I Can Help You Smile Again

I Can Help You Smile Again

One of my past boyfriends gifted me this panda bear when we were out at a fair. (I whooped his butt at a game, and the concession stand dude made him pay for the prize lol).

I Can Help You Smile Again

A few months later, we broke up and as much as I wanted to forget and move on from this relationship, I still loved him and the bear he had given me.

Our relationship was long distance, so holding this bear when we were away gave me a great sense of calm and peace. She fits in my arms just right, holding her little bum at the crook of my arm and her head at the palm of my hand.

I held her close to my chest–my heart space–nearly every night.

After the breakup, I still held my little friend for comfort and relief as I sorted through the deep suffering and pain from the loss I was experiencing from the breakup.

In my time of healing, I noticed my little bear had lost her smile: the thread pulled out from her small, white muzzle.

“How…fitting,” I thought.

I left her unsmiling for months.

It’s now July, about one and half years since my relationship ended.

With my heart feeling full of the love and life I once remembered from the many moments of solitude and self-healing, I can now help my little friend smile again.

Being Present for the Past

Being Present for the Past

I drew this as a result of a past guilt I had placed on myself.

I knew it was guilt.

I talked about the story consistently with this feeling.

But I never really took the time to go THROUGH the guilt.

To truly face it, feel it, and see it for what it REALLY is.

In my mind, I had repeated over and over:

“If I didn’t get so emotional,

If only I was aware of my emotions, I could have prevented this from happening.

From losing this relationship and hurting someone I really loved.”

But what resulted in this self-blame was the shame that came with my emotions.

I couldn’t feel free to express my emotions anymore.

Because if I did, I would only hurt someone else.

And I didn’t want to do that.

“Be in control of your emotions.

Be there for your emotions.

You are the only one who can hold space for your emotions.”

I kept telling myself.

And so I did.

I kept my feelings inside.

Away from other people.

Sometimes even away from myself.

But in doing so, I kept myself from being true to my feelings with other people.

Only after I processed my feelings and emotions to a great extent did I feel safe to share my thoughts and feelings.

Sounds nice, right?

“Deal with your own problems,” I hear people say.

And that’s what I wanted from other people too.

I wanted to help people with their emotions, but there’s only so much I could do before I got caught in their vortex of emotions too.

But I realize now:

It’s okay for me to express those feelings.

It’s okay for me to be angry outwardly towards someone else.

It’s okay to feel upset because in that moment I feel like it’s someone else’s fault.

It’s okay to feel disappointed and cheated and neglected and ignored for so long.

And let them all out.

It’s okay to FEEL.

Yes, these emotions may cause misunderstandings and hurt feelings.

But the truth is, if I’m feeling these emotions, I’m hurt too.

I didn’t realize then that when I was being open with my feelings with this person, I was being kind enough to myself to let these feelings be felt.

To be heard,

To be known,

To be witnessed,

By someone else.

I was being vulnerable.

I’ve always wanted to save other people’s feelings.

To protect them from my emotions.

But at the expense of my own feelings?

No.

Not anymore.

I don’t need to hide anymore.

The feelings I feel NEED to be seen,

Felt,

Acknowledged,

One way or another.

It’s being able to love myself even in the presence of these emotions,

Emotions I thought I wasn’t allowed to feel:

Anger, disappointment, sadness, frustration, abandonment, loneliness…

And know that in experiencing these emotions,

I am still human.

Even if it means someone else may be hurt by it,

Everything will be okay.

Their hurt and pain is also okay too.

It means something doesn’t feel good to them so need to let those feelings to be felt and acknowledged too.

What helped me get over the guilt?

Remembering when I let myself be angry.

Letting Myself Be Angry

An aside from Being Present for the Past

***

I remember when I was having an argument with my mom and I couldn’t hold back my anger anymore.

I let myself be angry.

I could feel it.

I just let my emotions go.

And yes, even though the neighbors probably heard us,

Maybe my mom didn’t directly acknowledge my feelings,

But I know I did.

I let my feelings be heard and felt.

And that’s all I needed to be happy again.

My mom came back home later that night and didn’t apologize or anything.

But I could tell that she had time to reflect too.

And she actually did listen.

Because she didn’t asked me to do anything I didn’t want to do anymore.

In my anger, I said I was tired of dealing with her responsibilities,

And told her over and over to just deal with her own stuff.

Because I didn’t want handle them anymore.

I had it.

When I allowed myself to be angry, I was aware of what I needed in my “angry” demands,

Now I know that when I do something for someone, I actually have to want to do it.

And she would either respect me or get angry about it.

But just as I let my anger be, I let her be angry too.

And not take her anger personally.

Not to take on the responsibility to calm her down.

That is for her to figure out herself.

***

So given what I know now, is there anything I would do differently?

No.

I wouldn’t hold back my emotions.

I do not regret telling this person how I felt.

I was only honoring my feelings for what they were at the time.

So what am I supposed to do when my emotions do take the best of me?

Forgive myself.

There is nothing to do but to forgive myself.

I am only human.

And when I’m ready,

Be aware of what the past feelings were, what I need, and work THROUGH them where I am now.

What about the other person then?

I just have to be there for their feelings too.

To not take them personally,

Or take responsibility for the feelings others are experiencing.

Whether or not the feelings are being experienced by me or by others,

Feelings are not to be owned.

They are there simply to be felt,

To be observed.

To be experienced.

We are not emotions.

We FEEL emotions.

And as human beings, we have the luxury of feeling them all.

And feeling ANY kind of emotion is BEAUTIFUL.

Nothing to Prove

I am dreaming again.
I didn’t think I could do this again after I burned and crashed this past winter.
I had worked so hard on a project, an online course.
Only to realize later that the course was not what I wanted to do.

And so…

I stopped working.

I stopped creating.
I stopped everything.
Because in my mind then, it was easier to do nothing than to do anything at all and find out I was wrong.
Not wrong in error, but wrong in my journey, in my direction, in my purpose.
I know my purpose is not bounded by one but many.
But teaching how to make money at artist alley

That wasn’t one of them.

Or maybe it is.
No…
It isn’t.
Occasionally my mind likes to question.
To know if I’m REALLY sure about something.
Because even when I know in my soul what I am to do,
My mind still likes to sneak in its own say, its own opinion.
And that “maybe” up there.
That maybe would have derailed me from my purposes again.

Perhaps I WAS meant to create the course.
Not to learn the technical or marketing skills from creating and selling the course, as I could have learned from doing other projects.
But to learn from the derailment.
To hate, blame, and guilt myself again by not following my intuition again.
I hated myself.
I hated that I listened to someone else’s suggestion to do a project that was considered “marketable,” something that people would buy and pay me for it.
To strive for the money instead of doing what felt right in my soul.

To help you create art true to your soul.
I was dishonest in my intention to create the course.

To you and to myself.
And that hurt.
That hurt A LOT.
I’m not mad at the person who gave me the suggestion.
I’m not mad that I completed the course.
I’m mad because I betrayed MYSELF.
I had control.
I could have stood up for myself.
But I didn’t.
Why didn’t I?
Because I was afraid.
I was greedy.
Afraid that I wouldn’t make money with my passion project.

Greedy for money.


To make things worse, this wasn’t the first time I chose to listen to someone else and doubt myself.
I listened to my mom and chose to study something else besides art.
She had convinced me I would not be able to make money in art.
Realizing 6 years later that teaching science wasn’t for me, I woke up one day knowing in my soul that art was still calling for me.
So that’s what I did.
I did art.
But the fear was still there.

Money was still holding onto me tightly, pulling me deep into greed.
I wanted money.
Not to make something.
Not to create anything for myself.
But to prove to everyone, to prove to my mother

That I can make money doing art.
And I did.
I made money selling art at conventions.

And I wanted people to know this.

I wanted to be proof that it’s actually possible to pursue something you love and still make money doing what you love.

I wanted to help other artists feel confident that they, too, can make money in art.

However, deep down, this desire to inspire others was a secret need to validate myself.

I kept saying this line over and over to others convincing myself that I am helping.

But really, it was something I needed to say over and over to convince myself it was possible.

Yes, I was making money.

Yes, I was profiting.

But there I was, still living with my parents, feeding off of what they had built.
When I hadn’t built anything for myself.

Life is not about making money to prove to others that you can.
Life is not about anything but to simply live.

You can of course make money with art and anything else when you feel it from within.

Nothing to prove.

Nothing to convince.
You will know
In your heart
In your soul
When you quiet your mind and listen
That ANYTHING is possible.
I don’t have to show or prove that to you.
You just know.
The money is secondary.
Your presence, your truth, your love for your work,
For you creations
Is all you really need

To live.

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It Hurts to Talk About This…

It hurts to talk about this.

But I know it’s important that I do. So here goes:

On October 2017, I had started creating an online course called Artist Alley for Beginners to help artists get started selling at artist alleys at conventions. I did this to create a more conscious version of my first online course, The Profitable Convention Artist.

Why the remake?

I got caught by the entrepreneurial bug back when I created my first course and thought I was capable of making money online while helping other artists make money at artist alleys.

It’s true, this did happen. Artists increased their income at conventions as well as myself.

But it backfired.

Nearly half of the people who signed up for my first course asked for a refund within a week.

One person logged in just once and then after her third payment, flagged it as unusual as she did not recognized the purchase as her own. (She was so worried her card got hacked, she requested for a new credit card.)

I, of course, directly emailed her to confirm that she did indeed make the payment for the course, to which she agreed and apologized. She said she would contact her credit card company to fix the issue, but the credit card company still closed the dispute in her favor. 

I later became aware that the course itself and my accompanying videos on Youtube were egoic and not a true reflection of who I was.

At this point, I was disheartened and ready to give up.

But instead of quitting, I decided to redo the course in a different light:

“Selling at artist alley is not all about making money but about selling artwork that is true to who you are.”

And that’s how I created my second course.

While Artist Alley for Beginners is a more honest and conscious look into stepping into the artist alley, I was burnt out after completing the course.

I spent 2 months straight doing nothing BUT creating the course. I stopped exercising, didn’t eat much, rejected all invites from friends to meet up, and refrained from going out and enjoying, well, life.

Needless to say, my life was out-of-balance.

I didn’t realize this though, until I closed the course at the end of December 2017.

And that’s when it hit.

My depression.

I didn’t know what to do. I knew I didn’t want to teach artist alley anymore. I had quit going to artist alleys and conventions at the end of October, which was my full-time job, so I wasn’t making money anymore.

I had stopped creating art which was the light in my darkest moments.

I was still recovering from a loss of $4000 in coaching investment last fall and a heartbreak the same year.

And in mid-winter, the days were shorter, nights were longer. There wasn’t much light to keep me energized, alert, and awake.

That’s when dark voices started to loom in my mind.

“You’re useless.”

“No one cares if you’re even alive.”

“You haven’t drawn anything in MONTHS. How can you possible create anything good anymore?”

“You’re such a fake. You’re not as positive as you seem.”

“There’s no point in trying anymore.”

“You’re useless.”

“I’m useless.”

I couldn’t see the light that used to keep me hopeful, dreaming, loving.

Only glimpses.

And it was in one small moment that I found myself reaching for a book on my table I bought last October and flipping it open to read it.

Within a week, I felt the dark clouds lose its energy.

My mind felt lighter.

And I felt the light shining again.

Not above me, not next to me, but throughout me.

I haven’t been the same since.

So what was I reading?

The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, “A Course in Discovering and Recovering Your Creative Self” in 12 weeks.

This is my 12th week.

And in this final week of healing, I am opening up to reveal…

My pain…

My scars…

My love…

My life…

And my truth…

…with you. 

And oh boy do I have a lot to share.

 

*~* Course Mentioned in Video *~*

Artist Alley for Beginners

*~* Book mentioned in the video *~*

“The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron:

I am Quitting Conventions

I am Quitting Conventions

As some of you have heard from my social media accounts (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter), I’m not planning to sell my artwork at conventions anymore.

I’ve been thinking about this for a while, and I feel that it’s best for me to focus my energy creating and selling art online for the time being. I realize that in the long run, I’d much rather be home with my family and friends over the weekends, especially for special occasions, than to travel away from home to cons.

Don’t get me wrong, I love meeting you all in person SOOOOOOOOOO MUCHHHHH! I wouldn’t be where I am now without your wonderful and undying support! Thank youuuuuu! <3

But my body can only handle so much traveling in a year, and when I settle down, I want to know that I have income rolling in without the need to travel from my own home.

I do plan to return to cons after some time away from it. Not sure when yet but I’ll be sure to make an announcement. ^_^ In the meantime, I’ll be popping up online more often now, which I think is a plus, right?? =D

I realize that some of you, my dear fans and followers, were heartbroken by the news. I truly had no idea that I had a huge impact in your life. One person have even said they traveled 6 hours to just meet me at Anime Expo 2017 because they wouldn’t be able to meet me at SacAnime.

After this year, I don’t have plans on attending SacAnime again anytime soon. Or any cons in the near future for that matter, except for Kumoricon in October, which will be my last. I know, I’ll miss you all!

Also, I know many of you knew me as “Snowgem.” I have decided not to leave Snowgem in the past and turning towards using my name Tuyet Tran and this website and @TrulyTuyet as my personal social media account for my art and writings.

This is simply a reflection of who I wish to be from now but also an acceptance of who I used to be: Truly me, Truly Tuyet.

And part of this transformation is to create artwork that truly speaks to me and relates and communicates their true nature and acceptance of who they are.

So there is likely to be fewer fanart and more real and authentic artwork from me each with their own stories to tell.

And I very much look forward to sharing them with you!

As one of my Instagram followers aptly commented on my change in handle, “You’re adulting.” LOL

Yes. Yes, I am. XD

And I look forward to adulting with you. <3

Truly,

Tuyet