Emily Whitacre studied Graphic Design and Fine Arts at the University of Dayton where she also was President of the Dance Team and choreographer for Life Itself Dance, a UD student organization. Emily has been trained in tap, jazz, lyrical, ballet, hip hop, and musical theater and has been a member of two professional companies, Seven Dance Company and New Vision Dance Co. Emily formerly co-ran a blog, Wine Night, where she was active in writing about mental health, gender equality, and positive thinking. She is currently an Environmental Designer for Forty Nine residing in Columbus, Ohio with her cat, Mrs. Norris.
Art has always consumed my life. My hobbies, interests, and now profession stem from this one overarching category. I’m grateful to have found my “thing” as I know some struggle with finding this burning passion I have. Playing instruments, dancing, drawing, painting, writing, and designing have taken over the timeline of my existence. I watch all of the architecture documentaries on Netflix and spend an excessive amount of time on Pinterest saving ideas for decorating and designing. I write in a gratitude journal regularly and can be found struggling through ballet class often (it’ll always be so hard.)
Art is all I do and all I ever want to do.
It can be difficult for some to make money off of art. This saddens me as I think it’s one of the most fulfilling activities humans do. Since like forever and ever, we’ve been dancing around, singing, and drawing. It’s natural! A friend once told me dancing releases more endorphins than any other physical activity. I don’t doubt this one bit. I’ve been dancing for 21 years and I’m still completely in love with it. I’ve taught dance regularly in the past and am currently subbing around studios in Columbus when needed. Teaching is always a great way to be paid for your talents. I’m also an environmental designer, which basically means I create cool shit for different spaces. It’s amazing how my path of drawing, to painting, to graphic design has led me to this new niche. It connects my love for architecture with my love for creating and design.
I clearly <3 art so so much, but I can also say that sometimes it isn’t enjoyable.
Picture this: I’m staying after class to dance by myself. I turn some lights off and blast the music. I’m completely alone with so much space on the Marley floor. It’s freeing and fun and serving wonders to my mental health. Then I decide my Instagram followers should see this shit. I set up my phone and start recording. I dance my heart out and kill it. I watch the recording. I’m critical of myself... this doesn’t look as good as I thought it was going to be. I look bad. I’m fat. I’m not even good. Okay I’ll take another video. This time I’m thinking too much while I’m moving. It feels different than the last time. It’s not as fun… I watch the video. I feel even worse. I just decide to go home. The magic is gone.
When I’m trying to impress others through dance and fine arts, it completely loses its magic. I’m reminded of why I do these activities, they’re for me to enjoy. It’s not to brag or impress others. I don’t want to care how many likes a painting gets or how I look in a video of me dancing.
As for my job, I definitely have to put the pressure on and think of how many people I need to impress. My boss, the clients, and all of those that will be in the space I create need to love it. This pressure motivates me and makes me crank out my work. But it’s stressful. I work long hours. I constantly have to think of the next best thing. I see my job as art, but it’s different. It’s not something I do for myself like dance and painting.
I love my job; it’s just in a different category as the other art in my life. It ‘s not a stress relief by any means. Art is compiled of SO MANY different activities that some sects you can view as work and others as mental health boosters. I work my booty off all day and after work will do other types of art and feel refreshed and de-stressed.
This stream-of-consciousness post has two points:
1. Making money off one of your passions is awesome, even if it’s just a side hustle. I definitely recommend trying it. Having extra money is a clear plus, and you’ll be spending more time doing something you love. HOWEVER, this brings me to my next point.
2. Keep some passions for yourself. You don’t need to turn everything you love to do into a moneymaker, in fact you shouldn’t. Work hard when you need to and then fill your free time with things that benefit you and relieve stress.
You should not dread your job; you should not miss things you used to love because they should still be in your life. Find work that fulfills you and don’t quit anything that brings you joy.