Jan 1, 2015

Reflections: Dominique Browning, 2014 Challenges and 2015 Oppurtunities

"I guess I took a break. 
I didn’t mean to take a break. I didn’t mean to go away for so long. Without even saying goodbye. It just happened.
Sometimes you don’t know what you need till it’s done. This summer, I needed to get very quiet. I needed to think, but more than that, I needed to stare into space." 

These words from Dominique Browning, a woman that so influenced a large part of my early career, really hit home today,


I wanted to write a post on Reflections today.
Day 1 of 2015 and thought I would start by sharing a few of my own reflections on the year 2014.

For me personally, (and you all know I am not much for sharing very personal thoughts here) 2014 brought many challenges, both professionally and personally. However, the most difficult ones were indeed those that shifted my own outlook of who I am and what I am (or not) capable of.

Starting this blog, now 3 1/2 years ago, came at a pivotal moment in my life. We had just had our third child in a new city and I needed to start my career over in the midst of what we now know was a very difficult time for many of us in the design field, especially in New York.
Dec-a-Porter brought me out of my own space.. out of solitude and into your homes, and brought me closer to you all. Here, on twitter and beyond and enriched my life in so many ways it would become too soppy a novel to share it all here. It meant a daily dedication to posting.. editing my thoughts (not always easy) and sharing the views from my lens as I discovered the design world around me.
I attended every conference, went online to every chat, and slowly but surely work *IRL* began to thrive as well as the connections online. Like so many, I was on a complete adrenaline rush and couldn't wait to sit down to post again ,.. and again.. and finally (and a lot sooner than many of my blogging compatriots) I burnt out! Complete exhaustion.

So the posts started to become less and less in depth nor as exciting as I wanted them to be.. not just for you, the readers, but for me.

I remember how at some point last year, (now that feels strange to say) the whirlwind created online by the reaction to a few comments made in an interview about "bloggers" in general by Martha Stewart got me to thinking again about my own blog, my own mission and everything in between.

Does Martha have a point? Are all bloggers experts? Or just because you have a blog, does that immediately provide you (and of course, when I say you I also mean me) allow for your opinion to somehow trump all others, more educated and informed opinions?

Are we all just taking this whole thing too seriously? Or is it SERIOUS because it means so much to those of us that dedicate themselves to their space?

My blog, is MY BLOG. It is not supposed to be a newspaper, nor do I expect that my commentary, opinions, thoughts, musings be taken as the end all of anything related to interior design. Especially not in the field of interior design, when so much is subjective.

I suppose it is how as professional designers we feel when clients expect a 24 hour miracle, similar to that of an HGTV episode. It is TV, and meant to entertain the viewer. A blog, can also be that.. or something a lot more in depth, more personal. It is what the readers and blogger chose it to be.

Of course, I hope that everyone understands the distinction between a trade professional that studied, invested time and money in perfecting their craft, and simultaneously feels they have the extra creative "juice" required to share it on their blog platform for the world to read and enjoy AND someone that loves that trade and writes about it. No matter how well they write about it.

With all that said, at the end of the day, it is all about the readers. Not the writers. It is about building it.. but have they actually come to visit? Do "they" come back.. again and again? That is what matters in the end. Making a connection and having that trust based relationship built on empathy, likeness, a feeling of belonging.

That is what I strive for, even if I sometimes fail at it.

So what does that mean about what I have learned from everything that 2014 brought me?

Well for one.. I think until this past year, I genuinely still believed I was invincible. It is true. I am finally a real adult now :-) and understand that HEALTH really does make a difference. Last year after participating in a charity event, I was bitten by a tick and quickly discovered that I had Lyme's Disease as a result. It took a giant toll on me and slowly but surely many other little ailments began to pile up on top of one another.

With small children that needed me and my husband working for the most part on the other side of the country, each day presented a new challenge. It meant I needed to start really taking care of me .. not last, not after everyone else was done, but first. It is not easy to do that. At least not for me.
I think about what they say on the planes, as the talk you through the emergency procedures.. always put your own mask on first. Well I am not sure I would be able to do that, but when you are presented with no other alternative, or in a sense, your own rock bottom, than what alternative do you have?

So, I began taking care of me, and discovered that I, like many I have come to meet in the process, live with an autoimmune disease called Lupus. The attack on my body from the tick's venom just made all my otherwise easy to live with symptoms worse and almost unbearable.
Constant pain is so unpleasant.. and most definitely not conducive to happy mothering nor creativity.
All from a little tiny bite - life changed in that instant for me. It was anything but pleasant and not a time I am comfortable sharing, nor one I would ever chose to relive.

So I decided to make some changes in my life, as a mother, a wife and as a family we moved west to be closer together and to allow me time to regain my own strength. Emotional.. physical.. creative. These are the layers that I needed to start to replenish and make whole again.

That was my gift to me. To become me again, and I am getting there. I feel so much better thanks to amazing alternative medicine and holistic choices that have made each day fun again. I am so grateful to both Dr Nona Djavid in Newport Beach and Dr Elizabeth Greig of the Blum Center in New York for helping put the pieces back together again. So many of you online and in person, saw me through my moments of sadness - to you, know how much you mean to me.

So now here we are in 2015. Day 1. I have always thought of myself as a positive, or glass half full kind of person, so I thought it would only be fitting to start focusing on my strengths this year.

I want 2015 to be all about what I can do and what deserves my energy all in the hopes of becoming a better me. A friend online, Lisa Ferguson, shared this image with me after I took the Strengths Finder test as a sign of my own commitment to this New Year's Resolution.

Here they are ->> My Top 5 strengths.

So there it is in black and white.
This year already has a great lineup of interior design projects kicking off the year just the way I like it as well as editorial and blogging events in California, in New York and many more in Europe. So I say to 2015... watch out, here I come.

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