Being a disabled veteran and a new shop owner has also made me an expert on compassion. But it wasn’t always like that. Let me explain.
Growing up, I didn’t realize how good my life was. I was brought up in a Christian household and was taught how to treat others as you would like to be treated yourself. Even so, as a teenager, I was very selfish. It was all about what I wanted and when I wanted it. I managed to get into so much trouble that the only safe way out in my eyes was the United States Marine Corps. That was one of the best decisions of my life. But it wasn’t enough to humble myself.
In the Marine Corps, I sustained multiple injuries. But as Marines, we don’t’ make a fuss about silly little things like pain. It eventually caught up with me and I now face many health issues because of that. There was one thing I learned from my disabilities. That is the meaning of the word Compassion. But lets come back to that after I explain how art can be the very definition of compassion.
I grew up loving art. But in the Marine Corps, my love for art was put on pause. There is only so many ways you can look at camouflage and be inspired. But years later, as I became unable to work due to my disabilities, my love of art flourished. I wrote, painted, drew, sculpted, knitted, crafted…you name it and I did it. But most of my time was devoted to writing.
I will not put a number out there for fear of it being inaccurate, but I have tons of journals that are filled with words. Sometimes it’s about nothing, other times, about everything. I wrote tons of short stories, poems, and advice on physical pain. I even created a blog! Then another, and another, and another after that. Why am I telling you this? Because even with all that writing, there was a form of art that I didn’t even categorize as art until this year. That art form is called Kawaii.
I have always loved Kawaii. For those of you who never heard of Kawaii, it is a Japanese word meaning “cute” in English. So, in other words, I have always loved all things cute. But I never realized the things that brought me so much happiness was rounded up into one word. Kawaii. I searched eBay one day for some “cute” pens and Kawaii came up. My world changed in that moment because as far as I was concerned, I thought these items were no longer available to me. There was a small store in the mall that used to sell these Kawaii items, but they ended up going out of business. So, to discover that I was able to not only purchase Kawaii, but have it shipped to me at a touch of a button…well, needless to say, my Kawaii collection grew to a decent size over the next couple months. I created an Instagram account just for my Kawaii items. And I learned there are tons of people out there who share my love of Kawaii! But what does that have to do with art? And compassion? Everything.
I was introduced to Pen Pals this year during my recoveries from multiple surgeries (yes, it’s been a very busy year lol). As a lover of writing, this was like a dream come true…to find other people who actually WANT to write me a letter and take the time out to read my words? Amazing! And a lightbulb went off in my head…I could share my love of Kawaii with my new penpals! Everytime I purchased something Kawaii, I got this feeling, this warmness in my heart that just made me smile and made me feel special. The thought of sharing that feeling with others, well, words can’t describe how that makes me feel. I know better than anyone that everyone is going through something in his or her life. No matter who you are or how old you are, you are experiencing a trial. Sometimes, the trial is fully visible to everyone. Other times, only you know what you are truly going through on the inside. Regardless of the type of trial or your situation, just knowing that someone cares can be a wonderful distraction. I find joy in not only receiving letters but even more so in sending them. It’s amazing what small packages filled with Kawaii items and a heartfelt letter can do!
These last few months have been especially rough because my cat was diagnosed with cancer. I had planned on opening a small online store to pay off my recent surgery, which came out to $5,000.00 out of pocket. I had to take out a loan. Then my cat Lucy needed surgery to remove two tumors. Unfortunately the cancer had already metastasized. I had to put her surgery on credit. At the time, I was so stressed; I didn’t have the energy to open a store. So, I started to sell custom Happy Mail Labels. I called it Labels for Lucy. I was so touched by the few people who not only purchased labels from me, but also donated towards Lucy’s medical bills. This gave me hope and I got the energy needed to finally start working on an online store
Kawaii led me down many roads including new friendships, a new love of art, and the passion to share my crafting love with others. It has also led me to become a planner addict! I had no idea how much fun a planner could be until I put planning and Kawaii together. I even found some Kawaii planners! My Instagramfamily has given me so much inspiration, love, and happiness. I have experienced such compassion from people I never met before! Beautiful words, lovely gifts, emotion and caring that give me hope. My goal is to make available the same items that started me on this road.
The adorable artwork and Kawaii characters are so special to me. And it comes in many forms like stationery, planners, clothes, household items, makeup…pretty much anything you can think of! I mainly sell Kawaii stationery, planners, and Labels for Lucy. Currently, my shop is rather small due to time constraints (I am currently working on submitting my second manuscript to be published next year) but I hope with God’s help, it will grow and touch the lives of others as it has touched mine. I will also be listing my book, Mentality Listens, this week.
The definition of Art is something that is created with imagination and skill and that is beautiful or that expresses important ideas or feelings.
The definition of compassion is the emotion that one feels in response to the suffering of others that motivates a desire to help.
In every form of art, compassion is gifted.
Venus Angelica Perez