Behind the 'stache.
Doesn't it say somewhere in the Good Book that being of service is awesome? I believe I've quoted this verbatim. About two months ago, I decided there was something poking the inside of my forehead telling me that I needed to sit this one out; "this one" being Handmade Mart. Initially, I planned on staying home and moping, possibly making, and talking myself out of believing that a one-show hiatus won't mean that I'm forgotten or blacklisted. I'm still so tangled up inside my own head about selling crafts and I think it has put a lot of pressure inside my head and inside my heart in the process. I have felt anger in moments when I haven't felt that anger was necessary, and I've felt frustration when I should feel glee. I've held my head in my hands and audibly groaned every time someone insinuated that I hated Etsy, I've engaged in the dialogs and discussions about stuff that was brand new to me five years ago, and all the while I've tried to be nice. I've called people out on their bullshit, spaded the spades if you will, and wrestled with the likely perception that I'm a moderately nice but slightly volatile person. And then, sometimes, I think about how no one probably thinks of me at all!
So I wrap myself up in this crafty fiber until I cannot move...I'm just a frustrated, noisy, tied up crafter not making anything and only using my voice to make a difference. It's not good. It's really not good. There are so many things that I think about myself...so many super, awesome, phenomenal things...and sometimes the grump overrules. Crafters being fickle creatures, I found it hard to reach out and ask my friends if they needed my help for Handmade Mart, but I persisted and listened and found a ray of light in the midst of dense clouds. I had the great fortune of accompanying the Chickadee on Sunday after a slumber party filled with delicious wine and tarts. I hauled out the boxes, the tent, the chairs. I stood on my tippy-toes and got the tender pads of my pointer finger stuck in the tent holes and tied things up and used my Girl Scout Problem Solving Powers to catch drips and I did what I could to be of service to the people who have embraced me with warm, open arms over the past few years. I sat at tables when people needed food, I chatted with customers and said hello to friends. I gave a wheezy boyfriend my inhaler. I bought myself a few treats when normally I don't have time to even look. I had a quiet lunch break with a chicken salad sandwich and a magazine. And despite the fact that I came home with less money than I had when I arrived, I was literally exploding with something so much more amazing than a "good day at the show" could've provided.
The reality is this: I work a full time job that sustains me. I cannot pretend this isn't true, and I can't pretend that it would be better without it. I love making and crafting and sharing my imagination in tangible ways with the world and especially with my friends. It's so awesome and validating to see someone walk away from my booth with a treasure in their hands and a few dollars in my own. AND, if I could describe to you how that feeling was amplified when I took myself out of the machine and just stayed present and engaged with people, I would. If the spirit of service could pay the electric bill, I would figure out a way to make it happen. Sunday night I was drained beyond words, my feet aching in profound and muscle-cramping ways, but being checked-in, happy, silly and accessible make it all worth it.
[Image courtesy Pretty Little Fings! Mustache courtesy Fuzzy Ink!]