Since the moment I was pregnant, the longing to share my story with the rest of the world was getting stronger. I just didn't know how. And then when Etsy asked me the question, about the Handmade portrait it was like a dream come true. I knew that it would be the perfect way to tell it but at the same time, I was also very, very nervous about it all as I'm not that much of a public person.
I like to keep things private but felt that my story needed to be told to 'close' a chapter that has had so much impact on my life. Even though the burn out dates from a few years back, I still get reminded every day about how it changed my life... in a very, very good way.
What I couldn't have imagined back then, did happen, the time that I was experiencing the burn out I felt there was no ending point, but there was... There were days that went by without doing much of anything. Physically and mentally, I was so tired, so empty and so distant from everything around me.
So when I started the '99 feelings'-project, I often had to 'force' myself to make/create/do but I also knew that it would give me energy back and that it helped me deal with what I was going through.
For a bit more then 3 months, I made a feeling every day, posted it on Flickr & shared it with 'my' community. And yes, I did go through a lot of those feelings myself...
The impact 'my' community had during that period is a very important part. Without them knowing, they helped me heal every day by following my work, giving feedback and just being there for me in general. I suffered, but had the most amazing network of on line friends to help me carry the load that was on my shoulders and in my mind.
Most important, it was my partner that has been my most soothing support during this time & I don't think I could have done it all without him. He encouraged me to create and supported me every step of the way. It wasn't always easy for him either to see me so sad and empty but he stood by me and helped me overcome.
Here's a BIG thank you for all of you who were there on the journey with me, you have been an amazing support without even knowing it...
It took me a bit over half a year to feel better - which seems like a very short time but it did seem like a lifetime to me. I'm rather impatient so it just couldn't go fast enough. After I finished the project, my partner was the one to encourage me to buy a kiln and live my life as a maker/artist. Something I didn't really see happening but knowing that I had a platform as Etsy to sell my work through worldwide, gave me the confidence to take the very big step into the unknown...
I have the best customers who often share their stories with me and knowing that my work has meaning for them makes my heart grow...
The years previous to the burn out, I felt myself change from a happy and content person into an unhappy human being. And I hated it! I've lost myself along the way of building a career and trying to be succesful in a job that I came to detest at the end. Now I'm happier then ever and living the life that I love. I could never have imagined I'd become a part-time ceramicist but I really did...
The burn out was apparently the way I had to go through to heal and I haven't looked back since... it made me stronger and changed my life for the better!
I'm back to the old, happy and very often, laughing Mitsy. I love to laugh and it feels great that I can do it wholeheartedly again! :)
Going public with my story has been an imporant turning point in my life so now I can turn the page and move on to the next chapter. The handmade portrait will be one I will cherish forever and it will remind me and many others that art can heal and that there is always light at the end of the tunnel.
Thank you so much for the overwhelming response on my story. I've received numerous messages from people who have been or are going through the same and I will reply to them soon. Just need a few extra hours in the day! ;)