Six Months of Cozy!

Today is the six-month anniversary of cozy does it! Hooray!

This is my twenty-second post in six months and I feel incredibly proud of that. If you are reading this as a blogger who is just getting started, I wish you luck and encouragement and urge you not to feel pressured by the blank page. You can do this and you can do this at whatever pace is right for you.

I started this blog as a healthier writing outlet to social media and it turned into something much more nourishing and sustaining for me. I realize now that the title that came to me as I was sipping coffee at our kitchen table early in the morning on August first and the themes of coziness and minimalism have provided me with positive, focused fuel for my writing. I don’t know exactly what it was that ignited the spark in me, a perpetual procrastinator, to sit down and figure out how to start a blog that morning- to purchase a domain name, choose a layout design, and tailor the font to best suit my topic, but I am so thankful. Having a subject matter that continuously feeds my creative energy and urges my flow of ideas each time I am met with a blank page is something I have not experienced in over a decade and it is something that I do not take for granted.

I have self-identified as a writer since I was a little kiddo and this is the first time in a long time that I feel honest in that claim. Writer’s block is a very real struggle that attacks a writer’s confidence, pushes aspirations out of reach, and induces personal anxiety. I am personally familiar with feeling lost on the snowy expanse of a blank Word document and the unsteady falling sensation of slipping around on buttery journal pages. The most useful tools for me, oddly enough, have been to remove the pressure of goal-setting when it comes to my own creativity, and to strip away any expectation of success and go into creative endeavors knowing that I may be my only audience member.

Back on that August morning, I realized that I just wanted to write for the sake of writing. I just wanted to reclaim that part of me for myself and no one else.

Over the past few years, I have occasionally taken part in creative retreats and artist salons organized by other artist friends of mine. I would go to these events, hoping that being an audience member to the mismatched collection of creative contributions would inspire me or instill in me a drive to exercise my creativity. Unfortunately and surprisingly, the events had the opposite effect on me. While they seemed to work wonders for other artist friends of mine who are more deadline-driven and fueled by ambitions of making it professionally, I found that when my turn to present would come, the acid would rise from my stomach to my esophagus and set off cacophonous alarms ringing in my head, pumping a rush of blood to the tips of my ears, unveiling me as an imposter.

In my recent post, Beth’s Picture Show, I wrote a little about the dangers of comparison. When I used to find myself included in public gatherings of artists presenting their work, a quiet ball of jealousy would begin to tumble and grow as I compared my own creations to those of the more talented song writers, painters, illustrators, playwrights, poets, and musicians present. I thought with an unattractive bitterness, why should I even bother?

Other artists reading this may be thinking, well if you want to succeed as an artist, you need to be able to take criticism. Sound familiar to anyone? Anyone? Bueller? They are right, of course, if success as a professional is indeed your goal. But there are other types of success too – smaller, less obvious ones. I acknowledge that editors are necessary to tailor a piece to its best possible version, but for me – at least for right now- it is more important to just be writing. I am talented enough for myself and my talent has different, not worse, actualizations than it does for other artists. The pure and simple exercise of somewhat consistent writing is simultaneously enough and more than I could ever have hoped for these past six months.

I hope no artist reading this has shared my sense of inadequacy while being an audience member to other artists’ work, but the realist in me says that’s probably not the case. Let me be one tiny voice telling you that you don’t need to practice your craft all the time to be an artist. You don’t need to constantly cater to a practice that leaves you feeling drained and insufficient if it’s not coming naturally one day. It is ok to be patient with yourself if you are feeling particularly uncreative for one day, week, year, or decade of your life. Your reunion will be waiting for you somewhere down the line and will hit you smack in the middle of the face with a densely packed snowball or maybe introduce itself more subtly in a sip of coffee on a warm, summer morning.

Thank you for reading today’s post! I realize it strayed from the theme of cozy minimalism, but I am glad you gave it a read all the same. I want to extend a quick thank you to my cozy community. I am so grateful for the handful of family and friends who have taken time to read posts over the past six months as well as to the members of the blogging community who have been so encouraging by choosing to follow the blog or “like” a cozy does it post here and there. I only expected an outlet for my writing in starting this blog, but I am so grateful that some readers have chosen to join me on this adventure. Thank you all and happy reading!

Breakfast of Wanderers

The sunrise tends to wake me up on the weekend days- not because of some inner-light that syncs with the solar forces; the real reason is much less transcendental than that. The “blackout” curtains on our bedroom windows evidently lied about their skills on their resume and my unconscious bias was unfairly influenced by a gut-confidence in their cozy, homespun, buffalo check design. Our windows face full east so the disparity between the advertising and reality became apparent at once.

Mike is able to sleep through the shiny-ness, but I often find myself heading upstairs to enjoy a large mug of some hot liquid while reading on my kindle or wondering if my early morning half-motivation to write something is going to result in my fingertips actually stringing sentences together on my keyboard. Today, the motivation appears to have been real enough.

I am standing at the breakfast counter that separates our kitchen from our living room, sipping piping hot Darjeeling, and flipping through lonely planet’s The Travel Book with semi-absorbed interest. The book is a large, heavy account of vivid photographs and informational blurbs of every country in the world. It was gifted to me by my dear friend, Chelsea, years ago at my bridal shower. I flip through the pages from time to time and have found it to be my go-to entertainment during power outages, which happen more often than in our previous Brooklyn homes (where we never once lost power-ahh the good ol’ days).

I took The Travel Book off of the shelf in our bedroom the other day, realizing that it was not stored in a spot where I use it. It’s not like the book was caked in dust or anything, but I knew it would serve a better purpose upstairs, which it has done as I have looked at it three or four times since.

I enjoy wandering the varying landscapes that spread across the glossy pages, engaging in silent meetings with the smiling locals and being confoundingly absorbed in the intense, bright-eyed stares of more conspicuous emotion opposite the photographer’s lens. I feel the warmth of hot dust on a ranch in the Buenos Aires province, release myself to the wind that flutters strings of colorful prayer flags in Bhutan, and cower at the unimpressed, stern confrontation of an army of albatrosses in the Falkland Islands.

Travel is fuel for excitement and entertainment in our home, as it is for many other people, I imagine. Taking out the excess has resulted in a personal increase in my mental capacity for planning and organization and my favorite things to plan and organize are trips.

Throughout the pandemic, I have satiated my wanderlust by way of virtual walking and driving tours in places around the world from the comfort of our turquoise couch. I have also delved into planning trip itineraries for multiple destinations, trips that will, in hope, actualize some day. My adventures have taken me to the remote corners of Barrow in northern Alaska, the focused (and thin) atmosphere of Everest Base Camp, the sustainably artsy towns and rainforests of Bainbridge Island, a crunchy Quebec City in a growing blanket of snow, the valley-nestled city of Thimphu in Bhutan, and the Greek island of Tinos in a heat wave.

I’ll pick up the remote some nights and Mike will say, “Where are you going today?” I pull up the map on my phone and zoom into different countries like a curious satellite before I settle on my destination. Without having to book a hotel, pack a bag, and remove my belt, liquids, and laptop to go through airport security, I am transported to a new life experience. I gather my surroundings through sight and sound and record them in my mental travel journal.

My virtual travels throughout this past year have broadened my adventurous spirit and geographical comprehension. I feel lucky to live in a time when these places and experiences are virtually accessible. While I cannot recreate the other sensical experiences of my destinations, nor the personality and heart of a location and its local inhabitants, I can be aware that the places and people of the world have so much to offer and that I want to absorb as many experiences as my human lifespan will allow me to.