Why I Decided To Quit My Career


Why I Decided To Quit My Career


About a month ago I quit my job to pursue my 10 year goal of becoming a full time artist. I was always told that when the right moment comes to take the leap, and that I'll just know when that right moment is here. I consistently rolled my eyes at this comment until the day it actually came. That day was not a happy one, I was exhausted to my core. I was physically done, emotionally, and spiritually drained and I felt further away from my purpose than I ever had before. I finally got that knowing that everyone was talking about and I realized it was time to allocate all my effort into being that artist I've long dreamed of. 

My desire to be an artist stemmed when I was heavily struggling with my eating disorder of anorexia and bulimia. For those of you who read my previous blog and continue to follow my work, you know I speak freely about that experience. My life was controlled, I was living for someone else in my own mind, body, and spirit. I felt trapped and art surrendered me to my own self expression. It allowed me to be who and what I wanted. It was that consistent soundboard that never judged me about my feelings, rather allow me to lean heavily until it was all out, puking colours.

My focus has changed over the years, from painting emotion to the human body. The human figure has always been an interesting concept for me, and now it's my primary muse. My own body has served so many purposes in my life, and will continue to be the only loyal life partner I have and ever will be with. I treat it much differently than I have in the past, and I'll share a story with you about how I got here today.


The last three years of my life have been in a Business Value Analyst/ Strategic Sales role. I loved my job, in fact I couldn't have asked for better bosses, colleagues, and atmosphere at Hootsuite. I got to travel all over North America for work, and I was highly regarded in the company. I had job offers on the table and I couldn't bring myself to take it, it was such a strange feeling. The old me would've taken the job offer and left within months. My consciousness was louder than ever and begging me to follow my gut, so I politely declined that job offer without any real understanding why I was doing that.

Flashback 2 months. I was gazing into the LES of New York City in early October, enjoying the heat wave that hit the big apple. I was thinking about my old life here in the city, and the people I chose to spend my time with. Wow, my life was SO different. As I poured myself a glass of red wine, courtesy of the receptionist downstairs, I thought to myself, how lucky I was to be back in my favourite city. I didn't realize it was going to be my last work trip. 

Typically travelling for work is over-exhausting. Only after a year or so of doing it I finally mastered and discovered the perfect balance. My secret sauce was staying in a boutique hotel close to my favourite restaurants and gym so I could strike the perfect amount of time enjoying new cities as I did pitching to clients. This trip threw me over sideways. Not only was in back to back deals and heavy weight pitches, the added timezone change of working on the east coast in a west coast headquarters (causes you to work unbelievable amounts of hours) - from catching up with projects, to putting together businesses cases in my hotel bed to not sleeping with jet lag. It was nothing new to me but it impacted me in a much larger way this time.

My 26th birthday was coming up and I was away from my twin sister, and family. I knew this was coming, but my sister and I have never spent a birthday apart and I was sad. I tried to make my stay in NYC as comfortable as possible so Sam decided to fly out to meet me on my birthday. He  had the entire day and night planned to take me out to my favourite spots including some new hangouts like the underground jazz scene. He absolutely killed it.

The day of my birthday provided me with great clarity. I worked the morning of my birthday, sick to my stomach and it lasted throughout the entire day of work which resulted  in a full breakdown in the Uber on the way back to my hotel room. I was ridden with anxiety, partly because I was excited to see my boyfriend, and partly because I had finally had enough. I was officially done making money for someone else. I was done giving up my spare time and energy working toward's someone else's goals. I was through the roof with my health and wellness being up and down from flying about on business trips for 2 weeks a month or more across the country. I was tired with my frivolous spending and lack of commitments.

Not only was I probably the most awful person to be around when my boyfriend flew all this way for my birthday, I was indecisive, anxious, a royal bitch. I felt like a stranger in comparison to what I normally am, when I'm grounded and in an environment that brings the best out of me. 

Coming home with a new understanding of myself, I needed a week off, partially to be with my family and to take some time to think. I didn't expect a heat wave of work opportunities to fly into my arms while on bed rest. These work opportunities got me out of my bed every day, they got me thinking creatively. Within that time frame, I was booked to the brim with private portraits, designing labels for The Juicery Co.'s new product line, building a movement with Keighty Gallagher from Tight Club and live portraiture for Bailey Nelson. It was a sign from the universe.

This taught me how to trust. There's a reason why you're all drawn to something that ignites a fire within you. That something may start as a curiosity, but it's your intuition and your guides leading you down a path to be centred. This is so powerful, and we typically ignore these signs for the majority of our lives, and I'm included in that. I believe we stop ourselves from fully pursuing those curiosities because we judge ourselves, and we're afraid of being vulnerable. So, if you're feeling called to something, follow it, look for it, dig deep, and love every moment of learning and growing.

Back to reality...I couldn't believe that I was faced with something I've been working towards for the past 8 years and I was hesitant. I was scared, frightened and thinking I was crazy. I wasn't necessarily in a financial position to quit my job, nor was I in a position to actually do both jobs well.

I've been told me entire life, that I'm choosing a life path with a slim percentage of actually "making it", which can mean so many things. I've been compared to someone who wants to be an actor. Yes, I get it, slim chances - but it's not about that, it's about what makes you happy. When you're happy you naturally attract people into your life who support you.

So, I tuned in to what really mattered to me it wasn't going to my desk from 9-5 everyday, it certainly had nothing to do with being tied to a paycheque and allotted vacation days or reporting to someone else. I wanted freedom in my life. 

So, After going back and forth over my decision to quit my job too many times, I wrote up a letter of resignation that I handed in Monday morning. I cried the entire time, actually the entire week. Nobody told me that transition like that would be tough - I was mourning! 

Call it good timing, I call it a sign, that I had previously booked a retreat the week after I quit. I went on Chloe Elgar and Natalie Miles' Light Up Retreat on the Sunshine Coast. The retreat was all about tuning into your intuition, and pretty much a psychic development retreat. It was intense, and beautiful and relaxing all in one go. I met really great sisters who share the same desires as I do. I got in touch with why I was meant to be there and my purpose on this planet. I discovered new things about myself, such as my natural mediumship ability, and intuition. Which is something I now offer with my portraitures (more on this later). So, you could say that the retreat boiled a lot of shit to the surface. That murky water gave me clarity toward my sole proprietary purpose of why I am so deeply connected to my artwork.  

 My purpose isn't just about bringing awareness to body image and mental health, yes that's a massive part of it, but not the only piece. My purpose with my artwork is to emancipate you from your fears. It's about abandoning our sense of "should, could, would" and being you, and being OK with it. From my experience with my own demons and eating disorders, and today where I actively wake up and choose who and what I want to be, it's still there! I can't run from it.

It's important to me that you understand that those feelings will be there for life. When clients arrive at my loft, it's the utmost important thing to me that they walk into my loft feeling like they have been seen and heard. That they too are beautiful and it's not because of how we look like on the outside. Our exterior is a direct reflection of how we feel inside. When we age, it's because we're not taking care of our innards, and when we diet or binge eat, we're not addressing what our soul is craving.

So with my newfound abilities to read and see auras, connect and channel the deceased and read your intuition, I am bringing this into portraitures. I'm still building that muscle, but it's something that comes so naturally to all of us, and yet we choose to shut it off because we were told it's "Scary". I had a BIG problem facing that fear when I decided I wanted to work with spirit, and it's still frightening, and I'm learning to use it on my own time, and not theirs.

So here we are, 1 month into my entrepreneurship and it's up and down. Not knowing when that next paycheque is coming in finally hit me. It's also super exciting, it's the first time in my life where I get to dictate my schedule and choose to do things because I want to, not because I feel like I should. If that's how I feel I politely decline and move forward because it's not serving me and because I'm following my intuition.

Life should feel easy and breezy and good. If there's something I'm learning is that it doesn't have to be hard. We all have the power to live a life in choice and what we want to do on a daily basis. Tune in and figure out what it's saying to you - if you don't hear anything it may be because you've ignored it for so long, but you can still start to listen. Sit down quietly, go or a walk, clear your mind and ask yourself what you want in this life and how to get it, I promise you, you'll find an answer. If you don't, we can find it together through a portraiture ;)

I'm hosting the 3rd Volume of TALK TO ME NAKED December 9th-10th. I have about 5 spots left to schedule. The portraits are a little different this time. Each session is about 30mins in length which includes a 10minute reading and a 20 minute portrait. Each person walks away with 3 sketches each and the total cost is $250.00 CAD (the original portraits are $500.00CAD).  

Tori Swanson