There were a handful of ways I could have began this. A myriad of statements of victories and defeats, broken paths and restored visions. A year ago this week I walked out onto my balcony of my first apartment in Austin, Texas and quietly sobbed like a baby. In that moment, I felt the immense weight of what I had just done. Both painfully fearful and hopeful that I hadn’t just made the biggest mistake of my life.
For three years I had waited for the truth placed on my heart to come to fruition. I saved up my money, packed up my car, left my life in California because “God was leading me to Texas”. That’s all I had. As insane as it sounded (& still sounds to most). No job, no school pursuits, no relationship, nothing but a nagging, hope-filled promise that He won’t lead me somewhere that He cannot be found.
Forgive me if the curated social media posts of words and images made it look like leaving and settling has been easy. The growing pains have been real. So very real. I’ve cried a bit since then. I’ve distrusted my intuition many times over just to stand even stronger on it. The ugly head of anxiety found its home in me. Some days I coped well, some days I did not. It’s been lonely and my heart has ached over dinners for one. But to be reminded that God is not only God, but Father and friend, protector and confidant has been so very vital to my journey out here.
I’ve said yes to dance partners (I’ve got so much to learn, y’all), dates, coffee meet ups with strangers I met on Instagram (clearly, I’m still alive), solo exploring, nights out with coworkers and new friends, kayaking on the Colorado River, art shows, music concerts, food trucks, live painting as ministry. I’ve been able to share my space and cook a meal for a friend and I’ve lived off money that was supposed to be used for laundry because life is like that sometimes. With relief I no longer call myself a graphic designer, but an artist -a painter, an entrepreneur, a boss babe. I say “y’all”.
I’ve tried my best to keep up with loved ones in the west while attempting to cultivate my new friendships down south. To both large audiences and one-on-ones I’ve spoken about the heart behind what I do and the who that led me here. I’m learning intentional intimacy.
And for someone who initially thought she would just be an observer of the art scene in Austin, I never thought I’d build this much or have this much support in the last 365 days. I’m still begging for more. More connection in my work and the people I meet because of it. More boldness, the realization of my worth and the unfathomable things God can do through me. My heart grows for this city and the people in it everyday.
I’ve felt hopeful and hopeless, confident boldness and crippling insecurity. I’m learning to be comfortably uncomfortable on a daily basis. I’ve got more mosquito bite scars than I can count and I’ve prayed more prayers than I have uttered in years. There are times where I’ve never felt so very close to God and moments where I didn’t think I could feel so far apart from Him.
And yet, I never stop hearing, “I love you. I know you. I see you. I believe you can do this. I know you can do this. I’ve got you covered. Victory, victory, victory.”
This is just the beginning for me and I am so ready.
Feel free to keep up with my art practice through my newsletter at www.arielle-austin.com, on Instagram or Facebook.