Evolving requires Effort- a lot of it
I would start this post by making some cliche statement about how much of a shit show 2020 has been, but theres no need. My mentality is always to try to accept the uncontrollable as if you had chosen it and 2020 has been the definition of uncontrollable. Sheesh....
Anyways- After a crazy long hiatus from blogging I feel good to say, "I'm Backkkkkkk." Seriously, stepping away from the blog for the last 6 months helped me to find alignment and truly tap into what the hell I want. Looking back, I realize that the beginning of the year was a time of me going through my everyday life on autopilot mode. While my business (the tattoo shop) was thriving, I was unfulfilled. All around me I saw everyone else doing shit, yet I couldn’t find the inspiration or actually, the courage to be me. The blog content was cute and curated and I enjoyed the feedback I received from everyone assuming I "had it together," but I didn’t and not expressing myself to the fullest made me unhappy, really unhappy.
That's the crazy thing about being a woman I think. We tend to go into periods of autopilot where we might tell ourselves that the everyday, mundane life we created is enough. Whether it be through our kids, our partner or even our professional roles- it is easy to get caught in the trap of telling yourself that "hey, you should be content and this is enough." Days fall into weeks and weeks into months and slowly you start to realize that contentment is giving you a front row seat on the outside of life. It becomes easier to watch everyone else achieve and create while you just like and scroll and wish you were doing more. For me, it was not that I did not have the desire to do more or be more- I guess I just assumed that who I was as a mom and a wife was enough. My dreams were in a box, high up on the shelf while I was helping everyone else to reach theirs.
Since I was little, I have always been a creative person, but looking back, I don't think I ever had enough confidence in myself to openly express it. Whether you are a designer, an artist and photographer.. whatever- pursuing any professional endeavor as a Creative is hard because there is no blueprint on how to win at it. When you have a standard, professional title there is some level of guarantee of success and stability as long as you do the work. You never have to worry about people questioning your work as a Doctor or a Lawyer. You never have to worry about justifying your value as a Doctor- people know what you do and why it's critical that you do it. Being a Creative requires you to step out on faith and confidence without that guarantee. Accumulating your ideas into a tangible product or service takes a mass amount of courage because you have no idea if people will like it or even understand it. People will always need a doctor or a lawyer or hell, even a hair stylist, but people may not need nor want your art. Knowing that, it takes confidence to pursue art and creativity professionally despite that fear. A true, authentic, not fake- confidence.
Fast forward to May/ June of this year, I remember driving in the car from the grocery store one day and openly saying out loud- "I am finishing this year healthier than I've ever been." Rich was in the car with me and he looked at me kind of crazy and just said ok like he understood, but I know he didn't. At the time, I was the heaviest I had ever been at 213 lbs and I felt miserable. Staying in the house with the kids everyday had started to really take a toll on my appearance, my mood and my mental health. Instead of working on my professional goals, I would spend all day on the phone or cleaning the house only to be super resentful by the time Rich got home from work. Beyond a subsurface blog post here and there, nothing was really feeding me creatively and I was stuck in the day to day grind of just being everything for everyone else. Openly making that statement to Rich, I had no clue that I was manifesting the path I was about to walk into with myself. I only knew that I did not want to feel the way I was feeling anymore, mentally or physically.
About a month later, I got myself a gym membership and started working out maybe 1x or 2x a week. At first, it was extremely hard for me because of how out of shape I was. When I start doing something new, I tend to be a very black and white person in the sense that I have to either give it 100% effort or I won't attempt it at all. With working out, it took me a while to get to the place where I felt I could give it 100% of my effort because I was unsure if it would actually work. Maybe it's the Capricorn in me, but if I feel like I cannot win at something- I tend to not even attempt it. While this is a great survival technique, it has held me back from pursuing a lot of opportunities just because they required a risk I was not able to justify that I needed to take.
As time went on, I started increasing the amount of times per week that I was going to the gym. By adding an extra day week by week, I noticed my strength and concentration begin to improve and suddenly- working out didn't feel so hard, actually- I really started to enjoy it. By the end of July, I was down 33 lbs and feeling 10x more confident in my body again. As I began to prioritize working out, I also drastically changed what foods I ate everyday. Replacing the processed shit for more whole, plant-based options made me feel lighter with more energy. I started to pay attention to the cues my body gave me when I ate something that I knew was terrible for me.
As the weight started to come off, so did a lot of other self-ignoring behaviors. When you begin to prioritize yourself, things that you "didn’t have time for" before become more important. Improving the physical voids in my life made me want to start prioritizing the other areas of me that were also in need of attention. I started seeing a therapist weekly, I began to dive deeper into my spirituality within myself. During that time I started to become clear on what I wanted to do professionally and I began to honor that clarity by putting in the work to build my graphic design business from scratch. While I have always loved doing graphic design and creative direction work, I never felt that I was good enough to offer it professionally to others and that kept me from ever evolving my skills or taking myself seriously as a professional designer. As I began to promote myself professionally, opportunities began to come my way. It was as if the more I poured into myself, the more the universe poured into me. Turning my attention inward allowed me to truly see myself for who I really was at the time and most importantly, who I wanted to be. I no longer wanted to sit on the outside looking in at my life, afraid to take a risk on myself so I began to align all of my attention into growing my skills and my brand.
Eunoia by Nikki D was an idea that was born out of my time of reflection and realization this summer. Back in 2016, I tattooed the word eunoia on Rich's leg late one night when he was trying to teach me how to tattoo (stupid idea and no I never really learned lol). The word Eunoia means "Beautiful thinking, a well mind," and has always been one of my favorite Greek words that describes the theme to everything I try to manifest in myself. Creating a lifestyle brand that emphasized the meaning of eunoia became a passion project of mine that has evolved from just a simple t-shirt idea to a whole line of products (a bunch that haven't even dropped yet y'all). All designed by me, I wanted each piece in my collection to speak to the importance of mental wellness, self-realization and personal growth. Because I am obsessed with streetwear and unisex clothing (I bet you didn't know that), I wanted all of the apparel to all be something that was dope and inclusive to both men and women. Basics that you actually want to wear.
The Pause Planner was also a project that was created during my 4-5 months of reflection and has truly been the most eye-opening, growth-evoking experience imaginable. 2-3 years ago I released the Purpose Planner with ZERO idea on how to make a quality stationary product. Although I poured my heart into the Purpose Planner back then, I never was truly satisfied with the end result of the planner and I knew I was capable of producing something that I could be proud of.
I knew that when I was ready to create a new planner and journal line I had to do it the right way. Developing the Pause Planner over the last few months has tested every piece of me, inspiring me to push through periods of doubt and a lack of confidence even when I felt like I didn't want to. From receiving the wrong samples to changing the design like 60x- I have had nobody to talk to during the development of this book. No course to buy, no E-book to read. Channeling the courage to re-launch a new and improved planner that was sourced internationally (and designed by me) has required me to show up for myself in ways that are unfamiliar. I have had to be my own cheerleader and ultimately, trust in my product and hope you guys will like it as much as I do.
November is now here and it's crazy to think about how far I have come in the last 5 months. 2020 totally disrupted every part of me in the most drastic of ways. As the end of the year approaches, physically, mentally, professionally and emotionally- I am stronger. I am now down 55 lbs (probably the smallest I have been since like ever) and exercise has become a major part of my daily routine. I now have a completely different relationship with food and implementing a 88% Vegan lifestyle (I say 88% because uh- cheese) has given me a whole new sense of clarity around wellness and what I put in or on my body.
Emotionally, I am healing, but damn that shit has been a REAL process. Participating in weekly therapy sessions and tuning into nurturing podcasts and messages have helped me to get real with a lot of old wounds I have yet to face. Personally, I am on the path to gaining a higher level of emotional maturity that I never knew I needed before this. The thing that most people do not tell you about emotional healing is that it is a messy process. Unlike going to the gym or practicing a new skill, emotional healing requires you to show up and "do the work" even when it feels 10x easier not to. Turning into myself and doing the work has been a push/ pull process. Sometimes I feel like I have taken 20 steps forward emotionally, while other times I feel like I haven’t learned a thing. Regardless, I plan to continue to put in effort around my healing because I owe it to myself to give ME the same level of effort that I have given others. Whenever I am mentally well, I am available to receive abundance in other areas of my life.
Professionally, I feel excited and incredibly proud about all of the growth I have made with Eunoia by Nikki. From building the concept of the brand to actually launching the initial products, I feel inspired about how I have been able to show up for myself every single day. I have so many plans for the brand and most of all, I no longer feel afraid to put myself out there in fear of what others may say or think. Instead I am honoring my creativity by staying committed to the process of building a brand that I believe in. Releasing the Pause Planner in November will be a true testament to my commitment to myself and this process and I am looking forward to the launch of the planner so much. Pre-orders will be available in late November with the actual book launching in December, right before the New Year. If you haven’t had a chance to check out the new line, click here.
Evolving requires effort. Do not let social media or anyone else make you feel like growth and progression just magically happens. You cannot manifest abundance without action. Do not over-complicate the path towards healing and self-improvement by holding yourself to a healing or growth standard that does not exist. Show up for yourself every single day. Honor the space you are in mentally, physically and professionally with the understanding that growth and progression are just on the other side of desiring to want more. When your desire for more matches your effort towards improvement, know that success and ultimately, self- fulfillment is waiting.
Always in all ways-
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