the trick to surviving a difficult season

hello beautiful unsplash

hi. my name is jess.

i’m a word lover.

speaking words.
writing words.
reading words.

my heart revolves around linking consonants and vowels. sewing sounds and ideas. sketching a graceful flourish or a unique letterform. hunting for the perfect metaphor or a peculiar adjective. playing with texture and hues and technique.

for as long as i can remember i’ve loved to create—draw and paint. design t-shirts and posters. dabble with photoshop and indesign. craft stories and poems. act and dance.

yet somewhere along the way, i let the enemy of creativity whisper lies of inadequacy, inability, and fear deep into my soul. convincing me i’m not good enough, talented enough, worthy enough, interesting enough, original enough for anyone to pay attention.

so i put down my pen, pencil, and keyboard and stopped creating.

then, in 2015, my whole life was turned on its head. a year of loss. confusion. fear. anxiety. loneliness. uncertainty.

and in the midst, i learned the trick to surviving a difficult season:

anchor yourself to what breathes life.

early last spring, i had a conversation with my sweet friend, Hannah, about fostering creativity. we listened to this killer liturgists’ podcast and started reading The Artist’s Way. since then, our conversations have revolved around carving out artist’s dates, writing morning pages, and dreaming about how to make our passions more central to our lives. hannah is a gifted songwriter and musician (who has the voice of an angel). she has been my biggest creative cheerleader and rear-kicker when it came to launching this site.

a few months later, my life went to hell (which we’ll talk about more in future posts).

socked in the stomach, the air was sucked right out of me. i didn’t feel like myself. my bandwidth depleted. energy zapped. compassion slipped away. i became a shell of who i once was. just a warm body with a faint pulse.

i let my circumstances control me instead of taking charge of what i could control.

at my wits end, i made a list (i’m a total list maker).

a list of things that breathe life. it looked something like this:

  • listening to thoughtful podcasts (hello Science Mike and npr)
  • exercising regularly
  • eating delicious & quirky food (especially tacos)
  • coffee dates with my besties
  • snuggling my fluffball (even if she hates it)
  • drawing & handlettering
  • dancing along to my favorite song
  • writing & journaling
  • reading thought-provoking books from my favorite thinkers
  • speaking at church
  • trips to the beach

and i asked myself:

what would it take to actively practice these things that bring me life?

you see—i naturally do all of these things when i’m most healthy—spiritually, emotionally, physically. but when my life is in shambles, none of this comes easily. i no longer want to spend time with those closest to me. creating and writing are the last things on my to-do list. i consider my daily exercise getting out of bed—an act to be celebrated.

but what if i practiced health instead of waiting for it to be a byproduct of my circumstances?  

and that’s where jessica taylor design was born. the overflow of my creative outlets—both in crafting and designing; writing and sharing. i began carving out time each week to sketch, write, design, and play. sometimes it was like making my bed—a totally futile and fruitless chore.

but soon, this spiritual discipline of sorts began to remind me of who i am and who’s i am:

someone who clings to christ not to the crisis.*

and so here we are. as i awkwardly hope you’ll read my words and enjoy what i make. its like pushing a piece of my deepest heart into the world and hoping it doesn’t get spit on, rejected, kicked around. (so be gentle, pretty please?)

jessica taylor design is an invitation for you to see the innerworkings of my heart and fingertips. practicing what breathes life. sharing the words, thoughts, and stories i’ve gathered over the last year—as well as my art.

and i’d love for you, sweet friend, to follow along on this journey of rediscovering who i am, what brings me life, and how to practice health. to support me by decorating your walls and halls; wrists and necklines with art from jessicataylordesign.com.

and maybe, along the way, you’ll read or see something that echoes into the recesses of your soul and breathes life into your dry bones, too.

what do you say? will you come along for the ride?

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now its your turn:

where do your passions and giftings collide with practical, daily life?

what is something that breathes life into your dry soul? when was the last time you practiced that discipline?

*”cling to Christ or to the crisis” <– this is a phrase i am borrowing from my friend and boss, Margaret Feinberg. read more about her journey to fight back with joy, here.

8 comments

  1. Becky says:

    This is so heart touching! I love that you love words because you put them together so well to share your heart and soul in a way that I can so relate. Two years ago I was “socked in the stomach, the air was sucked right out of me. i didn’t feel like myself. my bandwidth depleted. energy zapped. compassion slipped away. i became a shell of who i once was. just a warm body with a faint pulse.” It’s taken me a long time to learn to breath again. Your list of “things that breath life”, I like that. I have a list but it’s called self-care. I think I’ll change the name. Looking forward to hearing more from you. By the way, I’m so excited you design tattoos!! Still giving thought to just want I want/need but I will be in touch. Bless you!

  2. Bill says:

    Thanks to Margaret Feinberg for Tweeting this, and thanks to Jess T for writing it. Similar thoughts and feelings as Mike above.
    The hard season is here, and trying to regain some control.
    Peace to you all.

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