Wednesday, November 16, 2011

these days

today is about as gray and drippy a fall day as one can imagine. it is cool, and i am thankful for that, as the past few days here have been unusually warm for the middle of november. the days leading up to today have been bright with a blue sky that snaps.....windy, blowing the leaves off the trees and heaping them into the yard 'til it looks like a covering of gold coins. the colors have been incredibly beautiful...with the fall landscape taking on a quilt-like quality. but today....a day to cocoon. a "pull out the sewing, brew the hot tea, pile up on the couch" kind of day. within the next 48 hours, we shall see drastic changes...from the mid-70s yesterday to the upper 20s tomorrow night...then back to the 70s by early next week. ah, the bouncing ball that is fall. it is a stepping stone to winter....and that is fine.
along with the normal changes that come during this season, i have been
most meticulously thinking and planning, trying to make decisions and take steps that propel me to forward motion. i am, to borrow a phrase from my teaching days, trying to "think smarter". i had a show last saturday, and i have another this coming saturday. i am planning an open house here sometime during early december. i have been asked with increased frequency if i have a website....or business cards...or if i sell on etsy...or if my pieces can be found in any local shops. no. no. no. and sigh. and so it is, that i believe change is about to hit me squarely "upside the head" as we say around here. i have tested my wings with friends and family...i have stuck my head out of the cocoon long enough to share with some local people. i have met with wonderfully supportive comments, new opportunities to share my craft, and relatively good sales most of the time. there are those who have asked me to start an email update list of where i will be and when. there are many more open doors than ever before. why then, do i feel as if all i can do is just step up to the door and peek in? why do i feel like "i'm not like those people...they're artists...they're good." and yet i go into local shops, i see the handmades for sale and i tell myself "that's the necklace i taught those women how to make"....or "that was the idea i shared for a christmas ornament"....and i walk on, kicking myself for not. following. through. my difficulty? sigh. well, here it is in a nutshell. summed up in one word: FEAR. i have never, ever felt comfortable speaking up for myself. i wasn't one who raised her hand to ask questions in school....if no one else did, it meant they all understood, and so should i...even if i didn't. so i went on about life with my few really good friends and tried to pretend it didn't bother me that i was not "like them". i am the eldest of four children. i have had glasses since 4th grade....the kind i must wear or be blind, and boy were those early frames ugly! my mother didn't work outside the home after my sister was born. we had a garden and what we didn't raise ourselves we went to a local farm and picked. i know how to pick, can and freeze vegetables and fruits. i can make pickles. when we wanted meat, we usually went to a local farmer and got half a cow, half a pig....and we processed it ourselves. i know how to grind and make sausage, package and freeze meat, cure out a ham. my mother was an amazing seamstress and made the majority of our clothes. our "vacation" was a one day trip to the north carolina mountains. we would be up before dawn, pack a lunch and pile into the car for "vacation"...and we would come back a dark that night. i didn't see the ocean 'til i was....12, i think...we rented a house from a family friend for a whole week....and it was so hot we packed up early and headed guess the mountains, for a day. i never learned to swim...and to this day, i still don't know how. everyone else went to the pool in high school...we went to the pond behind the house and fished. it seemed as though all the girls had nice hair and make-up...but with me, "what you see is what you get". we walked the woods the week before christmas every year to choose and cut our was always a cedar and we learned very quickly not to go barefoot around the tree. those are just some of the things i remember that make me "not like everyone else"....we learned to share from day 1 because it made things last longer. i used to tell people i was away at college before i got a whole candy bar to myself. don't get me wrong...i am not complaining. i wish i could teach my kids and grandkids a lot of it....being raised to be self-sufficient in as many ways as possible is not a bad thing at all. i wish i was more like that now. tends to make you stand out somewhat...or at least to make you feel like you do.
now...all that, to say this: i have, all of my life until just recently, felt like i wasn't good enough or smart enough or pretty enough or talented enough. i can't remember anything specific happening that made me feel that way, it's just what i've always felt. i have been very hesitant to "put myself out there" and market ME. I am soooo very not comfortable doing that yet. it's as if i am in new skin and i'm beginning to realize, even at this late date, that i can do things that are marketable...things people like....and this part amazes me.....i can do things some people from years past see and make such supportive comments about...they want to know me. they want to know about what i do and how i do it. they say nice things. they remember me. they want to help me to do more, to be seen, to be a part of something. i stand amazed at that. so now, here i am at 55....getting ready for the first time to do something that says "hey....look at me." i will be setting up an etsy shop in the very near future...if i can figure out the whole paypal thing....i don't do online banking. and i will be posting photos of me...and my some point soon, i believe....if i can get my daughter to help me with the whole posting photos from point A to point B...because i don't mind showing my computer illiteracy around her. i will be visiting local shops to thrust under their noses some of my lovelies. and as soon as i have the etsy thing conquered, some photos on a website (or some such animal), and some kind of a name for this little adventure, i will be ordering business cards.
it feels as if i am about to attempt to put a square peg the size of a tabletop into a round hole the size of a quarter.

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