I've never taken a business class, but if there's one thing I know to be true is that you should find what drives you, what moves you and go from there. Whether it's a project, writing, or just a path to take in life, whatever you do should have your heart propelling it forward. That's why I try to design for myself. I create and write about the things that excite me because I know that spark will show through in my work. There have been times when I've been pushed to do something I wasn't really feeling and the result was half-assed and not my best work in the least. Why would I ever want my name attached to that?


People respond to passion. They want to feel like there's personality embedded into your product and so when I design I'm both maker and buyer. If I wouldn't buy my own creations, why would anyone else?

The Pink Ribbon card is undoubtedly my most personal card in the Porcupine Hugs collection. I remember I was sitting on my couch reading through My Sister's Keeper (such a depressing book, by the way) when this image just popped into my head. In the story, 11-year-old Anna Fitzgerald has been raised to help harvest cells and organs that will keep her leukemia-stricken sister Kate alive. Now that she's old enough to protest, Anna wants an end to the poking and prodding despite the fact that her emancipation would surely mean her sister's death. It's a tough position to consider because there's no wrong or right side. Sometimes things are great, but other times it all goes to hell and life starts feeling a series of push-and-pulls.

I was diagnosed with breast cancer last December and since then it's been a lot of ups and downs, laughing at the ridiculousness of suddenly dealing with this at 30 years old and then spiraling into a sobbing mess of worries and dread. Sometimes it's good news coming from the other end of the line and other times you just hate having to go through the waiting and one side effect after the other.

The pink ribbon, created as symbol for breast cancer awareness in 1991 by the Susan G. Komen Foundation, irks me in a way and not just because I abhor that pastel color. It looks so pretty and pristine, perfect and clean that I want to shred it up. Maybe I'm projecting, but my road has also not felt as smooth as that shiny piece of fabric makes it seem to be. While I am lucky that my lump was caught early, that it wasn't aggressive, and that I've been able to jump through treatment pretty quickly, there have also been moments - surgery, radiation, drugs - that have sucked royally.

So I created my own pink ribbon, one that encompasses the happy and hopeful moments as well as the terror that can suddenly set in. And it's helped me to know that I can allow both of those things to come and pass as they wish, that I can be a bad-ass fighter one moment and be okay with admitting that I'm really scared. Because I'm only human, I am not perfect, and all feelings of being an invincible creature floating about this world have been firmly stomped out.

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Melisande Balleste

Melisande Balleste said:

I came across you first in Latina Magazine and now in Instagram . I was I looking for someone else when I stumble upon your Instagram page. I hope all is well with you. ❤️ The stationary line.

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