When I was in 1st grade, I came home excited to share a story about a girl in my classroom. I described the girl in detail — her shirt, her glasses, what her laugh sounds like. My parents weren’t sure which girl I meant. I never mentioned she was Black — the only Black kid in my class. Did I not notice? Or did I know I wasn’t supposed to notice?

I wonder now what else I “didn’t see”. For one, I didn’t see many Black people. I grew up in a highly segregated part of Texas. The only Black person I really knew was my childhood nanny, who I loved like another mother. I hear the privilege and problems in that sentence now, but growing up it didn’t cross my mind. …


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Today, we officially say goodbye to Artsicle. Nearly 7 years after writing the first business plan, we are exiting stage left.

This isn’t what I dreamed of. I, like so many entrepreneurs before and after me, dreamed of exiting stage right, with a headline and a bang. But, as they say, it wasn’t in the cards.

But so so many other wonderful experiences, and incredible people, were in the cards. …


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Last weekend, I went to Paris. Just saying that feels exotic and a bit irresponsible. I wasn’t there for work. It wasn’t a big, planned vacation or a special occasion. It was spontaneous, and disorganized, and amazing.

Last weekend we embraced a season of life. In this season, I’m healthy. My family is healthy. My partner and I are both employed, with jobs that allow us to take a few days off for an impromptu romantic getaway. We don’t yet have kids and have worked hard to gain some financial security. We are living in a season of unusual flexibility.

And yet, I almost didn’t book the trip. With flights on hold, I couldn’t shake a feeling that I was being rash, irresponsible, immature. We could go to Paris next year, for a longer, better planned trip. This year we should save money, not miss the extra day of work. …


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What did you vote for today? What did you vote against? As Americans, and members of a representative democracy, most of us didn’t actively vote for anything. That’s why we have elected officials — they participate in democracy on our behalf. Whether you voted for them or not, these individuals speak for you. When they sign their name to a bill, they sign your name as well.

And, in your silence, you agree with them.

When you stay silent, you are complicit in every decision. No comment means we agree, we accept. Don’t agree? …


Some years fly by in a blink, while others feel like a lifetime. This was one of the latter. Last year I ended one adventure, started another, reconnected with my community, and asked a lot of big questions about the future. As we kickoff 2017, I’m taking a moment to reflect and share some of my favorite things from 2016 (to the tune of The Sound of Music, of course).

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Google Photos auto-created a GIF of my first skydive landing!

Digital Tools:

Google Photos — This really was my killer app for 2016. I found myself introducing friend after friend to it as I discovered its power. Google Photos helped me truly organize my photos for the first time, with a crazy cool search feature (try searching cat), and simple to create albums. …


I live in a sea of information. I twitch between sources — Facebook, Twitter, NY Times, Medium — endlessly searching for something important, something challenging, something distracting. I tell myself I’m learning or staying informed. But am I? Or am I just drowning in open tabs, saved articles, and news notifications?

Do you remember life before the “Information Age”?

Even better, do you remember librarians? I wasn’t the coolest of kids, so I spent a lot of my free time in libraries. I remember thinking the librarians had a superpower. They knew exactly how to find information that pushed me forward and expanded my mind. They challenged me when I asked a question — digging deep to understand what I really needed, rather than delivering the first publication within arms reach. …


If you haven’t seen it yet, take a minute to watch this recent video of a dad’s morning pep talk with his daughter.

I loved this video for a dozen reasons — the father-daughter bond, the positive self talk — but this one line stuck with me. Over the past few weeks I’ve found myself repeating it daily, quietly to myself.

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I wasn’t raised with this mantra. I was encouraged to be the best me and to love my neighbor. I was taught to care deeply for my community and that I could rise above my status. …


“Hi, I’m the founder of Artsicle. Well, the former founder. The founder of the former Artsicle. I’m Alex. I’m unemployed right now.”

After 5 years as a founder & CEO, my identity is so tangled up in my company I’m not sure where it ends and where I begin. I sneak Artsicle in to a conversation, the same way parents causally slip that cute thing their kid did yesterday into every discussion. I measure my worth by its worth. Since we’re shutting down Artsicle, where does that leave me? How do I measure my worth?

My company, Artsicle, failed. I can say that out loud now, usually without crying. I’ve cycled through my 5 stages of grief and recently completed the paperwork to make our dissolution official. And I actually feel pretty damn good about it — until I need to introduce myself to someone new. …


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My needs can feel like Bruce Nauman’s “Human/Need/Desire”. Photo credit: Ed Schipul

What do you need right now? Don’t just say “nothing” and go back to looking for Pokemon. I’m sure you need something. We all do.

Too often, I don’t define what I need. I walk around wishing my dream would fall into my lap. It doesn’t and I get frustrated. I get angry at the universe for not providing, and at myself for needing it to. I convince myself my need isn’t real or that I can figure it out alone. I keep my needs safely locked away, like a private hidden treasure.

As I started my Lagniappe Project, I’ve heard this problem echoed back from nearly everyone I speak with. You are excited to accept some help, but don’t don’t know what you need. I’m guilty of the same thing, so I decided it was time to get better. Much in the same way I am defining how I can help, today I’m defining what I need and sharing the results. …


“Let me know how I can help.” I say this all the time, most recently as I started my Lagniappe Project. I’m sincere in my offer, so why doesn’t everyone take me up on it? Some are afraid of taking advantage, others are unsure of what they need, but I’m finding that many simply don’t know what my skills are — what makes me helpful.

That’s on me to define. When I say “how can I help?”, I am making an open ended offer without clear guidelines. I can do better than that. Instead, I can offer to help with your marketing plan, read your book draft, or walk your dog. …

About

Alexis Tryon

Doer, Maker & Enthusiastic Eater. Founder at Extra Yarn & Artsicle.

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