Monday, December 27, 2010



For too long, I've been neglectful of certain things in my life that I need to address. Now they seem to have all converged, from small localized blazes into one massive conflagration, and I've got no choice but to put out the damn fire.

1. Stop the madness

First of all, the way I have been pursuing my business seems to no longer be working for me. I haven't quite figured out everything I want to do in order to make a fresh start in the new year, but I am at a point where I can no longer handle large volumes of wholesale orders. I just had a very negative experience in which I knew a business arrangement wasn't working for me but I didn't speak up in time. I ended up falling behind, the customer got pissed and I lost a major account. Without going into too much detail, I got my ass chewed out in a yarn shop in front of staff and customers, three days before Christmas. And I was facing another stress-filled car trip to Spokane to spend the holiday with my inlaws, which I'll get to later. In all honesty, I wasn't enjoying dyeing dozens upon dozens of the same 2- or 3-color sports team colorways. I really don't want to sound conceited, because I still have tons to learn, but I feel that I've established myself as a fiber artist. I can't mass produce. I need to be in the drivers' seat when it comes to how much output I can create and what colors I use. Dyeing textiles is an art, and art requires inspiration! At least for this artist. I now know exactly how a gifted, driven artist feels when they have to sell out for a paycheck. Those rah-rah colorways were the fiber art equivalent of having to make, say, 50 clown paintings for people to hang in their bathrooms. There, I said it, but it needed to be said. I am simply taking back some control. That much, I have learned this year. I'm not saying I will refuse wholesale orders; perhaps the only major change I need to make is in what I am willing to custom dye. Most of my customers order colorways which I created and still love to dye, so I'm glad to continue making what they want. There might be constraints on volume per color/colorway and adjustments to my production time, but I think they are reasonable when I remember that I'm working in a small kitchen, I have little to no storage space for materials, and I perform every step of the process myself. What it boils down to is that I will work at being more realistic about what I can actually do and how long it actually will take. I'm aware that I may lose more business as a result, but until I have the dye operation of my dreams, I'll have to accept the outcome.

2. Health issues

During the past year, I've noticed a sharp increase in both physical pain and anxiety. The pain is worst when I am on my feet for hours doing dye work, and I'm out of commission for quite a while afterwards. This is a big part of why I had the bad experience described above. Although I haven't seen my doctor in quite a while - she's been out on maternity leave but I think she's back now - I think the anxiety and sleeplessness is a part of aging. My goal is to see the doc by the end of this week and get some answers and some help.

3. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results.

OK, you've all heard me bitch and moan about visiting the inlaws in Spokane. This time, however, my brother in law, who is an abusive alcoholic, abused me verbally in front of his mother on Christmas Eve. I did not stand for the abuse; I got right back in his face. Oh yeah, it was a Jerry Springer Christmas spent in a split-level instead of a double-wide. My husband defended me, thankfully, and the upshot is that I never have to go back. Ever. As much as I love my mother-in-law, staying in her house is unsafe as long as her drunken mess of a son lives in the basement. Unless he changes, it will only get worse as time goes on. It's a sad state of affairs, but it's freeing for me to have the pressure off at last.


It seems appropriate to be facing significant changes in my life at the end-of-year holidays. I don't make New Year's resolutions. I just seem to be waking up to some facts. People pleaser that I have always been, I'm the one who is living this life, not anyone else. And I've got to make it work as best it can - for me.

It sounds like some very good decisions that you are making. I'm glad you don't have to go back to visit the in-laws and that your husband stood up for you as well! It's not often that we hear about that. Know that I am thinking about you and I hope that your doctors visit ends well for you.
Oh, Sharon. You're right. Life is too short to deal with the crazies. Good for you on the in-law front. Your MIL can come visit you here, or you can meet somewhere for significatn celebrations, and not include the drunk.

Wishing you the best for 2011. You will figure out how to make your business work for you. Wholesale is hard; the volume is good but the return is so much slimmer!

I just realized I ahve a lovely skein of your blue beaded yarn, and I think I'm going to go make a (very) skinny scarf. I'm between projects, and the time is right!
This is the sort of thing people should do before the new year. No silly resolutions about losing 50 pounds or paying off 10 years of debt. A little introspection and consideration of what will actually improve one's life.

And go see the doctor. I did, and it dramatically improved my life.
Good for you for standing up for yourself! And you are right, coming from one people pleaser to another, try pleasing yourself for a change. I hope everything works out well for you at the doctor, God bless :)
You should be the artist you want to be. Dye your favorites and sell to the stores what is already done. That way no "ruts" for you. Your health and your business stress are related. Working out the stressors from the business may actually help you improve your health. Here's to you in 2011.
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