top of page
  • Writer's pictureMichelle Carlos

The Wall to Break

Updated: Jan 2, 2022

In this post, I tell you about my vision for my art career in 2022 and how to break the wall of complacency and dependence on a comfort zone.

"Fireworks" | Watercolor and digital collage | 2021

New Year, New Hope

Happy New Year! Cheers to you and to new adventures!

This morning while hand standing, I realized I have been relying still for support on the wall. I suppose it is still permissible since I have just managed to do hand stands this year. I have no idea how long one can perfect the pose without supervision from a yoga teacher despite regular practice. Nevertheless I learned how to do it on my own—well, with the help of a wall and a few YouTube videos. Like with every asana I am trying to master, I take small steps but consistently. That means donkey hops over and over until my hands, arms and core are strong enough to keep my feet upright upside down. First I stood between door frames and when I felt more confident, I ditched the doors and raised my feet against one wall. I did this every day for a year.

Why am I telling you about my yoga practice? I actually want to tell you about the wall I have been relying on—this wall that has kept me from falling—in the same manner that since I have been dependent financially for so long, I have become complacent about pursuing a career. All my basic needs are in abundance and I have been living comfortably. There was no reason to complain but obviously I grew restless—desperate even. I used to pride myself for being an independent woman but that diminished gradually when I moved to Germany. What have I got to lose? I asked myself when faced with the decision to follow my heart. I was still young, independent and full of potential. With my qualifications I could work anywhere and be with the love of my life. It turns out you cannot work anywhere, you will lose your youth, independence, self-worth and self-respect up to a certain degree. My husband is the most supportive of me and together we built a life seeing the world. And that expat life carried on and I enjoyed it for the most part. Some of you know my story already: the depression, the cancer and nomadic living. But then the persistent urge to become creative again and the constant fear of being obsolete plus having an empty bank account pressured me to change the course of my life. If I were going to work again, I asked myself, what is it that I do well naturally and can do anywhere in the world? Make art! I took small steady steps to make art that sells, which meant drawing everyday and learning about the industry through research and online courses.

It turns out you cannot work anywhere, you will lose your youth, independence, self-worth and self-respect up to a certain degree.

Big change came in 2021 though, when I signed an agency representation that opened doors for me in the children's book publishing world. Albeit the rejections, there are a few more projects in the horizon waiting to be confirmed. Publishing is a win-some-lose-some kind of thing, you see. But there is room for everyone and every style. However once the books are published, more opportunities are sure to come. It is an exciting time really. I foresee a bright future ahead and this year is just starting. Soon that wall will no longer be necessary and I will be able to stand on my own feet and hands, too!

Small Steps, Baby

On a side note, I have a few things to accomplish this year aside from finishing the three books I am currently working on:

  1. Find my people within my local community by joining an artists club in Stuttgart

  2. Learn about working as a freelancer artist in Germany

  3. Complete a series of abstract graphic paintings to pitch for a gallery exhibition

  4. Pitch my own picture book series, written and illustrated by me!

  5. Get young adult or classic literature book cover projects and more

  6. Get a professional printer so I could reproduce my own art prints to sell

  7. Get a Wacom tablet to make my digital workflow more ergonomic

  8. Get my health in proper order (hormone replacement therapy is a bitch!)

  9. Sew my own dresses from my own Spoonflower fabric designs

  10. Do hand and elbow stands sans wall!

Like I always said, small steps, baby. One ingredient to a successful career is to have at least one realistic goal. Write them down anywhere you can always see to keep you on track. Manifest your intentions. Small steady steps and you will get there.

I used to pride myself for being an independent woman but that diminished when I moved to Germany.


bottom of page