September so far.

This has been a strange, good summer.

Strange because I didn’t go to the lake until last Tuesday, which sounds crazy coming from me, as I live all year waiting for summer, beach life, and swimming in open air. I think this is another learned lesson. Too much expectation and attachment, and this is what you get – nothing.

I, Bobbi Arbore, solemnly promise that I will stop hating autumn and winter so much and that I will force myself to find all the good aspects that there must be – somewhere, probably very well hidden – in the cold seasons. But please let me have a great summer next year. I need to be on the beach for three months straight, to catch up.

I also solemnly promise to make enough money to be finally able to buy a Nikon again, because I miss taking pictures so much and my cheap cell phone’s camera makes me vomit. I miss going to the lake and take tons of photos, it was like living and seeing the beach twice. For an observer, like me, pictures are important.

But enough with the things I miss.

As I said, this summer has been strange, but it’s been also good. I wrote in the last post how I felt the need to stop and observe my life, to send my spirit on vacation. It’s not an easy thing, because you go through various difficult stages, depending on how much of your life is revealed to you in your observing it. But if you can, if you think you have the stomach to dig deep, by all means, do it. I will maybe go into details about this in another post, maybe.

But it’s been the best decision ever. I can savor the small things again, I love my home again, I can draw again, and so many other things and feelings that were gone. Most of all, I cleared my head by discovering and understanding facts and situations that looked blurry, have created confusion, and had me doing wrong moves based on misinterpretations.

I can look at things for what they are, I know how to face them, and it feels good.

Can I kiss myself? I was totally stuck with my watercolors, but the day I had set as a restart, I made a pretty one that I am already turning into so many items that will soon be online. Not on Etsy. Right now it doesn’t feel like the right place for me. I will share all my new shops soon. Yes, shops, plural.

Ahh. Life.

Continue Reading September so far.

A little life.

When I was a kid, my heroes were Beatrix Potter, Tove Jansson, and Tasha Tudor (and my style icon was Pippi Longstocking. Still is!

I loved how Beatrix, Tasha, and Tove lived life their way, doing what they loved, where they liked.

Beatrix was a rich woman but lived a simple life on a farm, surrounded by nature and animals. Tasha lived completely off the grid, made everything by hand, and her farm was almost entirely self-sustained. Tove lived in a little cabin on an island most of the time. (And Pippi wore crazy colors, had crazy hair and had a horse and a monkey!)

To some, these kinds of lifestyles could look limited and small. To me, they looked like pure freedom.

I had wild dreams of following their steps someday – maybe not down to the details – Tasha didn’t have electricity, it’s a bit too much – but I wanted something close to that.

I never needed a social status, never needed to be represented by the things I own or the work I do. I am represented by what I love doing. What I do for a living is another story and it’s not me. It’s just what pays the bills. Even if, naturally, I plan to make what I do for a living and what I love to do, to merge.

A little more than fifteen years ago I left my job in the fashion business, my hometown Milan, moved where I live now, and started working as an interior design and decorator in a furniture company. I found this cottage and moved in. From an apartment in downtown Milan to a cottage in the middle of nowhere, it was a shock to most people that knew me. I was judged as crazy, irresponsible. To people, I left ‘all that’ to get nothing back. Once the furniture company closed down, after a few ridiculous work experiences, I decided to not be enslaved anymore and started working on my own.

It’s been fifteen years since my choice of moving away from ‘all that’, and I still get judged. A few weeks ago, someone I considered my friend, told me that I have a little life and no hunger for anything better, in a very offensive tone. Like I’m a stupid loser, someone who gives up, someone with no dreams and no will. I will spare you the details of how I reacted, I’ll just tell how she couldn’t make eye contact with me anymore at the end.

I hate when people judge other people, and I hate being lectured by someone who feels better than me. I’m pretty sure everyone is fighting a battle, more or less, and I also think that what you see of people’s lives is just the tip of the iceberg and you shouldn’t judge or jump to conclusions without knowing about the whole thing.

And wanting a simple life, it’s completely different from having a little life. There is no misery when you make a choice that makes you happy, whatever that choice is. There is no misery when you choose to walk around in simple clothes because it reflects who you are rather than dressing up to appear something you are not. No shame in driving an old car I entirely paid for, rather than showing off a new, big car you’ll finish to pay in five or six years. It’s a matter of conscious choices, of deciding what makes you happy. Is it really a big car? Then fine. But you shouldn’t let other people decide what should make you happy. And you shouldn’t judge if what makes me happy is different from what you choose.

Personally, I sometimes laugh hard at people with big cars, beautiful houses, and beautiful clothes, because they often use those these things as substitutes for happiness. It’s a happiness they are usually paying monthly and at an expensive tax rate, which often chokes them. Still, they think they are better than me because they have things I don’t have.

The one thing I don’t have it’s a mental jail. In my little life, I decided to have more time to walk the dogs. To save all the pets I can. To read books. To draw just because I like it and not only because I have to. To sell cat illustrations because it’s fun. To walk other people dogs and be paid to play with them.

It looks like a poor life to most. Yes, I’m not rich. But it turns out that I don’t have less money than when I worked in fashion. It’s the same because I don’t need to spend as much. I need less, I don’t fill the holes made by stress and frustration with stuff I don’t need. I’m free. And I do have a lot of hunger for better things, only they are not exactly ‘things’.

 

Continue Reading A little life.