Our stories change all the time…how hopeful is that?
I like to work really hard at what I love. I think that is the string that ties my story together. I’ve been trying to make sense of my story for about two years now. It didn’t make sense to me at all for awhile, which is quite troubling. I like to put everything in its place. That’s who I am as a person. It’s actually something I’m trying to get better at…realizing that everything doesn’t have to make sense and that life is just that, a mystery, a messy mystery. I tend to try to put people in boxes after I’ve met them and when I can’t figure them out right away I usually am very judgmental. It’s a horrible quality but I know myself a bit too well. I like to be able to point to a reason as to why someone is the way that they are. Here is what I’ve found: the most amazing people make twists and turns so unpredictable they will never fit into a box because they write their own story. Their story often isn’t a path that hasn’t been cut before and I love that. It’s a challenging path and it’s appreciated.
I’ve had the pleasure to meet some of the most amazing people over the past year. Many whom I met because of my business; some through my part-time job. Regardless, most of them hadn’t set out originally with the plan to do what they were currently pursuing. I love that. That is so hopeful for the rest of us. The idea that you can’t change your mind is so ridiculous. It actually frustrates me because that is just the way the world is set up. You go to school for a certain degree to go into a certain profession and you need a certain amount of experience to get hired in a certain position. That path obviously didn’t work out for me so maybe I’m bitter but I think some of the most talented people get overlooked because of this. I feel really fortunate to be able to collaborate and work with those people. The ones who broke away from the mold…the typical way of doing things. That takes courage.
I love people who share their stories. Like the whole damn thing. The rough patches before they had any idea what they were doing, the giddy excitement they feel when they first started living their dream, the times they almost gave up and what made them keep going, who they mentored and who mentored them, how much wine they drank when their first big business deal fell through (I know mine was a lot…), and everything in between. I love people who never give up on me and take my dreams seriously. I love who understand the struggle of working from a coffee shop everyday. I love people who let me pick up more hours when the dream is going less than fabulously. I love people who inquire about purchasing my designs before they hit the shop because they just can’t wait that long and most of all I love anyone who has given me a second of their time when there was nothing in it for them. I always take note of these things and try to do them all for other people because what a gift that is to have someone else believing in and supporting your dream, idea, or just who you are as a person.
Okay so circling back now to my story and connecting the dots here…shoot this is going to be a long blog post. Hang with me while I spill my feelings to you again.
Some days I have no idea how the hell I went from a track running college student to an illustrator/aspiring stationer/blogger or whatever you want to call it. BUT, there are several dots to connect there. I’ve always loved people and sharing their stories, connecting them and helping them become the best they could possibly be. By doing that, I pushed them and they pushed me on the track. We bonded and shared things with each other. There was always a passion in me so deep towards what I was pursuing at the time that I tried to light that fire within others. I saw that as my gift while I was running track. Even if I couldn’t win my race, I was always going to be the one in the gym first doing the drills and the last one there lifting weights. I never wanted anyone to look at me at the end of the meet and be able to say, “Well she doesn’t really care because she didn’t work that hard.” And the one day someone did say that to me, I bawled my eyes out. Seriously.
As it turns out, none of that has changed. That is still part of my story that is sewn deep into me. I take things very personally because I am invested. I love what I am doing, I love people and their stories and that has made me a collaborator and supporter. But that was never enough for me, it wasn’t the full story.
I remember when I was really little and I made this amazingly cute drawing of a girl with sunglasses on and I called her my “Sunglass Sister.” Then I wanted to make a collection of them…sound familiar? I was 5. Then when I was in first grade I had a teacher that brought creativity into every assignment and gave us time in the morning to explore our creativity. I might have taken advantage of this when I decided I was going to start my own business by gathering a team of my classmates up and “hiring” them to make a colorful telephone book and give them out to my classmates. We had an assembly line and it was efficient. I’m pretty sure my teacher shut down that operation real quickly after she figured out what was going on but I have had entrepreneurial characteristics from a young age as well. Many drawings I had made into books by photocopying them on my parent’s fax machine on this horrible paper and bound into books…I put them in that same teacher’s bookshelf so I could share my creations with everyone. I have always loved sharing my work and sneakily saying HERE IT IS WORLD.
When you start to connect the dots of your own life, everything starts to make so much more sense. You see, I have been on this path for so long. After questioning why for what feels like forever (two years to be exact) I am starting to say “this feels good,” this path is starting to feel right. Our stories change, but they are tied together with little clues along the way.
“What we have to remember is that we can still do anything. We can change our minds. We can start over. The notion that it’s too late is comical. It’s hilarious. We can’t, we must not lose this sense of possibility because in the end, it’s all we have.” -Marina Keegan
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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.