10.2.09

how to begin

Thank you, thank you, thank you for your comments and messages about my last post. The second I started to receive them I felt so embarrassed and humbled by your generosity and loveliness. The amount of thought and time you put into them makes me profoundly grateful, and you have given me a lot to think about -- a gift! It is difficult to make oneself vulnerable.
Oh well. At least I can't be accused of lacking in passion. This is real! (As Tracy Jordan would say.)

I am not exaggerating when I say that I spent most of the day crying yesterday, not so much from feeling sorry for myself (that abated once I hit "post," to be replaced with shame), but because of the small flood of emails I received. And then Geoff wrote a comment... well, it was an emotional day. I think things took a wrong turn at the post office in the morning, which lead to a lot of brooding, some self-doubt, and a touch of my unique brand of self-loathing. To think we started the day off walking down to work together in the sunshine, with me wearing moccasins and no hat, stopping for a hand-drip coffee at one of our favourite coffee shops!

My instinctive reaction, when I read comments that said that if I felt I had to stop, I should stop, was no, I want to keep doing it. It is worthwhile, and I am one of the most stubborn people I know. I do enjoy having things to make, and an email from someone who received something from me and who is happy with it fills me with gratitude and love. And I certainly am not complaining one way or the other about the number of orders we get for the shop -- I hope I didn't come across that way. At the moment, it is a comfortable, manageable, modest amount, and it is fine. I know that it is possible for other people to admire what we make even if they cannot justify a purchase. I certainly understand that.

I have always loved selling things. The thing is, I've never been good at taking people's money. When I was a kid I used to buy teenybopper magazines, rip out the individual posters, and sell them to other girls. I didn't make much of a profit, but I loved the exchange. I forgot about the money I had invested because I had money in my pocket! Money for candy and scented-ink pens.

Everything that makes me unhappy is within myself. I'm out of ideas and out of perspective. I finished my master's degree, my last resort, my back-up plan, just in time to wake up every morning to the phrase "these hard economic times" every ten minutes on the radio. I try not to dwell on the money I have spent on supplies for projects that went nowhere. I have questioned my abilities, over and over and over. I have questioned my originality, because I do believe there are only so many ways to do things and sometimes one ends up being derivative without meaning to be. I am self-conscious about the fact that I have only been sewing for a little while (although I would argue that my childhood incredible story-telling skills, resourcefulness in turning the cotton from a band-aid into a pillow for a miniature doll, and unparalleled excellence at dressup were creative exercises too) and about the fact that I have a degree in dorky medieval studies, not fashion or merchandizing. And sometimes, I get overwhelmed by jealousy. Usually I feel that I have nothing in the world to feel jealous of, because I am loved and happy even if I am not rich. But it happens. It is insidious and I hate it.

I know that we've only had the shop open since November. We've had great success in a short period of time, and it benefits no one to dwell on the greater success others have had in shorter periods of time. I know. I know that I don't know everyone's story; I know that everyone struggles. Not everyone has the luxury of financial support, not everyone can spend the day leisurely stitching away in a studio without a care in the word. I am bitter against people who do not exist. Bitterness brings on premature ageing, no? And who wants fine lines and wrinkles? Not me.

Har har.

Anyhow, I'll be back to posting about inconsequential petits riens soon enough. I've known for a while that I need to come up with ideas for things that are not so labour-intensive. Or if they are labour-intensive, I need to make a profit at it. I have told myself a million times that people would not bother to buy things if they didn't want them. I have forced no one to buy anything! And now I need to believe it.

Thank you. xoxo.

5 comments:

  1. I am very, very glad you feel better.

    & these two posts might provide some enlightening reading on bitterness & blogging--I know they made me feel a lot less alone:
    http://www.futuregirl.com/craft_blog/2007/09/center-of-my-malevolence.html

    http://bitterbettyindustries.blogspot.com/2007/09/hanging-out-tha-blog-laundry.html

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  2. i had to go back and read all the rest of the comments from your last post. it can definitely be nervewracking to post something so deep and personal, but as you can see, this is an issue that so many of us deal with. i hope that you and geoff are able to find some small changes that you can make that will make this venture a better fit into your lives. your work is so beautiful.

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  3. What a blessing to read something so relateable as your last couple of posts.
    I'm like you - I love to sell stuff, but have never been good at taking people's money.
    Maybe it's the conflict between creativity and business. Labour of love isn't measured in $ - but what to do then?
    Just wanted to thank you for your honesty!
    /Kathrine in Copenhagen, Denmark

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  4. I am so happy you are feeling better Anabela. I can't possibly begin to know how you feel, but...I really don't want you to stop doing what you have been doing! It has been such a pleasure to see what you guys create! You and Geoff are such an inspiration to me! You give me hope and happiness, every time you guys post up new creations.
    And sorry if I am being too blunt in this next comment, but I might have to slap you if you say you aren't pretty enough to model what you sell! Jin and I both agree, that you are sooooo photogenic, its incredible. (OK I won't really slap you. I'll just give you a glare!)
    I hope you have a great day! xoxo

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  5. it's February! that month does strange think to people!

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