I Did It My Way…. ‘Cept I didn’t.

Ok, who doesn’t love a little  Ol Blue Eyes?  Mm.

Oh, sorry, started singing in my head and got distracted. 🙂

I’ve been sitting on this post for a handful of days so far.  It might end up taking a few more days to end up finishing as well.

I’ve come to the conclusion that I have been bending to the things other people want a lot more than I was willing to realize.  I can’t believe I managed to convince myself otherwise just because I basically refused to do baby stuff (besides gifts).  I also wouldn’t want to directly compete with a friend.

I have realized that things just aren’t selling.  I do not have the money to put into doing craft shows, and on top of that, I don’t have a local business license.  I’ve looked into it, but feel like with how painfully sad my sales have been for well over a year, it’s not worth bothering to get one.  I really wish I didn’t live in a place where the craft shows require it.  If I could do just one show, just to see how well I might be able to do (I know just one show shouldn’t be a good indicator, but hey…) I would then far more seriously look at getting a business license.

I don’t know if that makes any kind of real sense, but that’s just how my brain is working at this point.

I started this with next to nothing, and pretty much everything I have made has gone right back into it, little bit by little bit, and some craft shows are quite expensive to get into as a vendor.  Some aren’t, but some are up to multiple hundreds of dollars.  Though I have a few possibilities, I’m barred by the fact that I do not have a business license.

And before I do get one, I feel like I might need to take a danged class on the taxes and bookkeeping necessary to pay taxes before I even GET one.  I’m a bit petrified of that, despite knowing it’s an eventual necessity if I do continue with this little venture.  I would like to find some form of proper bookkeeping that doesn’t overwhelm me entirely, but will provide me with the accurate figures necessary to report income for taxes.  Thankfully, I have a husband and a good friend that are both rather educated in the tax area, if not the bookkeeping portion.  So, there’s that.

But even before any of that, I have to get things organized, in order, and honestly… until Zoe is in school regularly, I feel like that’s an almost impossible task.  I make progress, then things fall apart again.  Excuses, I know.  Some people are just ridiculously better at all of this than I am.  They have the more A-type personalities necessary for things like this.  I’m trying, but with my emotional health and my hormones, it can be rather daunting.

Anyway, enough with that boring, depressing stuff.

I’ve indeed been trying to please everyone, and I’ve found myself not as inspired as I once felt.

I’ve decided to take a look at a few things that I love.  All things coffee/tea, wine and books.

SO!

An idea I’ve been tossing around for a while, considering the name of my shop is finally going to start coming to fruition.

  1. Bookmarks and possibly other book related items.
  2. Wine glass charms.
  3. Wine Bottle Cozies/gift bags.
  4. Coffee Cozies/Mug/Cup Cozies.
  5. Small to large charms on clasps to be easily added to any existing jewelry, wine cozy or mug cozy.

This is perhaps going to give me a bit more focus, and my shop a bit more focus.  More ready-made items to ship out immediately instead of having things made to order every single time.  Smaller items I can more quickly produce, so turn over time is cut down greatly.  Still using supplies from both my jewelry ventures, and my more current yarn ventures.  It’s a change, but not a complete overhaul, so hopefully I will not end up going completely in the hole in the process.

I feel like these things really are close to home for me personally, and I will have a bit more joy out of making them, and hopefully that joy will be shared with others.

 

 

 

 

I guess you can call it spring cleaning…

I have put some thought into things, and after a rather long stint of a particularly woeful amount of sales, I’m doing some spring cleaning in my shop.

Anything that doesn’t end up selling due to this sale, I’ll either gift out, or donate.  So, friends, family, or even just people who read this, if you want something, snap it up while you can.  I might be adding more to the sale section over the coming weeks, but this is only going to run for a month.

Anyway, enough with the shameless self-promotion. 🙂

I am planning on backing away from a good portion of the crochet things that I’ve been doing, especially the larger pieces.  I’m going to be refocusing my shop on a few things, and hopefully that will mean better things to come for my shop.

I am also planning on getting back to my roots, the reason why I originally started my Etsy shop.  I had originally focused on jewelry and other similar accessories, so there will be a shift back to that, with some small crochet items tossed into the mix.

I am still in the process of deciding just what I want to take away and what I want to add, but I have a pretty good idea.  And while I do love each of the things I make, if I want this to be more successful, I have to realize when something isn’t working, and it hasn’t been working for a very, very long time.

There are also other things that I do love, so I’m going to take a cue from those things and put the love for those things into my shop instead.  I’ve talked to a few other small business/Etsy shop owners, and others have also had to do the same thing, some have done it more than once, some do it somewhat regularly in order to stay more relevant and more competitive.  I feel that perhaps it is the best course for me at this time since all the promoting that I have been able to put the time into, and what minuscule resources I have has done next to nothing to actually help increase sales of anything that I have at this time.

It’s frustrating, it’s tiresome, it’s a bit humiliating, and certainly very humbling.  Which sometimes is a very, very hard set of emotions to deal with.

While I am certainly my own worst critic most of the time, I really felt like I was doing well, progressing, my skills with crochet were getting better, my photography and staging skills, getting a better handle on search engine optimization, promoting tastefully (I hope) across as many social media sources as possible without looking desperate… I was gaining some amount of confidence, to what feels like no avail.

I realize that this might sound rather Debbie Downer, and I don’t intend it as such and I certainly am not looking for pity, a pat on the back, or guilt-driven purchases.  I just want to be able to be honest about how I’ve been feeling about all of this.

I want to be able to turn this into the drive and motivation to make some big changes, and hold onto the hope that it turns things around for me.

 

The Struggle Between Motivation and Giving Up

Lately I have had a bit more motivation, and ideas are flowing, and lots of things I look forward to doing.  I have even been in a good mood for the most part, excited and energized.

However, there has been a looming shadow in my thoughts.  I’m frustrated, and feeling rather disheartened with how much legwork I’ve been putting into trying to drive traffic to my shops (there are three now, as I thought having more platforms would yield perhaps a couple more sales, some is better than none, right?), and seeing nothing really come of it.

Now, I know that some that have a more positive outlook, and perhaps more business savvy than I have can see the benefits of what little traffic I do get as part of the longer term.  But I’m having a really hard time believing it.  I want to.  Believe me, I want to.

I understand that most, if not everyone who tries to start a business from the ground up, whether or not it started as a hobby at one point, feel keenly the struggle of learning, of growing, of trying and failing, and trying again.

And perhaps that’s all this feeling is.  I hope that is all it is.  Dealing with my depression and anxiety has put an extra layer of clouds on things at times, and I know it has certainly had a negative impact on what I’m trying to do.  But, I also realize that I need to tend to myself in order to continue moving forward, and not completely string myself out trying to fight it.  I almost feel like I’m walking on eggshells in my own head, around my own self at times.  It’s a weird feeling.

I do not want to give in.  I do not want to give up.

But perhaps the odd need to cry is something I should just do, be done with it and move on.  The clouds need to rain to lighten their load, after all.

 

Tantrums and Naps

So, things are slowly getting back to a more “normal” state around here as far as her crazy tantrums have been lately.  My oddly very good at listening little girl is returning to herself.  For as long as she’s been able to so far in her extremely short life, she’s been pretty darned good at listening to us.

And perhaps we became a bit too lax with her over certain things, add to that her growing want for independence and control over her own life, being a three year old..  We’ve definitely hit the stage most people seem to think is attached to the age 2.  Myself and friends and even friends whose kids are quite grown have lamented with me on the 3’s being a heck of a lot worse with some kids.

On one hand I know it’s just a part of her growth, her learning, her little world expanding, but on the other hand I often wish for the little amazing child who could actively listen, understand and chose to do things the way we wanted her to.  I’ve always been absolutely amazed at just how thoughtful of a kid she’s been to this point.  She still is, but of course, there will always be times when she wants things her way, and we’ve had to remove some of the previous choices we used to give her in order to deal with her incredible meltdowns.

They seem to be falling off a bit now, I can’t even put a number on how long she’s been throwing them at this point.  Her phases of different things have always run their course and I’m finally feeling like I’m coming to terms with just waiting for the other side of it, rather than being too overwhelmed while in the midst of it.

Her tantrums are coming a bit swifter, but are far shorter now.  There are moments when she’s listening to not just me or my husband, but also to herself, whether it be regarding her level of tiredness before a nap or bedtime, but also with her potty training.  We’re slowly able to work back in a choice-making option when it comes to certain things, giving her the ability to “control” a bit of her life while trying to instill the idea that most things are choices, she can’t have everything, and to encourage her to chose what it is she really wants.

Also to remind her that she can have the things she wants/do the things she wants to if she complies with things she has to do, like naps, getting out of her nighttime diaper and into daytime panties, giving up her binkie when she’s not napping or going to bed at night.

We’re still having some issues with things she’s starting to cling to, but that is always going to be a work in progress.  At least things are calming down again (and hopefully won’t pick up again now that James is heading back into shift work for the next couple weeks), and I am hopeful that I will be able to keep her on a positive track.

When nothing works…

Force of will is a pretty incredible thing, if you sit down and think about it.

My force of will has cracks, crags, and crevices right now.

My ability to behave as normally as possible is shaky at best.

The pounding headaches from swallowing so much stress, anxiety, hormonal rages, sadness, frustration, acute and painful awareness,  the feeling of consistent failure, the lows dropping off in an instant after a small success swallowing whatever good mood I might have been clinging to.

Breathing isn’t working.

Yoga isn’t working.

Stretching isn’t working.

Eating healthier isn’t working.

Aromatherapy isn’t working.

Self-love isn’t working.

Sunshine isn’t working.

Fresh air isn’t working.

5-HTP isn’t working.

But I’m going to keep trying.

Nothing is working.  And the acute awareness that nothing is working is killing me. I am crying practically every day, I’m quite literally shoving my hands into my hair and pulling, I’m amazed I’m not bald.  My voice is louder, far louder than I ever want it to be this often.  I hate the sound of my own voice at this point.  My throat is getting sore from the effort to speak lowly instead of screaming.  My thoughts are racing a million miles a minute, sometimes so fast that I can’t pick out the thoughts, let alone concentrate on anything.  Bursts of energy between periods of feeling lightheaded and lethargic, fearful to drive most of the time.  Old fears and anxieties and insecurities, all those old nagging voices clouding my very being.

My force of will is failing.  Absolutely and utterly failing.  And knowing that I have to wait for my doctor’s appointment is just making this time go by excruciatingly slow.

I have had anxiety my entire life.

I’ve learned how to deal with it, to the point where most people wouldn’t even guess that I did.

Some people think this, what I’m feeling, is in some way “normal” because of the basic stresses in my life right now.

I can flat out tell you, no.  This is in no way normal.  And I’m tired of hearing it or it being insinuated that it is..  I know it’s not normal, which is why I’m going to the doctor.  I’ve been through moves.  I’ve been through deployments.  I’ve been through the crap that inevitably happens on deployment.  My kid is now two.  I’ve been through the rough adjustment of having a kid for the first time.  Are all these things hard in their own right?  Absolutely.

But this is not normal.  And I need to say it as much as I need others to understand it.  There is nothing “wrong” with it being not normal.  It’s a simple, simple fact.  Something inside of me is broken.  Something is throwing me so far out of left field that I can’t use my LONG HONED skills of self-awareness, introspection, rational thinking, and reasoning.  Things that I have used and adjusted for most of my life to not require visits to the doctor.  My (admittedly very) small bit of knowledge of psychology and the brain and whatnot has served me very, very well over the years.

Those things, among others, are no longer working.  Absolutely nothing is working to quell the rising waves of rage, anguish, frustration, fear, anxiety that are being met with waves of almost manic good moods.  THIS IS NOT NORMAL.

When nothing works, you have to go on a search to find what will.  And that thing is beyond my scope at this point, so I’m going to see a doctor.  And no, that visit can not come quick enough.

 

It’s About That Time…

I’m going to the doctor.

I know that it’s past time I go for a simple wellness check, and all that.  I know that.  I’m horrible about going to the doctor for myself.  That’s no secret among those closest to me.

But it’s time that I start talking about a little of what’s been going on.  I am not going to go into everything, as I’m not ready for that, but I will go into what I’m comfortable with.  I feel like I need to get this off my chest.

I’ve been feeling like absolute shit.  For a long time, and it’s only getting worse month to month.

I’m not sure what is going on, but I’m going to be asking about a handful of things, to see if I can get a well-rounded run-downs and tests to see what might be going on.  Thyroid, hormone levels, stomach issues, and even updates on the state of my back since I threw it out again in early July.

I have good days here and there, I’ve probably had far more bad than good lately, though.  Emotionally I’m batshit crazy.  It may not seem it to some people, but to me, it is.  This has been an absolutely extreme change in my behaviors, and it scares the living shit out of me.  Which of course (as I’ve mentioned in so many posts) tends to be an extremely vicious circle of emotions surrounding frustration, awareness, lack of control, and guilt when I can’t handle this stuff and I lose it.

There are certainly some stressors in my life, and those things have gone up and down over the last year.  When I’m feeling balanced, I can usually handle these kinds of things pretty well, I may need a period to bitch and moan and cry and I’m done with it.  But I have felt absolutely out of my mind lately and not having my husband here to be my rock has been incredibly hard.  But on the other hand, as I’ve told him, I’m glad he hasn’t been here to see me at what I believe to be my recent “worst”.  I have spent a long time gaining control over my emotions.  All of it is out the window at this point.  I don’t believe that it’s purely stress.  It is to the point where I think there might be something medically amiss in my brain and body at this point.  I do believe that there is a huge possibility that there is some chemical or hormonal imbalance.  Or hell, it could be something else entirely that just happens to have seriously shitty emotional side effects.  Who knows.  But it is doctor-worthy right now.

I’ve been on birth control since I was a teenager, rarely being off of it for half my life.  Since choosing to get pregnant and having my child, I’ve been off of it for a period, but I had the natural boost of pregnancy and breastfeeding to supplement any possible hormonal deficiency I might have had at the time.  During pregnancy I had felt things I had not felt so easily in so, so long.  It was nice.  Even the period following giving birth things were better.

Then I decided to go back on the Nuva Ring, (the Depo Provera shot is what tipped the scales when I got married, into crappy territory).  I started to feel similar effects after returning to the Nuva Ring as I had felt from the Depo Provera shot.  My daughter is almost 2.5 years old now.  Things have only steadily gotten worse for me in that time.  And more so in the last handful of months.

I’ve tried multiple times to get into better, healthier habits.  And the drive and the want is there, but emotionally I feel stunted most of the time.  And the fact that I know this is going on and little to nothing I’m trying to do is helping is the most frustrating thing in the world to me.  Being blissfully unaware sometimes seems like it would have been easier.  But I KNOW something is wrong.

Physically I’ve been feeling like absolute crap most of the time.  My pain levels have been in flux far more than I feel like they should, I’m getting sick far more often than I usually do.  I sometimes can’t eat.  I sometimes eat way too much.  (Thankfully I haven’t gained anything, but I haven’t lost anything, either.)  I force myself to try to do all the things I am supposed to be doing (of course except for making a doctor’s appointment before now).  I’m trying so hard to not be a complete basket case for my daughter.  To not be one around my friends.  **(see bottom of post)

I feel like my entire system is completely out of whack no matter what I do.  My emotions are on the most incredible roller-coaster I’ve felt them be on in a long, long, long time.  I can go from 0-60 and back again within minutes.  My patience can be infinite, or it can be non-existent.  I can be in an almost manic-good mood one moment, and be screaming into a pillow the next.  I’m crying more days than not.  Sometimes for absolutely no reason whatsoever.

I absolutely hate how things have been lately, and I can only hope that these crazy spells aren’t having some kind of lasting effect on my child.  Which I’m sure any of you can commiserate being an understandable fear and probably unfounded in the long run, but hasn’t really helped me in getting myself back on track.

I’m absolutely exhausted from my body not feeling well, I’ve been absolutely exhausted from trying to control all these things that I’ve come to understand that I just plain can’t control on my own right now, in order to make my daughter’s day to day not as bad as I fear it may have been these past weeks.

Normal stresses have felt like impossible things to handle sometimes, and I relish in the good days when I feel like I have the energy and brain power to actually be productive and get things done, especially when it comes to getting things ready for the impending move.  But those good days seem so very, very few and far between.  Realizing the swing from a few bad days here and there to only having a few good days here and there has been a rough one.  Things that shouldn’t stress me out have been things I’ve been practically tearing my hair out over.  Some of the dumbest things ever have made me cry, feel useless, worthless, incompetent, and realizing that none of that is true but I still feel it?  Infuriating.  Being actively aware of the absolute insanity going on inside of you is nuts.  It’s exhausting, it’s frustrating, it’s demoralizing.

So, I’m saying it again.  I’m going to the doctor.  Unfortunately they can’t see me for a couple weeks.  I will be calling to see if they can get me in on a sooner cancellation.

**As for my friends (and family), know that I have made the conscious choice to not completely dump all of this on you.  And please, PLEASE do not tell me that I should have.  No, I shouldn’t have.  My choice is my choice.  Don’t say or do anything to make me feel bad for not opening up about this sooner.  Just simply support me if you want to.  I know you’re there.  I know you care.  I’m not sitting here thinking I’m alone.  I know I’m not.  I don’t need platitudes.  I don’t need empty words.  Be there if I do come to you.  That’s all I ask.  And if you feel you can’t, then simply tell me.  I will never hold that against any of you.  I know that dealing with someone else’s issues sometimes is not the best thing for you to take on.  Trust me, I understand, because I at times absolutely have had to wall myself away from other people’s issues because it wasn’t good or healthy for me to deal with them.  It didn’t lessen my love for anyone.  It has been me trying to do best by me.  Not by everyone else, or what everyone else thinks I should be doing.  My choices are for me, and for my daughter right now.  And it may be the ultra hard choice, but that is the one I’m making.

 

Toddlers and Choice

I’m hesitant to say that I’ve figured out how to deal with the kinds of meltdowns that have been happening lately, but I think I’ve managed to curb it temporarily.  We’ll have to continue to experiment to see if this is indeed the case.

I’m one of those that started giving my child choices as soon as I saw that she was able to grasp the idea of it.  And it’s worked rather well for a while, and it gave her that sense of independence and control.  However, that has (as I feared it would) backfired to some extent.  It is great when she wants to be decisive about something, and things get done in a timely manner.  It’s not so great when she just wants to say no to everything, throw tantrums and just basically do everything humanly possible to be uncooperative.

And it’s to the point where wrestling matches have happened.  I don’t like it.  I don’t like physically wrestling with a screaming child.  It just makes me so incredibly uncomfortable, I feel like she’s going to hurt herself because I’m attempting to do something.  (Like, change her diaper.)

I’ve tried doing the “wait it out” method, which specifically with diaper changes, only worked a couple times in a matter of a few days.  I don’t have the time to do that kind of thing all the time.  And it wasn’t nearly effective enough to continue trying.  Especially when I needed to leave the house.

I’ve tried reasoning with her.  I’ve tried explaining to her.  I’ve tried bribing her.  Yes, you heard that right.  With things like snacks, which I was going to give her anyway.  From time to time, that worked, but again….not nearly enough.  I’ve tried bringing her to her little training potty.  Nothing seems to be working.

She is relatively good with diaper changes when we’re not at home.  Sometimes she gives us a hard time, but not often when we’re not at home.  She seems to be good for other people changing her diaper.  For reasons I haven’t been able to fathom, she just refuses to do diaper changes at home.

One of the things I had started to do, was ask her if she needed a new diaper.  Of course, every single time, whether she did or not, her answer was no.  I gave her ultimatums to get her to sit down and lay down so I could change her.  This is where I’m starting to realize that finding the times where I should just give her no choice in the matter is going to be very important, and extremely hard.

I’ve removed my verbalization (well, I’m trying to, sometimes I slip up) surrounding when I want to change her diaper the last couple days and it seems to work for the most part.  I lay her down and just start working without ever bringing it up.  It’s been relatively successful the past couple days.

When it comes to clothing or pjs for bedtime, we started giving her room to make choices.  This started when she started wanting to pick out shoes herself when we were leaving the house.  However, sometimes she won’t choose anything when I’m trying to get her dressed to leave the house, or if she doesn’t want to go to bed yet.  Again, lots of verbalization and conversation with her, trying to coach her into choosing something.  Worked great for a while, then it backfired as well.  Again, it was occasionally an issue of having to wrestle her into clothing in order to just get it done and over with, and I just kept feeling like a crappy mom for having to resort to it.

I’ve also started to remove choice in those areas as well when I really need to either get her to bed because it’s getting late, or we need to leave the house.  Again, this seems to be working to some extent, but considering this is directly following some serious meltdowns the other day, I’m hesitant to think that this is going to be a long-term fix.

Even if it is not, at least I’ve managed to have a couple days in a row that have been largely meltdown free.  It’s given me time to uncoil my nerves and throw some ice water on my temper and impatience.