The definition of a “collective”, according to Google:
A collective is a group of entities that share or are motivated by at least one common issue or interest, or work together to achieve a common objective.
The definition of a “collective”, according to us:
Consider this a pat on the back. A text from a friend, saying, “Hey! Good job.” It’s a space to share. It’s inspiration. It’s a creative project in and of itself. (Dude, I just made a website.) It’s a blank canvas that we are going to fill with words and thoughts and stories and pictures. It’s a motivator. It’s a group of people telling you to keep going. People who are all just wingin’ it out here. It’s a goal spoken out loud. It’s yours. It’s mine. It’s a collective.
2017 is here, and as someone who is completely obsessed with goal setting, I couldn’t be happier. The start of a new year is like the universe’s way of giving us a fresh start. Day 1. January 1st. You are probably cold and a little hungover. Or maybe just a little cold and a lot hungover, depending on what part of the world you’re in and how great your night was last night. In any case, as much as I love friends and parades and fireworks and kisses at midnight, the day after New Years Eve literally has my brain racing and my heart doing flip flops. I LOVE RESOLUTIONS. I have notebooks and journals and random scraps of paper SPREAD from one corner to the next with lists and ideas and dreams and resolutions and GOALS.
And you know what? I normally keep my resolutions. You know what else? I normally resolve to do things that I know I CAN do. Good trick, right? I’m sure we can all think of things we want to achieve, accomplish, check off our list. I want to drink more water. Done. I want to read more books. Easy. I want to get better at staying in touch with friends. Tiny bit harder, but doable. I want to go back to school. Okay, apply and then wait and see what happens. I want to move to England. Tougher, but still possible, just save more money. See? I choose things that I feel are actually possible. These are not an exhaustive list of my goals, of course, there are more. So many more. And I’ve noticed, the ones I tend to keep to myself are the creative goals. The things I want to create. The photo series I want to do, the watercolor postcards I want to create, the business I want to start, the story I want to write. Do I add those deep down secret dreams to my list? No. Do I resolve to actually DO those super tough, who am I to want this, where do I even start, goals? Noooppee. I keep them safe, where they will never see the light of day. I dream about those things at night. I daydream about those things on lazy afternoons. I am very selective with who I share those goals with, because what if I share them with the wrong person and that person actually has the audacity to tell me I SHOULD DO THAT THING? Shut your mouth.
The thing about creativity, is that it works best when it’s shared. Keeping quiet gets exhausting. Turning a year older every.single.year. and still wanting so much gets sad. Starting fresh with those same way deep down dreams gets silly. So I thought, why don’t I do them? Why don’t I create the things I want to create? What am I so scared of anyway?
Sometimes, the way life works, things sometimes get stripped away and while it can feel like a loss at first, of a place, of a job, of a relationship, of a home or a friendship, what we don’t always see is that new things bloom in that space that was once taken up. We now have time, we have room, we have energy to devote to something new. Sometimes it doesn’t take a loss to begin a new thing but it usually always takes a shift in priorities and a redirection of our focus.
This leads to me the creation of A Cat We Have (if you want to learn more about the name, check out our About page!). I’ve recently made a big move between countries, and what’s gotten stripped away for me, is the face to face chats with friends. Thankfully, my friends are kickass and have been amazing at staying in touch, but I’ve noticed something shift in our conversations. When you are limited to texts back and forth, you tend to get to the point. Normal chit chat about weather or local sports teams takes a back seat and you tend to get to the important stuff right away. The other thing I’ve noticed is that it gets a bit easier to be honest over a text instead of face to face. I’m not talking about secrets and lies here, but actual soul stuff. Fear stuff and dream stuff. Maybe it’s something about not actually being able to hear or see the other person laugh in your face when you share a goal, or maybe it’s knowing that if they come back with a retort you don’t like, well, just block them, you know?
I feel better after talking over my creative ideas with people I care about. That’s what I know. I feel better when I share my deep down stuff instead of actually keeping it buried. Who knew? And what I’ve noticed happening, time and time and time AND TIME again, is that when I share something honest, almost everytime, the person I’ve shared it with then shares something honest with me. It’s one big, beautiful circle of honesty and sharing and the hippie in me eats it right up!
So I keep doing it. I keep sharing. And I keep realizing that I won’t actually die if those dreams and the fears that go along with them, actually see the light of day. And when I hear back from people, “I feel better after saying that”, well, I know I’m on to something.
I’m gonna speak a dream out loud here: I want this collective to be in a physical space. I want a rundown warehouse in East London. I want a cactus in the corner and a strand of burnt out Christmas lights strung across the wall. I want mismatched chairs and salvaged desks. I want bohemian looking carpets and splashes of bright paint. But, I am telling the part of me that wants to wait until I can have that, to f*ck off. I need to start now because it’s important to me now. I need to start now because my ideas count right now. I need to start now because if I wait for someday, it could never happen. That feels like too high a cost, so I’m doing it now. This collective will evolve and change and grow in ways I can’t yet foresee. And that’s cool. But none of it will happen if I don’t start. So let’s start, guys.
This is my space, but it’s also yours. I have 4 thousands texts on my phone from friends telling me their creative goals and ideas. I have oodles of messages that begin or end with, “…I wish…”. I hear “yeah, hopefully someday!” way too often. Suck it up, my dear buttercups. We can do cool things, and we all feel better when we support each other. Let’s motivate. Let’s help others move forward. Let’s say something is a cool idea when it is. Let’s tell someone we admire what they are doing, instead of thinking it in our heads. Let’s write our creative goals down and say them out loud, because keeping secrets is for when you are 12 and you find out that your friend has a crush. Secrets and Goals? That doesn’t even sound right.
This is a collective, not a solo project. If you are reading this, you are a part of it. We all belong here.
Share things. Send ideas. Please send artwork and photos to share if you feel so inclined! Tell us what you are working on. Wanna write a guest post? DO IT. Email, leave a comment, send a text if you know me personally. Share, share, share. Create your stuff, whatever it is, whatever form it comes in and tell us about it. Tell someone about it. But if you feel like you have no one to tell, no one who will exactly “get it”, then please, tell us!