Unapologetically Me

Leelee Macdonell, graphic artist and designer based in Toronto, Canada. Photo by Shannon Laliberte.

I have an orchid in my amateur collection I call the Goddess. To be exact, it’s an Oncidium Sanguine ‘Celtic Goddess’. I bought it at an exotic plant show and sale at Allan Gardens in the Spring of 2017. It was remarkable. Two tall stems of 10 bright yellow flowers with delicate frilled edges that radiated glory and smelled like vanilla chocolate. A delight for the senses.

The next Spring she started to bloom again. I was so excited, I photographed her every day in anticipation. But something was wrong. Now, forgive me for my non-expert orchid speak, but this is the best way I can describe it without having a degree in botany (or literature).

At first, I thought what was happening was normal, and it fascinated me. But within a week the blooms began to die and I realised what happened. The stem, or bloom spike, failed to extend, it was as though it was stuck and remained withdrawn. This was unnatural. One would think that in a situation like this the orchid would abandon the spikes and try again later. Yet these flowers insisted on pushing themselves open within the stems. It was as though they wanted to flourish and thrive. They tried as hard as they could, maybe too hard, then died. The conditions were not right.

Celtic Goddess Orchid not quite making it out to bloom

The Goddess 2018, not quite making it.

This year the Goddess is going into absolute full bloom with 3 spikes of 7-10 flowers each! The conditions are right, and it’s enchanting.

This is a significant anecdote for me because it mirrors exactly the same thing that happened to me.

Early last year I had this brilliant idea to come out of hiding and publicly launch myself into a career as an artist and designer of patterns and stationery and textiles and clothing and…the list went on. Basically, I wanted to create all the products I loved in the colours and designs that brought me great joy and blossom as an artist in the process. I tried so hard to make it happen. But the conditions were not right. Instead of extending myself, I became more withdrawn.

Sometimes you have to die inside so you can rise from the detritus and believe in yourself and love yourself to become a new person.

Thriving Celtic Goddess orchid with 3 bloom spikes

The Goddess 2019

Fast forward to last night where I reached a major milestone. I launched a revamped website, complete with an online shop selling actual products and services. In other words, I am actually doing what I say I am. I’m open for business! This is a proud moment for me. No more hiding, no more playing it small or safe.

I can’t fully explain exactly what has happened to me or how I came to be so much more motivated this year. All I can say is the timing is right. I made the decision to put myself out there as a graphic artist and surface designer with the purpose of cultivating an enchanting life for myself and others.

See, I want to live a joyful life. I want to do what makes me happy, what gives me pleasure, and I don’t want to compromise my values or beliefs in the process. Here I am, unapologetically myself. In all my Goddess glory.


P.S. My first newsletter goes out next week, subscribe below. xo

Filed Under



  1. Judy Dove on 4 Mar, 2019 at 5:29 pm

    Way to go! Just keep listening to that inner guide…you’ll do wonderfully well!! Gorgeous orchid too Missy Greenthumb!

  2. Leelee on 4 Mar, 2019 at 5:42 pm

    Thank you, Judy!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inspiration delivered straight to your inbox

I promise to protect your inbox sanity by ONLY sending you newsletters twice a month — zero spam.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.