Saturday, November 9, 2013

get yourself a beverage...

Does anything in nature despair except man?
An animal with a foot caught in a trap does not seem to despair. It is too busy trying to survive. It is all closed in, to a kind of still, intense waiting. Is this a key? Keep busy with survival. Imitate the trees. Learn to lose in order to recover, and remember that nothing stays the same for long, not even pain, psychic pain. Sit it out. Let it all pass. Let it go.

- May Sarton, Journal of a Solitude

When I lost my job as a senior graphic designer

almost 10 years ago now,
it forced me into life’s deep questions.

why did this happen to me?
how could they do this?
where do I go now?

I wrote a lot
to try and appease the anger.
I cried.
I met with friends
who kindly reminded me
that I had so much going for me
despite this loss.
Friends who told me
that this may indeed
be a good thing, somehow,
and that there may be a light
at the end of the tunnel.

I made art.

I wrote more.
i considered my options
and then got angry again
at being forced into this new life
of financial instability
and insecurity
and fear.

The anger came in waves,
along with the hurt
and the relief
and the sadness
and the worry.
I was bitter

and swore that I would never work
for a large corporation
I would find myself
another way to make a living.

I no longer knew
if I even wanted to continue being
a graphic designer.
This is what happens
when we experience change –
especially when the change
is not our choice.
We question everything,
including ourselves.
And through those questions
we often discover
our own truths.
Months later, I began to realize

that losing my job didn’t define me.
My reaction defined me.
How I chose to deal with it defined me.

I could wallow in my sorrow for years
and slowly disintegrate –
or I could put on my big girl panties
and get on with my life.
With MY life.
I slowly found my bearings again
and I began to discover
a sense of wonder for the world.

A deeper gratitude
for the simple things,
like a good book,
or chicken noodle soup in a beautiful cup...

 ...or rainy days.
I scattered my eggs

in different baskets,
and found a balance
between graphic design
and illustration
and office work
and painting
and writing
that allowed me to make a living.
To make a life.

I make less money,
but have more time.
I have less financial stability
but have more freedom.
I buy less things
but I lack nothing.

I love Mondays.

The idea of doing the same thing for 25 years,
all for the sake of yearly 5 star vacations
and a pension plan
makes me wanna shoot myself in the face.

I do not live my life for tomorrow,
because i have known too many people
who have not made it to tomorrow.
My friends were right.
Losing my job was a good thing.
(even if it felt like the opposite at the time!)

For those of you out there
who are going through difficult times…
take courage.
Trust that there are better days ahead.
Eventually, slowly, carefully,
the scattered pieces will mend themselves together again
and although your life will never be the same
it can still be a good, good life.


  1. What beautiful, heartfelt words and art. I can hear this message every day. Thank you, Pauline.

  2. Pauline, this post - your beautiful, thoughtful, heartfelt and very wise words - touched me and moved me deeply. Thank you so much for being so honest. For

  3. I love your inspiring words andgorgeous work!Happy AEDM and greetings from Brazil.

  4. What a wonderful post! Thats exactly what I needed to hear today. I lost my job 5 years ago. I thought I would never stop thinking about it. To tell the truth, I still dream about it. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and your beautiful artwork!

  5. Thank you for sharing your story Pauline! I wish I knew how to do, what you've done. :-)
    And that portrait is absolutely beautiful!
    Sending hugs

  6. Brava! Beautiful, brave and thoughtful words, full of strength and hope! I applaud.
    And watching that beautiful, intriguing portrait emerge from that photograph was amazing!

  7. Each AEDM day, I try to visit at least a few participants. And I am so glad I found yours today. Thanks for putting all those words down. I think I felt more hurt and rejection than anger. Interleaving the progression of the photos with your words made them that more powerful! You are a great artist!

    Love seeing that you are a "a smile seeker", that certainly made me smile.

  8. When something bad happens it is so difficult to believe it can lead to a better way of life, but you have achieved it, and reached out to so many people, including myself in what has been a very difficult year.
    Your painting is fantastic, very powerful, andI love the graphic simplicity of the style. A beautiful portrait.

  9. Pauline this painting is special, it has depth and emotion and is very peaceful, just like your wise words it reflects a deep wisdom, I love it!

  10. Thank you all so much for the thoughtful comments. Losing a job is nothing compared to losing a loved one - but ART has a way of slowly helping us through all of it. xox

  11. Love this post. Sharing in words and art. Can't be much better than this.

  12. Pauline, I was kicked out of my work (in an office in a large company, within four walls) about 35 years ago or more. I was recently married to my wife. and the first time the world collapsed for me. I had just started my first drawings in publishing magazines, sometimes they paid me, and sometimes not, and very little. but with my wife, we made a decision, a testing year, to see what would happen ...35 years ago I live doing my drawings, never more, I worked in an office. had three children, I traveled, I have my house, I have my vacation. and I enjoy watching the sun sets behind the mountains, without a boss telling me, "What are you doing Roberto? are you wasting time?"
    Congratulations, your painting is very good, in some way reminds me of Tamara de Lempicka :))

  13. Gorgeous portrait! Thanks for always showing your's inspiring! Sage words full of insight born of pain! Everything truly is a trade off...So glad you found what works for you! Sorry there was so much pain, fear and worry behind it.I think for all the reason you have mentioned I live on faith and hope! Each post you create deserves a chapter in a book...please consider that!!

    Hugs Giggles

  14. Love to see the progression of that painting Pauline! So beautiful. And thanks for your wise and helpful words ... ♥

  15. I can really relate, Pauline, and I have come to many of the same conclusions! Illness let me go (rather than a boss:) and the process is a slow and often painful one. As long as we come out realizing that we're worth so much more than a title - and doing faces like the gorgeous one in this post!! - we're ahead of many.
    Take good care!

  16. Always the wise woman Pauline! You just never know what life has in store for you and if we all wanted to be rich and stable we'd be doctors or lawyers or something stressful involving suits and nylons--yuck! A stunning portrait, as always. Gorgeous!! xx