Monday, March 10, 2014

Mind Fodder Monday: Confessions of an un-retired Bartender

A long weekend with some of my best ladies...
Forces of nature, these girls.
I. Am. So. Proud.
Proud to be part of such a pack.
Proud to be included in this energy of love and self-respect.
These women, through trials in life and love and family,
 through dis-ease and discord, through distance...
are Strong.  
Hella-strong, even.
Bonded by laughter,
a sense of awesome adventures,
and fearless "get-er-done" attitudes.
And they inspire me to be strong.
To not settle.
To expect the best.
To find the true source of my happiness...
and follow it. 

I've considered a lot of life's options lately,
a certain amount of dis-ease in doing so...
I speak here, on this blog.... freely, a lot about my cravings for change.
and I realize this weekend, 
after much thought and through a really shitty bout with the local germs...
(I've been battling a heavy chest cold that threatens my last few days in the studio before a big show)
I sit here on the couch thinking I am a bit confused about what I WANT.

But I do know these things:
I have a business I love.
I have a community.
I have love.
I have my health...
(and I mean that AFTER this damn cold leaves me alone)
and I am young. 

Those things are not to be taken lightly.
Every song, every sign, every bird chirp...
I hear...."don't waste it"...

And now rings true more than ever.
I have returned to work at the brewery,
a few shifts a week, 
to hopefully create a little cash flow for our home
and a little distance from the need to create for the pure sake of paying my bills.
What most may not realize is rag and stone is also a wholesale business, accounts....or whatever you'd like to call it.
Studio one-of-a-kind work has taken a mini-back-burner as of late, 
to create work for my small line of wholesale jewelry.
This balance, in itself, has proven difficult...

It's exhausting/exhilarating/entertaining/energy-draining,
both a bar job,
this new wholesale approach,
and my challenging financial mountain.
I hope to find a little peace in the studio by taking a small step back,
a little balance in my financial world
and maybe a little creative urgency.
I feel like a little cash flow is all this mountain needs.

There's nothing worse than feeling that gut-wrenching I'm-not-gonna-make-it-this-week feeling
when looking at my checkbook, or mounting loan payments, 
or a home that has hit a scary stagnant state of disrepair since the day I quit my day job.
I am feeling depleted, frustrated with the lack of movement in my world...
both in my studio career and with things here at home.
My house is in need of some major attention,
there's a river of water in my basement,
a foundation that needs right-ing,
windows that need casing,
doors that need replacing.
Those things cannot be done on what I currently can offer.
Both financially and emotionally.

And born out of frustration, my relationship suffers...
I am feeling distant and cold to the touch,
irritated easily, loudly un-apologetic.
His kind words seem so far from me,
even though I know this is MY BEST FRIEND I'm shrugging off.
 I can't say it isn't in part because of the daily struggle with our surmounting financial stresses,
 a house that we may be in over our heads with,
and the general air of complacency after 7 years of togetherness.

But it may just be I am working through something more personal,
like how to give of myself,
How to make sacrifice for the sake of a life together.
And whether that's something I'm willing to do.
I had a great conversation with one particular strong-lady-friend,
and she asked me to "find peace in the decisions you make".
I continue to chew on this bit of advice, 
because I think this is truly the best advice I've ever heard.

Meeting in the middle has proven to be hard,
both in the studio and in my home.
I am a strong and stubborn woman, 
and not unlike my quiver of women-friends,
I don't like settling for less that what I know to be possible.
And I DEFINITELY don't like going backwards.
But I do need to fix this.

Maybe I need to fix ME.
 I need to make some sacrifice here,
instead of expecting my world to change around me WITHOUT me. 

It has been such amazing and critical time spent the last 2 1/2 years in the studio,
tapping into my creative muse,
finding a rhythm to studio life and work.
There is nothing more special than being able to create on a daily basis,
and feel the WANT to do that, 
whether it's in pajamas at two in the afternoon, 
or at three in the morning when the creative muses visit.
This time has given me strength, consistency, and hope.
Something I couldn't have fully explored without the support and encouragement of my man,
my family, my friends, and my local community of artists.
I've created a solid foundation for a beautiful business to grow.
And I am very proud of these last 2-ish years.

But there is no mountain to climb here.
This, my friends, is not a race.
I am allowed to take my time when cultivating my life as an artist.
Something I, for the lack of better words, suck at remembering.

For now,
I'd like to hold myself accountable.
Whether it's in promising a friend and my family a visit in the near future
with funds that don't exist (yet!),
or promising to change my finances to better this current situation,
I want to be a semi-responsible homeowner,
and hopefully a full-time studio jeweler.
I want to be accountable for the "I" part of "WE".
I want to be a good "WE".

I will not be a bartender forever, 
but for now,
I hope it will bring me some perspective, some money, and some peace.
Name of the game:
Balance 2014.