Questions from Melony Hill’s Writing for My Sanity Therapeutic Writing Workshop (@STMSBmore), held online.
• What are my top 5 strengths? What are my top 5 weaknesses? How do I limit myself?
I’m very good at making new friends. I’m talented at inventing creative solutions. I can make a design client out of anyone. I am compassionate and will think of things on multiple dimensions and how they affect different people. I am very calm and strong in high-stress chaotic situations.
I’m pretty bad at time management. I definitely take on way more than I can handle. I am forever wondering if people actually like me, or if they are just keeping me around the usefulness of my strengths. I tend to get obsessed over small details, falling down rabbit holes of research and studying things, rather than pausing and getting the necessities done. I can become completely involved in my projects and forget to take care of myself.
I tend to limit myself in leadership roles, because I believe there are better-qualified people, and find myself more comfortable working in the background.
• What am I passionate about? Does my current career allow me to feed that passion? How can I incorporate my passion into my daily life?
I’m definitely passionate about drawing and art. While I’m not a place where that can support myself solely through artwork, I run my business so that it is a patron of my artistic endeavors.
A lot of businesses give gigantic corporate sponsorships. M&T Bank Stadium, the Royal Farms Arena, for examples. They use the events that are hosted there as advertising for their business.
I do that on a much smaller scale with my design agency. My business is able to sponsor my artwork along with my Patreon supporters and helps me get the more expensive things that I need to make my art, as well as promote it.
Because I’m investing back into myself, my artwork has slowly become more and more profitable. While that is not the goal of creating art (I would make it whether I made money or not), I find that I am much freer at making art when I have less stress around paying bills.
Hopefully I’ll eventually be able to do it full time.
• Do you ever underestimate yourself? If so, name a time where you underestimated yourself and why you did it? How did the situation turn out?
I used to underestimate myself a lot. I did not have confidence in my abilities or myself, to the point where I felt like it became a core part of who I was. My whole elementary and high school experience felt like a continuous set of missed opportunities and shyness.
When I went to college, I realized I could reinvent myself, because nobody knew who I was. So I did. I focused on not letting things bother me, and letting stress and troubles roll off my back. And it worked. I was happier, freer. I developed an aloofness that gave me peace, allowed me to make friends easily, and helped me to let go of the baggage that I held on to from my youth.
However, though I was more relaxed, I still didn’t value myself highly. I attributed my new friendships and connections to that relaxed happiness and to my loyalty to people. The people I was around followed a flavour of religion that emphasized an extreme version of humility that essentially made you avoid any and all compliments or praise, and I subscribed to that.
It wasn’t until I began therapy that I even realized I had a chronic habit of underestimating my value all the time. Slowly working through that and realizing my own self-worth has led me to value myself much more.
• Is there anything in your life that you are ashamed of? What steps can you take to put that shame behind you?
Over apologizing is the main way that my shame manifested, and at some point, someone pointed out to me that over apologizing for things was the way mistreatment and abuse showed symptoms. There isn’t much I’m ashamed of anymore. I don’t find shame to be useful anymore. So every time I catch myself apologizing for things that aren’t my fault, or that I have no control over, or for things that have nothing to do with me, I recognize that as shame, and let it go.