Saturday, January 13, 2018

Not think about it

"The price tag of being just a little bit different
The first rule to learn is to keep your own distance."

I allowed myself to say it to myself. I think I am settling in to our new home and new home state.

The house doesn't feel so much like a hotel anymore, but it's more than that. One by one, I'm ticking off all the obstacles and inconveniences that are part and parcel of moving states.

We took two of the cats to a new vet and I liked her very much. They did everything in the room with us instead of taking the cats back behind the scenes. I felt good about it because I basically picked the vet because it was close to the house, I saw the place driving past and it looked nice, the online reviews were good, and I took a chance.

I hope I'm as lucky with the doctor and dentist I picked because I have those appointments set up too.

I'm not grieving any more for the house we left, maybe because I just don't let myself think about it. Still that's something I couldn't do a month ago - not think about it.

I've embraced things about the new house too. Furniture has made a huge difference. I love love love my new desk. I love my office. I love my studio. I love my new dining table and chairs.

My bed is growing on me.

Neil and I took a one night cooking class in which we made three different kinds of chicken soup and that was fun.

And yet ... and yet ... I find myself feeling upset and angry and irritable. It's nothing new. It's because I'm selling beads on Facebook again, or more precisely, not selling many of them again.

And it's the same old conundrum. It's threefold.

I think I make some pretty enough beads. I see beads that have less to recommend them selling.

But I also see beads that are much more beautiful than mine and I chafe because after almost 10 years I'm not the beadmaker I want to be, the super-mega-talented one.

And also, because I am on the bead selling sites again regularly, I have started buying beads again. Just a few here and there, but I thought I had stopped for good.

I told Neil how I was feeling, about the three elements, the not selling, the feeling not as good as I want to be, and the buying.

He said, you have control over one of those things.

True that.

I even succumbed to selling on the bargain site again, something I'd sworn off previously. I did unload some beads that had been hanging around too long and that I didn't love. I did have a couple of customers buy multiple items that added up nicely. But I also had a couple of sales under $10 and that is time to stop because at some point I'd rather toss the beads (the ones I wouldn't donate to Beads of Courage) into the lake.

I can't donate beads to Beads of Courage that have any exposed silver glass, and I won't donate any beads that I don't think could possible delight a child. That takes out some of the dark, organic experiments.

Since I don't need to sell beads to make ends meet, I must once again do a mind reset and either stop trying to sell or try to sell and be grateful when I do and not personalize it when I don't.

It sounds so simple when I put it that way.

Yes, just continue to work on my art and my skills, continue to list, but don't get too invested in results, don't get attached to particular outcomes.

As far as buying beads, I'd like to say that talking about it here is akin to making myself accountable. If I say that I won't buy more beads, I won't buy more beads.

But I'm weak. Sometimes I have no willpower, no power to resist at all. Luckily that's not all the time or even most of the time. Sometimes the urge comes and goes. Sometimes while I think about it, someone else beats me to the punch.

I think what I'll do is to try to stay offline more. List beads in the morning, bump them once in the evening and once the following morning. Stop compulsively checking to see if I have bids. Stop looking at who is selling, what is selling. Stop looking at my feed all the time because my feed is beads, beads, beads.

If my beads sell, they sell. If they don't sell, oh well.

One thing is sure, if I don't list them, none of them will sell.

And just so you all don't feel sorry for me (sniff), I'm finishing up a 100-bead custom order.

My customer likes shiny beads. She doesn't care if they are pairs or singles, which makes it easier, sort of. I don't have to worry about matching sizes or picking up the wrong stringer shade of purple. Which I have done a bit lately.

So I made the first 20 or so as singles. But I'm still learning the new flame chemistry of my Apha torch, using natural gas instead of propane, and some weren't as shiny as I'd hoped. So I decided to make the rest in pairs, that way any that might not suit my customer can be sold more easily. Most buyers like pairs for earrings.

At this point I've probably made closer to 200 beads trying to nail the shiny look. I've been working with mostly a dark color palette, lots of silvery blacks and red copper greens and denim blues. After I clean this last batch, I'm picking out the best 100 and calling the order done.

I'm going to work with some bright cheerful colors next week, oranges, yellows and greens, maybe pinks and purples and reds.

And maybe this weekend I'll unpack my artist bead collection. Packing it to move helped me remember how much beauty I already own and dampened my desire to own more.

I suspect unpacking it will have much the same effect.

"Remember Belgium and the Brussels Museum
Where we piled on the front steps like stray cavaliers
Our code of living meant little to others
The few francs we saved bought some cheap souvenirs

But the red lights where the catfights make it just like Belgium
See us face down on the floor of another cheap barroom
Streetwalkers sweet talk you out of your spare change
And your sweet madame makes it seem just like Belgium

Just like a hustler when they look attractive
It's nothing more than a slap on the back
The price tag of being just a little bit different
The first rule to learn is to keep your own distance."

(Bernie Taupin, Elton John)