December 31, 2013

A Wrap-Up for the Year 2013

This was probably the craziest year of my life for so many different reasons. 
Back in November of 2012 I had quit my job, trying to get away from the stress of it all, with a clear plan to start my own creative business. My boyfriend had received a wonderful new job offer to draw for an educational Winnipeg-based comic book, and in the summer we had just purchased our new home. We already had so much on our plates, but figuring out my time off would be better in the long run was such a relief to me. I could fix up our new house, where previously we were both always at work. But best of all I could start working on my own dream of building myself a little business. I didn't know where it would take me, and honestly I wasn't expecting much, but having the freedom to work on something I loved was so gratifying. 

In February I got a massive wake up call in my life. I spent some time in the hospital and then again in April. At that point I realized I had a medical issue that wasn't just going to go away on it's own. I don't talk about it often, but in my real life, it's a daily struggle. I'm not ashamed of it, because it's what I have, and the real problem is not to wish it away, but to overcome it or learn to live with it. It's kind of a mystery, but I have very severe, violent IBS, which without my medication, I truly would not have survived. Imagine your worst flu, but it happening almost every day for an entire year.

It came on suddenly and has effected so much of my life. Every day is different. A lot of my time is spent in bed, sleeping and waiting for the dizziness and nausea to leave. It's a very lonely problem, as it's something that's happening inside my body and you couldn't possibly imagine every aspect of the discomfort it brings if you're not experiencing it yourself. I've gotten a lot of inspiration from reading message boards of other people in the same situation as me. The reason I'm not afraid to share this is there are so many people out there with this exact problem that feel so alone and helpless. It has taken up a whole year of my life and will continue to take up more. It seems like it wouldn't be as awful as it is, but I've never been so interested in how the human body functions as right now, just because of all the symptoms and abnormal things my body is doing just as a result of one problem. Health is an incredible thing, and you should never take it for granted. I know that now.

I think the worst part about it is how much it affects my entire body, including my mind. I spend a lot of time detached from my life and work. The hardest thing is that I feel I am always operating on low-speed, and a lot more could get done if I were healthy enough. Every day I tell myself that first and foremost I am a creative person. I have so much to offer in my life. I have so much I want to build and draw and share, that trying to get my work out there is top priority for me always. It was at the beginning of the year, and it's all the more true now. 

I couldn't predict I would get sick this year, but I also couldn't have predicted my one business would mould itself into two. This Fall I opened my Vintage Section in my Etsy shop. It was honestly the best thing I could've done this year. I've hunted and found the most incredible things that I never would've guessed would be in my possession. I've found things Ive kept for myself, and things I was just satisfied with holding for a while and letting go in my shop. Just coming in contact with some of these lovely treasures has made my entire year. Next to "meeting" all these lovely items, my shops (and this blog) have opened up my life to meeting new people. I've come in contact with some talented and creative people through my work that only inspire me more to keep going. It's a real gift to realize people you have never met are waiting for you to do more. 

This year I have sold my artwork all around Canada and the United States. One of my favourite originals that I had completed in high school, was purchased in New York this Summer. Shipping that one off was bittersweet, but I'm glad it made it's way to such a special new place. I've made incredible customers with my vintage shop also, who are very patient with me as I add new things and contact me through all my social media outlets with questions and comments. (I love being a part of your buying process and hearing what you are going to do with your new items, so thanks so much for including me and making it all the more personal! It's the closest thing to owning a physical store and I treasure it.)

This winter I made things truly complicated when I got a "real" job again. I found my place again in the beauty industry, working part time at a new store in a better location. Balancing everything together has been a disaster and times, but a real gift. On a weekly basis I get to do everything I love. 

This year has had so many ups and downs and as I write this it seems so surreal that I actually did all this in one year. In my mind I had labelled 2013 as kind of a write-off year. I know I have so much to do still and so much room to grow. I only hope 2014 is just as eventful. All I know is I couldn't have gotten this far without my friends and family. They didn't always understand what I was going through, but they stood by me. And to my boyfriend, who took care of me all year, when all I could do was lay there on the couch for months on end, I wouldn't have made it without him. He listens to me complain and talks me through the rough times. He buys me endless amounts of Gravol and ginger ale, and helps me get all my orders shipped on time. And best of all, he's the first to find the positive in everything. 

Sorry for the novel, but we are talking about a whole year here. I can't believe this year is over already. I feel like I've slept it all away, but when I look at everything I've done, I clearly had some time in between to make this all happen. Thanks for sticking by me this year, stopping by for a read, or purchasing from my shops. You've made this year happen for me and I'm so thankful. I hope 2014 brings you good luck, health and all the happiness you deserve. 

So much love,

Marissa xo


  1. Such a fantastic yearly round-up:) It is always nice to know about more about what happens behind the shop and blog. I think many people share the exact same "happenings" in life just at different times and degrees. I have a chronic illness as well but my health has been on the mend the past few years I have not been in a hospital for 2 years which is amazing and makes me happy. I struggle with work and finding something that works well with my life and goals. I am sure 2014 will bring great things for you, it was so nice to come across your blog this year:)

    1. Thanks so much Daphne:)
      I'm so glad you did, because it was lovely to come across yours as a result of it as well! <3