You may remember my first Friday Failures post and that I shared a failed cupcake recipe with you. It’s meant to show you that not everything I do turns out great and to just laugh and embrace the mistakes. However this Friday Failures post is going to be far less comical and probably one of my most personal and raw posts to date. There’s still photos and a project that I worked on that was a bit of a failure, but the process of how I got there is a vital piece to the story and explains why Tattooed Martha has been a dormant blog for the past few months.
As I said, things have been quiet on here and it’s because things in my life have been anything but quiet. There have been some good days peppered in there too and I suppose I could have only written about those things, but that didn’t really feel authentic to me. You can’t just chop up bits of your life and only share what you think people will actually want to see and hear. Sadly, when you’re experiencing hurt and emotional vulnerability, people tend to turn away. They don’t want to hear about this painful time, they only want to hear how you overcame it and how you’re this wonderfully evolved and happy human being now. For fear of turning the blog into this sad little diary of my hurt, heartache, and struggles, I chose silence and kept telling myself I would write when things were settled down. Well, at this rate that means I may never blog again because things are still pretty.. for lack of a more accurate or intelligent phrase.. fucked up in my life.
I was really unhappy with my job so I made the jump to a new one that paid better and offered more consistency. What I didn’t factor in is the 2+ hours a day that I spend commuting and that it’s a little monotonous, which has been eating up a lot of time and energy that I would rather spend creating and writing. Add in some transportation hiccups like no parking or really expensive parking, horrible traffic, delayed trains, and most recently being pulled off the train twice in a week by officers and getting ticketed $350 for train ticket issues. Losing over half of one of my paychecks just to get to work doesn’t make the “daily grind” any easier and makes me feel like whatever I do to change my situation for the better, goes horribly opposite.
To add a bit more to my plate, I’ve had a fairly tumultuous personal life recently. I will only say that the past several months have been heart breaking, eye opening, and stressful beyond belief. I’m scared and constantly feel like I’m being torn into a million different pieces. I feel like I’m either on the brink of something really great or on the brink of losing my mind. Quite the terrifying fence to be straddling. You’ll have to forgive me for “Vague-Booking” as I call everyone’s emotionally distraught and ambiguous Facebook posts, but as much as I believe in honest writing and being forth coming about things, there are a few areas of my life that need to remain off the worldwide web. I just ask that people respect my need to hang onto a small shred of privacy.
Now onto my messy failure.. which ironically makes a cute little nickname for my life lately.
Last month I had finished the book, Rising Strong, and was inspired to create a little art quote project from it. I first want to say the author, Brené Brown, is phenomenal and I highly recommend the book or checking out her Ted Talks. It felt like she was speaking to my soul and it really helped me change the way I view and communicate my feelings. One particular section that stuck out was chapter two. Brené puts a quote page at the beginning of each section and this particular one read, “The middle is messy, but it’s also where the magic happens.”
It’s about that moment when you’ve just gotten knocked down to the ground and everything is a mess. You can either lay there and let life bury you further or you have the choice to be vulnerable, admit your failure, then get up and move forward with more strength and wisdom than before. This is the tougher of routes to take, but there’s a really beautiful transformation that happens within us when we choose it. The “magic” if you will.
I found it pretty ironic that the quote I chose really set the stage for what unfolded with the project. Much like my big life plans, I had a pretty solid picture in my mind of how I wanted this project to look and set out with the best intentions. I ran into a few tiny things that I had to make adjustments with, but everything seemed on track. I’m sure you can guess that it didn’t go so smoothly after that though.
Here’s a few shots of the various stages this particular canvas has gone through.. if it looks familiar it’s because the ‘FALL’ canvas was once a craft tutorial on the blog.
I added all of this paint to create a cool dripping effect, but then realized the paint was way too thick and I could barely find the letters underneath it all to peel off. I started to get some pulled off, but with the background I painted and all this paint dripping down, it was an unreadable mess. I decided to regress back to my pre-school days and threw my hands into the dripping paint and just started mixing. I realized I would have to go back to the drawing board and start this project all over again, which was a huge disappointment, but I thought I could just create this cool swirly backdrop to build on top of.
As I continued to push the paint around and peel off the letters, it started to reveal the words from the quote and actually look pretty neat. I grabbed some paper towels, water, and a knife and continued to wipe and scrape the paint away until I was satisfied with it. It ended up turning out nothing like what I expected and yet I loved it far more than what I originally pictured. It’s funky, rustic, and was a complete failure-turned-success.
I actually started to tear up about it because it was such a cathartic experience. It had gone through several layers of transformation before it evolved into exactly what it was supposed to be. That’s also where I’m at in my life. I’ve already gone through many layers of change and now I’m buried in this messy stage yet again and trying to emerge. I had a solid picture of where things were heading, but it’s perhaps a different path and different final product than what I initially imagined. It’s in my nature to fight back when things start to change or go wrong, so I’m learning to adapt with it and remain confident in the fact that I will get to where I need to be.
So there you go.. it’s all out there now for the most part. When things start getting a little rough in life it’s tough to expose yourself in this way, especially in a world that can turn on you, judge you, and just flat out tear you apart with a few words and a click of button. I sincerely thank those of you that have hung in there with me and offered up kind words, support, and genuine love.
Now it’s time to pull myself up by my bootstraps and start kicking life’s proverbial ass!
Welcome back to blog everybody 🙂
Sending warm thoughts and good vibes.
Thank you Amber! We need to have an email catch up soon!
Love you. ❤
I love YOU! <3
Sounds like you making some steps in right direction using the best motivation possible which is yourself. Your life will always have ups, downs, and even sideways but they also make you who you are. No one is perfect but these “failures” will eventually make you stronger and better over time. When you least expect it, such as when painting, you will turn that corner and smile big.
Ironically my first tattoo ever was the quote, “What doesn’t kill me, makes me stronger.” Sometimes I feel like I should be dead already! Haha morbid humor, but I’m sure you understand. You just hit that point where you feel like you can’t handle anymore. Life has been pushing that to the limit lately. Thank you for the encouraging words!
Wow! It took a lot of guts to be so open and honest with your post and I want to tell you thank you for doing it. I too have had some big blows lately in my life and it helps to hear others are battling their own. Makes me feel like we’re all in this together to get through and make happy lives for ourselves even though it isn’t easy. We have to be tough and move on and look at the positive the best we can. Some days are definitely better than others. But I believe we can do it! I wish you all the best and that you can overcome this sucky chapter in your life. Your artwork is absolutely perfect and beautiful! You made my day! Xo
Thank you so much, Andrea. I’m sorry to hear that you’ve been a rough patch too. Everyone keeps joking that it’s Mercury in retrograde, but I feel like my whole life is in retrograde! Haha I really do hope things start improving for you too. We’ve got this!
Allison Murray says
I’m sorry things are tough. I hate hearing that but I also know you’re strong. Maybe you’re stronger than you even know. The nasty shit breaks some people, but it won’t break you. I don’t think there much I can do to help but if there is something just ask and it’s yours.
You’re so kind Allison, thank you. I’ll shoot you an email this weekend.. it’s been too long!
I’m not sure how I ended up finding your blog after reading and clicking through various sites, but I’m so happy I did. Thank you so much for sharing with me your messy middle and this book. I bought it months ago and have yet to read it. I will start this weekend. Sending a hug and look forward to reading more
Thank you so much Lisa! I think you’ll really enjoy the book.. it’s really helped me look inward about my communication and feelings and has helped me a lot when working through issues with others.
I’m very glad to see you back and posting again – I’ve been getting worried. I knew you were still kicking, as I follow your Instagram, but I was afraid maybe Tattooed Martha was over, and I wasn’t sure if it would be nosy or annoying of me to ask. Now I really wish I had said something because it sounds like you’ve been needing some support! Your commuting issues alone would send me into a nervous breakdown, poor girl! I hope that life settles down for you soon, professionally and personally. Hugs to you!
Thank you so much for thinking of me Connie! It’s been a tough road to get back to where I was, but I’ve got plenty of determination, ideas, and a new plan in place to keep the blog AND myself going!
Erin Schmit says
Welcome…You’ve been missed….
Brene is a savior – have many of her books.
When going through a divorce that I thought would destroy my soul, I promised myself to never forget that one NEVER knows what another is carrying in their heart – no matter what it appears on the outside. So I hope your heart is healing or is at least brave enough to know that eventually it will. I promise.
Thank you Erin <3 I'm happy to hear that she helped you through a great time of need as well. I find myself referencing it now and then to keep me on the right track mentally with things.