Pop the damn champagne.

Last Christmas I was sent home from a party with a bottle of champagne. I decided not to open it until I had something very special to celebrate. Soon after I began preparing my application for an art residency and planned to save the bottle popping until I got into the program (a bold statement, indeed). I placed it lovingly on the bottom shelf of my fridge and eagerly awaited the email: “We are thrilled to offer you a spot in this year’s program!” 

So I saved the champagne, and I waited.

I had applied for the same residency a year before while living in New Zealand (and shortly thereafter, got rejected). When I got the email politely saying, ‘No, we don’t want you’ I hauled up in bed with a pint of ice cream, some sappy movies, and had a good day or two of tears. It felt like the universe was saying ‘no’ to my dreams. I questioned my art and my business. I thought about giving it all up. I eventually got back on my feet, but it took a while.

This year when I got the same rejection email, I slumped in my chair a bit, took a deep breath out, shrugged it off, and got back to work.

Not so ironically, that day I launched a new collection of artwork. I sold a painting and a bunch of fine art prints. I also joined a group called The Creative Collective, lead by one of my favorite artists, Elle Luna. I had plans to go on a weekend camping trip with my best friend and our pups. Turns out... it wasn't the end of the world.

There was a huge mental shift from last year’s rejection — my life, happiness, and perceived ‘success’ did not revolve around this one decision. Sure, there are tough moments, and sometimes it can feel like a slog, but I’m doing it. I’m giving it all I’ve got. And that’s worth more than any outside approval. That’s something to celebrate.

Most likely your dreams won’t just happen to you. You’re gonna get a thousand ‘no’s before one ‘yes’. What counts is what you do with the time in between. Do you wait, and stash all your hope in the one ‘yes’? Or do you keep after what you love anyway, choosing to wake up every day and take another step?

I’ll answer that for you.

You walk on. You celebrate the little victories. You choose not to mourn the so-called losses, because they’re really just setting you up for an even greater gain. You believe ‘no’ is really ‘yes’ in disguise. You choose to show up fully today. You don’t wait for someone else to validate your dreams.

You pop the damn champagne.

Later that week as I packed up my van for our weekend trip to the mountains, I grabbed the bottle of champagne off the bottom shelf. It was time to celebrate what I should’ve been all along — the courage to show up, the grit to do the work, and the gumption to not give up.


**PRINT GIVEAWAY!**

 
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In eager anticipation of the upcoming September art launch (stay tuned for that!) I'm giving away TWO signed prints. It's easy to enter: Go over to my Insta post HERE and tag an #atwildwoman in your life who will receive the second print if you win! Winners will be picked at random this Friday morning.

In case you're wondering who the #atwildwoman is, here's a bit about her:

She’s happiest in the mountains or by the sea. She doesn’t run from her heart, she listens to it. if you burn her to the ground she will rise from the ashes every time.

She’s in no hurry but can be restless. Her hair is usually messy and heart so big. She will never beg you to stay. She knows everything will be okay.

Her real home is deep in the forest. She takes her coffee black. She’ll wake before the sun one day and dance until it comes up the next.

She searches for truth. She doesn’t need your validation. She can be a loner, but if you see the fire within her, she’ll be the most loyal companion you could ever find.

Tag a friend and enter the giveaway HERE!

Amanda Sandlin1 Comment