January is the simplest of all of the months. It was the first calendar design that I ever colored, and I did not use any fancy techniques or add my own flare to it - I just colored it. I didn't even press as hard with the colored pencils as I would in later months, so it doesn't pop as much as the others. But even though it's the simplest, January has a lot of sentimental value to me.
For a long time, I hated my job. I had a working-with-people job that sucked because it involved working with people, and it drained me. As a result, I didn't like my workplace and didn't bond with anyone there simply because I didn't like being there. I had no pictures, nothing personal at all at my desk because I didn't care. I didn't think of it as home.
Then in September 2015, I got moved to a more numbers-based position, and suddenly, I had my energy back. Within the first week that I did the new job, I had so much more energy when I got out of work every day. As a result of having a job that was a much better fit for me, I realized that most of the people I worked with were very nice and I made more of an effort to bond and form friendships. Beginning shortly after I started the new job, I felt a connection with everyone and looked forward to seeing them every day. Now I can talk to the people in my department about a lot of things, and I don't feel lonely at work like I did in the beginning.
This calendar marks the beginning of that. Why? Because this was one of the first personal things that I added to my work area. Since I colored it myself, it felt really warm and cozy and intimate to have it at my desk. It made me feel more like myself at work. And everyone loved it. I probably got more praise and attention on this month than any other simply because it was the first and no one had seen anything like it. In the picture above, it is actually hanging in a part of my cube where more people can see it - it was mid-January when I realized that I wanted to move the calendar to my desk so I could look at the picture myself. To this day, I think I have the best calendar in the whole building. Everyone still compliments it and is so impressed with the creativity. My boss loved my coloring so much that she actually gave me a picture of an elephant to color for her and she keeps it at her desk next to the pictures of her grandchildren, which I think is really sweet. It means a lot to me when people at work compliment me on the calendar. It makes me feel more like me.
I first saw the calendar in the store back in November 2015, and I kept debating if I should get it. I finally decided to go for it. It felt like a bold move, because I knew I was planning to have it at work, and that no one else had anything like it. And I also felt like it was the right time. I was with a nice department, I had been there long enough that I wasn't walking on eggshells to prove myself anymore. I was ready. I was ready to be me.
January may be the least exciting of all the pictures. It's simple. It's symmetrical. It's the least vibrant. It has no interesting shading, no special techniques, no symbolism behind the colors, nothing added to the picture to make it my own. But at that moment, on January 4, 2016, it was the wildest, most vibrant, exciting thing that anyone in our department had seen. It was my own. It felt like the start of a new beginning.