Digging Deep : Why I hate asking for help + a long love letter to the When I Grow Up Clubhouse and Michelle Ward

This week the synchronicity has been crazy.

Everything lined up about Support and asking for help that I couldn’t ignore it anymore.  There were giant signs in my inbox, twitter feed, and hovering around Facebook clubhouses.

What is a girl to do?

Let go of the fear.

See, I’m not exactly the best at asking for help.  I’m a stubborn lady.


Its too much to sit with alone, inside my own head all day about my business. I need help.  And as soon as I thought about it, I started to really dig inside and think about what it meant to ask.

Siren acrylic on paper

I painted this mermaid muse while deep in thought about Art + Bizz + style.

First I thought about what I wanted: clarity about the direction to take my art bizz.

I have this art adhd and I just can’t focus on one thing.  I frantically jump from project to project looking for the next best thing, the next fun thing, the next great thing to offer: I can paint and I have a lot of trust and faith in my abilities to paint, but I am caught in this comparison trap.  Too many blogs and pinterest, too much visual information. I see so much other great work then I think I need to go in another direction, I need to make stuff like so and so and paint like this other person.  I have too many options.

So many options, so many ideas.

I can paint anything! Do I paint only what I like?  I like a lot of stuff! I paint in my downtime, whether it is for fun or profit.  Painting is what I do. I paint with my son, I paint with my mom, I paint for my sisters.  I give gifts of paintings.  My son and I, we make art most days, or we do crafty fun things.  We pick out wooden pieces at Michaels – pirate ships and bird houses.  He loves birdhouses and pirates.

globs of painty goodness

Look at those globs of paint, my son is fearless with color.

We slosh paint all over these guys, over and over.  The cutest thing is this windchime bird house he loves.  “Mommy, lets draw painting my jingle house.” Green and blue and red and black, then he paints it all over again.  My son loves his painted pirate ship and jingle house so much he takes them to bed.  Kei has this pair of cowboy boots that are way too big for him, he wears them everywhere even to bed. He has a stuffed dog, Max from the Grinch, and he takes him everywhere too.

I am completely immersed in art stuff. I’m so concentrated on making it work as a business that sometimes I forget to enjoy these little parts.  I’m learning to relax about it again.  I’m learning to find the fun in art again, just by watching Kei. We built houses out of cardboard cereal boxes, he loves creating and painting as much as I do.

Art is what I know: its what I do it is what I am ridiculously good at.


Then the tweets and emails and etc came pouring in.

Ask for help

Ask for support

Don’t be ashamed or scared or feel too small just to ask for help.

Big giant Yes, please.

If you are an internet lurker like me, you just yell a giant YES in your brain like I do when something clicks so hard in your brain you want to give the person a hug and then ask them how they figured you out so concisely without ever talking to you.

Does this happen to you?  So many people in my life, ghost friends, have this amazing x-ray vision deep into my brian and heart and guts and they know what I’m going through at this exact moment that it is too uncanny for me to simply ignore.

So I did that: asked for help.  I wrote a book scholarship application to the wonderful Michelle Ward and I won membership in the When I Grow Up Clubhouse.

It was exactly what I needed: a Community of amazing support.

And that was only the beginning of the giant snowball of fabulous.

I wrote e-mails to people, telling them how great I think they are. (They wrote back! Squee!)  I joined twitter chats about life and art and mommy guilt.  HEY, I’m not doing it wrong! A lot of other women, even rocket scientists, have these same fears. A Rocket Scientist worries about the same things I do, that just made my brain go, “What?!” before it exploded.

Why its been hard for me in the past:

Aside from being Capital S stubborn I’m also someone who feels like they are out of their depth in social media.

I don’t use it like I think I should, or like I see other people using it, or like how I read people telling you how to use it.  ETC.

I feel like I don’t use the internet like other people do.  A lot of question people ask me about my computer usage end with me going, “Uuuuhm, well, you know, I use the internet as my own personal image caching system… and to check in with my little sisters on Facebook, turn on Pandora and flit away to paint into the night.”

I was Queen Blog Lurker.  I follow people religiously that I love, through RSS feeds, looking forward to my daily email to read while working out or on my lunch break or long car rides etc.  I didn’t really connect unless I wanted to send a crazypants fan love letter to someone.

I didn’t really think about connecting as a conversation.  I thought about it like writing into a magazine.  Everyone on the internet was smarter, funnier, more creative: everyone was a celebrity.

Comparison, its a trap.

Juxtaposition that for a minute with this:

I am not like this offline. Often, I am a giant exuberant ball of puppy-like unbridled enthusiasm. My two favorite things to do when I’m painting are Karaoke and dancing. KARAOKE… in strange bars and pubs and lounges and restaurants.  Singing terrible songs terribly in front of complete strangers and a close-knit group of friends.  In the city I would sing at the top of my lungs in the middle of my store while I was working.  I would wrangle my customers, employees, and managers into Top 40 duets and Classic Rock ballads.

I was equally fearless on the dance floor. I have no rhythm.  None.  I would leap into the fray during Salsa night and just make it up.  Okay, I did know two basic steps.  Two.  No hyperbole here. It was all in the sense of good fun. Everyone had a blast.

I am tone deaf.

I can not sing on key if my life depended on it.  But the fear never stopped me.

still a wip but I know where its going

I’ve worked on this painting on and off for months. I never knew where to take it, what style to work on, when it was finished, what to focus on. I was so worried about not doing it wrong.

Digging deep.

My livelihood never depended on it, like it does in the art business. Connecting, conversing, engaging and interacting.  I love it, I really do.  But there was an enormous black cloud of fear surrounding it. The black cloud of the fear of doing it wrong.

This week all the stars aligned, the moon was full, a million people wrote about asking for help, asking for support, and being fearless and abundant.

I’m so clear about what I want out of my life and business.  I want to be able to have fun and make art, but stay professional.  I want this to be my life.

I want to live fearlessly



amazingly free.

I feel all fired and inspired and supported by a lovely community of ladies + 1 in the When I Grow Up Clubhouse (Thanks Michelle!) Plus a bunch of great  people who interact with me on twitter (Thats @Kat_McBride if you want to say hey.)  I’m so grateful to the wonderful people who (gasp!) responded when I e-mailed or commented and left my comfort zone to reach out / be social.

Bye bye black cloud.

It’s not that scary.  I just hate asking for help because I don’t want to feel needy, or look desperate.  It’s silly, all it requires is a shift in thinking.  I’m not being needy, I’m connecting with like-minded awesometastic peoples.  I’m finding my tribe.

And they are awesome.

<3 Kat

For real though, catch me on twitter.  Its where I hang out while I’m painting and I love to chat.


3 thoughts on “Digging Deep : Why I hate asking for help + a long love letter to the When I Grow Up Clubhouse and Michelle Ward

  1. Meg Boone says:

    love this! I am so glad I met you through your new open-ness AND we live so close…I get the stubborn thing my first phrase ever was ‘I do it my own self’

  2. Sheila Ticen says:

    I liked your statement, “I’m finding my tribe.” Reminds me of a night I had recently at Art Murmur in Oakland, CA. I was in the Chandra Cerrito Gallery with a whole bunch of people I’ve never laid eyes on before. But I knew them by the way they interacted with the art and with each other. They were simply My People.

    You are connecting. And here’s to the conversation. Cheers!

    • Kat says:

      Its interesting, isn’t it…I get this gut feeling, and I just know. But, I’m more *me* in person. I only get that feeling when I am interacting… physically? I’m not sure how to describe it or if it makes sense: I do know that it is a lot harder for me to convey who I am and feel who my people are over the interwebs- and this is my vehicle for community and communication right now. I’m figuring it out, but the learning curve / medium is completely odd for me.

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