My vision has always been to have a business that specializes in things which evoke emotions you might feel stepping back in time and into a Victorian lady’s sitting room. I want you to feel peaceful, with a sense of deserved opulence, comfort and joyful beauty.
The antique silver hairbrush should be as at-home on my table, as hand-made pendants, crocheted doilies and hair pins. I want my booth to be a sensory experience. I want soothing smells to draw you in, cheerful faces to ease your fear, and beauty and opulence to give you peace. I am also hoping to tie all this into a long-term plan to help the community and the world.
Two years ago, when I began this business, I knew I had to plan for moments of illness and the times when my health or brain just wouldn’t allow me to be productive. My business plan included padding, and took a long-term approach. I intended to work on creating, get myself into a few shows, roll the money back into the business, and at the nearest opportunity, pay someone else to help me develop a website. I knew that having to manage making items, photographing items, posting items, and managing a web store would take up far more time than my illness would allow, and that I needed someone I could trust to help with the management aspects of the business while I concentrated on the creation of inventory.
Life As It Happened
As they say, “The best laid plans of mice and men…”
I did two or three shows in the Spring with old inventory, didn’t make many sales, and then became ill with some sort of cold. It took weeks to shake that, then I dealt with multiple issues from my Fibro, two different hospitalizations, and a boatload of fatigue over the summer. (I’m always exhausted in the summer for some reason, which is why you will NEVER see me doing summer shows!) I headed into the fall with new hope, picking up my pet project – my Star Trek club – along the way, and barely managing to get my crew ready for Klingon Feast at the end of September. (They were awesome, though, and I couldn’t ask for a better group of people to call my friends!)
Feast is over, I’ve rested, and I finally feel like myself again, with enough energy to get some things done. I failed to take into account one thing, however – my emotions. Depression, frustration, anger – all of these have compiled over two years of dealing with things. I’ve had three hospitalizations in two years, and while they didn’t involve an overnight stay, and my mind kept trying to gloss over them as unimportant, I also glossed over the impact they had on me physically. Every hospitalization involved long uncomfortable hours which would have a backlash on my Fibro. Each one involved attacking my immune system with whatever was floating around the hospital on that given day, which would cause my immune system to overwork itself and my CFS to flare up. These things had an impact in long weeks of rest, extra downtime, fogginess, and pain.
Each time I was ill would set my plans back, and then I’d have trouble catching up, so relationships, household matters and personal wishes would take a backseat. Gradually, I fell further and further behind, until I became really depressed and angry, and couldn’t figure out why. After all, I have a family who loves me, a good boyfriend, I get to do things that I love as my job, and with what energy I can spare, I try to be active in the community and give something back in return for my good fortune. What do I have to be angry and depressed about?
Yet, I was, with no end in sight. That’s when I realized that I couldn’t go on like this. Every time I rush forward, trying to catch up, I actually put myself further behind. I try to plow forward with previous plans, hoping to get by with what I’ve got, instead of what I expected to have. In order to do it, I push off other things that I was expecting to get done, and then I get behind in new things. Meanwhile, rushing forward ensures that I spend money on table fees, as well as time and energy, trying to keep up with stuff that doesn’t go well and which causes me even more stress.
I still don’t have the website I envisioned, even though I’ve tried to piddle around and make one on my own. I barely manage to keep up with the blog, and I haven’t made anything new since last year, around this time. I started a 50th anniversary painting for my parents in MAY and it’s still not complete. (The story of subject selection and how I actually thought it would be EASIER to paint both flowers and hands in the SAME piece will have to wait for another day. Yes, I have pictures, and the work is STILL in progress.)
My illness is going to set me back. When that happens, it’s imperative that I don’t rush to play catch-up, or “make do” with what will “suffice”. It’s important that I take a step back and regroup. If that means canceling shows so that I can return even stronger next year, then that’s what I’ll have to do.
I have to accept that if a normal person works a fifteen hour day, and gets a business moving in five years, if I’m only able to devote 1/3 of that time to my business, then it might take me fifteen years to get there. I’m not giving up!
So, to that end, I’ve decided to do the best thing for myself and for the business. I’m going to do something I should have done last year: Stop. I had pneumonia twice, and my Dad was so ill at the same time that I came out of August exhausted and suffered a collapse at Klingon Feast. I should have given myself a break and didn’t. Lesson learned. This year, I am.
I’m canceling all my shows from now until January.
I’m sorry if this disappoints anyone. I will still be available for purchases and private “shows”. If there’s anything you’d like to see, please contact me and we can exchange pictures, or we can meet locally and I can show you what I have. If you have any custom pieces you’d like to have made, email me soon, as receiving things during the holidays is difficult, and I won’t take custom orders for Christmas any later than November 1. I want all the custom orders off my table and into the hands of their respective owners right after Thanksgiving. (That’s a lesson I learned the hard way last year, and which I won’t repeat. A blog post for another time.)
I intend to take this time to finish up some of the major projects that have been holding me back – like studio development, and business planning. I intend to use this time to focus on a few things that matter to me, such as finishing up my parents’ anniversary present, and working on a game campaign I put on-hold two years ago. I will use this time to relax, and enjoy my holidays for once, and to hopefully fix the things that are broken, get myself out of this hole, and ahead again. I will take as much time as I need to get back on-track, and I’m not going to rush it because otherwise, I’ll just keep digging a bigger and bigger hole trying to get myself out.
I’ve realized that I can’t keep spinning my wheels, slinging mud around, and expect this hole not to collapse. I have to slowly, and carefully build a ladder, or sit and wait for a rope, so that I can get out safely and fill the whole thing in. And I might have to do it more than once, or suffer the effects of a sinkhole – but do it, I will.
Thank you for your patience during this time!