The first and only time I was fired from a job--and I've had many jobs--it was Rick, my own sweet husband, who fired me from our pizza shop. I've told this story before. He knew I was miserable making other people's dinner, and out of love, and maybe self preservation, he set me free to find something I'd love doing. It was terrifying. And that was when beadmaking found me. It was wonderful for a long time. Then it was less wonderful. And finally, recently, I got to where I couldn't stand the idea of sitting at that torch for another second. And so a few days ago, after months of wondering, I finally knew... it was time to fire myself.
There's a terrifying, thrilling freedom in cutting loose from something that's been part of me for a long time. Fourteen years, to be exact. A lot of people only know me as a beadmaker, but I'm so much more than that. I don't know exactly what I'll do next, but I know something at least as wonderful as beadmaking will find me. I also know that in order for that to happen, I had to make this scary break. "Jump and the net will be there" has always held true for me. It's also true that in order to fill a hole, you have to make a hole first. The only way to find what's next is to make a space for it, a void, a vacuum that will naturally be filled. It's all true, and really so simple. And yes, I'm a little freaked out.
I sent an email out to my mailing list of about 730 names, telling them that I'd decided to set beads aside for a time, and I have been warmed to my twinkly toes by the response. I asked them to please let me know if they want to stay on my mailing list, and the flood of emails has about knocked me over. There are countless messages of encouragement and friendship. I sit here reading them, thinking, Wow... this isn't about beads. These people are here for me... I know I won't have 730 names on my mailing list by the time this is done, but the ones who stay will be some of the best friends I've never met. They'll stick with me no matter what I do, and that means more to me than I could have imagined going into this, or coming out of it.
Another lovely side effect of firing myself from my "day job" is that the scarcity of beads now makes them more in demand. Huh. Go figure. It's been nice to make a few sales, since the bank account has dwindled to a dangerously low point over the last two years. I have a feeling I can always pull in a little extra cash by going through my personal bead stash and offering something for sale. And then there's still the possibility that the bead gods will speak to me again someday, and new work will emerge. I'm not depending on that though.
Just the other day, someone asked me what I really want to do now. My instant answer was, I want to write! As impractical as that may be from a financial standpoint, it's what makes my heart sing these days, and it's something I've wanted to do for most of my life. I don't know how to "be a writer", and I don't know if there's a book in me somewhere, as some people have suggested, or how to get it out if there is. For now, this blog is my focus. It's where I go every day to anchor myself to the earth, and to sift through my options until I find what I'm looking for somewhere in my own mental bucket of sludge. It would help if I knew what I was looking for, but I guess that would take some of the fun away.
Meanwhile, still living in the physical world, with a body and a house and all the things that require tending, I have to be at least a little bit practical about money. I hate that it keeps coming back to that. I would love for money to be a non-issue, and I know I'm not alone there. I know there are blogs that reel in a lot of cash through advertisers. I hope to get to that point. Soon would be good. So far, my pretty, hand-picked list of ads has brought in exactly three dollars and fifty-seven cents. It's a start! But it's not a mortgage payment. So when it was suggested by some online "blogging expert" that adding a donation button is actually socially acceptable in the blogging world, I decided to give it a try.
I'm not totally comfortable with the idea of hinting for money. On the other hand, much of my working life has been spent in jobs where tips were an important part of my income. I have no expectations here, but I'm open to the jingle of virtual change in the tip jar. I spend a lot of time on this every day, and while it's something I'll do even if I don't get paid, I still need to get paid for something. No pressure folks. The last thing I want to do is offend anyone. Like I said, I'll do this for free. That's how much I love it. I have had a couple of very nice donations sent my way, which really flatters and encourages me while it helps keep the electricity on.
Everyone else, please keep reading! That's the most important thing to me--that you come here to read! I have a feeling I'll be finding new ways of piecing together an income. I can't see how that will look yet, but I'm not worried. I live a charmed life, I have friends to cheer me on, and looking below me, I think I can almost see the net.