So much has been going on lately. I have to try and process and keep moving forward because I feel like if I stop I will sink and everything will fall apart.
I am someone who hasn’t really had role models, one or two I can think of but no one who I’ve sat down and said, “I want to be like them”. Usually, it’s I want a business like theirs, but not to be like them as a person. So it feels a bit silly but I want to be a little more like Glennon Doyle Melton (she wrote Love Warrior and it is amazing). Not like her as an addict or an alcoholic; but I want to be like the part of her that she puts in her books. The part where she tells her truth and people love her for it. I want to be more honest and truthful in my writing and not come across as whiney, but as empowered. I want to be someone who is working to put her life into it’s best version. I have let Craft Rebel fade because the internet made me feel like writing a personal blog was a waste of time. But I need this project to help me transform my life and so I must channel a little Glennon Doyle Melton and write about what I am living.
I feel a bit like I am starting my life over, starting myself over.
I am 34. I live in a house I don’t love, I support more people than I am legally responsible for and I feel like I haven’t really worked in years. I have been managing, coping, surviving (with questioning levels of success) my life and my home. Life was too much. I was drowning in it and so I hid. And now I am recovered enough to know I have to dig myself out of this mess. My fairy godmother isn’t going to show up and whisk me away. And neither is a winning lottery ticket.
I have so much conflicting emotion inside me that I have to sort through, but I can say that looking at the past few years I feel like I let my husband down. I should have been stronger, I should have been able to handle my brain, my life, my crazy, and still contribute to our life. To his credit, he says I did the best I could and what matters is tomorrow, not yesterday. Which takes away some of the guilt, but not all of it. So the big burden I am left with is fully seeing how much more stuck I am than I want to be.
I love my husband dearly. I love my daughter. I do not love the trappings of adult life that I have let into my days. Too much house, too many payments, too many bills, not enough income. I hate the town I live in. I hate not having my own income contributing to our life.
Now I want to run, to fly away. I want to be as far away from York, PA as I can. I wish I had someone to blame. I wish I was the kind of person to cast blame about to everyone but myself. I’m not. And I have this life as a result of choices I’ve made – this is not good or bad. It just is. But the truth of my situation is that I can’t run away anywhere. Right now, I can’t vacation. I can’t relocate. I can go to Panera. That is the extent of my running. And that just isn’t enough anymore.
According to the dictionary, run away means to leave quickly or escape danger; to leave home. In the strictly literal sense I am running away because I am leaving home because I have lived in York for 18 years. But an immediate, hasty exit is not in the plans for me so I must start to make an exit plan instead of just dreaming about a new life. I must take action now, or the time will pass and I will still be stuck.
When I wake up in the morning I can breathe. I lay in bed and stare at the ceiling. In the too few minutes of quiet, I imagine a life elsewhere. I don’t dream about the perfect life, but a life much more peaceful and enjoyable than the one I’m living now. I imagine the water lapping out my window, and I try to feel the sunshine fall across my bed. And then my nephew yelps, and my sister yells. The cats chime in and my soul is pulled back into the here and now and a tightness comes back into my chest.
I struggle with a sizable amount of depression and anxiety. I am not always able to leave the house or even my room. Most days I make coffee, take my medication and feel the tightness, the anxiety, and stress, lessen its grip enough that I can have a normal day. Today is a normal day.
But surviving my days is no longer enough.
And now I look back on the blog and see that I have been wanting this for at least 4 months and haven’t made any progress toward changing it. I am still at square one. I’ve got no new income to show. But also I have no goals for success to compare myself to. I tend to be way too hard on myself and so I must also add that my medication is more balanced now than it has ever been and I feel like I can conquer and fix my life instead of just dreaming about it.
QUESTIONS TO CHECK MYSELF BY:
- Am I paying off debt?
- Am I contributing to a moving fund?
- Am I spending to fix up the house and make it more sellable
- Am I using my work time to prioritize work that earns money?
- Am I spending too much time on Facebook & social media?
- Am I saying NO and setting boundaries on my time?
- Am I taking time off to relax and wind down?
- Am I spending time with Abi & Chris?
- Am I putting myself and my life first?
Here is where the business part comes in.
None of the changes I want to happen without income. I am self-employed and have been for 7 years now, and I haven’t been able to find a part-time job at any point during that time. I am traditionally unemployable. And honestly, trading a low hourly rate for income isn’t going to make the money I need to transform my life on the timeline I have in my head. Over the last several years I’ve mostly I’ve been a maker. I have worked as a web designer, and digital gal Friday doing lots of small jobs for money but for the most of my time I have worked with Chris. We have made jewelry. We have made yarn.
Part of my vision of a better life involves creating items I can sell more than once. For each bracelet I make I can only sell it once. For each skein of yarn I sell I can only sell it once. This is a 1=1 transaction.
And now I am going to pivot my job and my income. From here on out my income has to have two important qualities:
1) It has to be a 1= many transaction. Meaning I want to focus on creating items like e-books, articles, or pieces of art I can license. All items I can make once and sell multiple times.
2) Secondly and most importantly, it has to be location independent. In the short term, this will give me working office hours outside my house, which will take away some of the mental stress and create boundaries for myself. In the long term, it will enable me to travel for longer periods of time than just a weekend since I will be able to work from wherever I will be. I do not want to be locked down to one space anymore. Leather and yarn are great, but once you set up a studio it is a huge pain in the ass to move.
Without goals, I will accomplish nothing, so here are my goals for the week:
GOALS TO ACCOMPLISH BY FRIDAY 9/16:
- Finish listing new items in Etsy
- Update JessicaJohannesen.com to be used as a portfolio website
- Finish writing Porter & Hazel marketing email template
- Send out at minimum 1 marketing email a day (7 emails). 2 would be better (14 emails).
- Make a spreadsheet to track who I’ve emailed.
- Figure out what stats I will use to track success by (in addition to income)
- Make another spreadsheet to track these numbers
- Take out add for Porter & Hazel on Ravelry.com
- Make a list of marketing ideas for Porter & Hazel