This photo about sums it up. Y’all. Y’ALL… Let me tell you about this gorgeous wooden letter board. I found it on etsy, and being freshly pregnant, begged Hubbo to let me get it for my “weekly pregnancy updates because baby look, isn’t it so pretty and after the baby comes we can use it for all the stuff (she) does and OMG PLEASE IT’S JUST SO BEAUTIFUL AND SPECIAL!!?” He said yes to its excessive price and little to no personal ROI, poor chap. I couldn’t wait for it to get here and got to work planning out exactly how I wanted to use it. It arrives, just as beautiful as in the photos. I immediately spend the next hour+ snapping and twisting the 8,000 characters from their plastic prison in preparation to create our pregnancy announcement. Go to start putting the letters in place, and practicing for labor as well, apparently… push… Push… PUSHHHHHHHHHH!!!!! Nothing. The damn things won’t fit into the grooves. I went to retrieve my little green vintage studio hammer and tap tap tapped those little suckers in. God forbid one wasn’t in the exact right spot – because it takes digging out with an unwound paperclip to fix (which I did, several times) FINALLY finished and yeah, it did look spectacular. I proudly took my photo, posted, and watched as likes and loves and “about time”’s poured in.
The next time I used it was for the birth announcement.
The third time I used it was for this, today. (and discovered that if I photograph it from above the letters can just be laid down on it and *almost* no one is the wiser, halleluyer! Time #4 might actually be before 2022. Hot. Damn.)
This level of toil for a photograph, on a regular basis, is something I am not here for. I’ve tried in the past, especially when I first started creating art I wanted people to see in the context of a business, to force myself into having the perfectly composed, dreamily filtered images – the ones that say “Oh hai, you; it’s me. Look how good I look. If you buy me, you’ll look this good, too. And, like, your life will be at least 92% better once I’m hanging on dat wall… probably.” Not to mention losing my mind over ideal post schedules. Sometimes it worked, most of the time it didn’t. That pressure more often than not just resulted in me not photographing or sharing work at all, and sometimes not even MAKING the work in the first place, so I could be off the hook for all that imminent mess. That’s… not good.
Aaaand, excellent segue into how ontaskshop came to be. I’ve only recently, at age 36, realized the detrimental effect being labelled a “problem child” continued to have on me into adulthood, and my perception of personal success and failure in structured activity. I never seemed to be doing what I was “supposed” to have been doing, and was constantly reminded of such. I was too interested in what was going on outside the windows to focus on cursive or times tables (which I already knew and was bored to tears having to sit still through), or excited by trying to make classmates laugh when we should be working. “STAY ON TASK!” seemed to be my own personal Disney anthem – that song that no one knows is coming, yet somehow everyone in the village knows all the words when the music starts. The phrase was beaten over my head throughout childhood to the point I no longer heard it, or at least in no way obeyed. You know when you say a word too much and it just starts to sound so weird you forget what it means? (Food, food, food, food, food. Wat even is that? Every time, ha!) It was like that. I hated it so much I even rebelled against activities I enjoyed! I’m just not gonna do ANYTHING!! That’ll show ‘em! (???) Again, not good.
A few years ago when I needed a business name that better encompassed my new direction of art-making and showing and selling for ME, and my own sanity as a creative person, rather than trying to elbow my way into an already crowded field of social media and branding perfection, I cheekily chose to reclaim and rock the old derogatory, making it 100% Mine. So now I’m always on task, since I’m the one deciding what the task is. S’real simple. This is why you’ll see me making/sharing/selling acrylic paintings on panel or paper one day, and figuring out how to sew or alter some random thing the next. I might write a blog post featuring the Mom-est diy craft project ever, or a semi profanity-laden opinion on some current event, or just a few photos of something I’m making or wearing, without much comment. My inspiration and motivation come from allowing myself the freedom to be that authentic. I won’t bullshit you and I won’t pressure my content into that perfection that so often for me equals inaction. I think my business and art are better for it, and I hope you’ll share your own work and story with me, too.
(POST-Post-disclaimer: None of this is to say I don’t appreciate the value and aesthetic of those gorgeous Instagram feeds, because I ooh and aah over them daily! I bought a $55 nearly unusable wooden letter board because of genius marketing here people, FFS. And I am always working to better myself and learn new and interesting ways to share my life and my business – I just recognize and appreciate the self-awareness to know if that were the only successful way, I might as well stop now and go catch up on my DVR. #masterchefjuniorftw Cheers!)