Nine Years Later, Here I Am Again

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Nine years ago today I walked into my School District Administration Building and quit my full-time teaching gig that I actually loved quite dearly.

Lot of people find it inspiring when I tell them that Hansel and I had a total of $700 to our name. Not even enough to pay one month’s rent.

They love it even more when I tell them that every cell in my body told me it was time — that it was my intuition that lead the way.

But once-in-awhile I meet someone that will dig a little deeper. That will ask me a few questions and they’ll learn that I actually started Dirty Footprints Studio online in April of 2008 — two full years before I left my job.

Before that Dirty Footprints Studio was my pottery business while I taught full time as an elementary and middle school art teacher.

Then before that I juggled a million different art jobs in my twenties — everything from showing and selling my own work, to being a personal art assistant to Joseph Kosuth, to gallery assistant, to teaching at the Cleveland Museum of Art, to working on murals and theater sets, creating commissions, and even being a consultant to art organizations looking for ideas to make their business better and serve more people.

In other words, I’ve always been a self-employed artist. Manifesting opportunities for revenue makes up the fabric of my work life and from what I’ve learned about myself so far, this is how I best operate.

Looking back, it’s kind of crazy to me that I would think having one full-time teaching job would do it. Especially in the public school system where I had to comply with so many ideas and ways of doing things I just simply didn’t agree with.

So on July 6, 2010, when I walked into that school district boardroom to explain why I was breaking my upcoming contract, I knew that this was no longer about work for me. This was about surrendering to who I really am. This was about following my truth.

You see, I loved being an elementary and middle-school art teacher. I loved my kiddos unbelievably. If I really had to, I probably could have stuck it out and found some type of inner peace. It was me who won best teacher award every year while I was there because I gave that job my absolute everything. But I couldn’t ignore that inside I constantly felt like I was scratching against the seams.

Now it has only been two weeks since I finally shut the doors on Dirty Footprints Studio for good. For months I went through the hassle of creating a new website, getting a new tax id, opening new bank accounts, email accounts, and every other little detail this kind of business change requires. And as I did so, I looked at it as part of my own initiation.

Because here I am, nine years later, feeling like I did on that day I started a new chapter. For years now there’s been something inside me scratching at the seams. Something that knows this box I created for myself as a business no longer fits who I am being called to be.

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