I know you are out there, everywhere, working hard every day, like me.
I know you were about to give up many times, because life is not simple.
I know that many of you are doing work that you don’t like, and you can’t just quit because you need this work.
I know you’re working two or three jobs, and maybe you are also doing the hardest and best work in the world: being a parent.
I know you are afraid…
I’m talking to you, as I talked to myself many times. And I wanna say: don’t give up on your dreams!
I have been telling myself that all my life, while working and studying at the same time, while I went through hard moments, happy or sad moments, while I was young and especially now that I am aging.
I told myself that two years ago, after I became mother for the first time and I lost myself for a while…my dreams were always there for me, inside my heart, reminding me of who I am.
Maybe the society is telling you that you can’t do it, or maybe your family or friends never believed in you. But I’m here to prove you that dreams come true if you allow your heart to lead you, no matter what. Dreams come true if you WORK HARD and if you INVEST in yourself. If you BELIEVE in yourself. If you LOVE yourself.
Two years ago I decided to invest in myself, on my art, as I never did. For the first time I decided to realize one of my biggest dreams : writing an illustrated children’s book. I also decided to jump into digital drawing for the first time, so I bought an Ipad pro at the Apple store in Florence, where I live and work. This big change was necessary, cause you don’t have so much for yourself when you have kids, so I needed an instrument that would help me and that would reduce the loss of time.
I pushed away the fear of failure, the fear of learning something new, the fear of the tiredness, the fear of not being a good mother or to steal time from my baby, the fear of caring for myself and most of all I pushed away the sense of guilt that too often led our paths. I said to myself: i can do it! Even if I am a working mama, even if it will take a year, even if i have just the night time hours. I can do it because i wanna do it!
So, three months later the book was finished! I worked every evening, after my baby went to bed. One or two hours per day…day by day…I finished it. I was ready to self-publish the book and pay out of my own pocket, but one day my work ended on Pacini Editore’s hands, they loved it and decided to publish it! I sent it to many editors and they replied YES! That was the beginning of a magic journey for me…a journey of dream and love and most of all of self-esteem that makes the impossible POSSIBLE.
My book is called Piccolo Buio and it’s about fear of the dark, the darkness seen in a positive way. It is for kids but also for adults, because for me darkness can represent fear, and if we think fear comes from our mind, so if we can always imagine bad things, why don’t we start to imagine beautiful things on darkness? Last January the English version came out, Little Darkness. The book was written and illustrated by me.
I came back many times to Apple Store, telling them about my book, about the publication, and they were very happy to hear my story, the story of a very normal person, a mom, a working woman, that really could achieve that result, just believing in her capacities and investing on that.
So they decided to write an email to Apple Italy and my story started another magic journey that day, from Italy it traveled around Europe and from Europe it traveled to Apple USA, directly to Cupertino! And on October 31st, during the Apple Keynote live from New York, I saw my face on the big screen! Angela Ahrendts (Apple vice-president in 2018) talked about my story and my book…worldwide! I didn’t know about that until the moment that I saw my face up there…and it was unbelievable for me and my family. Immediately my life, our life changed, journalists started to call me for interviews, some companies asked me for illustrations, and my book became “famous”.
When I think that in a few months, my idea became reality and it appeared on the Apple Keynote screen… I still can’t believe that.
From that moment I worked even harder on art, and now I’m working on the second book that talks about following our dreams (of course…).
For the future of my daughter I kept the other job, so I can tell you that you can do it!! I’m a working mama and wife and if i can do it you can do it! We can always find the time or the way to follow our dream.
Dreams are our identity, they are the stars that we are made of.
And don’t forget: always believe in yourself, no matter what.
Sara Franci is an illustrator and storyteller based in Italy. You can purchase her book ‘Little Darkness’ on her official website by clicking here.