My Personal Growth Journey:
From Drawing Stick Figures to Illustration
Chapter 1 – Where is home?
She loved the flowers and watched them grow.
But underwater she did not belong.
She travelled far but no place felt like home.
So she decided that she must finally go.
I was 19 years old. Super average in school and angry at the polish system that didn’t want me to be creative. Happy to be finally free from mandatory education, age restriction or being told what to do. Feeling the freedom, I spread my wings and smashed my face on the pavement, in front of the bar I was working at. Art school was my dream but I didn’t have any talent for drawing or painting. They told me it is not for me.
Then an opportunity showed up and I was ready for it. I went to work in Cyprus, in a hotel. From there, I earned the money(half) to enroll for Graphic Design degree. I thought that I will finally belong but it never came. Happy to end the mandatory schools I just went into mandatory jobs, struggling to pay the uni off. Working as a designer at the bank was a big reality check and I knew again that I need to be in a different place.
Luckily, I met my husband, who took me to Czech. I promised myself that no matter how poor, I will do the job that I love. So I did. Frustrated by the inequality in education I found a position where I could do something for kids. I also did my first vector illustrations.
I realized that I was trying to find myself in different countries, in various jobs but I never looked within myself. Jobs, countries or status are just labels. It is not who you are. To find out where do I belong, I started to listen to my gut feeling.
Chapter 2 – Keep the secret
Love and passion grew inside her like roses,
Tricked by the secrets she started new poses.
After moving to Czech, I felt that I finally found myself. Getting pregnant with my son was a wonderful experience. Finally, I will do something for children, for real! To reduce stress, I started working from home and I pictured myself in a romantic way, becoming a successful freelancer and spending plenty of time with my son.
Once he was born, the smell of diapers quickly brought me down to earth. Between sleepless nights, I tried to be the perfect wife, mother, and to keep the business alive. Desperate, I took projects I did not like and that slowed down my growth. I read the wrong books and even when I set up my goals, I was totally lost. I fell into the trap of not only my own expectations but also what society expected from me. I tried to be a housewife. I cooked 100 different bio foods, and I signed up for all the mother-son lessons. There was a chance that I will make it and it looked like a perfect picture from outside so we decided for another child.
A year and a half later my daughter was born. I was not prepared for 2 under 2. Everything collapsed. My work was gone. Sleep was gone. Again, I did not belong, even to my own house. I was exhausted and depressed.
Instead of slowing down and being present, I tried to fill the empty hole with the new house, new expensive toys, and kid’s accessories. I spent money, I did not have and instead of looking within myself, I did what brought quick ease. Our life seemed perfect: healthy children, a beautiful house and plenty of stuff. Yet, nobody was happy. It was a secret because it was comfortable that way.
Chapter 3 – Walk the path
She looked at the things she left behind,
She could not change her mind.
It flooded her mind, the strong feeling of grief,
The house, old life…But what a relief.
When our life looked ideal from the outside but was rotting from the inside, together with my husband, we took a decision that was about to flip our life upside down.
We decided to sell our dream house (you can see it on my IGTV) so that we can fund our second chance. We sold all our fancy strollers and useless stuff. Prague was never our true home so we moved to my husband’s house in Hungary. It was very painful to leave everything behind. Not only the stuff we owned. We left comfort, friends, good jobs and safety.
We decided to choose happiness and fulfillment over comfort and to give ourselves a second chance. Our goal was to change our careers, improve our skills, work on our mental health and to spend quality time with our children. We wanted to learn how to be a family again. We also decided to fund our visa application to Canada to find a new home.
This decision carried a lot of risk and a lot of temptation on the way to be greedy again. With all the money, we thought: why not to travel? Enjoy the time? We could use a new car? Is it really worth to work so hard to gain some new skills? We could not see any results in the first month. We had many doubts and people around us questioned our decision every day.
Converse symbolize our stuff and greed, inspired by “The Red Shoes”. This is our path to happiness.
Chapter 4 – Feel the smoke⠀
You could feel the smoke and the pain,
But now she knew the only way to gain,
Was to accept things as they are.
Letting go, would spread the wings that far.
When we moved to Hungary, we thought that with all the time that we got, it is going to be easy. We planned our days and structured our learning to bring results. Unfortunately, life never goes as we imagine. Social media feeds us with perfect success stories, hiding away the hard work, fails and mistakes. I took class with life drawing but I could not understand the basics. So I had to burn my expectations once and for all. I stopped looking for projects. I went down to the ground and kept drawing circles, until I could draw a good one. I read more books than before, not to find the golden solution but to learn.
The hardest part of personal growth journey for me, was acceptance. I had to accept that I am only a beginner in illustration and I need to start from the beginning. On personal level, I had to accept that I don’t need to raise my children in any way. Not to be smart or creative. My only job was to be there for them in the best version of myself. No more striving for perfection but accepting the way I am and my family is. I felt so much lighter, once I changed my mindset!
Chapter 5 – Accept the Darkness⠀⠀⠀⠀
Thinking was a hard work for her,
She saw the dark spot, so she went there,
Deep inside her mind was the answer.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
I worked closely on my mental health with my psychologist. We discovered amazing cause for some of my struggles. I have a special ADHD brain. I am making myself vulnerable by sharing this, but I hope it will bring others comfort. The most important part was that it was possible to make my life much easier. I finally knew, that I was never lazy, stupid or crazy. I just had attention deficit disorder that didn’t let my brain focus on the things that I am not good at. It does not mean that I can’t focus at all. The beautiful part of it was what my brain could do instead. I am able to hyper focus on my creativity and I have a huge empathy. I can sense many stimulations at once and synthetise information well. I decided to focus on that, instead of beating myself for not being good enough in other disciplines. Mental health can be simple, if we decided to make it so.
I have to give a credit to few amazing people who help me to make pace with my mind. First of all, my husband. When I was crying my life out, he would sit me on the desk and tell me to draw. I could never get a better support. I also followed few amazing minds and tried to do what they did. I recommend you to follow them for your own growth journey. Chris Do opened my eyes to the fact that you can do some good in this world. Education can be changed and we are living this new direction right now. It was forever my dream to see this change for my own children. Simon Sinek taught me how can I find my WHY, which gave me a deeper meaning for my work. Seth Godin and his famous daily email newsletter motivated me to stay consistent and draw everyday. Finally, little different personality, Jaggi Vasudev who taught me that we I should never look up, nor down. I should just see things as they are.
Once my mind was repaired, I started to see happiness in front of me. Not only for myself, but also for my children and the whole family.
Chapter 6 – Find the Key
Memories give us form but it is in the past.
We can’t see far ahead, we are not that fast.
Open your eyes, what do you see?
What is in front of you is the key.
Once me and my family gave up the comfort, fixed our minds and started to be grateful for what we have, we started to be happy again. We had goals and values written down on the board but we broke them down into tiny pieces. We decided to tick them off one by one. It gave us enough fulfillment and we started to see the results. Very slowly the compound effect started to pay off. We almost ticked all our goals!
Here are few of them: quality time with children, repair mental health, be debt free (I paid off my university 6 years after graduation!), improve our skills to integrate our careers to our family life, IELTS certificates, Canadian visa application/or a move to a country with a good mindset, education and healthcare for children..
The key to success was: persistence, consistency, doing only great work and only things that we love, being present in the moment, and enjoying the process.
Chapter 7 – Wear the Crown
“Happiness is letting go of what you think your life is supposed to look like and celebrating it for everything that it is.” – Mandy Hale
The most important lesson I learned through my personal growth journey is that happiness does not have any conditions. We often say: I will be happy when I earn x amount of money, I will be happy when I finish school/change job/loose weight. But you see, even after drawing for the whole year and achieving my career goals, I just want more. The growth is never ending. Money definitely never gave me happiness either.
The truth is, that in order to be happy, I only had to accept life as it is and let go of all my expectations. To enjoy the beauty right now. I don’t need a title or a position. I don’t have to be anyone. I just have to be and do my best at this moment. If I fail, it does not mean that I am not enough. I just made a mistake at that moment but tomorrow, I will be better. I am happy to write this last part of my journey for you and I can’t wait to go and run with kids.
Our decisions were scary and risky, but it paid off. We cannot fail because we have already won. I go to sleep peaceful and happy. I wish you all the same.
If you fall, just stand up. Fix your crown and keep moving.
The end…and the beginning!