It came about when I started my blog back in 2012 which, at the time, was called Where Is Life? I wanted images to go with my posts, but hated all the generic stuff I was finding online. One day, I drew a stick girl who looked a bit like me, with a bow in her hair. After that, I started drawing stick girl images for all my blog posts. I enjoyed it. It gave me another creative outlet. It was lighthearted and fun.
Over time, stick girl became a bit – but really only a bit – more elaborate. I started drawing her on the computer with a free programme I found. I drew stick girl images and posted little stories to Facebook. People liked her. Keijiro even bought me the domain www.stickgirlwisdom.com which was really pretty thoughtful and awesome of him.
Then I entered a period of confusion. It’s the sort of confusion many entrepreneurs go through at some point. I started to feel like Stick Girl wasn’t really “good enough” for the world of “real” entrepreneurship. At the time, I was following lots of very slick looking people who were all very well turned out. There was a part of me that wanted to be more like them. Maybe it would help make me more successful. I started to question Stick Girl. Maybe she was too silly. Too childish.
So I started creating these blocks of colour on the computer with my blog post title inside them and used those as my images. It felt really good for a while. It felt simple. It felt neat and tidy. It felt all tied up. And even though I know by now things can’t ever be nice and neat and tidy and tied up in my business, there’s still a part of me that craves that. But over time those blocks of colour just started to feel really pretty dull.
That’s about the time I headed off to California for three months and fell totally in love with all the beautiful places I was visiting with Keijiro. He took loads of amazing photos, so I started using those instead. And then with moving back up North this summer and being surrounded daily by magnificent sunsets, glorious forests and the ever changing sea, I was having a lot of fun getting better at using my iPhone to capture some pretty nice shots.
Then, about six weeks ago, this thought about Stick Girl popped into my head. It was a strong and sudden thought and had that quality about it that I knew meant it was coming from some deeper place within.
But I didn’t want that thought. I liked the routine I had going. My “brand” felt more cohesive. My Facebook Page had all the same sorts of images on it and that made me feel nice and comfortable and in control of things. I felt a bit more like a pro. So I resisted. But there was this constant niggle telling me I was shutting off something important.
So I just took one step one day. I emailed Keijiro and asked if he still had that domain name he’d bought. He did and we transferred it over to my name. That was enough that one step. I let some more time come and go. And then I wrote a birthday card to my coach. Next to my signature, as I so often do, I drew a little stick girl, with a few balloons in her hand.
When my coach received it she called to say thank you. “Did you draw that stick figure? Why aren’t you doing anything with that?”
“Well, I was. And I know. It’s on my radar. Just, yes, I know. And…and…and…”
But the truth is, in the moment my coach asked me about Stick Girl, I realised I’d been waiting for permission for her to be ok. For her to be “good enough”. For her to be a legitimate use of my time. Professional enough. Serious enough. And it’s all so ridiculous because I look at those words – good enough, serious – and I think urgh, that’s everything I DON’T stand for.
The next day I went into town and visited the little art shop on the corner that I used to go to when I was at school. I asked for a sketch pad and some advice on a brightly coloured medium. I mean, I haven’t done any “art” for such a long time that I didn’t really know what I was looking for.
She showed me some pastels but I wasn’t really taken with them. Then some little glass bottles caught my eye by the counter. “That!” I said. And I just bought one bottle of bright pink ink to try it out. And I got it home and I drew a little Christmas sketch and splashed the ink in places.
And oh my goodness, just that tiny simple act of creating this silly little drawing gave me so much pleasure. Ridiculous amounts of heady pleasure.
I don’t know what, if anything, she’ll become. I don’t know how she fits into anything else. I don’t know if I’ll be bored in a week or a month from now. I don’t know anything but…
…that’s not the point. The point is…I don’t need to know. I don’t need to know how this story ends. I only need to know what it feels like now. I only need to know that following that feeling gives me pleasure and fills me with something important.
And you don’t need to know either. You can’t know. Stuff just doesn’t make sense sometimes. You don’t know how it fits. You don’t see where it could take you. You don’t see how it could turn into an actual thing that might become part of your life or make you money.
Sometimes the stuff that calls to you is stuff you wish didn’t call to you because you want to be more like ‘those’ people out there. You don’t want a silly stick girl to be part of your freakin’ calling!
But whatever calls, calls. And you either say yes and follow it or you say no and shut off parts of you that bring you deep joy. And the really silly thing is that it’s those things that you think are too silly and small to pursue that probably would have taken you somewhere pretty exciting, because they’re the things that come from that space deep within.
I don’t know what it is for you. But whatever it is, just listen. Just listen and take a step. One step. Don’t get all up in your personal thinking and wandering off into the future. None of that matters. Does it call to you? Does it speak to you? Does it have that quality about it that makes you know you shouldn’t ignore it?
Then just do it.
Stop wanting it to be something different. Something better. Something more professional, more fancy, more cool, more whatever. It is what it is. And it’s everything it needs to be because it’s yours. It’s the idea that spoke to you. And you’re not here to judge. You’re just here to recognise that call and follow it wherever it wants to lead you.
So today, from me to you, some holiday love from Stick Girl.
Love and courage,