The Summer of Discontent

Sunday, 28 October 2018

This year has been one long drag and not just because of the never ending doom cycle of news, it's just dragging, I feel like a tortoise wading through molasses, and yet somehow we're nearly at the end of October and I question where has the year gone. Time seems to move simultaneously at the speed of light and in slow motion, everything takes forever and yet the days speed by. Not long ago I was complaining how the heat was slowing me down and now we almost at winter where I fight the urge to hibernate. 

Admittedly it's not been a great year, on a personal level it's not been bad but not great either, more like an annoying dripping tap that won't stop even when fixed! I had plans, I always have a plan, my problem is that plans are not well thought through and hastily implemented. I have mostly been lamenting over my Etsy business folding, it was never my plan to continue it on forever. My plan to slowly phase as I got set up in my new ventures and do a slow crossover but that was taken out of my hands. Sales just took a nose dive and maybe I took it a little too personally, messages from customers to cheap to even pay postage and asking for discounts on already discounted items didn't help. I know for fact that I probably undercharged, I feel bad for knowingly underselling myself, it was going good until it wasn't and maybe that it's not a bad thing because it's forced my hand, forced me to stop avoiding and making excuses, and to have no choice but to let go of what was never really meant to be because when I became self employed I just did what I had to or knew how to, instead of what I wanted to because or urgency, or so I thought/was trained to believe.

Health problems (nothing serious), stress, and lack of sleep have caused me to slow down even more, again that's not necessarily a bad thing. It has given me time to think things over, not one who likes to get lost in their thoughts, my mind is a mess at the best of times, I have at least been able to reevaluate what is important, what is not, how I ended up here and where I want to go. Things are slowly sorting themselves out and my head is clearing after a long, low level depression this year, I'm just grateful it was low level, things have been much worse in the past. I have made progress over the years and no longer feel the need to apologise for my absences or withdrawal and taking my time to care for myself or putting my needs first. It's been a long drag which I feel is coming to an end, whether it's a natural or I'm forcing it I can't tell but either way it's progress.

But I had a mini revelation in that I may not be slowing down enough and by that I mean, I need to stop feeling pressured by time. When I was an angsty gen x teen I promised myself I would never become a part of the system and get a desk job and slave to the wage and all that, I was gonna damn the man and be free and and creative, man I was naive! I spent 13 years tied to a desk, under pressure to perform and deliver and that dream career of being an artist and writer just got pushed further and further to back of the queue of things that took over, not necessarily more important, just seemingly so. Jump forward to angsty 40 plus gen x me, the fire that burned bright back then hasn't totally been put out, it's still smouldering, it just needs some air to breathe.

It occurred to me today after someone stated that they spent far too long making a project, that I have not been spending enough time on projects. The time she had spent on that project showed, and it was beautiful and intricately detailed. Enjoyment is never wasted time but somehow we end up quantifying how we spend our time, and making statements that this is taking too long or I spent way too much time on this especially when it's something we like. I have got into the thinking that quantity is way better than quality, to produce more is better even though I say over and and over again quality over quantity my brain is trained to switch them around. Working 13 years in an office where meeting deadlines and quotas were more important above all else, answering phones within three rings, sending out acknowledgements instead of answers, timed breaks, etc etc I left with these rules firmly ingrained and then implemented them to a creative career which as you guessed does not work as well. Yes it works well in some areas, like account keeping and filing taxes, and keeping an eye on spending but in the beginning I got in backwards. I spent too much timing producing items because that is what I knew how to do and left admin to do once a year when taxes needed filing, a mistake but one I learned from and now four years down the line I'm finally admitting that I need to undo pretty much all that I learned over the last twenty years and start again if I really want to get where I want to go, and I know it's going to take time and patience, the second does not come naturally. 

When I was younger I would spend hours on one drawing, sketching over and and over again till I got it just the way I wanted, then outlined it and filled it in. Hours, even maybe days on one single drawing. The same with writing, hours spent going over and rewriting and rewording a story or a piece, last week I ended up deleting a blog post I put out in a hurry because I fell into the trap again of just putting out a post for the sake of it. The whole need to be seen to stay on the scene mentality is believable not true, it's just that if you here something repeated enough times, it sticks in your head like The Chicken Song! But I am getting there, I write because I can and I want to. Some will be good, some will be okay and some will be meh! I, more than anything, need to stop this sense of urgency in regards to my work the way I've been trained to. A part of me wishes I had been more like some of my nonchalant, don't give a fuck colleagues that never got anything done, then I realise that if I had been like that I would still be there! 

Putting aside the slight fretting over the lack of money I'll be earning whilst taking this time out to relearn and hone old skills, I am relieved to not be dealing with the Christmas onslaught this year.  I get that I'm in a good position to be able to take a step back from work especially from the one period where I would normally earn the bulk of my yearly income, times are pretty tough on everyone right now especially financially so that is no way a brag, more of acknowledgement that I am somewhat privileged in some aspects of my life. We need to take time to acknowledge our privileges more. I have set up an independent store away from Etsy's nagging me to focus on lower shipping prices, bulk discounts and quicker turn around times instead of focusing on producing unique and good quality products. Not one to shy from a fresh start, I set up a fresh insta account because the algorithm on my personal account is borked. It will take time to build up a new followship but I prefer dedicated spaces for different projects. I get that can be annoying for the people who follow me and what me flip flop between accounts and constantly setting up new ones etc but meh!

Summer has not been very fruitful, some summers are just like that but that doesn't mean winter has to be the same.

(Photo by me taken in Botanical Gardens Amsterdam)

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Tasha M Campbell 2018 - (present). Powered by Blogger.

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