Busted again.

In my (virtual) group guitar class, the teacher randomly asked if there were any theater nerds present. I really enjoy musical theater – I go to Broadway and traveling performances whenever I can – and took part in a number of plays and musicals throughout childhood. But my true theatrical knowledge stops at highly interested novice. Hearing ‘theater’ and ‘nerd’ in one sentence, I naturally raised my hand and then, after realizing what I had done, quickly shifted into that wobbly hand movement to indicate ‘kind of’. The teacher laughed and asked, “What does that mean?”


Caught in my own hesitation, I explained how I did not want to misrepresent myself as some sort of expert. Fortunately, my guitar class is filled with many positive attitudes and energies. Someone who had created and run a literal theater company joked that if we were creating a measuring stick, perhaps she may also fall short.


Are you a real artist?


There’s a mental block that many of us creative types come across at some point in our lives. I can’t tell you the number of times I or a friend have tiptoed around ownership of a creative identity, whether it be artist, writer, musician, dancer…the list goes on. Admittedly, I do know people who seem more confident in their claims, but it tends to be those who have a career or job in the selected artistic field. And even then, imposter syndrome is a frenemy well-known to many (perhaps most?).

I respect the people who break through the mental block. And I have been toying with how to find my way through it as well. There are people who tell me I’m an artist, musician, or writer. But do I claim it? Not with confidence. And always with modifiers.

”I’m good for a beginner.”

“Yeah, but I’m not a professional.”

“It’s a hobby.”

“I’m pretty good.”

“Just keep in mind that…”

What’s It Take?

What does it take to be a REAL artist? Does it require…

  • Making money off your craft?
  • Creating something of your own rather than a copy/rendition of someone else’s work?
  • Spending a certain amount of your time and energy on that art?
  • Reaching a certain level of competence / skill?

In the words of a middle school debater, “Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines an artist as ‘a person who creates art using conscious skill and creative imagination.’”

Good news is it looks like money ain’t got nothing to do with it. This dictionary definition allows a lot more leeway for embracing the inner artist than we often allow ourselves. It does not suggest that a certain production quota or level of success is necessary. All we need is to create through imagination and skill.

Bad news is…the picture is still pretty murky. What reaches an adequate level of skill and imagination is at least somewhat in the eye of the beholder. Who decides the measuring stick that should be used to determine skill level? After all, the more you learn a skill, the more you realize how much you don’t know. That makes it hard not to keep adjusting the measuring stick, placing true “skill” further and further out of reach.

Perhaps even worse news, if I care about setting an operational definition to measure ‘artist’ by (and I’m a psychologist, so I can’t help but want to do this)…I can’t keep using the excuse that it’s not my career or that I don’t have enough of my time going toward my art for it to count. It seems pretty clear now that I need to stop my sidestepping. Guess it is finally time to pull the trigger. Bring it on, impostor syndrome, I’m calling myself an artist! (Eek!)

Final Christmas post! Man – I am WORN OUT from holiday baking and crafting. Does anyone else get exhausted just from being themselves? I’m sure there’s some life-altering epiphanies I could have about that, but we’ll save those for the new year. 

Anyway, this is a craft I worked on for about a yearIt is another example of not being able to find what I wanted, so I made it myself. I call it my nerd advent calendar. I am very proud of this thing, so I’m just gonna post a bunch of pictures of it. Hopefully, others find it fun, too! 

Basic Layout 

First, I have the basic layout for the start of December. After that you can see the end result you get on Christmas Eve. I actually have one more removable item I need to come up with, but 23 out of 24 done ain’t bad! 

In case it’s easier to read this way, I have typed out the poem: 

‘Twas the night before Christmas 

When all through the mansion 

Not a superhero was stirring 

Across the multiverse expansion. 


Infinity stones were hidden 

By the chimney with care, 

In hopes that of Thanos 

No one had to beware. 


Santas from DC to Star Wars 

Brought in plenty of loot, 

That they gathered underneath 

The ornamented Groot. 


On the roof was Saint-3PO 

Who called reindeers by name, 

“On, R2! On, DeLorean! 

Speeds of 88 miles we must gain!” 


Batman and Deadpool were seen 

Off rolling their eyes 

Preferring to this celebration 

A violent demise. 


All the while Picard observed 

As the holiday sage, 

Saying, “Merry Christmas to all, 

And to all…engage!” 


Top Row: 

  • Ghostbuster Winston scanning presents for ghosts 
  • C3PO riding in his Saint-3PO sleigh 
  • Reindeer R2D2 
  • Back to the Future DeLorean as Rudolph 
  • Snowman Captain America 
  • Stay Puft Marshmallow Man hiding behind some trees 

Middle Row: 

  • Groot ornamented like a Christmas tree 
  • Presents including a Katana stuffed animal 
  • Spiderman placing the star over Groot 
  • Professor X using his psychokinetic powers to place his present under Groot 
  • Stark banner from Game of Thrones 
  • Storm lighting up the fireplace 
  • Robin, Green Lantern, and Wonder Woman’s stockings 
  • A gingerbread man wearing Thanos’ infinity gauntlet 
  • Deadpool breaking the 4th wall 

Bottom Row: 

  • Wolverine defending himself against… 
  • Harley Quinn while standing underneath… 
  • Mistletoe being hung by… 
  • The Joker who is springing from a gift box trap set by… 
  • Thanos 
  • Gamora trying to stop Thanos 
  • Captain Janeway and… 
  • Captain Picard beaming down to observe 21st century Christmas traditions 


  • Santa Batwoman rappelling with Christmas gifts 
  • Ghostbuster Egon enjoying a candy cane 
  • Santa Batman rappelling 
  • Catwoman hitching a ride with Batman 

And that’s all, folks! Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to go pretend that it’s socially acceptable to leave all my Christmas decorations up until February. 


Whelp, here I go!

One weekday this summer I was on a walk with my husband. It was early (because it’s Central Texas and summer walks after 10am are not going to happen), but that’s my primetime. So, there I was, chatting away about my different hobbies and how much I’m enjoying them – and my other half says, “You should do a blog!”


In other words, my husband had come up with a terrible idea. This did not sound fun or interesting. It sounded like work. Why suggest adding this random thing to my plate? Besides, there are plenty of blogs out there already. Mine would end up neglected in the heap of blogs that no one really reads. So, I spent the next 15 minutes telling him he was wrong.

But let’s start at the beginning.

Rewind to Last Year

I was exhausted. Not miserable; my job was awesome, and I had friends, family, and a significant other I loved. But work was taking so much out of me that I would literally wake up, go to work, come home, sit in front of the TV where my then-fiancé would feed me dinner, and go to bed. My only creative outlet was work and it was beginning to wear on me.

A friend had started to do the workbook The Artist’s Way and was describing exactly the kind of awakening I needed. I bought a copy to try. It worked.


These days:

  • I’m baking sourdough bread, crackers, etc. (6 months BEFORE it was cool!)
  • I’m drawing and painting
  • I’m gardening (also BEFORE it was cool!)
  • I’m cooking what I grow in the garden
  • I’m crafting (stay tuned for December when you’ll see my nerdy advent calendar)
  • I’m writing
  • I’m playing music and singing
  • I’m…now annoyed that work is getting in the way of all of my hobbies. Ah well, overcorrected.

The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity by Julia Cameron

So, what is the trick?

There are many things that helped me readjust my life. Part of this blog will be about sharing those things to help make creativity and fun be more accessible for other people. A blend of real-life experience and psychology knowledge. But I think the best place to start is with what The Artist’s Way calls synchronicity. Essentially, creativity is about opening ourselves up to the possibilities and just going for it. And, if we do, we will see that the world around us is trying to help.

If you listen closely enough, the world is whispering its secrets to you and wants you to find your creative path. In other words, it’s about saying YES when an opportunity presents itself. Not questioning our abilities or our worthiness. Just saying – Whelp, here I go!

I realized that my husband’s suggestion of the blog was about connecting the dots across my work and play. Since that realization, we decided to put the blog on the To Do List. But I still found it intimidating. Also, did you see my list of hobbies? I’m busy! I just hadn’t pulled the trigger.

What changed?

A few mornings ago I woke up and saw an opportunity to be a freelance writer focused on one of my favorite hobbies. I immediately thought back to the conversations with my husband and how my excitement had slowly grown about creating an online presence. I told him I wanted to apply. Before I even finished describing the opportunity, he told me to go for it. I started the application. It required a link to an online writing sample. Of which I have none. Whomp, whomp.

Universe, make up your mind! Is this synchronicity or is this just a “gotcha!” moment?

Part of life is how you spin it. I’m spinning this into my first step into the online writing world. It’s a win-win really. Whether I get the gig or not, I’ve made my entrance. Now it’ll just be about guilting my friends and family into reading it.

It hurts to start my blog this way, but…my husband was right. (Don’t tell him.)