So in moving back to Lakeland, FL in January 2014, I left behind a big part of my soul…Art Blooms, a business I had nurtured for over four years, a dream I had nurtured for over 20. It was going through a rough time, kind of like a preteen hitting puberty. There was a lot of resistance to growth, a lack of support from our business neighborhood, and perhaps some self-sabotage by my family who were unhappy for the amount it ran our lives.
But for me, it was more than an entity. A year later, I miss it still. I feel like I abandoned it once we got here. In the beginning of our new life here under the sun, I was determined to build Art Blooms 2.0 – a more defined business plan that focused on my love for art and my dedication to teaching and inspiring others.
I am building that business, but it is not Art Blooms 2.0. I abandoned the name I spent the last several years developing. Like a character in a book, the part was eliminated while the heroine moved on in her journey. For the last year, I debated about returning to the name, but my family has always been against it; a lot of baggage comes with it in their minds. It couldn’t fully support us once my husband lost his job. It required my undivided attention, while my kids grew in front of me and I was hidden behind a veil of preoccupation. It required the effort, hard work, and dedication of my children to continue. It required them to live a more grown up life than their ages suggested. It required my husband’s involvement during a time that depression consumed all his energy.
So, I walked away. I had already begun to move my business into a new direction. I was antsy, wanted something bigger. I needed to be in a place that valued art and creative energy; a place that others embraced my vision and would help forward my mission to inspire.
My new community does that, especially my art journaling class that I teach every Monday night. As my tribe, they support me and each other. It is a bond that began serendipitously and grew organically. It was one of them that titled our project tonight, Art Blooms.
A lot has changed in the year we have been back in Lakeland and the kids are getting to be kids again. A lot has stayed the same and I am still working 117 hours a week. I am continuing with the transition to Art Blooms 2.0 that I envisioned although it is not called Art Blooms. Under my own name, I am growing my business. Under my own name, I am inspiring others. Under my own name, I have no entity to hide behind. I am flying solo and…art continues to bloom.