This is the story of Cat Cottage.
Once upon a time, there was a little girl who dreamed of living on a country farm, near the lake or the sea.
She wanted to make a living as an illustrator and designer, have lots of animals, sew her own clothes, grow her own veggies, be free.
She was born and raised in a big town. She lived with her parents in a beautiful apartment in a fancy neighborhood. She went to the best private school, had the best clothes and all the latest toys.
But she was a tomboy! The cute dresses her mother bought her were always stained or ripped from playing outside, her knees always covered in band-aids for all the falls from her bicycle, which she rode pretending it was a big black horse.
During the weekends and on summers her family went to the lake, or to the sea. Away from the city, surrounded by nature, she felt free.
The house her family had by the lake played a special role in the shaping of her dreams. Seeing the lake from the window was magical, it gave her a sense of peace. Eating fruit and vegetables that grew in their garden made every meal to taste better.
The power of nature felt so strong there, and she loved it. When the wind blew the trees would bend and made the wind to hiss like an angry cat. Rainstorms and thunders would make the house shake and the electrical power to go out for a few minutes every time. The mountain that was right behind the house felt protective and ominous at the same time. The lake’s color depended on the weather and changed every day. Some days it was clear green, other days was almost black. All this was fascinating to her.
She loved reading and drawing. When she discovered Beatrix Potter and Tasha Tudor and read their stories, she fell in love with illustration and the idea of living far from the city even more!
As she grew up, people told her that she wasn’t good enough and that her dream was never to become a reality.
Unfortunately, she listened to these people.
Anyhow, she studied art, fashion, and design and at the first chance, she moved away from the big town and into an old country cottage. Not a farm, but near a farm, not by the lake, but near a lake (and a river). She worked for a design company as a designer. She began saving cats and dogs.
Everything looked close enough to her childhood dream. She thought that it was as much as she could get. That she could never have gotten more than that because she wasn’t good enough. But she wasn’t happy.
She began meditating in her twenties, after a few rough years. One day, during a meditation, she realized why she was unhappy.
She understood that she needed to make her childhood dream come true. She grew up being told that she wasn’t good enough, and those words had gotten into every cell of her body. They taught her that she could have never been happy, that she could have never been free. But her life had become sad and she knew she had to do something about it.
It was spring. It was the right time to change all, to start from zero again.
Well, not from zero, as part of her dream was already there. She was living away from the city and had cats. Many cats. She was sewing her own clothes, mostly, and grew a lot of her veggies. She went to the lake every time she could.
The design company for which she was working closed down.
Nothing happens for no reason.
And all happens at the right time.
Once again she listened to the wrong people, who told her that her dream of working from home was unattainable, so she opened up a shop. It was nice, she loved it, but not enough to be happy.
A house with a garden, a studio, lots of pets, a home-based creative business as a designer and illustrator. A slow, free, serene life. That’s what she wanted.
She decided that it wasn’t impossible, and so she gave it a go. She closed down the shop and began working from home. Making ends meet wasn’t easy with a rent to pay and cats and dogs to feed (and save) so she took up all the odd jobs just to pay the bills and get by.
Even if it was difficult, even if it was strange, even if everything was insecure, she felt better than when she had a steady job.
It is spring again at Cat Cottage and I am in my home studio, writing.
My dogs are sleeping at my feet and my five cats are napping on the bed. I bought new flower seeds for the garden and I have just finished a new illustration. It will be in my shop soon. James Taylor is singing in the background and I feel good.
Even happy at times.
Welcome to Cat Cottage. Where dreams are in the works to come true.