On the Search for Failure

I’ve determined, after seven years, that I’m on the search for failure.

I’m also on the search for success. Grand success. Maybe not the kind of success that allows me fancy cars and houses across the globe, but success that allows me the items I desire: helping others; living comfortably, without worrying about paying bills, or deciding if buying underwear is more of a priority than groceries, as an example; being able to help my family reach that same level of comfortable; traveling when I want and to where ever I want; less stress and more health.

No where in there am I striving to amass a great wealth. I do want to be secure for my future, should I be fortunate to live to my 99th birthday, but again, I want the security in the points above.

For around a month or so, I’ve mentioned closing the custom & wedding side of S2 Stationery and Design. And I have. October 1st, closed that door. And I’m glad it has been closed. It’s left me with time to really focus on the things I want to focus on and most importantly plan for the ways I want to grow S2.

I’m no where near complete on my goals. They’re evolving and every time I write one down, another comes to me later. Not to mention, I have other things that pop up and show up and steer my path a different way, which I know shifts my goals a bit more.

This past weekend, I found myself discussing with very good friends my goals for both my business and personal life. We discussed pregnancy and relationships. We discussed it all honestly. What sticks from the two conversations was the statement I said several times in both:

I’m never going to be happy until I actually fail. Until, I can say, I did the best I could with the stationery and I failed and it’s time for me to be an adult and stop following this dream.

Chances are, I’m not going to fail. I know in my heart that what I’m doing is what I’m suppose to be doing. I know it’s hard to explain and for those who aren’t like-minded to understand or even begin to fathom, but I’m not going to fail. Mostly because I don’t see failing as a bad thing. I think even in the things that don’t go right, or that crash and burn, or realize that something I felt so strongly about doesn’t work any more and needs to be revamped or cancelled or changed, there is opportunity. There is growth. This is the natural flow of life.

I’m sure I will fail in little ways as this dream continues, but I wouldn’t quite say that this journey has been a failure thus far.

It is this reason that I struggle now. That I’ve been struggling for the past three years since returning from Japan. It is why, I’ve allowed myself to fall into this abyss of uncertainty and comfortable, yet uncomfortable, discomfort while working a job I don’t like and going through the motions of living a life that isn’t doing anything for me or my goals.

I have good friends at my job, I have made great connections and I’ve allowed myself to believe that I need this backup because at one time, I did. And I’m sure I need this backup a little bit longer, too, but the reality is that until I let go of the backup, I’m never really going to fail and because I’ve yet to really “fail,” I’m going to continue to stay annoyed and in this uncertain abyss because this doesn’t make me happy. This doesn’t make me motivated to grow or change or fail.

And so, all of this has led me back to the point of origin for S2 Stationery & Design. Over the next few weeks, I’m going to get back to the root – to the dream that launched this business idea and company seven years ago. Once that’s in order, I’m adding the passion project that I believe will be my legacy.

Once these things are ironed out, I’m sure my future will look bright, my pockets will be as well, and I’ll be living a life where failure isn’t something I’m seeking, it’s something I’m staring at and saying, “hello, where are you taking me next?”

I can’t wait to share all of this with you!

 

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“When I get married, I’m totally having you do my invites.” – Why I’m Changing the Business Offerings of S2 Stationery & Design + When

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An advertisement I snapped a picture of just before leaving Japan in January, 2013. That was 3.5 years ago and this sign seems more relevant now than it did the day I took the photo.

I’ve been running S2 Stationery & Design for over seven years now.

Yep, you read that correct, SEVEN YEARS!!

And it’s time for a change.

You already know the story, the idea for S2 came to me while traveling around Italy a month after my father’s death in 2009. It was a series of signs that came to me and then a dream that resulted in this dance I’ve been doing since. A dance that has turned into a full-fledged and non-stop Merengue (the kind where you’re left gasping and wondering when the damn song is going to end) in 2012.

There are moments where I honestly believe that I’ve worked my ass off to get to this point. Then, there are moments where I don’t believe I’ve worked my ass off to get this point. Those moments are the most difficult. Those are the days and nights where I struggle to sleep because I don’t have enough money to pay this bill or do that thing with my friends, or to pay back someone I borrowed money from a few weeks prior. It is exhausting and I wonder if I should at that point pack it in and be an adult – find a 9-to-5 job that pays me well enough to stop the stress. Those are the nights that have and continue to leave me feeling stuck.

People like me love to talk about following their passions. As they should. We are following our passions that come across as outrageous and/or out-of-the-box, and that anyone who is looking for stability wouldn’t understand. What I’m doing is not for the faint of heart, but nothing about following your passion is glamorous or inspiring for that matter. That last point often gets glossed over when people choose to deal with the awe of tossing common sense for a passion.

Following my passion, has required me to become comfortable with asking for help (which I rarely did before), saying no (even to people I love the most), feeling lonely (I barely go out any more), gaining weight (stress beats the shit out of your body), and living in a space of doubt, so much doubt, that I’m continuously uncertain of my accomplishments.

Something that people who talk about following their passions never really discuss is the sticky space of what happens when, like me, you don’t have thousands of dollars saved up and have to work a job to help bring in money so that you can survive and afford the basic necessities. There are so many people, gurus of this “follow your passion” movement, who have taken office jobs to save money and then quit. They talk about this as though it’s a temporary solution that is magical. And it may have been for them, but as someone who has sat in this space for a while now, it’s killing me.

I found my current 9-to-6 job at a point where what I was doing was not working. Where I was bouncing from lots of part-time jobs that kept me from focusing on S2 Stationery and had me resent my decision to quit my job. Let me be a bit more clear -I was resenting the loss of the steady income I no longer had, not the job itself. Working for the last company I worked for was not all that pleasant and I know I made the right decision by leaving.

I know this sounds dramatic, but I feel the same way I felt a few years ago when I was working for a big corporation in NYC. While I haven’t reached the point of crying for the 30-minute duration of my commute, the unhappiness has resulted in overeating, not exercising, not wanting to get up in the morning early enough to do work I need to get done for S2, etc. And I’m fed up with it. Honestly, I’ve been daydreaming about quitting and all the ways it can happen.

Now, the part of me that wants to maintain my car and apartment, fight this and that’s why I do eventually get up and get dressed and go to work. And that part reminds me that I need to motivate myself and do the work that I need to do. And this same part reminds me that it’s time to create goal deadlines to get out of this situation.

All of this leads me to changes…and you may be thinking that you’ve gotten to this point and still don’t understand the quoted bit in the post’s title, “When I get married, I’m totally having you do my invites.”  Let me explain…

When I started S2, I was a diehard fan of creating wedding invites. I wanted to spend a ton of my time working with brides and catering to their needs and whims in a design capacity. I have been told so many times, I’ve lost count, the quote above, and finally after seven years, I’ve decided that I don’t want to hear it any more. Primarily because it’s not true. Every single person who has made that statement has in fact, not used my design for their wedding, nor have they even reached out.

Now, before you accuse me of sounding bitter, note that I’m not. I’m actually quite gleeful that I’m shutting down the wedding invitation design side of S2 Stationery & Design. In fact, I’m shutting down a lot of the custom design business. And I’m quite glad.

It’s been seven years since I started this journey and while I’ve enjoyed every single customer I’ve worked for and every single project I’ve commissioned, as I take stock of both myself personally and my business professionally, I’m letting go of the things that are not worth my time. I’m saying, “NO!” to the stuff that isn’t fulfilling me anymore. I’m saying no to even the thought of a promise that isn’t there.

The next stage of S2 is taking shape and has been vaguely discussed in other posts that I haven’t followed up on, and is being ironed out now, but there is still a ways to go. I’m sure I’ll do some commissioned work and maybe even the occasional wedding invite during this time (I’ve had a few people say, “crap, but I really did plan on using you when the day came!), especially if it is aligned with the work I’m transitioning to, but I’m no longer holding out on promises and work that does not nourish me or my creative pursuits.  This isn’t about the money, or lack there of, either. No, this is about the nourishment. Finally! Right now, the nourishment is found elsewhere and I’m excited for this change.

I’m finalizing some creative projects now, but in Quarter 4, starting October 1st, S2 is moving away from the custom work you’ve known. I’ll still be making stationery sets and individual greeting cards. I’ll still have these wares at markets, but the real work – the work my soul has been longing for the past two years begins. I’ll do my best to keep you up-to-date in a more consistent fashion as things change over.

More soon!

Launching “S2 Awareness Projects” – Stationery for Social Change

When I started S2 Stationery & Design six years ago, I wanted to work with paper and share that love of paper with the World! I wanted to also share my love of writing and importance of letters, words and sincere sentiment. I didn’t realize how quite difficult that would be.

See, there are people like me, the kind who love, absolutely love everything about paper. They love cards of all kinds – witty, snarky, funny, emotional, handmade, etc. They also love beautiful things – design, paper, quality – and don’t mind paying a higher price for that experience and they want to share that experience with their loved ones. Then there are the other people – the kind that may love paper, but they definitely don’t like paying over $2.00 for a card. They also don’t care about the design details – the elements that make them stand out. These are the people that may shop at Target and CVS for their cards. They may not be writers, but they on occasion like to send out a card to a loved one. This group also likes to send out photograph cards at the Holidays that they order online and spend maybe less than a dollar per card.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’ve mailed out Holiday photo cards before, especially after a big international trip. They’re fun. But they’re also impersonal. That being said, one of the similarities I find between the two groups of people above is that they both suffer from not having enough time and/or good enough reason to write. Everyone loves getting handwritten cards and notes in the mail, regardless of the paper quality, but nobody has the time to write said cards and notes. So we end up with a group of people that are both admirers to a degree, but have no way of connecting, nor motivation to connect outside of modern technology – email, text, Snapchat, WhatsApp, and whatever new app has appeared.

In the end, people want to connect. They are dying to connect. Many people are hurting because they cannot connect. They feel too stressed, endlessly busy, pressured to conform, and an entire host of other ailments and they connect in a not-so-connected way. I wanted to fix that. I wanted to swirl into the Stationery Town like the Tazmanian Devil (I admit, I’m kind of that way) and shake the Town down to it’s core with my fine papers and envelopes and stationery sets. I wanted to help connect people and make a living doing that and then proudly wave the banner of success to everyone. To some degree I have, but to many degrees I have not.

Six years that have included a trip to Japan to learn paper making, quitting more than a few jobs, almost losing my apartment and car one too many times to count, asking friends for way more help than I’ve done ever, learning to appreciate all that I have and not focus on all that I don’t, losing some friends in the process, becoming more comfortable with me time and saying no, working from more Starbucks than I’d like because of free wifi, constantly being on the yo-yo of doubting myself for these decisions and then loving them, sleeping way too much than I should, gaining more weight than I’m comfortable with, taking a month to care for my almost-two-year-old niece, constantly being inspired and creating new products, and I’m sure quite a few more things that I’m forgetting to mention, I’m taking a detour on this Stationery train ride and I’m taking a long stop in an area that I’d equate to the Mid-west of America. Which is quite appropriate given that as an 11 year old, my family moved from NYC to Ohio to allow my brother and I a chance at a normal childhood that was safe. (It makes sense to me and will to you as this rolls out.)

Where I’m headed project wise is NOT safe. And I’ll never be my 11-year-old-self again, but I’m slowing down all the engines to focus on one project and making sure that it works well and that it does what I think the world needs, connect us to those we love most and even those we don’t love, but who we could stand to love and appreciate more.

S2 Stationery is my heart. It will always be in the picture. (It is not going anywhere – the Etsy shop with the handmade papers and stationery sets will remain during this break – it just will not be the main focus.) This business courses through my veins. It makes me happy and sad; frustrated and joyful. If I ever had a life purpose this is it. However, as with all things, sometimes you need a break – you need to step away from things, see the big picture and move forward, even if that is a leap and it is scary. The things that matter the most do inspire fear, but they also create great things.

Without further ado, allow me to introduce you all to S2 Awareness Projects!

S2 Awareness Projects combines stationery, politics (to a degree) and social justice.  S2 Awareness Projects share the topics and conflicts that makes S2, aka Sara Stroman, tick to make changes. These are the things that others care about, but often aren’t sure how to go about them. S2 Awareness Projects help you share your feelings, thoughts, and inspire you into written action. (We hope!) S2 Awareness Projects are transparent and will 100% of the time will raise money to donate to the cause inspiring the project and make donations on your behalf. S2 Awareness Projects is a way to make a difference, connect us and our differences and raise our voices without raising our pitchforks and/or guns.

Some, if not many, will not always agree with me or my values, but I’m willing to risk that for this project. In the end, my values and your values don’t have to be the same and if they’re not, you’re welcome to go elsewhere, however, that is not the point of this project – I want to bring people together, not tear them apart. If you’re not willing to be open-minded or hearted, this project is not for you. As much as this is a risk for me, it is a risk for you – you may grow from this project and that is always risky business.

The official slogan of S2 Awareness Projects is: “Often times, we think our differences are larger than they really are. I’m interested in finding that space and opening your heart to the similarities. By all means, your story IS your story, but that doesn’t mean you’re all that much different than me, or the person next to you. Let’s find those spaces and talk about them and make a difference, together.”

Tomorrow in this space and on Etsy and social media outlets (facebook, instagram and twitter), I’ll be announcing the first S2 Awareness Project.  Hopefully, you’ll be excited about this as much as I am.

Until, Tomorrow!

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“Sara, Where Are You Now?”

I’ve gotten this question a bit recently. Those that are friends and follow me on Facebook and Instagram, actually read this blog, and got my personal emails updating my journey know that I am back in the US, but haven’t got a clue as to where exactly in the US I am. (I like being a bit of a mystery! Or at least that’s part of my new plan…to being a mystery even to those I love much and hold close to my heart.)

I am homeless, a bit, and so I bumped around from place to place. I landed in Los Angeles and spent a night in the company of one of my dearest friends before taking Amtrak to the Bay Area to stay with another good friend. I stayed outside of San Francisco in a city called Mountain View for seven days. It was nice. Quiet. I stayed in most of the time, but walked daily to a coffee shop about one-and-a-half miles from my friend’s apartment to get out, exercise my legs and enjoy the air. I was also able to see three good friends in the area, one of whom I hadn’t seen since I met her three years ago in Chile!

On January 16th, I took a flight from the San Jose airport and made my way to the East Coast, to Maryland to be exact, where I’ve been staying with my mother. It has been wonderful to put my bags down and leave them down for a large bit of time and space. I carried a lot of baggage with me on this past journey and they were heavy, stressful, and exhausting. Simply carrying a purse and my laptop make me happy these days, instead of those two along with a backpack and suitcase in tow.

Since returning to the East Coast a week ago (so little time and yet, I’ve accomplished much!), I took a weekend to visit New York City and it was pleasant. After being away for three months, it was nice to step back into my home city.Before I left, I had such an intense hatred for NYC  that this feeling of comfort and slight sense of security that I experienced was a pleasant surprise.

Walking around New York last weekend was heavenly. Not only did I get to see my best friend, I was able to stay in her apartment just across the street from my old apartment in Manhattan. I spent a large amount of time in Williamsburg, Brooklyn hanging out with my family, and I managed to see my printing company, have an interview with a woman I met during my internship at Etsy last year in Park Slope, Brooklyn, and meet with clients- one at my favorite place “City Bakery” and the other in their home on the Upper West Side which allowed me to peek into another favorite place of mine, “Zabars.” Needless to say, I traveled around, rode the subway, walked a bit, and felt home. While I definitely felt that riding the subway was new, I knew it wasn’t, but that feeling of hating the subway didn’t exist. In fact, it just felt good. Good to ride the subway, good to be back in my element.

I am 85% a changed woman, although, I’ll never get over the serious amount of stupid and selfish people that roam around the world and NYC specifically, but I felt different as I made my way around a City that blindfolded I know by heart. I felt deep in my heart that I belong to that City, but also that I need to be patient about moving around it and moving back to it, no matter how excited I am to get back into the swing of things.

I wasn’t quite sure how this would all play out and I’m still not sure how it will, but I feel like the general pull of my life is to New York. The Universe is showing me signs that I should be heading that way and that I will be heading that way in due time. Which is awesome!  At first, I thought that I would end up spending a lot of time in the Maryland area and even considered possible moves to cities like Detroit, maybe even Cleveland (I have a large network there). Of course, my heart isn’t in any of those places, they just offer space, which I want, and in New York, I don’t have space. Either way, I can confidently say that New York is where I will land, and there is even a possibility that I’ll end up in New Jersey. I have been considering it more and more and it seems rather feasible at this point. I can get decent space for myself and my business and be just across the river allowing me to get into NYC just as easily as if I lived in the actual City. But I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it. It’s nice to look for options in the interim.

Having said that, as we passed from 2012 into 2013, I took some time to write down goals and objectives for the new year. I didn’t put anything down too specific because it was more of a full-on 10 year plan, and things will change, but I gave myself some time to really consider what it is that I want in my life over all. I admitted things like wanting to get married and have children. These are HUGE for me. HUGE! I also admitted that I want space for my business that is separate from my personal life and even if that means a different room, or a den, I want it, as long as it is affordable. That space should be positioned in a place where I can reach my city and yet leave it so I don’t ever grow to hate it again.

I’m not going to go into the entire list of goals and objectives, but I did get in touch with my real self and she showed herself quite clearly; I’m happy to help lead/follow my true self to where she wants to go in 2013 and beyond. Japan taught me that.

As for where I am now, well, I’m on the cusp of temporary and something-like permanent, with a healthy gallon-size space for flexibility, change (because the only thing that is constant in this life is change), and adventure. My travels will continue (I still have many more paper-making countries to visit) and I may have another stint in Japan for a longer period of time, but I know with every fiber of my being that New York City is calling and I’m getting ready to head back with a full, curious sense of wonder and willing to make sure that my stationery business and myself go out and do what it needs to do to be present, alert, and implement change.

So yeah, that’s where Sara is. Still on that journey, but getting steps closer to a place she wants to be. Huzzah!

Boxes of Change

Last Sunday, I picked up about 30 boxes from a co-worker who recently moved back into town. Luckily, I had a Zipcar that day, so it was a hop, skip and a jump to get the 30, or so boxes I gathered, into my apartment.

Someone asked me a few days ago how I feel about moving and boxing up all of my belongings and I simply said, “okay”. It’s true, I do feel rather okay about the moving and the boxes. Actually, I feel more than rather okay, I feel good.

See, I know that it is time for change. The one thing I’ve learned about being in NYC is that nothing really lasts forever, unless you want it to and even if you want it to, you better be willing to fight for it. That sounds a bit cynical, but I’m really not trying to be cynical at all.  And the reality is that even if you go elsewhere forever might not be an option. I think the absolute truth to this is that NY is for the dreamers and the energetic beings. Which explains why many view NYC as a place to visit, but not a place to live.  I find that I’m at a point where I love the City and yet, I want to be out of the City. I don’t have it in me to fight and scrape and claw my way too much these days.

I’ve heard about people who have lived in NYC for a few years and then move out of the City, to cities upstate for a quieter and cheaper life style. I find that as I get older, I want the same thing.  A few weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to go to Hudson, NY and I loved it. It was quiet and small town, but only 2 hours from the City- an easy commute. Earlier this year, when I went to Albany to visit one of my best friends, I wanted to live in her apartment. I’ve figured that  if you want forever, you need to move somewhere out of the City. There is an endless array of activities and people and distractions and they can keep you from finding whatever it is that you need. Maybe this is just my experience recently, but NYC is weighing me down. I hate the commutes on the crowded trains and the people who only care about themselves.  Don’t get me wrong- I do love this city and I love that at my finger tips there are countless opportunities for myself and my art, but there is still a part of me that knows I can’t live here forever. It’s the part that reminds me that these boxes are necessary. They are the next step in the right direction.

So you must be wondering what my point here is. And I’m getting there.  See, I’m a dreamer. A big one. I’ve got one too many dreams and feel like I don’t have enough time. With that said, NY, much as when I was a small child, who was excited to move to Cleveland Heights, Ohio, I am now a 30 year old woman excited to move on to the next stages of my journey.

When I first moved to NY in November 2006, I was still youngish 20s and I believed that I would come to the City, make lots of money, pay off my debt (instead of accruing more of it), and get all this amazing career experience. I also knew moving that I’d be moving on a low-pay scale and working my way up, so as I told several friends, “I’m moving to NY now because I don’t want to live in NY in my 30s and be poor, I want to be in my 20s and be poor.”  It is safe to say now that I am poor (I’m an intern) in my 30s, living in NY. So it is time to change. No matter how much I do LOVE this City and the friends I’ve made and the shops I visit regularly and the neighborhood that feels like my second skin (Alphabet City/East Village), I have to go.

I think I’m having my more-than-quarter-life-crisis and rather than spending tons of money on unnecessary things, I’m spending tons of money on something that feels like the air I need to breathe-travel and discovery.

For those of you who have been following this blog, you know that I’ve been talking about going to Japan for some time now. A little bit over a year, now and I’ve decided that I am going. Carting those boxes into my apartment last Sunday was the one act that solidified it.

Lots of friends have been asking about my internship and other details about the trip and the reality is that I see a door opening. Of course, two doors may very well open up, but I see a very distinct door opening and that door is the door that has me crossing oceans to follow my dream. It is a HUGE leap of faith and I had to say no to quite a few other doors that were presenting themselves – one of my best friends moving to Chicago to live with me in the apartment of another best friend’s becoming available in a month, and the fact that maybe, just maybe I could get a full-time job at my current place of interning.  Even with those possibilities, I know that Japan is the doorway I must go through.

Working as an Intern, I’ve heard the CEO talk about his current job being the most gratifying job he’s had and that is commendable. I want that. I want to work some place where I feel like I’m not just giving my all, but that it is worth my all. I’m not saying anything about my internship because I am learning a ton and I feel quite fortunate for the current environment I find myself in, but in the past, my jobs provided ample opportunity, but they did not leave me feeling like I was doing anything worth my time. Yes, helping cancer patients was gratifying and yes, helping a cultural institution raise money and maintain it’s relevancy was just as gratifying, but I did not wake up every day thinking, my job is amazing and this is what I want to do every day of my life until I die. In fact, it was the people I worked with that made me want to go to work every day.

No, what I want to do every day of my life until I die, is help people and educate people and really make a difference through communication.  Every job, I’ve held has had that element to it- Communications, Education, Volunteerism, Environmentalism, etc, but now I want to do it on the topics I’m passionate about – paper making, letter writing, and real honest story telling that communicates the human/animal element of each of us. The one that connects us to each other.

A few weeks ago, as I was debating whether I should stay in NYC and live with my friend in my friend’s apartment and be closer to the guy I’ve been “seeing”, I realized that I have a great opportunity to leap, no questions asked. None. All I need to do it stop being afraid and just leap. And so I am. I’m hoping that when I get back I will find my footing pretty quickly, but nothing is definitely, the only thing I know right now about the future is that I’m open.  I’m open to all the possibilities that will be waiting for me when I return from this adventure.

When I first started talking about going to Japan, I talked about it purely from a learning perspective- the chance to learn a tradition and technique as old as time- it would help me become a better designer and I could figure out how to make my own paper.  Now, when I talk about it, I talk about it the same way, I just also talk about it the way I would about needing a drink of water. I feel like the time spent on the road, learning and communicating, will not just help my business, but also help me. It will sooth my soul and find peace in a way that I haven’t been able to in the last three years.

This weekend, I’m beginning to box up books and get rid of clothes that I don’t wear, or haven’t worn in some time to start the first phase of moving, I’m getting ready for an adventure. And I’m ready. I’m so, so ready.

Don’t worry, for those of you who are, I’ll be here until September and in that time, I’m ding tons of crazy things- workshops on paper, craft fairs/shows and working, working, working my butt off.  I’ll be talking all about it, as I get ready for my trip too.  Exciting stuff, friends, exciting stuff.

If you’re boxing up for change, I wish you good luck!

Cha-Cha-Change

Monday morning, I quit my job. GASP!

Crazy, right?

YES!

And yet, I have never felt better. Nor have I felt more tired. I am exhausted and excited. I am anxious and confident.The wheels are turning even as I ponder just wanting to sleep and do nothing besides maybe catch up knitting.

I’m beginning to think that all of this is due to the wide range of emotions I’m experiencing-the highs and the lows. I have yet to cry, although, I did tear up a bit yesterday afternoon, but on the whole I’m excited. I’m anxiously awaiting the opportunities that will open themselves to me on March 20th. Of course, I realize that I’ve opened the opportunities myself with my persistence and optimism, but I also know that luck and fate presented itself back in October and then again in December and now, three months later.

I am purposely not letting the cat out of the bag completely, I will share full details when March 21st arrives, but I am here to tell you that my move is exactly in the direction I need to follow if I want to make THIS business (S2 Stationery and Design) my bread and butter.  It is also a much needed change of Borough, scenery, office style and environment.

For those of you who know me well, or have been following the curve of S2 since the fateful dream in 2009, I’ve been unhappy. For those of you who don’t know, let me just say that I’ve struggled to find myself and deal with my grief. My methods of handling grief involved becoming busier than ever before; pushing myself into a state where all I could do was feel run down. I don’t need to tell you that this was not pretty. Finding yourself, true reflection, sincere acceptance, and strong resolve are the only ways to truly change and they aren’t always pretty with rainbows and butterflies.

Every day, I battle this and every day something new presents itself and I either learn, or acknowledge something about myself that I may not like and yet, I keep it moving.

In the past two years since really accepting my unhappiness, I’ve worked harder to try and find happiness and to make happiness take shape. It is part of the reason why now, this Lent season I decided to not give up anything, but instead focus on finding a happy place in my mind that is free of criticisms and judgements and anger.

Last weekend, after I had made my decision to leave my 9-to-5 of almost five years, I thought about it and wondered if I was making the wrong choice. Then, I realized that every argument for me staying had something to do with money and when money is your only barrier, it really isn’t a barrier at all.

I do want you to know that this change brings about many things:

  • I won’t be making the same kind of money as I am now;
  • I will have to move from my apartment at some point;
  • I may really end up eating only peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

On a more positive note, I think and hope that the following things may happen:

  • Feel less trapped;
  • Feel less stress on my back (yes, I realize this involves also working to strengthen my back)
  • Feel more ease in my mind

Of course, I can not know exactly what will come of these changes, but right now in this moment, I can only give them some consideration, not all of my consideration. Right now, as I type, has me feeling exhausted, but on my toes. Which means that as much as I intend to keep blogging during the next week of change, I may go off the bend for a while. I’m not going to ask for forgiveness, but maybe some understanding? Change does bring a lot to the table and I’m in the thick of it, but I can’t wait to share all the changes. So stay with me, okay?

I hope any changes you have brewing are bubbling well and close to completion. Here’s to change!

Reaching Out and Fear of Success, But Ready For a Change!

I started this blog almost two weeks ago, on October 20th to be exact and couldn’t finish it. I’m not sure why, but something stumped me. When I started to write, I had reached out to someone who works with a letter press machine. I wanted to find out how one actually goes about letter pressing items. She very kindly and quickly responded with options for me to learn about letter pressing from two organizations/institutions here in NYC, but stated that she didn’t have the facility to teach me. Fair enough. At least I reached out.

And so begins the whole concept of today’s blog and asking to learn things from others. Others who have experience, a business, or maybe just a skill that you’re eager to learn.

This is also around the time that I came across the Follow Your Dreams/ What’s Your Path section of the November issue of Oprah Magazine. (Yes. I read Oprah Magazine.)  I came across this quiz that asked the simple question, “What’s Holding You Back?” Of course I immediately took it and learned that I’m ready for a change and that I fear success.  (You can take the quiz here: http://www.oprah.com/money/Whats-Holding-You-Back_1.)  I wasn’t surprised by these answers at all.

I’ve known for quite some time that I’m over my current job. I also am aware that corporate life just isn’t for me at all either. This doesn’t make me unhappy at the least, it just means that I’m ready to a change. A positive change. A new direction.  The fear of success wasn’t too much of a surprise either because I also know that I don’t accept my awesomeness. I know that sounds weird and wonky, but it’s kind of true.  Hey, awareness is the first step isn’t it? Yep.

And this is where my excuses come in…see, I have no design degree or firm background. I just have a love of color and everything paper.  I always have.  My ideas come from ideas and while a lot of them require computer software programs like the Creative Suite, I also use my hands and textiles to complete a design.

I also sometimes believe that I can’t be a designer if I don’t know how to deal with printers, etc. That’s just plain silly, I know.  (Go ahead laugh at me.) This is where my fear of  success comes in–I’m afraid that I won’t be able to do it and learn from it.  Furthermore, I’m afraid that if I make a fool of myself, everyone will know that I’m not a real designer and I’ll never be taken seriously.

Pretty steep confession, eh? Yeah. A silly steep confession at that. But now it’s out. My one big success fear is out in the open, which I hope means it cancels itself out because it is just ridiculous!  I can learn a lot of new things. I already do. So this fear just needs to go somewhere.  I have every faith that it will disappear and it makes it all the more important that I continue to reach out.

There is a lot about paper that I don’t know. Heck, there’s a lot about design that I don’t know. Every order that I complete requires learning a new skill, looking at something I know completely different and finding ways to make it happen.  Sometimes it requires that I look at other artists work (not to steal, but to see what others are thinking) and ask them how they came about, or sometimes it requires me reading the history of a technique or attending a class. All good things.  After all, before design as we know it came to be, it was a bunch of different people making different things that stood out and made us feel moved in one sense or another.

What I’m doing with paper, requires a lot of different techniques and I’m on board to learn them. I clearly won’t learn all of them or even many of them, but I will learn the ones that I am most interested in and I will also the ones that will help my individual person and unique materials.

That my friend(s) is reaching out.  I hope you reach out as much as you can. Especially if you’re an entrepreneur that doesn’t have a certain skill set. The more learning you do, the better business you’ll run and person you’ll be.