So a whole lot of things got stressful all at once at the end of August, and on August 31st I just… kind of completely lost my ability to cope, as evidenced by this set of texts I sent to a friend:
And… yeah. I did not quit my job or resign my board position, nor did I buy an entire litter of puppies (more on that in a minute) but I did make the decision to ship out everything in my order queue and take an emergency mental health vacation through the end of Rosh Hashanah. Which I did! Even to the point of not opening a package of beads when it arrived!
But then September 10th came around, and I dutifully tried to make myself go back to work, and I just… couldn’t.
It’s really hard to make art when your mental health is in bad shape. I know how to do it - I sit myself down at the workbench, and I pick up my tools, and I go through the motions, and maybe it’s not particularly inspired work or particularly good work, but it’s usually good enough.
Somewhere right around the same time, friends started sharing this image on social media, and... ooof.
The first time I saw it, I couldn’t decide if I should laugh or cry or both. I am very bad at scheduling time for maintenance, and the equipment schedules it for me - lately, in the form of multi-day migraines or persistent post-covid lung issues that force me to communicate with the rest of the world either through mime and other forms of interpretive dance if typing wasn’t an option - and I’d convinced myself that those equipment failures counted as more than enough time off work.
So back to the day after Rosh Hashanah. I dutifully took care of my shipping queue, and then took a good hard look at both my emotional condition and my bank accounts, and I decided that I would give myself permission to take as much of September off as I felt was necessary for my mental health, as long as I stayed on top of shipping and honored any time-sensitive commitments I’d made.
And here we are. It's October 1st. I did little bits of work here and there, when I needed to or when I felt up to it, but mostly I just focused on getting out of burnout/overload/exhaustion. And it more or less worked? I mean, we're still in the middle of a pandemic and my kid still isn't vaccinated and my lungs are still a hot mess, but I seem to have at least a teensy bit of cope again, and that's... well, that's a good start.
There's an update coming today, a bunch of very simple earrings and pendants where I let the stones do all the talking. There's petrified wood, and there's Red Creek jasper, and spending time just getting lost in all the colors and patterns was EXACTLY what I needed to transition myself back into workbench mode. I hope you like them as much as I liked making them.
The other thing on my agenda today is getting all of 2021 Pretty Rocks Club available for individual purchase. I kinda got behind on that early this year, for reasons I'll explain in the March listing, but you'll soon be able to order any month you want! I've also planned out the next three years - in 2022 we're going to take a deep dive into the world of quartz and agate and jasper, 2023 will be another a deep dive but this time into the feldspars, and 2024's theme is "fun with fibers, but not the kind you can spin or knit" although now my ADHD really wants to start a hand-dyed yarn club with matching stitch markers and I think this is the point where someone needs to yell "NO, K" at me but if I still remember the idea in 2 years (lol no) maybe I'll consider it?
Also, speaking of Pretty Rocks Club: I'm going to have to raise the price of it next year, because shipping rates keep going up and ARGH. It'll probably be going to $30 for the basic version and $50 for the deluxe, but if you're really enjoying it and that jump is enough to put it out of your budget, talk to me and we'll see if we can work something out, okay? Maybe there could be a version that ships quarterly rather than monthly, or something.
Oh. Right. I promised to elaborate on the puppy thing. I did not buy an entire litter of puppies! But, uh… this is Zoe the Very Smol Potato, and she will be coming home with us on October 28th.