Those of you that know me are no strangers to that.
A few days back I posted a “Shutdown Notice” of sorts closing down the site, my services, and all of the CardCastles social media accounts.
I’ve never seen the Stats for this place spike so high. Oh, it certainly wasn’t because folks were concerned, I assure you. Not over 500+ in less than an hour. No, my close friends and core group know where to reach me & certainly wouldn’t spam the buttons here to do so.
That spike was likely due to people that cannot wait to see me fall on my face.
Although my health is indeed dwindling, I still have hope.
“The audacity of hope!” – President Barack Obama
Hope is something I tend to cling to with all of my being.
After all, I’ve always been like a cat with nine lives, and well, hell, I’m just not that easy to kill.
When I left, there was a guilt I felt because I’m trying to build this business even larger than it already is. My goal is to stack it into something that can eventually help my family and friends. Due to groundwork I laid out earlier this year, I’m already halfway there.
So, I can’t really just stop now. Even though I certainly felt the need to for a while.
Over the last few days, I got to see how much I really am appreciated, however silently, it’s still appreciation, and it matters. You filled my inboxes, my DMs, tweeted out little playlists for me. (One of my potential future moderators who you’ll soon hopefully be meeting shared all of this with me while I was away. We both had a good laugh about how I couldn’t leave this place if I tried.)
One last thing pushed me back here beside all that.
I thought of someone I care about who is going through my exact same struggle right now. She hasn’t stopped her magic for one minute. Even with all she has on her plate, and doing every bit of it while in pain, she hasn’t thrown in the towel. She’s still going.
That inspires me. That’s a strength I’ve only seen in one other place—through the women in my own family, particularly, my late mother.
So while I had my time to sit and sob
and even though the holidays are draining everylast bit of sanity I have left
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.