About a year ago I wrote my "About Me" page:
"I'm Cristina Blackwell. I currently live in the Pacific Northwest. This hasn't always been my home. I was born in the dry heat of Arizona. When I turned 11 my father was retiring and we moved to the Philippines to be closer to my mother's family -- culture and climate shock number 1!
I loved growing up there. Although I did my best at socializing, I was and still am an introvert. I spent a lot of time on our farm alone with the animals, nature and my creativity. It was where I felt at peace.
My desire to help and care for people drove me to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, graduating in 2012. I grew up knowing I would come back to the US but that didn't make it any easier. I moved to Oregon, alone, in 2013 -- culture and climate shock number 2!
Many moments big and small happened between then and now. I learned to stand on my own two feet, navigated the new environment *and seasons*, met and married my soulmate, adopted an amazing dog and have been an operating room nurse for several years now.
After taking an in-depth look at myself I realized I needed to change, again. Change is still scary (though, you think I'd be a pro at it by now). This time I am deciding and shaping who I want to be.
My creative skills have connected me to people around the world and I want to continue to use these skills to bring people together."
In 2019, I decided to lay into my artistic journey.
At first, I was like: I'm going to sell my art. The end. Bow. EZ.
It was waaay more involved then I had imagined. I had so many questions that lead to more questions. What type of art do I want to sell? Physical/Traditional or Digital? Both? How do I sell them... OK, but what am I going to paint? How does one ship things? Uh, how does one package things one wants to ship? Wait...where do I sell them? What if no one likes my work...what if people do like my work but can't find me...
I could go on but basically, it was one incredibly long run-on sentence of questions in my head. It's still going on by the way.
Once I felt I was ready, or something that resembled that feeling, I took the plunge. I opened my Etsy shop in October. It was way easier than I had made it out to be in my mind. I was so pleased with my first few sales and the wonderful reviews that came with it.
Now that my Etsy is up and running and I have gotten the hang of putting myself and my work out there I am opening my website shop to learn more. Especially about a thing called "marketing"?
Despite all those questions popping up one after another, I realized I had a lot of fun searching out the answers to them. Questions are not as scary as the use to be.
Before when people asked me, "What do you do?".
I would normally say, "I am an operating room nurse".
Last year, when I first started, I hated that question.
"I am a nurse" (...but I love painting and I sell my artwork online and love art....*rambles on but never says it out loud*)
"I am an operating room nurse...who does artwork on that side?"
"....an artistic nurse?
*yeah what do I do?... errr*
"I paint things!....and I am a nurse!"
All of those answers felt forced and really awkward...for both parties. The nursing part always seemed to overshadow anything else I said. Should I just leave out the fact that I am an artist even though I feel it is an integral part of me?
The more I toiled on the internet, my art, and the shop. The more I felt the warm fuzzy feeling of being competent at being an artist.
I found myself at a Christmas party. Now, I have met some of these people before but it had been a while since I have last seen them.
Get ready to read how an introvert deals with social endeavors.
You know that situation where you know their face but forgot their name because you are a normal human being and they also forgot your name so you are in that awkward silent part of the party where no one makes eye contact. Everyone constantly sipping drinks as an excuse not to make eye contact all the while hoping you will magically get their name through someone else speaking to them first?
*takes a deep breath*
Yeah, I decided to break that ice. I lost all shame and pride in nursing school. I talked to a few of them, strategically getting their attention without using names, "How are you? It's been a while!". After the conversation I initiated started to die down, the lady across from me asked me my favorite question, "So what do you do?".
"Oh, I am a nurse at a surgery center and an artist. I sell my artwork online through Etsy". It came out naturally. Her face lit up as she proceeded to ask about my artwork. I didn't think much of it at the moment but that's the thing it wasn't such a big deal anymore!
Happy New Year!