When I first started out, “Daydreams” was very much a character.
Now she’s just a cloak that I wear to protect whatever little shred of privacy I have left.
I’ve all but exposed my whole ass for the world to see. Most are no longer comfortable with me since I’m not fluffing their egos while being kind and PC. But I’m getting off-track a bit. Let’s rewind to the first half of this before I go any further.
It chirped away. Not a pleasant bell like that of a teeny sparrow, but a manic, repetitive, screeching sound akin to metal on metal. I could almost sense what it was. In fact, in the corners of my subconscious, I think I very much did.
It was a person in my professional network, pointing me towards the mouthes of the displeased.
Displeasure—oh, how I’ve danced with you on and off these past few years.
Passive-aggressive in its nature, though point taken, it stood out like a festering sore on a beautiful face. It’s always a meme, right? No one can pull me aside and quietly voice their grievances. No, it has to be shouted to their entire following, but covertly enough that I can’t expose them. So much so that if I did, I’d look like the crazy one.
This is not the first time.
Or the second.
And I’m sure it won’t be the last.
Oh no, definitely not the last. But I’m not allowed to feel either.
“Oh stop whining.”
“What a butthurt bitch.”
“Quit playing the victim.”
I can hear it now. Loud as ever.
I’ve been more vocal on human rights issues and more. These are some things sadly deemed “political.”
“It ain’t cute, sweetheart.” They said I was shaming people. Well darlin’ sadly, in these times we’re living in, some things need to be shamed.
In the words of someone I’ve always deeply admired that’s been harmed by the very industry I work alongside:
So what’s wrong with me calling these issues out? Why does that all of a sudden make me not your cup of tea? What does my little insignificant voice have to do with your happiness? Why do you feel the need to tear me down in the process?
I thought I was well past letting bullshit like that penetrate me. But it has. Yet again. Especially when these [very public] bashings start to effect my income. (If I showed you the numbers, and how far they’ve traveled downward since about May 2017, you’d cry.)
I’m slowly moving past it. After all, the projects on my desk don’t give a shit who is ripping me apart and why. I had a little outburst over it, then soon after regretted it. It made me look like the asshole. It made me look immature. Though I come from a place where if you don’t respond, you’re a coward. Though in today’s world, if you do respond, you’re giving them attention and that also winds up making you look like an idiot.
Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.
Amidst all this madness I had a great conversation with one of my best friends whom I consider like adopted family. He spoke of similar situations with slimy people’s passive-aggressive nature and likened getting rid of such negativity to purging impurities with flames. What a beautiful comparison it was. Like the practice of burning sage—a cleansing ritual.
So I guess what I’m stabbing at in all this is, sometimes we need to purge the ugliness in our life with flames. And no, I’m not telling you to go set shit on fire. (Ya crazy asses.) I’m simply hinting at the notion that in order to truly move up and move on in our lives, sometimes we really need to cut things loose—set them ablaze. One thing I’m learning is it doesn’t matter how many times we feel we have to do this. If we feel the need, it’s probably for a reason. There’s probably another phase ready for us on the other side waiting.
Then one of my biggest influences passed away, and my life took a turn to carry on old paths and forgotten dreams…
These are the moments that made, (and almost broke, but ultimately…well, you’ll see) CardCastles in 2015.
CardCastles 2015 Highlights
We started off small and quietly. I shared about fears in Ashes over at Stories That Must Not Die, and reposted it here since the story tied in to some past thoughts shared.
There was a l o v e theme.
Then, I was blindsided by change. The future of CardCastlesInTheSky hung in the balance. A former large part and driving force of my site used to be the gallery. By clicking on the gallery you used to be taken to my Twenty20 Store where my designs could be purchased in many forms. Just shy of three years I decided to part ways with this company due to a shift in ideals.
That new variation of an old design brought some more attention to my artwork than ever before. It started to shock me, really. It brought in a lot of art lovers and new followers and readers to the site. By the end of the month, we even had some celebrity readers and fans in the music industry.
I felt like I was in some strange dream.
We spread acceptance.
My dear friend and Stories family member Matticus shared an important discussion topic over at Stories and we shared it here as well. You can read that post here~> in the end, it’s just an opinion
There was a photo journal of a trip to NY and you all loved it. Those were among some of the most popular posts that month.
Soon after the stats jumped even more.
This was only mirrored in other posts throughout the months. We shared more at Stories and I passed it on here. Now it was just a matter of waiting for our friend to return home and join the rest of her friends.
New readers poured in all finding me through common interests. I started to make detailed reports combining the Statistics here with the CardCastles Twitter and Google Analytics. The results gave me insight on what people came here for and how to plan for the future of things here.
Then some hurtles started to show themselves, and it was almost like something could be felt in the air.
We had lost somebody dear to us, and for a while, it all didn’t make sense.
Friends along with the Stories team mourned this loss and gathered together.
We wore blue to stand with our friend in some form. I wrote about my own experience the day of the funeral in Sleepy Sundays: Old Friend. The piece remains one of the most complemented renderings this year.
I lent my artwork over to Stories so Matticus could vent his feelings of grief. He was the mouthpiece for the rest of us that only echoed his feelings.
Then something happened through that grief.
A family was solidified. A community rallied around that family, and they slowly lifted us up.
The request for this piece set into motion the beginning of self-employment. My first steps out on my own as an artist, free from any former companies. You can read the story behind that here. ~>Paint On the Walls
From that point I was fully and officially out on my own with this art business. This freelance thing has been uphill (and stressful, but mostly uphill) ever since.
I started getting more interest and emails asking about features and guests, so we set plans in motion for July.
Myself and guests shared horror-inspired works in honor of film legend, Wes Craven.
New York Comic Con
I took a trip to see friends and ended up with one of the greatest experiences of a lifetime. This group of buddies that have become some strange family, all knew each other for close to five years. There’s a few crazy stories how we all got to know one another and they all involve gaming, of which we are avid fans.
The stars must have aligned because the one year I was able to go, the developers of one of our favorite games were hosting a panel.
The entire time blew my mind. Warframe liked our tweets about it too!
October was liberating and therapeutic any many ways. 31 Nightmares brought in so many new people I’m planning on resurrecting it next year. Here’s how crazy it went with numbers:
October yielded 11.7 thousand impressions. I’d say we left quite a mark!
Out of nowhere I started getting requests for my services. Book illustration, logo design, book covers, animation, intro videos, website design, you name it. I was so excited and overwhelmed by it all I may have said yes to too many things.
This was all, however, a blessing in disguise. It’s teaching me to plan better & manage anxiety.
I got to joke around with one of the stars of one of my favorite shows.
(Go ahead, just click that link and see how many wonderful, beautiful people have kept the #RawrLove going all day (&night) long. & It’s still going!)
We at Stories, would like to thank all of you that have participated. There was a point in the day where Matticus and I were shuffling through and retweeting all of the love, and I was moved to tears. What I saw was more love than just the two of us could keep up with and it extended on, even more as I smiled.
You helped blanket the universe with just a little more love today. I have no doubt that Rara is moved as well.
There is so much more to say, but tonight I’ll just leave you with this.
We are so happy to have you back where you belong, Rara – with your friends; with your family.