So many niches, so little time by Jessica B. Hensley Author of the Sketchwriterjess Blog and Owner of the Shop JBHensleySWJ.
So, I’ve had a couple of blogs with different names, this blog is my best attempt to make a business from what I know.
Its also my best effort to earn a living from something I like to do.
I like to draw. I like to make jewelry. I thought, hey combine them together and see what happens.
Well, its cool. I like what I’ve come up with so far. However, I also like to write poetry too.
I have a few on this blog, one even has a book that is being published again next year after some reworking on the graphics so it prints more clear.
Plus I’m designing the font for it too.
I sketch, write, and sometimes combine both because sometimes I can’t make up the weirdness of life, though many times I want to dream, I want to imagine, that my life isn’t full of weirdness and icky moments, and feelings of downright awkwardness...as a Gen Xr it’s unheard of. Millenials do that, Gen Xrs suck it up, pull themselves up by their boot straps, get stuff done...blah...blah...blah...Oh brother where are thou when I need to just take a break and relax and do nothing...at all.
Like sit and stare at the wall
And pretend I will fall
At the mall
and some skateboarder will rescue me
like it’s 1986 somewhere in New Jersey.
Does this make sense.
No? It shouldn’t make sense, if it does, then you are just as strange as me.
I’ve been through enough things and seen enough things and heard enough things that Life is not as real AF, it is as real as sex.
Sex meaning, its not just about the act of sex, but the act of thinking about it, wanting it, craving it, and not being able to do a damn thing about it but draw in a sketchbook or write a poem.
My period sucks the life out of me every month. It is a drain on my body and a painful tear at my soul as I see women and men my age and younger with boyfriends, husbands, children, girlfriends, just friends, partners, pet babies, car babies, anything they hold dear, except creative pursuits.
There are people in my life who think what I do is really interesting and cool. Some are Gen Xrs, some are Millenials, and some are from the Baby Boomers, Silent Generation, and Greatest Generation too, and Did I forget Generation Z?
People are interested in what I do. They watch me sketch. They tell me how beautiful my sketches are. And sometimes, if I’m telling someone something about something I did, I draw a sketch about it, like some of the tutorials I have on this blog.
Sketching was the first way I learned about making art and how it could calm me down. But then, as I went further into school and concentrated on Art as my major, A Bachelors of Science, it got serious. It wasn’t calming anymore, it wasn’t about making fun of silly things that happened during the day in middle school, it was about painting with oil paints and learning about creating portraits of not only myself, but other people. It was about figuring out weather I wanted to be an artist, or make an art career from something related to art, such as Graphic Design.
I took drawing in college, there were nude models. One a woman. And later there was a man.
I had never seen a man naked in person before. The class called him Mr. Happy...
Anyway, it was my first look at a man up close or a woman up close, other then me.
It was interesting, it was bold, and it was exciting to capture a person at their most vulnerable in a safe way.
I kept trying to date men on campus and then when that wouldn’t work, I developed crushes on professors.
Looking back, I think that not knowing I was left-handed played into my frustrations. I wasn’t my full self. I was a good part of self, and yet there was so much doubt, that I was not ready to be with anyone sexually.
I wasn’t confident enough in myself to know what I needed to do to be supportive of them in the ways they needed. I didn’t know how far I could go. So I held myself back from getting close enough to go in and get lost.
What I did instead was attempt suicide, yet I was the only one who knew I did.
I took out a knife and put it against my wrist, and then, I felt like someone was watching out for me. I put the knife back in the drawer, as soon as I did that, a person came in and was shocked I was in the Student Kitchen in the Dorm, He was an International Exchange Student who always cooked his own meals since it was against his beliefs to eat the American Meals the campus provided.
At that moment, I knew that life was precious. It was not meant to end in a way, for an emotion, that is fleeting and then over at some point. I got a glimpse that life is short and its not meant to be shortened intentionally.
Flash foward years later, I fell for yet another man who was taken and I was was studying for my second degree in an art related field, Interior Design. There were stories that I would do great, that I would have no problem getting a job.
And then me and my classmates all talked about how we’d always be using boring colors, designing for offices, never truly being creative like so many of us wanted to be.
I felt like I couldn’t take it. I wanted out. I remembered my suicide attempt and knew that was wrong. I wanted out though, so I got into music, I got involved in an internet community, I spent so much time in a fantasy world and was stepping out of the real world that I was in. And then, I broke free from reality. I was on anti-depressents at the time because I broke up with my internet community and couldn’t be in a relationship with the rockstar I lusted after.
I went off the anti-depressents and that sent me spiraling out of control. I was on my way to a break, going off the meds pushed it over the edge. I got into arguments with people online. I vaguely remember what I said and what they said and it’s getting blurrier every year I’m still living in real time.
I started this blog to highlight the best parts of having Bipolar Disorder and the low parts of it. Not in a voyeristic way, more like impressions of a person who has difficulties others have, yet more deep.
Many people don’t understand that. There is a thought that People with Bipolar Disorder are just exagerating their pain, that they are upset they aren’t getting enough attention, and that they are choosing not to take responsibility for their psychosis, but instead are using it as a way to avoid living in the real world.
There are many things that I have discussed on this blog, and many ways I have put my opinions forth.
This is the first time that I am going back to my blogging roots.
I started blogging years ago to just tell people how I feel. I was cut off and ignored from the internet group I fell in love with and I wanted to say that I was still around, that my life means something, that life means something.
For many people, music is a mirror of their lives, it wasn’t a mirror of mine, it was a funhouse mirror for me and still is if there are lyrics. Lyrics don’t reflect my story. They never have and it’s possible they never will.
I wrote some songs, people thought they connected with the lyrics and that shocked me because I thought I was the only woman who felt out of touch with living as a woman, being a woman, growing up, accepting the pain of boundaries, and realizing when it’s time to give up one thing and start another. And when it’s time to never give up.
I write all of this to let you know that I care about you, readers, people in general, and I feel I still have much to offer you, a supportive shoulder to vent on.
I am not giving up on my blog, I am breathing new life into it. I still want to teach how to make jewelry. I want to teach people how I use logic to solve problems as someone with a mental illness.
If anything, I am thankful to be here in this place and time, even though many times I’m not. Many times I want out. Not a suicide, more like a shut down. A release, a time when I don’t have to think, I don’t have to do anything.
I love the people in my life dearly and I’m jealous of all of them. There I said it. They’ve done things and have lives I can only dream of. And yet, what I get from so many people in my life is, I wish I had your life. You get to play all day, you don’t have to work, your parents help you when you need it.
Thats not whats going on, I can assure you. Everyday, I hustle myself into doing the things I keep thinking will get me out of my funk. The things I think will help me have a normal life.
I no longer want Bipolar Disorder to define me. I want to define me. I do define myself as a person who is creative, supportive, loving, caring, and sharing and yes that’s with drinking coffee, Old Fashioneds, Craft Beer, Wine, Diet Sodas, Tea, and eating cookies and scones and Hush puppies and Quinoa and salads and eggs and bacon and blah...apples oh boy...well, I eat and drink whats allright for me and not allright for me according to doctors, and me.
I don’t like habits. I don’t like rituals. I don’t like doing the same thing day in and day out and yet that is what I do because that is what I can do. My life is very similar to the average working person’s life, with the exception that I have no alternatives to work, I am self-employed because that is the only way I can be. Just like people with Celiac who can’t eat Gluten, or People with Anemia who get tired and need iron shots to survive, I need medicine to survive. I need medicine and support from the mental health and primary care health professionals and I’ve got that here.
I don’t want it to go away. I don’t want all those years I worked and put money into my Social Security to just count for nothing. I worked and I still work, I work alone, I work for myself, I want to work for others, on my terms, not someone above me with control issues.
One final thing I want to say on this post is that I meditate every night before I go to sleep. I saved a book that my Dad was going to throw away about meditation. He was so relieved that I saved it. He and my Granny, his mother, had been to an event held by the author of this book. It’s a good memory of her that he has. He misses her so much still.
There are days when I miss myself too. I miss the days where I had tons of energy to burn. I miss the days when I cared about myself enough to shower everyday and look presentable. And I miss the ability to get angry when I need to. To cry and not have to push so hard to cry. I miss laughing at jokes no one else gets but me in my head that I know what they are and why they make sense and the look on peoples faces when I have disturbed their concentration. I miss the constant attention that i brought to myself by being “cool weird” as opposed to “creepy weird”. Now, I’m weird sometimes and its more eccentric then bizarre.
I’ve come a long way from where I used to be.
I hope that you will continue to read this blog. I do have some things for sale on my newsletter. If they look like something you’d enjoy having or using, I encourage you to take a chance on joy.
There is joy in connecting with other people. There is joy in giving gifts to your friends and family, and there is joy in giving yourself a gift when you need a pick me up.
I plan to have more in my shop by February of Next Year.
I will blog once a week still, just more ranty stuff like this, no fancy process pictures or graphics.
Just long essays on life as a person with love in their heart for nature and people.
Have a Day that only you can have and feel how you feel about it.
And any other days you need to, Should be everyday, but sometimes we need to put some pancake make-up on ourselves and some sunglasses to be someone mysterious.
Jess, still Sketchwriterjess, always me : ).