Fourteen years ago, I tentatively walked into an accountant’s office to set up my interior design business with the state of Wyoming. I had just finished my schooling, I had little kids (my oldest was just headed to Kindergarten), and our financial state was precarious as my husband had just launched his own construction business a few years prior.
I didn’t feel qualified to run a business.
But it was a matter of survival for me. I thought I could make a difference in our family finances. I needed to engage with my creativity more deeply as another type of emotional survival.
Through all the twists and turns, here I sit, trying to put into words my experience of business and life as it happened over the last year. It was certainly the busiest I’ve ever been, and that always amazes me, because it wasn’t always like that.
When I started my business, the only thing I could figure out to do was to start blogging. Blogging was just starting to taper off from its height with sponsors and influencers, but it was still hot. You might find this funny, but I wasn’t even that tied into running a design business. I thought I could pick up a little work here and there, but I didn’t have a mapped-out plan. I considered blogging about running mostly, as it has always been a major love of mine, but settled into a “lifestyle” track with design advice and recipes. People seemed to like the recipes the most. With the help of Facebook and Twitter, I was able to create a network of other designers and some followers. I eventually added LinkedIn and Instagram to my arsenal, and quite a few amazing experiences happened through those lines.
Over time though, as Facebook bought out Instagram and the algorithms lost their organic reach, I dropped my social media accounts one-by-one. (I’m now on a lesser-known platform called Vero). While I’ve made great connections through social media, I finally felt it wasn’t doing anything besides sucking time away from clients. From reality. From life.
So I finally found one that didn’t feel so addictive and chaotic, and left everything else behind.
I miss the easy connections, but it hasn’t stifled business in any way. As stated above, this has been the busiest year yet. Overall, it’s been a wonderful thing to get off of the social media hamster wheel. I also feel that privacy will become one of our most precious commodities. And with that, I’m still debating how much to put into this post about last year.
Writing is a healing practice for me, and shared experience can help those around us. So I’ll keep attempting to walk that fine line, and acknowledge I’m in a very different place than I was a decade ago when I would share almost anything and everything.
I’ve worked with beautiful clients and on some amazing projects over the last year that I can’t wait to share. These are by far my best work to date. I had clients who trusted the vision and allowed that work to take place. I threw my heart and soul into the work. And I hope to update my website in 2023 to share this work in the best light possible.
My newsletter has dropped off the face of the earth as I’ve tried to keep up with work. I’m always debating how integral it is anyway, and will continue to use it here and there.
This is the year I’ve grappled with “interior design” emotionally too.
You guys, mid-life is no joke! After getting a handle on my oldest leaving the nest, I have been wrestling non-stop with what I want the second half of life to look like. I’ve had a lot of, “What the hell am I doing?” moments. I have had this long-lasting, subtle narrative running that interior design isn’t an “important” enough profession, and I’d like to make a bigger impact someway; somehow. And I signed myself up for coaching again, because I needed help.
But interior design wasn’t the main reason.
Where do I even begin?
Should this even have a place on my interior design website?
For those of you who aren’t religious or spiritual who are here, feel free to skip this section. Rest assured it’s not something that I’ll keep talking about on this website, but I do need to write about it for those who might be interested or are a part of my small community.
I was raised and have participated in a conservative Christian, high-demand religion my entire life. If you’re wondering why, well, when that’s the water you were born in, you don’t even think about the water. It’s a safe container (if you look and act the way everyone expects you to) and you don’t really give it any thought.
My particular brand of religion has very prescribed roles for men and women. I knew I was taking a little different path than most women in my faith when I started my business. But survival was still the most important thing and trumped the fact that I was going against many of those prescribed roles. I found that all the narratives around working women just weren’t panning out as they had been taught in my church. To put it in better words than mine, I found a feather bed where there was expansion and growth and happiness instead of the dark, scary world I had been warned about.
It didn’t quite make sense. Other things started to not make sense, but I shelved them and kept walking. There was so much to deal with, and I didn’t feel enough stress to address the fundamentalist faith I was living and breathing. I kept it out of the design world too. While I knew I was in a minority, this is America, right? All faiths and creeds belong and have a place.
The shelf really started to crack when my sister-in-law passed away (seven years ago!). I started more intense study (LEARNER is, after all, my number one Gallup strength). In the last three years, it’s really come to a head. I dived into other faith traditions and psychology with an insane intensity. I wanted to know how brains worked, how communities formed, how faith developed…everything!
The cognitive dissonance finally became so great, I started to feel like a trapped animal with nowhere to turn. (I wrote a blog post expressing some of my frustrations on my other website, if you are interested in delving into this a little more). I found a life coach to talk to who specializes in faith transitions. She’s been integral in helping me walk through the rubble of what was and into a better place. I understand that this is growth, and while I feel weak and tired, I am ready to step into this new spiritual place more openly. I’m ready to drop the weight I’ve been carrying for a decade. Even typing that, I’m not sure what that looks like. It’s just an intension.
My hope is that writing this will touch someone who’s in that confusing place of a deconstructing fundamentalist faith, and that you know there are people (border walkers, you might say) who are grappling and searching for a faith that is much more expansive, inclusive, forgiving, and whole. If this is you, and you want to talk about it more, reach out via my contact page. Those emails come to me privately. You aren’t crazy or bad. It’s really hard, but you aren’t alone.
This section might make you have more questions than answers. So where are you now, you might be wondering? What do you believe? At this point, if you sincerely want to know, contact me privately. It’s not my intent to turn this page into a religious arena. I want to be honest but I also want a boundary around my creative space that, for the most part, separates it from religion and politics.
Running & Horses
In 2022, I was training for my second 50K ultra. Training was going well.
At the end of July, a few weeks before my race, I was riding our OTTB Stuart. We were doing cantering work in the arena and he veered sharply to the right. I came off, landing on my tailbone. It felt like I hit concrete. I debated getting back on (because it’s not good to end a riding session on a bad note), but I ultimately decided against it.
It was a good thing.
As I tied him up and switched his bridle to a halter, I suddenly became nauseous. I had to lay in the dirt right next to his feet until the world stopped spinning and the nausea subsided. I painfully made my way into the house to call Dave and have my daughter unsaddle Stu.
I didn’t get X-rays right away, but when I finally did, the radiologist said I had fractured my sacrum in two places. So my running (and everything else physical) came to an abrupt halt.
I love running. I love my horses. And I have always known both can be risky in their own way. I’m not stopping either. As I work through this mid-life junk, I see them as my saving grace as I continue to get older. I currently have a two-year old that has started training, and in 2023 I plan on continuing to work with her and incorporate my love for horses and running even closer. I have this slightly absurd vision of us running all over the mountains together, with her at liberty most of the time (without me pulling on a lead rope or riding her). This funny dream has captured my imagination and I’m here for it.
I dropped my training back down to the 25K distance so I can spend more time with my horses. I plan on hiking with my baby, if possible. And I’ve even set aside one day a week that’s all for my horses…no exceptions (hopefully I can get in some rides at night after work as well). This is new and exciting and it will be interesting to see how this works as my work load seems to be increasing. I’m going to have to embrace saying “no” more often to the things I don’t want to do.
Things I’ve Learned
First of all, the longer I live the less I know. I was so smart when I was in my 20s….haha!
With that, one of the best things I’ve learned this year is that life wants to teach you how to lose. I used to think this was the worst part of life. I hate failure (and knowing this makes me see glimpses of my huge ego). Life gives your ego a beating! These days, if I’m begin a better human, I’m trying to sit with — and even embrace, if possible — the fact that falling IS life. Failure is a beautiful (albeit painful) thing. Because any time the ego gets knocked out of you, you’ll find real freedom.
I’ve glimpsed that freedom, a couple of times.
I’m not a guru and I don’t aspire to be one. I just want to live life well.
Second, of all the ways I continue to fail, I’ve lucked out with my husband and kids. I love my teenagers (and one adult child), and my husband continues to support and challenge me in all the best ways. Goodness, I love them! The second half of life looks sweeter and more fragile than I ever imagined.
Namaste, friends. Until next time!