my change cocktail

my change cocktail

last year i learned that there are seven stages to navigate change. it’s a concept i keep coming back to called a “change cocktail” and just thinking about it makes me tipsy.

while writing this post i fell down a “bird hole” reading about the stages of grief. are there 5? are there 7? is it a linear process? do you ever really recover? do the stages ever really end?

when do the stages of grief end and the stages of change begin?

the answer is.. there’s no clear answer.. and that’s the trouble with mental health. it’s all tools to help you better understand what’s happening but emotions are tricky and if you’ve spent a lifetime fighting against them it's a tall order to begin feeling them again .. let alone learning to process them.

and that’s what i’ve been doing these past two years of covid hell. getting drunk on the hard stuff in life. (while some how managing to not have corona?!)

i did like this graphic though…


my corporate career revolved around helping big businesses navigate HUGE branding changes .. and then i helped my parents turn their lives upside down but creating my own change has been an extreme effort i wasn’t expecting.

want to know the best advice i've received along the way?

 "do your own shit, robin."

it's taken me a year to understand what she meant and it'll probably be a few more months until i can fully implement the splendor of these words into my life.

because shit happens.

you'll have to bear with me if this post stinks... i started writing it in the aftermath of my first art show disaster and am picking it back up. i'm also angry. i've been angry a lot lately. it's one of the stages of grief/change i'm still sucking up as i face the life i “was living” vs. the one i want.

my main trouble was that i’ve never been able to articulate what i want… so as an experiment i did what i do best.. and made a list.

the fun twist was that i wrote it over the course of 30 days to see what came up.. by writing one little statement each morning i prevented waves of overthinking to prevail.

as a chronic overachiever, i also created a daily list of what i don't want...

then to implement what i want i identified what to strive for at the beginning of the year. i attempted to limit myself to three goals for the first six months of 2022.


as the 6 month deadline for these goals grew closer, i realized two of "my" goals for the year were for OTHER people.

this is NOT "doing your own shit."


if you're sitting there thinking .. "this is silly robin. why don't you just DO what you want?"

i'll tell you...

  1. you can't DO what you want until you KNOW what you want
  2. you can't DO what you want if you don't believe you deserve what you want
  3. you can't DO what you want if you believe what you want is not as important as what everyone else wants / needs (from you)

to fully explain this, let me serve up some examples from this past spring...

in the depressing aftermath of pushing myself too far for an art show with my mom (aka for my mom), i began overthinking what to release the following month on my birthday [june 13] to the point of paralyzation*.

[*shit. that's an interesting word choice to come out of my stream of consciousness if you're familiar with the story of my third birthday .. i'm leaving it as an example of how my brain is still processing that trauma.]

anywhooo ... THIS YEAR ... on my 38th birthday .. instead of sending out a "release" as intended, i did nothing "work-wise."

a thought that in two decades prior had never occurred to me.

i released nothing.
i sent no emails.
i made nothing.
at first i felt really shitty.
and then...
it felt good.

i couldn't decide what i wanted to do so i did nothing.

and that's ok.
tomorrow is another day.
i'm learning to accept my choices
[or lack there of]
and fly on.



fast-forward to this earlier this month and i overthought whether to hold, cancel or reschedule my august coloring call because i was still reeling from a basement full of (literal) shit.

i didn't know what the attendees of my call would be expect... and when your special talent is "anticipating the needs of others," it's debilitating not to know what THEY want.

but it's also not my job job to know what YOU want.

i can only create what i want and see who flocks to it.

the dreadful art event[s] of may taught me that.

last month was my first art show in st. louis.

it was deLIGHTful..
a bit chaotic..
but mostly FUN.
a typical robin endeavor.
did i overdo it?
that's part of my charm...
going above & beyond.

here's a grainy picture during cleaning-up..
i was flying high on the enthusiasm & love.


unfortunately, a mere three nights later...

the basement we literally just finished renovating weeks prior (to include an art studio) flooded w/ sewage .. not once but twice.

what are the odds?
pretty perfect when it comes to "my luck."
... or so the old story goes in my head ...
and then dovetail begins.


these two and a spray bottle of bleach helped save the day for the first round but the second wave is what really sent me down a spiral.


the good news is my recovery time to reframe things has sped up dramatically. here are my rewritten thoughts ...

  • maybe it was lucky... it didn't flood days earlier when everything for my event were sprawled on the floor?
  • maybe it was lucky... i didn't unload my car on monday night (aka 12 hours of the most rainfall in recorded history)?
  • maybe i'm lucky... to have friends willing to mop up sewage & lug soggy carpets out of our house late on a tuesday night?
  • maybe... we can't fly as high as we want w/out extreme lows?

logically, it could have been worse but UGH .. the timing! 

plus, you gotta remember that there is no logic when it comes to matters of my (he)art.


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