In the past, I've been guilty of setting my expectations too high. Usually, I can push myself to reach them, and it feels wonderful. But I'm no superwoman, and I know I'm not alone in that, er...delusion. I also know that I can get caught up in the expectations of others, with no regard for my desires. So when something doesn't go right, when obstacles come up that I can't easily avoid/hurdle and certain goals aren't reached, I knock myself off of my own pedestal. Then I stress about what a failure I am, and my creative flow is halted.
It wasn't until one day, while wallowing in my own self-pity, and sitting in my office, that the solution hit me. I was watching Gretchen in the backyard, laying on the pavement. She looked to the left and the right, stood up and stretched. It was so...languorous. She took a few steps into the grass, and then dropped to her side (not as graceful as you'd think), stretched her furry little limbs out, and rolled around on her back, making those little cat-chirp-trill noises. You know the ones I'm talking about. And while on her back, she looked toward me in the doorway as if to say, "Hey. It's fucking wonderful here." My cat swears a lot.
Seeing her happy is probably one of my favorite things to witness everyday. Some may not agree with the love I have for her, because she's "only a cat", but she has been with me since I moved out on my own while in Chicago. She's seen my deepest depression, slept at my head during my months of anxious-ridden nights, and brought me out of terrible moods with her ridiculous antics. I love this cat like my own family. I can't say she's like a child, because I don't have any, but I care for her well-being and her happiness the way I would for any of my family.
Watching her enjoyment of simplicity reminded me that it was that simplicity that made me fall in love with this place and leave the city. It was that simplicity I was striving for. Dude, why wasn't I like her? Probably because I wasn't taking it in at all; I was punishing myself for not getting more work done by chaining myself to my desk and forcing items. I'm such a terrible self-boss.
But not only that, I wasn't applying that simplicity to my work.
So I set aside my daunting pages-long (and I mean pages, people) list of potential shop items, and decided to focus on one type: Purses. I began sketching designs, doing arith-knit-ic (like arithmetic, but with stitch counts and more hair-pulling), and created my first prototype in two days. TWO DAYS. Like, that was it. I don't even--whatever. Anyway, I took notes on possible changes and variations, and am now working on prototype number two. Once I've created a (few) design(s) I'm satisfied with, I'll then move on to another product.
I then approached my blogging behavior. I had been setting these crazy goals for myself, based on things I read by others with small businesses, but not following through with any of them. Cuz apparently I thought I needed a planned blog with various posts to draw people in, despite it not feeling natural to me at all. And then I came across this perfectly timed blog-post about creating your own place in the online maker community, and had a total 'Duh!' moment.
Because the truth is, I will never have a regular blogging schedule. This blog started as a place for me to just share whatever the hell I wanted (hence the url, KitchenSinkGumbo), and I tried to turn it into a planned, well-manicured addition to my shop. But the two were never meant to go together, and I won't force it now. Sometimes I'll plan out posts, most times I won't. Some will be about the shop, some about other projects I'm working on, music, my home, style...whatever. All I can promise is that the things I post will be 100% me. Unless otherwise noted. ;)
I don't know, I guess the takeaway from this is: I'm not a machine. I should have my own idea of success, based on my capabilities and values. I should be living up to my own (realistic) expectations, not someone else's. So if I'm not churning pieces out like the Etsy seller up the street, it's totally cool. As long as I'm happy, man.