Yesterday was my last day as an art director at Johnson & Johnson, and I’m feeling all the feels. Most of all, I feel FREE! 🧚 Since I was a kid, I've internalised society's expectations of success, and as an adult, put a lot of pressure on myself to get a high-paying job with solid benefits. For many people this is the dream, and it was for me too, or at least I thought it was.
Going through the process for me, however, was a lot more damaging than we're often led to believe. I found myself on a team with a manipulative manager that created a toxic environment for me and my other colleagues - this, coupled with the needlessly high stress that these work places often cultivate literally brought me to my knees. With the encouragement of friends and family I decided to take a medical leave in order to focus on my mental health. It's been an empowering experience and ultimately led to my recent resignation. I will, however, forever be grateful to the colleagues and friends with whom I went through it all.
Now, I will be focusing my time on my artwork and supporting myself through my first part-time / seasonal job with the Sanitation Foundation, the non-profit of NYC’s Department of Sanitation. I’ve worked with them before on a big illustration project (launching this September), so I’m very happy to be working with them again in a different capacity: leading corporate volunteer cleanups around the city. I love this job because I care a lot about the health of this planet, and I get to be outdoors! If you’re in NYC, work for a company, and want to do some volunteer work with your team, send me a note. 😉
Creating art on TikTok
I’ve also been working hard (and happily) on my art, extending my self-expression to, of all places, TikTok! I had a crazy moment last week when one of my videos went, for lack of a better term, viral. 😳 Like… WHUT?! You all know that I’m an introvert, so having 200,000+ people watching me lip-syncing a mantra about self-love and hopping around my living room is … #anxiety. I’ve been working with my therapist on feeling comfortable taking up more space and expressing myself freely, and wow. Experiencing this moment felt like the biggest exposure therapy. It challenged me to face the effects I have on people, interact with thousands of strangers, and create healthy boundaries so I protect and honour my wellbeing. I’m excited to create more videos, which are an extension of my artistic practice, and put good energy out into the universe.
It’s been a whirlwind of growth and change, and as I learn to trust myself more, I hope to stay humble, check my privilege, and surf the waves of life with my learning mindset surfboard. 🏄 I can imagine these experiences will help and support me as I build the next chapter of my life in Portugal.
Staying true to my self,
Relaxing flute music (looped for 3 hours!). My partner and I like to listen to this on weekend mornings. Warning: they often lead to deep, metaphysical conversations.