Three years ago this week I opened my Etsy shop.
Jewelry making started on a whim; I was searching for some creative outlet, a way to channel all the restless energy I felt in new sobriety.
I trolled arts & crafts stores, looking for something- anything - to do with my hands, to occupy my racing mind. I tried needlepoint, drawing and toyed with the idea of knitting. Around here somewhere are the lumpy, misshapen and laughable results of these endeavors.
friend of mine, showing her the early results of my fledgling hobby, and she came up with the idea of creating twelve step prayer beads. My idea was to give these as anniversary gifts to people in recovery; I never dreamed I would be able to successfully sell my jewelry one day.
A few weeks later my brother told me about Etsy, and I impulsively opened a shop, mostly for kicks. Within a few months I was making a sale here and there, and I was hooked.
I could never have imagined a day when jewelry making would be a viable business, one that paid for my son's school and gave me a little extra money on the side. Every time I sold an item I would think, really? You really want to buy this? I felt like a kid playing grown-up, but it was helping me stay sober, so I stuck with it.
The blog came about about a year later as a way to promote my shop; my idea was to talk about creativity and post about new items. Almost immediately it turned into something else; I didn't think anyone would ever read the words I wrote, so I started opening up about recovery, alcoholism and parenting. Every time someone would leave a comment, the same feelings of excitement and doubt would appear: really? You really want to read this?
May is a milestone month for me, with the anniversaries of the birth of my Etsy shop and my blog coming within two weeks of each other.
I'm starting to realize this is a pattern for me, this impulsive jumping into things and getting completely wrapped up in them, only to grow restless a few short weeks later. Instead of sitting back and appreciating where jewelry making and blogging have taken me, I'm feeling itchy, bored and kind of meh about it all. I spend hours daydreaming, trying to cook up the next big thing. Lately I've been fantasizing about opening up a store, a kind of co-op for handmade artists to sell their pieces and teach classes. I can't shake the idea from my brain, even though I know it's far-fetched and there is no way I can pursue this dream at this moment in my life.
The same thing is true with blogging, lately. I sit down to write and stare at the blank white screen feeling totally uninspired. I doubt myself, why I'm here, what I could possibly have to say that would interest anyone. Like with the jewelry, if you had told me three years ago that my blog would lead to incredible friendships, an appearance on the Oprah Winfrey Show and blogging conferences all over the country I would have laughed, and now I'm sitting here thinking: what's the point?
Why? Why do I struggle so mightily with the concept of enough? What I have built here, on Crying Out Now and with my jewelry has far exceeded my wildest expectations, but somehow all I want is more.
Perhaps it is the addict in me - give me a taste of something and I want it all. Perhaps it is the perfectionist in me, who can't embrace successes for what they are and constantly seeks to improve, enhance, build. It is probably a healthy dose of both.
I have to resist the urge to rip it all down, these things I have built, because some days it all seems so silly. I know, though, that this urge comes from that self-destructive addict that lives inside me. I am a chaos junkie; I love tying my life into knots and then seeing if I can wiggle my way out. It's been a long time since I've created any knots in my life, and lately I kind of miss it.
Recovery is about stability, serenity, gratitude and self-love for a reason, because these things are the antidote for that self-destructive, ungrateful addict who always wants more.
So I'm writing about it, trying to wrench myself back into a place of gratitude, satisfaction and peace. I won't stop dreaming - I don't think I could even if I really wanted to, which I don't - but I can't let dreams eclipse all that I have today.
I don't want to be one of those people who has to have something bad happen to appreciate all that I have here, now. I don't want to be that petulant never-satisfied person who has more than her share of good things in life and still isn't content. I believe in my heart I'm not that person, but sometimes? Sometimes, it's hard to see her.
Four short years ago I longed for stability, creativity and peace of mind. Four years ago I would have done anything to have a fraction of what I have now.
I need to remember that, carry it in my heart in a way that is meaningful right here, right now.