On the drive into work today my Mom and I were having a conversation about how at certain points, life can seem like it has a weird vibe. Sometimes it comes along when things are changing or priorities are shifting, or when everything seems so up in the air that you're just trying to find something to grab a hold of and hang onto for dear life. I was telling her how this feels like one of those phases and that it was bothering me that I couldn't pinpoint why exactly the vibe was off. She said something that really got me thinking; she said maybe it's because right now there are so many unknowns, so many projects I'm still waiting to get the green light on and loose ends trying to get worked out. I realized after she said this that I'm not someone who likes it when everything is settled, but I also don't like it when there isn't a clear direction in sight either. Somewhere between chaos and settled is my happy place.
November of 2013 was one of the most chaotic times that I can remember. For the first time in my life, I quit the only job I had with nothing lined up to take it's place. It was a decision that had been brewing for months, and then one day I just couldn't take it anymore. The atmosphere was toxic; I would wake up stressed every morning, sit in my car to eat lunch so I could be by myself, and the worst? I started to doubt myself.
After a couple weeks of applying for jobs online, my Mom said, "Ok lets go out with a handful of resumes and drive around everywhere". So that's what we did. I looked online for art galleries and shops in the area, and found one I had never stepped into before. This would end up being the first and only stop of our mission. At the time it was Bogside Gallery, which is where Made In the Maritimes now sits in the Hydrostone. I walked in and immediately noticed all of the beautiful old details of the building and the colourful handcrafted items which filled it to the ceiling. After a few moments I heard "Hello?" from up on top of a ladder where Barbara, the owner, was dusting off some displays. I introduced myself and asked if they were looking for anyone to work, also giving her the small spiel I had memorized before I went in. She didn't say anything for a second, then looked me up and down and told me to go hang up my coat in the basement. I was so excited that I forgot my Mom was outside, and had to quietly call her from the stores basement to tell her I wasn't coming back out! I'll never forget having to look at a business card on the counter to remember what the gallery was called.
Walking in that little shop would become one of the best decisions I've made. Even though the hours weren't full time and the money was minimum wage, what I got from there was so much more. I fell in love with art again, was inspired to go to work everyday, and became involved with my city's art community like I hadn't been before. It gave me the confidence I needed to find myself again.
I'll be the first to admit that sometimes shit can just suck, but I also believe there is always something positive you can find in any situation. That awful job could have plagued me for a long time, but instead I now know that trudging through the shit was necessary to get to something better in the long run. This mornings conversation with my Mom reminded me of that. I encourage you to look for the positive when the vibe feels off, because I promise you the day feels brighter and the coffee tastes better.