Discovering and Creating a Life of My Own

Maria here, and I wanted to share a “Tuesday Tale” about how I came to join Gypsy Studios while finding myself in a year I dedicated to me.

Today is #GivingTuesday and while it is my favorite addition to the shopping days after Thanksgiving, it always seems to remind me of the endless pressures, albeit somewhat self-inflicted, of the holiday season. Between personal feelings of unearned good fortune (where we live, good health, food on the table), seeing estranged family, and countless holiday parties (this introvert’s personal favorite) I have to constantly remind myself during the holidays to take care of me. Love myself. Listen to what I need. As Buddha once said, “You, yourself, as much as anybody else in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”

It felt almost selfish, the year I decided to really begin the journey of owning my life, but halfway through the year before my 30th birthday I had the profound realization that I didn’t know who I was. Just me. A singular person outside of my family unit. A member of my family was the only context I knew myself in. But who was Maria? What did Maria like to do? What was MY story. Not the story I was born into (which has an amazing cast, btw), but the one where I was the main character and existed as a stand-alone storyline. So I set out to answer these questions and create my life with intention.

I stepped into the discomfort of the unknown–something I was not excited about or known for doing, voluntarily. I went places, learned things, booked a trip to New York on a whim and opened myself up to the world. There was also a lot of committing to doing things by myself if I couldn’t wrangle someone else into joining. Those commitments really enhanced the feelings of discomfort, but as I am sure come as no surprise, also enhanced the experience of self discovery. Truly experiencing moments with only my like or dislike to consider and grow from was somewhat liberating.

During this time I signed up for a Gypsy Studios art course and fell in love with all of it. I owned a children’s consignment store for upward of 8 years that had sort of fallen into my lap. I loved the store, mostly the relationships built from it and connections made, but otherwise felt completely unfulfilled. As Gypsy Studios grew to a place of expansion, I jumped at the opportunity to join the team and help further its offerings! I sold my business and helped bring the “art studio on wheels” into a brick-and-mortar studio. I helped start our kids art camps during school breaks which allowed me to combine my enthusiasm for creating with my love of children and their endless energy and curios minds. The possibilities of life and business are endless but always seem to begin and continue in that place of “discomfort” known as growth. Ugh 😉

So this holiday season, particularly this Giving Tuesday, I remind myself and you too, yes, be aware of and grateful for blessings, say yes when we can, give with intention, but most importantly, to LOVE and take care of ourselves each and every day.

Looking for some great organizations?
May I suggest one close to my heart, personally, (CAMP KESEM) and one close my heart, professionally, (ARTS OUTREACH.)
Camp Kesem: My nephews have been profoundly impacted by this incredible organization and the free camp they put together for children affected by their parents’ battles with cancer. Even just $5 makes such a difference in helping one more child heal their ptsd and trauma. Many many thanks! LEARN MORE AND DONATE HERE

Arts Outreach: Bringing art into our local schools and community- “Arts Outreach is a small non-profit, that wouldn’t exist without help from the community. As we enter Arts Outreach’s 39th year, we are reflecting on all the donations big and small that have helped keep art in schools for our kids.” DONATE HERE