there's always a quote for your current life stage.

One of my favorite things about having a hand-lettering business is the curation of quotes -- taking a quick screenshot of words shared on Facebook, pinning to a secret Pinterest board when something good pops up, keeping a running list of authors I want to explore in a Note on my iPhone. The elation of finding a quote that might work perfectly for a print or a greeting card or even just to write out for fun will never bore me. It becomes an obsession, this hunt for powerful words.

And sometimes a certain quote steals out of nowhere and hits me right in the gut and I say, "Oh, oh. This. So this is where I am right now. It has already been lived and written about beautifully and I can take it in and find solace in the fact that I am not the only one." I love when this happens. It's like a little breadcrumb from the Universe letting me know that no, I am not crazy, and yes, it is okay to be here, and absolutely, I should keep going.

Over the weekend I stumbled upon this quote from Sylvia Plath in The Bell Jar (which I haven't read in years) and needed to immediately write it down. And marinate in her words. And let them wash over me as I nod and say, "Oh, oh. This. So this is where I am right now."

For truly, this is where I am right now:

I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story. From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn’t quite make out. I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn’t make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.
— Sylvia Plath

So many figs. So many options. Which is a new and very welcome experience, and yet.....positively paralyzing.

I do not want the figs to wrinkle and go black and plop to the ground at my feet. That could possibly be my biggest fear, my greatest worry.

Awhile ago I read a silly-yet-absurdly-spot-on article called "The Definition Of Hell For Each Myers-Briggs Personality Type" and gosh -- I was thinking yesterday how true mine was.

INFJ – You are eternally damned to working for a morally corrupt company that aims to exploit the weak and generally degrade conditions for all of society.

Not even just working for a morally corrupt company, but a company in which you have no stake. No interest. No deep-seated inspiration that drives you to work hard every day to bring beauty and joy to the world.

This, yes. This would be my hell.

And if I wait for perfect conditions, perhaps my figs will wrinkle and go black. Perhaps hell will be realized. And my god -- I can't let that happen.

And so I keep going, living in this delicate balance-dance of trusting my path and not pushing too hard and showing myself some patience and continuing to follow the little crumbs of interest that show up and forgiving myself for not having a clearer path of what to do with my life at the age of 27. (Why do we think we're supposed to know this?)

Compassion. Patience. Trust. Love.

I'm getting there. (Thank you, Sylvia.)


Something new is bubbling inside of me -- a course on calligraphy and photography and beauty and curating your own quotes, too. Stay tuned!