moving in and out

Mom’s dress is Mara Hoffman, mine is vintage

I moved into my studio on my birthday. I think it was 5 years ago, when I was 29. Or maybe it was 6, when I was 28? I have a horrible memory. What I do remember was feeling so elated to have a commercial space of my own — albeit shared with my dear friend Helena, at first — where I could work and create and build out my dreams. It was the best birthday gift I could ever give myself. It felt like I was really moving up in my career and I had big plans for both the studio and my life, in general. I did a lot in that studio: hosted workshops, sales, benefits for charity, social gatherings, volunteer meetings, conferences, craft sessions, and so many dog photo shoots I was starting to wonder if that was my new calling. But in all honesty, I fell short of my goals to make it more of a creative community space and less of a personal one. It mostly hosted my own projects and I rented it out to others, despite my grand ideas to have so much more happening. It was too much for me to take on by myself — or at least, I felt that way. Since it was my side gig, I was hesitant to let it take up too much of my time, and each event was a labor of love, energy, and money. Lots of money. And I only have so much to give. Honestly, it’s hard for me to write about this. It makes me feel like a bit of a failure.

After awhile, I decided it was too much space and way too much overhead for just one person. Rentals (which helped me keep costs lower) required having a manager, and when said manager took a great job opportunity (I miss her every day!), it became harder and harder to keep things running smoothly and justify keeping Brooklyn Brigade open. It’s going to be harder to build new sets and do fun photo shoots without the space, but luckily my new apartment has quite a bit of space and storage for my equipment, sets, and props. I think I’ll be able to make do.

Moving into my studio on my birthday felt like the best way to celebrate being another year older and more successful. What I didn’t think about was how much it would suck to have to move out on my birthday, and what that would represent for me. I’m not moving upward, I’m just moving out. It’s so silly, but I had to excuse myself a few times [on my birthday] because I started crying at the thought of moving out. Luckily, my landlord very kindly offered me some extra time to move out; he didn’t want me to leave and even though it somehow made it a little harder, it also made me feel happy that I’ve been a good and appreciated tenant. Even better? My mom and stepdad came up to help me and celebrate my birthday. When I’m down, there’s no better therapist than mom. Thanks for always being there for me when I’m feeling vulnerable and a little lost — and for giving me a reason to use one of my favorite sets one last time.

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