Oct 17, 2020 – How it started / How it’s going.I thought I would jump on this bandwagon I’m seeing online, cuz it’s fun (and WHOA to reflect).
How it started – Aww, bless. Lookit my scrunchie and plaid pants. I obsessively drew every Disney character I could get a picture of (seemingly only the female ones though, hmm…), and I would dream of working in animation. The thought of getting paid to draw was more amazing than I could ever imagine. I know I was born a (sometimes foolish) dreamer, and this has brought me far.
How it’s going – I actually stopped to count, and after almost ten years of working in animation, I’m working on the design crew of my 15th animated production, for DreamWorks. (Ya hear that, 14 year old Stace??!) I have illustrated a real picture book called “Rainbow Boy”, which is being published in 3 short months!! This photo below was taken this week, as I work on the rough illustrations for “Still Stace”, publishing Fall 2021. Well, shoot. I’m actually kinda proud of me after reading that!
One of my (many) songs on rotation on Spotify is “Keep Dreaming” by Hedegaard. It’s become my theme while working on my book. “I’m trying to say, just keep dreaming and work hard.”
Never EVER give up on your dreams!
August 12, 2020 – It’s complicated.
I almost didn’t post this.
But I’m 40 now, so screw it, I’m not editing myself anymore!
I wrote this after a recent visit with my parents. (I hid this from them on social media. Because I do love them and don’t want to hurt them. But being honest about hard things is important.)
This is for every queer person who still has unaffirming people in their life who love them. It’s so hard. I hear you, I love you, you aren’t alone.
It’s so complicated.
August 3, 2020 – Learning to be brave.
Right now I am working on final revisions for my manuscript for “Still Stace”. I’m also reading Glennon Doyle’s “Untamed”. This is quickly becoming a tumultuous, beautiful, terrible, gut-wrenching, wonderful, life-changing gift.
I have to read it very slowly, digesting it in small bits. Sometimes in the bath (the only place to read where I can lock myself away from toddlers), I can only manage a couple pages. My copy of her book is already dog-eared, annotated and frantically underlined. I’m not halfway done yet.
I feel, as I know many people feel, it was written JUST for me in this season of my life. No but, really, it feels that way. Glennon, can you hear me??
Today was a rare day for me. I was taken to the spa for a glorious getaway. As I laid on a surprisingly comfortable wooden recliner outside, wrapped in one of their lush white robes, I tried to muscle my way through a good chunk of her book. I feel in my bones that I need to absorb what every page says, but it’s hitting (too) close to home. Once again I hit the “oof, that hurts” wall after just a few pages.
I folded it face down on my chest and stared up at the blue sky. The spa doesn’t allow technology on-site, so I was actually forced to notice things. The way the soft breeze rustled the leaves overhead ever so gently. I studied the way the clouds swirled and reformed their puffy shapes quickly and slowly at the same time. The soothing sounds of the spa music – all that was missing was a masseuse’s hands on my shoulders.
Brené Brown talks about how she knows a book is good when she wants to throw it across the room. Well, Glennon, your book has a lot of air miles in my mind. I don’t want what you are saying to be true, but dammit, it is.
“Brave is not asking the crowd what is brave. Brave is deciding for oneself. To be brave is to forsake all others to be true to yourself.”
That sounds easy.
That sounds logical.
That sounds impossible.
How is it, that at the age of 40, I am only now learning how to truly be brave?? How to listen for my own knowing, not the mix of voices in my head that want to do the “right thing”, make others happy or do whatever it takes not to hurt them.
Guys, this is so tough.
As I write about my younger self’s struggles in coming out and finding peace with my faith and sexuality, I realize I am yet again on another excruciating journey of finding myself. (Not in the same way mind you, I’m gayer than ever.)
But then, that’s what’s life is, right? “Being human is not hard because you’re doing it wrong, it’s hard because you’re doing it right.” (Damn you, Glennon. Also, thank you Glennon.)
Okay, let’s keep reading.
July 26, 2020 – This is 40.Yesterday, I turned 40. I’m not sure how that is possible, when inside I feel no older than 14! Life is (real) messy right now, but I woke up feeling stupidly grateful to be alive, and convinced myself to take my first selfie ever because WELL WHY NOT. Are bathroom selfies still a thing?! (Revealing my age now.) 💯🎉🌈 Yesterday was filled with my fav things – kitchen dance party with my kids, swimming in my fav lake and breathing in deep the mountain air, sneaking in a workout, and enjoying my fav foods with a few of my people (in our Covid bubble). Man, I am so damn lucky to be alive. I don’t want to waste this breath in my lungs.
“I am a human being, meant to be in perpetual becoming. If I am living bravely, my entire life will become a million deaths and rebirths. My goal is not to remain the same but to live in such a way that each day, year, moment, relationship, conversation, and crisis is the material I use to become a truer, more beautiful version of myself.” – @glennondoyle “Untamed”
June 30, 2020 – Pride.It’s the last day of pride month. 🌈 2020 has felt more formative for me than ever. My gay Christian journey started when I was 16, but now that I am (so very) close to the big 4-0, I feel like I am just beginning in a lot of ways. I’m truly learning what it means to trust myself – the deep, knowing me inside. To show up for myself and do hard things. I’m learning it’s good and necessary to take up space in this world, to say things, to deeply feel things. 2020 has been a tremendously hard year – for everyone – but often the hardest times bring about the most growth and beauty. I have a sense the coming months for me will be the hardest, but I am tenaciously hopeful and believing for the growth and beauty in the midst of it. (Maybe, because of it.) A friend sent me this quote that I have said to myself every day lately:
I hope that wherever you are on your coming out journey, you know it is okay. You are more than okay. You are loved. Happy Pride, my friends. ❤️🌈🎉
“I will go, and I will go afraid.”
– Morgan Harper Nichols
📷 Photo of Stacey ©2019 Camilla Hrytzak.
June 28, 2020 – A parent-scare + restore-faith-in-humanity story.As a parent, you never know when your kids will get hurt, but you are always waiting for it on some level. (And when you have a 2.5 yr old son like mine, you wait for it every day.) We explored a new place last night, a walking trail (mostly concrete) around a man-made lake. It had been raining off and on, and past their bedtime, so we took one last photo of the kids before heading for the car. Our son then decided to run up a wet rock and slipped, falling head first on the concrete with a loud & sickening CRACK. (Yes, lots of blood immediately everywhere.) Friends, there’s so many good people out there. Thank you to the couple who were passing by, who stopped and immediately asked if they should call 911. They called, talked with us and the dispatchers, waited with us and directed the ambulance & paramedics to where we were. Thank you to the young girl on her skateboard who passed by, and stayed just to quietly hold a big umbrella over us as it rained. Her smiles of comfort for our 4 yr old daughter helped so much, too. (Thanks to, I think, her dad, who gave us the umbrella to keep when the paramedics got there.) Thank you to the man who stopped to ask what our son’s fav show was, so he could pull it up on his phone to help him stop crying. (Who knew I would be actually grateful for damn Blippi.) Thank you to the man who stopped and said he lived nearby, if we needed to take our son there or if he needed to run home to grab first-aid supplies. Thank you to the paramedics for their ongoing work in the world right now, in this situation, and for giving him a teddy bear after he wouldn’t stop crying in the ambulance. Thank you to this rainbow for showing up immediately after the ambulance left, carting my son off to the hospital, and making me feel all the feels. 😭❤️🌈 Everyone’s fine now and home (with stitches) and we are grateful. Don’t give up on humanity. We met a lot of helpers tonight. 🙏❤️🙌🏼
June 25, 2020 – Church.
Pausing along the Maple Ridge / Pitt Meadows Dyke trails to breathe in the mountain fog.
May 25, 2020 – Human Doing.This quarantine time has made me see I am way better at being a human DOING, rather than a human BEING. I like to be busy. I don’t like to be still and feel hard things. It’s ugh, and uncomfortable. But this time is teaching me that’s exactly what I need to do. Slow down. Breathe. Feel it. Stay with it. See what it can teach you. This illustration came to me when I jogged passed one of my fav trees this week. Man, it felt good to dig out my pencils & ink pens and lose myself on paper. (Drawing on toothy watercolour paper is also really satisfying. My Moleskine sketchbook was full so I had to – happy accident.) Hope everyone remembers to slow down! Love to you all.
Jan 18, 2020 – It’s being a parent.Sometimes being an artist for a living and a hobby can get tough. I often struggle to get out what’s in my head, and I am usually (always) super critical of myself and my work. I don’t often feel like what was in my head was successfully transmitted to the screen or paper… but I’m learning to be easier and more encouraging towards myself! Perfectionism is a tough & bumpy road. When I have a big deadline looming ahead (as I do now), I feel frozen and overwhelmed. I start to doubt myself and feel creatively stuck. When this happens, I tell myself (usually Tams will tell me!) to take a break and go write. It helps to clear my head and be creative in a way that flows much easier for me. Here’s something I wrote about parenting two years ago, and this morning while on a much-needed break, I edited it. (I’m also trying not to judge or assess it!) Hope some other parents out there can see themselves in the words. ❤
it’s a small warm hand on your neck it’s sticky items in your pocket it’s moments of no patience, then immediate unbridled love it’s wiping big tears away, then chasing joy around the corner it’s overwhelming doubts if you can do this it’s big eyes staring silently at you to love them it’s no answers, yet all the questions you never thought of it’s sitting down to eat, and never getting to eat it’s deep breaths & pep talks & breakdowns it’s playing dress-up & funny dances & being silly because that’s all there is it’s a little hand reaching up for help, knowing you’ll grab it it’s a tiny toddler plopping themselves in your lap it’s no personal space, fingerprints on your glasses & stains on your clothes it’s a rollercoaster of emotions, then a gentle gliding of a canoe it’s never feeling ready, yet somehow you already are it’s rediscovering soft sheep’s wool, the joy of a puppy playing & the crunch of leaves it’s letting your soul be fueled by the small voice calling “Mommy?” it’s holding tight onto the big hugs until they let go it’s learning to let go and see how much they teach you it’s that feeling that you are a little being’s everything it’s unbelievably hard it’s so beautiful you ache it’s all so worth it …………….. it’s being a parentStacey Chomiak © 2020