About 2 years ago I was invited to the first Designer Vacation (2012) in Palm Springs. I was so flattered to be among that group of women invited to attend. We were moving from Hawaii to California, I had a 10 month old baby and we were pretty poor but I just knew I was going to go!
A few days before the retreat I had a miscarriage… we had just moved across the ocean, we didn’t own much, our future was uncertain and then I had this huge loss. I felt broken and sad. I took Henry and Conor with me that year. At first it felt like taking my mom to the first day of school with me. I felt like everyone could tell I was suffering and needed to bring my security blanket. Everyone else seemed so young and free and wise beyond their years and accomplished all at the same time. Somehow, inspite of my sadness and my comparing myself I still managed to form what is now my creative tribe. The girls that I met that year are now among the first people I call when things aren’t going right. They are the first to tell me that I did an awesome job on my latest project. They know when things aren’t going well and they offer advice and empathy when I need it.
This year me and some of my favorite girls drove out to Salvation Mountain. It was incredible. I was so amazed and inspired by the size of the work and the devotion it must have taken to create it. My friend Kathleen had a baby this last year. Just like I did 2 years before she brought her young babe and husband. Kathleen (with her son tied to her in a sling) and her husband walked in front of me as we made our way down the side of Salvation Mountain. At one point it got kinda steep and she looked as though she might fall. Jeremy grabbed her arm and at the same time she said, “let’s go down together.” They walked slowly down the side of the mountain with their arms around each other. As I watched them I started to cry. I think it was a combination of missing my own family, feeling overwhelmed with gratitude for this creative tribe that I have found and the spiritual energy of the place. It was the feeling you get when you know you are exactly where you should be at exactly the right time.
I’m so glad that I have stumbled along this path. This creative freelancing path has not always been easy. It might look kinda glamorous from the outside world… Like I just travel and paint letters all day? HA! While it has been really great it has also been hard. I’ve had a few difficult things thrown in the mix like loss, and accidents, and clients telling me they hate everything I am showing them… and just life. But having a tribe of people who get it, who get me, who I can be myself around, who bring their babies to retreats and still act like bosses when they do it, has made all the difference.