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Chapter 1: Awakening

Mariah Hoffman

Chapter 1: Awakening        

   Two years out of college, I found myself feeling utterly stuck. Not only in the financial trap of a low paying job, rent, bills, etc. but also trapped by the feeling that I wasn’t creating for myself. I was broke and terribly unfulfilled with my creative life.

  After quite a bit of anxiety/ angst with work life stresses, I made the commitment to deep self reflection. I found the workbook, “The Artist’s Way” and began reflecting, writing, and doing creative exercises on a daily basis in search of my truest creative self, and what I saw as my highest form of spirituality. Soon, energies in my life started shifting in ways I could not describe. Certain doors were closing as others rapidly opened, because I was open to them.

  As someone who has lived many years of my life in financial “survival mode” my spirit was blinded by ideas of “scarcity” and “lack”. Understandable, in the capitalist system in which we live, thinking, believing, and trusting in “abundance” above “scarcity” feels to be a conscious privilege.

Through my reflections, I soon realized I had 3 insecurities that were blocking me from pursuing my highest creative potential:

  1. Financial Insecurities - These I soon learned were not a boundary, but rather an opportunity to take risks because I literally had nothing to lose.
  2. Emotional Insecurities - I was coping with an complicated relationship with my father. This played a critical role in my upbringing and made me hyper-sensitive to the idea/ feeling/ reality of a stable home.
  3. Creative Insecurities - I came from a family of artists, but never considered myself one. As a kid, I was incredibly drawn to architecture, but never pursued it for some reason - I was shying away from my own calling.

  All this to say that the idea of “HOME” emerged into focus. What does HOME mean? What does HOME look like? What does HOME feel like? How can I build HOME with my hands? Why is HOME important to me? How is HOME culturally, economically, and socially relevant to our current housing system and spatial politics?

  Then it happened. My consciousness began cracking open and there was no going back. On a trip with cousins in Northern California, I went on a run to clear my head. In the small wooded town, I stopped in my tracks when I spotted what looked like a “Tiny House”. I had seen pictures online, but never saw one in the flesh. Naturally curious, I creeped around until the owner walked out. “Is this a tiny house?” I asked. “Yes it is!” She replied, then added, “Wanna take a look inside?” Stepping inside the tiny house, I realized the tangibility of a project this scale.

  It posed the perfect opportunity for me to address my 3 insecurities:

1) To start the process of building my own financial livelihood

2) To tangibly navigate MY idea of home

3) To creatively learn architecture/sustainable design hands-on to shift the paradigm towards a more conscious design and accessible housing.

 “If I can do this, you can too” were her words that shook me into action. At that point, I made my decision and there was no going back.