"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."
~Martin Luther King Jr.
For those of you who have enjoyed my blogging during my internship at Innopark in India, thank you for inspiring me to keep going now that I'm back in America. It is my hope that you will enjoy reading my personal blog from here on out, which I hope to continue in a similar style which I fell in love with while I was in India. I am just as proud of my experience and what I accomplished in India, if not more so, than any design project I've ever done. It was an experience that tested me, challenged me, and helped me grow into a more open minded and stronger person.
In some ways it's been very difficult to reacclimatize in US, although in different ways than was difficult in India, as I have explained briefly before, and life in suburban America never seemed so tame. Now that I've been back in America for a couple of weeks, things have settled down, I'm adjusting again, but still everything seems different. It's like life here has stayed the same, but I'm different, I see it through a different perspective. Since it's winter, even the sky is grayer and the scenery is duller, which is why every year I look forward to the spring and the new green growth it rejuvenates. The thing about coming back home is that home isn't the same, because I'm not the same, and I don't really know how to describe it any other way than that. Anyone who has gone through a transformative process of self will understand what I'm talking about, and won't need any further explanation.
And for the first time in my life, now that I'm back from India, I have no certain plans for the future. I don't have college courses starting next semester, no campus clubs and organizations I'm volunteering for, I'm graduated from college, and I've never had more freedom. I'm working on my portfolio so I can get a job, and quite frankly not having concrete plans for the first time ever scares the shi* out of me. Then there are those "expectations" to live up to and all that jazz about getting job and being successful. It's something no one seems to want to say, but freedom can be intimidating. What I want most is to find a job that I will be happy in, and you know, make enough money to live off of and pay bills. Everyone wants to be positive and have a can do attitude, and trust me, I'm all about being positive and optimistic as much as possible, because if you don't your thoughts will eat up any enjoyment of life you may have, but it can still be hard at times.
In school, everyone wants to be out in the real world, but in the real world, sometimes you want to be back in school where reality doesn't really exist yet. Where, in my case, you regularly spend nights with your college classmates making midnight coffee runs and working on design projects until 3 am until you nearly fall asleep at your computer. Then, suddenly, upon graduation, the familiarity of life and routine disappears, and the people you've seen around the Applied Arts building for the last 4 years you wonder if you'll ever see again. What follows is generally moving in back home and job searching, true on both accounts in my case, praying to God for a job, and a good job at that, to use that expensive degree. With the economy being what it is, and the design industry always competitive, it's hard not to judge the value of our work by comparing it to others. A designer's work is our blood, sweat, and tears, literally that's what it takes, some people may think I'm being dramatic, and in a way I wish this was an exaggeration (exacto blade injuries anyone?). It is like a part of the soul visualized in colors, and shapes, and typography. It is our perspective of the world, it is a rendition of thought, it is a sort of abstract autobiography, and it's hard not to want a positive acceptance of our work, nay, dare I say it, acceptance of our soul??? And if I've learned anything as a person, as an artist, as a designer, nothing is such a hindrance or so dangerous to our well-being, to our creative livelihood, to our confidence, as doubt. If you don't believe in yourself, how can you expect others to? By this, I don't mean you should be cocky, overly cocky designers are just annoying, but retain a quiet confidence, and part of that confidence is learning how to take constructive criticism and grow from that. The best designers are the ones able to look at their work critically, humbly, and unbiased so they can make it the best it can be, and encourage others in their pursuits as well. If I could change one thing about how I designed in college, it would be to focus on being the best designer I myself could be, not compared to anyone else, focused on developing my own design style and artistic personality, and I feel like this is difficult for a lot of design students. I feel like the competitive tendencies in the classrooms sometimes stop people from helping each other out and helping each other grow, and you'll never be a good designer if you don't listen to input or give input to your fellow students, you learn so much that way.
After my experience in India, I hope I'm one step ahead in getting what I want out of life. I have never been able to write such honest thoughts for a public audience before, but something about being in India gave me the confidence I needed to do so. I hope at least somewhere out there, it has inspired someone. If you are so inclined, please feel free to peruse the blog I will be writing in from here on out, The Blog of Kelli Fox, at your leisure, and I will attempt to keep it lively and interesting, and most importantly, honest. It will also be filled with design updates and projects I'm working on or have recently finished, as well as other random things I deem blog worthy.
If you read my blog, you will know the real me, the real me that I am in real life. I would hate for someone to say, "Wow, you're a totally different person in real life than in your blog." So here's to keeping it real, folks.
"And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt."