and then you kind of end up here - part 2 of the story

just take my photo already, so I can go play!
Growing up I was rarely inside. I loved adventuring around the neighbourhood. I grew up in an era where parents let their kids run wild and loose on the streets of suburbia. I was a bit of a lone wolf too, out for my own adventures and whoever was around could tag along. But I also had no problems amusing myself.  Neither of my parents were outdoorsy folks, or really very adventurist. But my Grandma was. She was a traveller and a homebody all in one. She was truly a remarkable woman! I most definitely have her spirit in me. But the point is, I didn't grow up with summers at the cottage or camping or any of that. I camped in high school but that was more of a party away from parental supervision kind of adventure ;) But I was comfortable with being in the outdoors.

Then I moved to Vancouver right after college, after I'd gone out there for my reading week break. I started life over, in the middle of the mountains and old growth forests and ocean wildlife. I explored around those first years, before settling in Vancouver proper and I loved those times. Discovering all the little hidden spots, meeting new people, creating my own story as I went. Most of my friends went out of county to explore after college, I chose to explore my own country. And I connected and fell in love with the natural world that makes up a huge part of Canada. There is no greater peace than being lost in your own thoughts on the top of a mountain, looking over miles and miles of forest and sky and ocean. This was home to me. That sounds cheesy but it was true for me. Not everyone can disconnect like that to be able to get lost in such a large space. But it's where I'm most comfortable. Not that I'm anti-social, I just find social times harder to focus in.

One of my favourite spots on the planet - Summerland, BC

And I think you can see that in a lot of my stories and illustrations. It was such a huge part of my being, it was going to be evident in my work. That's a big part of what I related to in the Finnish shops, the use of natural elements in their work. In the years I lived out West I also saw those natural resources be sold off and cut down and disrespected. Now, while this is not a political post, it's important to know this, because I discovered something about myself after moving back to Toronto. I am 100% Tree Hugger. Yeah, I used to make fun of them. Now I realize I've always been one. Funny how that happens. And I'd forgotten that part of me after a few years back in a bigger city, where strolling through a park does not measure up to a hike in the forest. Sorry. It just doesn't. Walking through city parks reminds me how badly we maim and litter our nature. When you're deep in the forest you are completely detached from civilization. It's untouched by us. I got kind of angry. Why does no one care? Don't you want to have fresh air, and trees and clean oceans? (this would be the point I realized I really was a Tree Hugger type!) These are not issues that are of particular interest in areas of the country where you don't live side by side with nature. It's not Toronto's fault, this is a common thread within a lot of cities in Canada, and North America I'm sure.  And I want to make a point that I am not a Toronto-hater. It is what it is. It may not be for me, but it's great for a lot of people. But it could use a bit of a green make-over. We all could be reminded how to live a cleaner existence and lessen our footprint on the planet. If you've followed me for the last few months on twitter and instagram you may have seen signs of this shift. This was my personal growth. Finding that side of me again. I'm not usually one to bow to peer pressure or to follow the pack, but I found that coming back to Toronto, being around old friends, old habits started to emerge. That's all on me. That's also not Toronto's fault.  I've always been quite comfortable with who I am, sometimes a bit lost, but never unsure of myself. That's what I was feeling. Confused and unsure of what the hell I was doing anymore. That was new territory for me. But as those old friends started to fade away, and I started to gravitate more to like minded folks and find my place in a creative community I started to be me again. But that's when the thunderpeep story started to change...

packaging parties!
Small business is hard. A creative small business is hard. Not only do I run thunderpeep by myself, I also work a full time day job (affectionately referred to as Le Day Job) and make an attempt to have a social life in that spare time. This tests friendships (trust me breakups with bad friends are as important as breakups with bad boyfriends), makes trying to start new relationships a challenge (it's almost kind of a blessing being single with no kids to look after, but the boyfriend situation needs to change, at least so I can have someone to help with all those OOAK load ins ;) and planning for a future with questionable income very challenging. But any small business owner knows this, I'm preaching to the choir here. We all do it because we love it. But somewhere towards the end of 2014 I realized that I wasn't really loving it. I wasn't happy. This wasn't what I'd set out to do, and the love just wasn't there. Having come back on side with that little Tree Hugger me, I had a long look at the greenness of my own business. Was I doing the planet a favour, or was I contributing to the problem. Sure there's a place for stationery in everyday life. There are eco-friendly ways of producing and encouraging people to not just recycle but to reuse the products was also possible. At least I hoped it was possible. Cards are pretty disposable, maybe I should be making more long term pieces. Maybe I just didn't want to do it at all anymore (don't worry, this story has a happy ending)

That's when things started to go sideways. In a way, I was personally being rebranded, so shouldn't that mean that my company will move in the new direction too? Plus I turned 40, always a good time for a big life shakeup. Right??!!!

read the next chapter here!

1 comment:

  1. So well written!! I can't wait for the third installment!


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