships with people I loved or with whom I wanted to have love me back. My counselor told me, “A good relationship should feel easy Katie, but you want to make it very difficult for yourself.” She couldn’t have been more right.
I was doing it all wrong.
Fast forward through a few years of college and various methods of self-destruction (like most other college students) and I was still completely confused with what the hell I was doing with my life. I saw my counselor for the rest of that summer after I graduated so I could continue to work on developing tools to deal with mild depression, relationships and try to muster up some self respect. The last one was the most challenging and some days it is still at the top of my “things we need to work on” list. It feels like I am constantly trying to out work that voice in my head that is telling me if I don’t get up at a certain time, or finish x amount of projects per week, or get through the to-do list that day that I am a failure.
I really had to work on myself to get to where I’m at today; a place of acceptance. Part of what helped me get to that place was art and the other part was Nick.
There was something about learning to love my imperfect creations that helped me understand that me as a person, was never going to be perfect either because I’m human. There are going to be pencil marks and pieces that I like more than others but all of my artwork is a journey and it doesn’t have to be leading to a specific destination. It is always evolving and changing and going somewhere new. Much like I want the journey of my life to be.
I told Nick about my depression and anxiety right when we started dating which was within a week of knowing each other (about 4 months ago). I wanted to give him an easy out right away because I didn’t think anyone would want to be with someone who struggled with depression. I also wanted to hide the fact that I had an Etsy shop because it is different but it was quite impossible when he entered my apartment and there was my desk filled with paint and artwork piled up on the window sills.
It quickly became clear that if I was going to do this, I needed to show all of my cards and he could take it or leave it.
Nick saw everything else.
He is beyond supportive of me, my shop and the anxiety that comes with that. Yesterday I was having one of those days where I wasn’t sure if my shop was worth pursuing because I was having a hard time figuring out a small hiccup in a new project (yes, I know, I’m a drama queen, hence the name queenikathleeni). We grabbed a drink, talked it out and he told me the second someone bought just one thing from my shop, that was the moment it was worth it in his eyes. Then he proceeded to persuade me to open up another shop “qk custom” that I built today and it will launch in two days. (More on that later this week) I’m not sure how he did that, but I’m glad he did.
Before I met him, I had convinced myself that I could not be in a relationship while I was growing my business because I couldn’t handle it all. I have the tendency to put all of these guidelines on myself on how everything should be. I should be working a 9-5 and have a job that I went to college for and not use any of my creative talents because that was not my original plan.
That’s not how it works and he has shown me what it feels like to sit back and say “It’s okay.”
I think I will keep you. It’s just so easy with you.
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I’m Katie, the brand strategist, designer, dreamer, and entrepreneur behind Artful Brands. Dreamy typefaces, clean layouts, and soft color palettes are my love language— but more importantly designing strategic brands that book.