"I am a sculptor!"... This sounds so weird. I was claying a few hours ago and this thought came into my mind like a lightning bolt. First I wanted to make a photo of myself claying and share it on Instagram or something like that, but then I started to develop this thought and have felt a huge desire to write something important in my blog about myself before 2017 is completely over. I guess the last post of the year needs to have some meaning to it. Let's see :)
I have been so lucky to always know who I wanted to be in life. An "Artist" was the name of my life's purpose as a personality, which I had figured out around the final year in my kindergarten and never had any doubts about it. A "Mother" was a name of my purpose as a woman and realising that has taken not less than 25 years for sure. I always knew it, but it took some challenges in life to understand that this is something I wouldn't be able to live without. And you especially realise it, when what you desire so much just isn't happening. And I am still working on it very hard.
And the last thing was to find the biggest secret of all, which was my soul's deepest desire. When I say the biggest secret, I am talking about God and Spirituality. Since childhood I had so many questions bothering me and my mind was always restless to find out about the universe, the Lord, what is out there? Is there someone out there?
The first and the last desire seems to me has finally manifested at least to some degree, even if through some huge struggles.
Actually, it became clear to me, that there is no way to achieve such huge goals without any struggle. Some will require sacrifices, some will require dedication and sleepless nights, some will require months and months of crying and reevaluating your life, some will require betrayal and even self-betrayal to realise... In any case, something so big never comes cheap, and never comes fast.
Take my career for example. I might seem to be, as they call me, one of the most famous polymer clay journal makers out there, but what does it mean for me? Appearances can sometimes be very deceiving and as we are warriors of light, we are always trying to mask away all the ugly bits and only show the goodness.I know I am like that. This makes people want to be like us, makes some people jealous, makes some people inspired... Well, today's post is not going to be about goodness alone, but I hope it can still be inspiring. Time for the truth I guess. I just feel like sharing my guts out just before 2018 steps in.
Since 2007 I was developing myself as a polymer clay artist, a sculptor, a storyteller and whatever other names can apply, where one of them is also Mandarin Duck, the name of my brand and me as an artist. It has been a very rough and tough journey and it still is. I had a few moments of a great success and a boost from Bored Panda twice, which has allowed me to quit my Day Job 3 years ago, for which I am eternally grateful. As well as I will be always hugely grateful to Jeannie Havel and PcPolyzine, without which I would have never known that Facebook has groups of like-minded individuals obsessed with polymer clay and art. She picked me up from the very bottom when I was very depressed and couldn't go on in my career and she showed me the light! I have also made quite a few cool moves personally in my business in the past few years by developing a set of Mandarin Duck Texture Stamps, creating my own Mandarin Duck Toolset and other things. But I have also made quite a few big mistakes as a business woman and just as a human being, developing the range of things too fast, which overwhelmed me and the business in whole and added a lot of extra hours of work in packing, postal services, constantly sorting stuff, arranging stuff and so on. Joined with my shopaholic addictions (not a joke.. I am a shopaholic and I finally recognised it!)... I have shot myself in a foot here, not only spending all the necessary money out of my carelessness to invest back into stock but also spending the necessary money to pay my taxes. I thought I was fine, I thought I will manage until I have calculated how successful previous year was and realised how much taxes I needed to pay. So the last 5-6 months has been a huge financial struggle for me and even if my tools and items still keep selling well, the financial trouble I got myself into still lasted and it still goes on. Joined together with my personal relationship problems, the stress I am under right now is, or I should say was, for the first 2-3 months almost unbearable. And I know I was travelling to my hometown twice as well as I flew to India, but that was all either prepaid almost a year ago or booked for the last available money to escape the pain the only way I could.
So you can see from this short explanation, that a story of an artist, their success, their business can be as easily changed and is as fragile, as you can only imagine. This year I have definitely come to understand that black stripes of a "life-zebra" can be very challenging. It seems to me that all that I have lived before and all the challenges I had before were just nothing comparing to what I am going through right now. But also, perhaps comparing to other people, my challenges, struggles and sorrows are nothing. Just a little stress which I will have to overcome with time and learn to be a better self, stronger self, more learned self... until I commit some other mistake again or life will decide to test me again in mysterious ways.
Though the struggle was and still is huge, I have learned so much for the last 4-5 months. I have learned that you should never neglect your relationship for the sake of work, communal service or other interesting things that can be voluntarily or forcibly taking your attention. I have never read so many books, listened to so many lectures about relationships, as I did in the past 4 months... So I guess regardless of the outcome, I must have become wiser when it comes to relationship matters, at least a bit. That's for sure ;) I have also learned that sometimes feelings come and go and the most painful thing is when these feelings are not yours. So you can't control them. And then there is free will... and even God can't make us love him :( What to say about people. And I have learned that leaving is not an option even in this case... And I have realised the true meaning of thick and thin...and vows... and service...
I have also learned that I can lose 10kg in 3 months from stress, which I see as one of the only great news and outcome in my struggle, but my friends and relatives are worried as I have never changed so rapidly. People who haven't seen me for 3-4 months and finally met me at some random event have all noticed and expressed their concerns. But not to worry. I am eating fine now. Just trying to keep the weight on my new metabolism is not as easy. Holding onto my 50kg now ( I was 63kg in February 2017). Can't allow me to drop any lower! But I have definitely seen and understood the pattern of how some people lose control of their eating habits, neglect their meals from the inability to deal with the stress and choose not to eat.. I have touched just the edge of it and realised how scary this actually is and how anorexia can creep in so unnoticeable. You almost let it happen willingly because you just don't want to fight anymore... It is good at that point to have an army of Knight-Friends which I am so lucky to have, who would tell you off, scold you, force you to eat, take you out and make you laugh and then force you to eat again. Without them, it could have been different.
Also shopoholism... You never know that you have it until you have gone too deep into trouble. It is so deceiving and creeps into your mind so willingly and hides behind so many different names, you don't even notice it. I used to say: "Well, I am a woman, that's what we do!" or something like "This is how I deal with stress, it calms me down" or " I can afford it!" until after some calculations made I have realised that for the past year I have almost spent an amount of money that I could have invested in a house deposit and could have started working on that property ladder if I would be wiser. When I realised that, it struck me like a lightning with guilt from my own stupidity and carelessness. I was devastated. Something I wanted so much I have exchanged for a bunch of clothes, cosmetics, tonnes of unused products and things, best of them my bycicle and my new phone and some trips abroad, which at least mean something... And clothes... were worn, bored off, donated or binned... And this is all clothes will ever be. I am not saying we don't need clothes. But to make it all even worse, everything I have bought for the past year is now hanging on me like a potato bag as I lost 3 sizes... So I can't even wear it much, or I wear it and it looks baggy on me.
So yes, this year has been a huge challenge for me, but I guess God has decided to solve quite a few problems and my own personal requests at once. I wanted to be more serious about family, I wished to lose that extra weight, I wanted to learn to save up money, I wanted to have closer friendships and better relationships with my relatives, I wanted to get married so badly and to have children. So somehow in this whirlpool of trouble I am going through right now, I have managed to accomplish all of that apart of the last two. These are still work in progress. But at least not a dead end :)
I am putting a lot of hopes into 2018 and I am writing this post so that I have something to look back at in a year's time and to see how much I and my life will change. I hope the change will be positive, as there is never a struggle without some goodness, some positivity and all.
So I guess what I wanted to say is that life can be and will be very tough sometimes. Relationships can take a huge hit or even break, health can be destroyed or badly damaged, friendships can be broken and the winter of life will inevitably come to every one of us as a life's test. Older people will support me in that and will know what I am talking about as they had that extra time spent battling with mother life, losing and winning. But as I said before, there is never evil without goodness. Through your struggles you will always be able to find out more about yourself, discover previously unseen beauty in life, finally find out who your real friends are, who you really are with all your dirt and sins, see what you as a person are capable off and what are the limits you can be pushed to before you explode. Challenges are designed to make us stronger and are never sent to us as a punishment, but rather as a life's lesson. During these lessons you learn to appreciate, to care more, to strive to become a better person, fight your demons and not to give up. Sometimes not giving up may be the hardest part. But then you realise that giving up is not an option anyway because you love life and all people around you too much.
So for myself, I have decided that I am going through a winter in my life noLike As every other winter, it's never forever lasting, even if it's full of frost, cold, blizzards and icicles that are eager to destroy your heart with their cold and painful blades. Winters don't last forever and guess what? The most amazing period - SPRING!!! comes right after it :) So I will just sit here in my heart's -30'C and will try to light up a fire in my life with the help of my wonderful friends, with creativity, as it has always saved me from all troubles, with prayers to the Lord, as he is always near me, holding my hand and giving me his warm breath of hope. Spring will come, I am sure about it. And I will be fine. And all of us one day will get better and will do better and will find that amazing grace and peace. For that, I wish today on 29th of Jan, 2017! Let's see how the story of 2018 will unfold for me.
I am eager to find out! Are you? :)
I had a tough, emotional, crazy, devastating, progressive and regressive year.
SEE WHAT HAPPENED IN 2017:
1. Mailo was diagnosed with Glaucoma of both eyes and his left eye was removed.
2. My dear friend, the fox Leesa has died almost in my arms after 2 year of me befriending him.
He was hit by a car.
3. I finally went to Ukraine to meet up with my very dear friend Ellen Rococo (Elena Osadcha) who I became online polymer clay buddies 2 years ago. Now one of the best friends.
4. I have also visited my Grandma in Ukraine who is now 94 and who I haven't seen for 10 years.
5. I have decided to aspire for a spiritual guru His Holiness Radhanath Swami to be my lifetime spiritual guru and still working towards this goal.
6. God has given me a team of amazing girlfriends, Tana, Lera, Anna and Ellen, without whom I wouldn't survive this year. That I can bet on. They are my official angels.
7. I got my first tattoo to show my commitment to my spiritual life.
8. My father got hospitalised with a blood vessel burst in his brain. He was few steps away from death as doctors stated and a miracle saved him. He is now almost fully recovered.
9. I have developed a line of my own Mandarin Duck Tools and a line of interior decor products with my personal designs.
10. I have lost 10kg of weight due to stress.
11. I went for a 2 week spiritual pilgrimage to India
12. I have gone and am still going through the most difficult time in my personal life.
Somehow... for all these things that have so rapidly crushed onto my head this year I am grateful as each of these things has given me something to the piggybank of my life. Be it commitment, work on my own self, reevaluation of life, spiritual progress, realisations of my own imperfections.
They say that only when the struggles come into our life we are getting closer to God and are seeking his help as well as we are getting closer to our friends and relatives. We are getting in touch with our own selves. So struggles in fact, even if very painful, are still very useful things.
As long as there is something important to learn from them, let them come...
I am wishing a very happy New Year of 2018 to everyone who has managed to read this post fully.
- May life bring you challenges, but may you remain calm
- May life give you happiness, also remain calm
- Both come and go and change each other in this circle of life in order to polish us like diamonds, so our hearts can shine brightly one day and so that there is some purpose in our lives and we can do some good in the lives of others.