Monday, 16 January 2017

Inspiration, Sunrises, and Making Lemonade.


That's got to be a break from my usual post titles. Consider yourself warned you're going to get a far more emotional post then usual.  Also, personal feelings ahead.   If this isn't your type of post, consider yourself warned.

Onto the explanation.

I've been having a bureaucratic nightmare with one of the government agencies I've been dealing with.   I haven't posted publicly about this until now, because I strongly believed I would get through this, and things would work out in the end, and it would be an annoying, stressful-in-the-moment but minor, bump in the road.  Sadly, new information shows that it's turning into a more major bump in the road, one that actually could threaten my ability to keep this fledgling business alive, and possibly even my threaten personal financial stability. And, frustratingly, it's something that's mostly outside my control.

Needless to say, I've been a little stressed.
And yet. . .
I couldn't sleep from worry about this, so I ended up sobbing on the shoulders of a good friend (I woke her up for this, so, very good friend indeed!) before sunrise. 

A gold and blue sunrise backlighting a city skyline.
Flickr Creative Commons -- Photographer: Nathaniel F. 
 And as I could see the sun come up through the window, it was one of those perfect sunrises over the city. . . and my brain started playing with the colours and the texture of the buildings and the trees, and I started to decompress.  I was still crying, still angry, but my brain went somewhere else, playing with art and yarn and colour. And now, for the first time in a while, a bunch of things happened.

1) I have inspiration again.  While I'm still not sure exactly what I want to do with the image of that sunset, it's -something- for sure, and the image and colour has seared itself into my brain and my muses are demanding it be -something!-  It's a feeling I haven't had for at least a month, and I realize how much I missed that creative spark.

2)  It's the first time in about a week that this work has felt 'good.'   Even just going through e-mails feels productive again, instead of a 'why should I bother if I'm going to have to shut this down?'

3)  I want to knit for the first time in over a week.  Really.  When I don't want to knit, something is -very- wrong.   And yet I'm only realizing that I haven't been knitting last week as of this morning.  All of the fear, worry and anger, had me so stressed out I didn't notice that I hadn't been knitting.    That says something right there.  I knit as an aid for both my own physical and mental health, and I hadn't even realized I wasn't knitting  I had no idea this was getting to me so badly.

And Finally,

4) I realized it really is about making lemonade from lemons (to borrow from the saying). 

So, yeah, this still sucks, and I'm still angry.  If I could just get a few straight answers, it would fix 99% of the problems.

But. as I was imagining all the dire things that can happen, I realized that even in the worst-case scenario my brain can imagine (and I can imagine some pretty dire things),  I don't have to shut down, I can continue working on this.  I can still run this business without those supports, it will just be slower, I won't have access to as many supports/resources. If, (God forbid), this does take a strong toll on my personal finances, there's still nothing stopping me from knitting using the tools and yarn I already own.  Even if I end up not having the money to back the expenses of self-publishing (which honestly aren't that extreme), I could knit for magazines and respond to calls for submissions.  And, even in the middle of this mess, I got handed an awesome inspiration.

So, this morning, I made my tea, sat down at my computer, and started typing this up.

It's not just about release for me (though there's definitely some catharsis involved, I admit!).  It's not about 'here look how awesome/artsy/strong I am'. 

It's about the fact that when horrible things happen, we're not nearly as powerless as we might first think.  When things go bad, you don't need to cower and hide, or back down on your dreams.   So what if the road to your destination takes a different turn, you can still get there in the end.  And only you get to decide if you truly need to back down.

It's about recognizing what you can and can't control.  I can't fix the bureaucratic problems.  Those are within the agencies I'm working with.  But I can realize just how much it is getting to me and do something about it.   This morning, I adjusted my schedule, setting aside more time for just knitting; and I'm going to talk to a councilor about help with managing the stress from this.

It's also about recognizing who is on your team. Most of my friends think that my new business is awesome.  I have an incredibly supportive business advisor (who's also quite unhappy with this bureaucratic mess, and has been a good source of general information support).   I believe I'd have my Grandfather's support (he passed away, but I remember him telling teenage me 'I don't care what you do for a job so long as you're happy with it').  I even have the support of the random general public: 'You do -what- for your job?  That's so cool!'  So clearly I have a number of people who thing this is something worthwhile, beyond just myself.   And even with fellow designers, there's a sense of camaraderie, of companionship, not competition.  I'm paraphrasing, but 'the ocean is big enough for us all, we don't have to compete.' is the general message I get from the fiber arts community.

Finally, it's about taking a step back.  Humans are very good at catastrophizing. (spell check insists that not a word).  But when you really start looking at how things work and what's really important, you usually realize that things aren't as bleak as you first thought.  You also realize just what's important to you -- and doing this business is important to me, I know that now more then ever, and that realization would not have come to me without this problem.

I'd like to close with something awesome, some sort of wonderful quote, maybe?  But nothing's coming to mind that would encapsulate all of what I just wrote, except the often-quoted Serenity Prayer:

Text of the Serenity Prayer
Flickr Creative Comons -- Source: Violette79
 "Grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the Courage to change the things I can, and the Wisdom to know the difference."

I'm going to be applying that a lot over the next few months, I think. But I also think that's a good thing.

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