Celebrating 10 Years: The Day I Hit Rock Bottom

I cannot believe it’s been nearly a month since I last wrote, either here or at my other home, www.dwightthemayor.com. I have to get better about this–I’m sure there are dozens (DOZENS!) of you painfully checking your RSS feeds for a new post from me daily, only to be disappointed. For that, I apologize. I know what it’s like to get hooked on, say, a podcast, and have nothing show up in your iTunes for months. 

(Where, exactly, *is* the newest episode of You Look Nice Today, by the way?)

I know my last post seemed like a bit of celebratory post, but there were bubbling issues below the surface. When you’re freelancing, there’s always a bit of a feast or famine thing going, and at the time, we were in quite the midst of a famine. We weren’t living in squalor by any means, but we were having to make very difficult sacrifices. Nevermind a Plan B, we were on Plan Q.

For me, it was the end of an incredibly frustrating week. Freelance work fell through at the last minute, recruiters weren’t returning my calls, potential job openings were falling through at the last minute-it was a shitshow. Nobody wanted me. I had hit rock bottom, and I just didn’t have the fight left in me anymore. That night, I actually went to a temp agency site, and started looking at menial labor positions. I didn’t give a fuck anymore-and I decided, screw it, I’m not going to be a designer anymore. I had been knocked down in the ninth round, and I didn’t feel like answering the bell. Maybe I’d go drive a UPS truck or something. 
That’s a hard conversation to have with yourself. I had been working towards being an art director literally my entire life. Some kids wanted to be firemen and policemen-I wanted to make Super Bowl commercials. I spent a good number of hours that night trying to figure out what to do with myself, and I was coming up with nothing. My friends and family, God bless them, suggested that I just go get an entry-level job at an agency somewhere, as if, a) it was that easy, and b) I hadn’t already been doing that. Nobody wanted me, so fuck it. 

My wife has this incredible knack for knowing when I need to be comforted, and when I need to go off by myself and sulk. And God bless her for that–I wanted to feel sorry for myself, at least for the weekend, and she let me. She dutifully plied me with junk food and ice cream, while I sat in dark rooms and listened to Sade. She didn’t once tell me to get over myself. I needed that time to just get it out of my system. I think if I hadn’t gone to that place, that place that all designers have, and listen to that little nag that sits on our shoulder and tell us we suck, that I might never have come out of my funk. 
Sunday came around, and I realized I had two options. I can flush the last ten years down the toilet, and go do something else, or I can continue to be stubborn, get up, and keep fighting. I chose the latter. And I’m starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I’ve had a couple of freelance jobs come my way, and a few potential things around the corner that I’m really excited about. I started networking again, and I’ve had some really good feedback on my work. Dusting off this blog was the last step. It’s been a rough month, but I made it through. If I keep this up, I might even get my swagger back.

So what’s next? i’m working on my new website, and still sketching concepts in my book. I’m going to start making some of these sketches and concepts Actual Real Things very soon, and I’m excited to share them with you. Stay tuned.

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