In my early twenties I longed to be 28, because in my mind it signified time passing and progress. I imagined that at 28 I’d have control of my life and would be happily self-employed, traveling often and moving from project to project. I’m 27 years old, and I’m not sure that in eleven months I’ll be as carefree or as settled as younger me envisioned. I’ve definitely become more grounded, and I’m way more focused on my creative work, but I really don’t feel that I have it as together as young me imagined. And yet, I've built and I've used my fire, and the messiness has turned out to be very important in all this.
It might my Taurus sun, or Capricorn moon, Aqua midheaven, or fifth house in Virgo, or all the 3’s, but I am constantly thinking about projects and my visions for my life. I need to feel that I’m always creating and building. When I am aligned with this I feel myself be in touch with the threads and my magic and I know why I’m here. But when I’m too tired to make, or when I feel that I'm not moving forward with a project, everything else feels dimmer. If enough time passes, I become anxious and incredibly frustrated.
I'd love to say that every day I dedicate hours to my art and projects. However, as important as making and building is to me, life and capitalism and my very sensitive and sometimes anxious insides haven't been as cooperative in my doing ALL the things. And yet, from the anxiety and discontent, and need to fight my way out, my projects and art have become the way I survive and thrive. Much of my work has come from the need to process life, and lay out my frustrations, and figure out how to make the big and the small work for me. It's the ache on my chest from my routines and off days, that gets me to look at people in the subway and wonder how they're making it work for them. It's the realization that they go through it too, and that we're all part of systems designed to oppress us, that shakes me long enough to get me to build and create.
My struggle isn't completely personal, and as stubborn as I am about making this work for me, I know that autonomy and liberation for me, a bi woman of color living in a white supremacist society isn’t quite so simple. But I also know that I feel loved, and there’s so much I love, and I constantly see support and creativity and magic around me. I see people creating spaces for themselves and their people, and I know that as fucked up as this gets, we humans have the incredible ability to survive and heal, and create what we need. The system wants us to be hopeless and powerless, and for us to forget the ways in which we can create and manifest. But thankfully, the women that have come before us, and the ancestors that have fought for us to be here, have all left our blood brimming with power and fire.
Thanks to the eternal ups and downs, I also know that life sometimes sucks, and I'm not exempt from loss and struggle and heartache. Having to figure out how to build from the messiness, and work with what I have, is what ultimately gives me the fire and clarity to truly be intentional in my life. Because I’m really not about to go through all this bs, to then give myself and my energy to anything that isn't aligned with me. If I'm supposed to fight and learn and commit, I'm deciding what my powers go to, thank you very much.
Thankfully, with time I’ve realized that building doesn’t need to be that complicated and that I can add small and simple rituals to my days. On most days I write and find time to draw small sketches. Whenever possible I try to have a full day where I’m alone, and solely focus on self-care and projects. Those days are incredibly important because they allow for my mind to quiet long enough to think of new things, and actually develop a project. Of course, this can't always happen because I have a full-time job, and people that I love and want to be with, and there are errands to run, and they all require time. And sometimes I'm so tired that all I want is to rest and read fic and marathon shows.
While I’m very stubborn about my projects and creative goals, I also understand that I have to work to pay rent and student loans and feed myself. My basic needs of shelter and food and survival are all tied to money and my labor and my time. I’m certainly not the first person that has to work to survive, and I’m 100% sure that I won’t be the last. So to work with my reality and be clear on where I’m at: I have to trade time and labor for money, and I am simply not able to dedicate an entire week to a project.
So with the acceptance that I need to work with what I have (capitalism + limited time and energy), the focus has become more and more on daily rituals. I keep having to remind myself to acknowledge what is already happening in my life, and the ways in which creativity and building are already abundant in my days. I write on most days, I'm constantly taking pictures with my phone, I sketch more and more nowadays, and I usually make at least one zines per week.
Sometimes I’ll spiral into thinking that I’m far from where I want to be. Because Luna Rio hasn’t been printed yet, and some weeks I’m not able to have a day for myself, and sometimes resources feel limited, or I wish that I was a better artist. I’m trying to let that motivate me. For the goals to inspire me to wake up every day and put in the work.
I know that everything flows and changes, and this won’t be my reality forever. When I’m in deep anxiety it feels as if this is it till the rest of time, and the effort to make moves for the life I want feel so big. But I’m learning to take pride and joy in small progress and consistent effort. I'm learning that life happens in the day to day, in the routine, and the building. And I’m learning to accept that sometimes the struggle will be one of the most important lessons. Getting to use everything I have to build the life I want for myself is the best challenge and it'll be my true alchemy test.
When I think about my ideal life the biggest part of it is that I’m somehow always in the process of creating or learning or engaging with what I love. It’s very simple; I want to write and make zines and videos and collages. I want to experience love in many forms, be overwhelmed by beautiful spaces, and spend time with people that make life good and sweet and fun. What I want out of this is to make and connect and engage. And I'm realizing that although I can certainly build up to big dreams and big projects, it really doesn’t need to fall on an idealized future or highest self. I'm already making and loving and being. I'm another tiny speck, and I get to humble the process long enough to accept that I'm responsible for the grand visions I have for my life. Building will require consistency as much as accepting that the only way is through.