A little bit of life, love, and artisan jewelry but mostly the

Home of the Confused Muse..

Where you will find the meadering thoughts of an actively artistic brain - as well as my latest creations, events, soapboxes, dramas, crisis, blessings, and life in general.

This is also the home of "ChrissyMarie Jewelry and Accessories", named for my daughter! Twenty-Five Percent of all sales from this line are donated to B.I.T.S. aka "Better in the Saddle", a local non-profit Equine Assisted Therapy Program ....because we KNOW horses help make miracles!


June 18, 2010

A Life without Jewelry...is it even possible for me?

I've been wondering for a while if I should take a little time off from jewelry design. So I made a list of "pros" and "cons"...

Pros: Time to get my house in order, organize my files, spend more time with my family, write about non-jewelry subjects. Spend much needed time taking care of ME (Doctor's orders), My dear husband, and my Dear Daughter. Try NEW things! Spend more time playing with my dogs.(I have one, a rescue, who doesn't know how to play. We need to teach her!) De clutter my life....the list goes on and on.

Cons: Lost sales, loss of "my place" in the jewelry community, loss of my Identity as a creative jewelry designer, less stress, less paperwork, less pressure to keep up with my creative friends.

The Con list is short but that doesn't mean it's less important. I've worked hard to create a small following of loyal clients both online and locally. I'm afraid to walk away, even for a little while from this passion and my "jewelry identity". It is still fairly new to me and very precious.  I spent 45 years as a "left brainer" with a Type A personality.  This new version of me - the one since my brain injury - is the "right brainer" and I'm still getting used to the "new Adrienne". How do I find the courage to just walk away?

The real question here is "How long can I continue to run this business without sacrificing my health and home?" The second,  a nagging presence in the back of my mind.... "Is this what I'm supposed to be doing right now?" What is God's plan for my life in this moment in time? I need to find out.

Something has to give. I'm afraid my Muse is getting rather bored and even a little rusty! It seems I spend more time working on the "business stuff"...you know, taxes, paperwork, photographing my work, writing up descriptions, and filing, filing, filing! The creative, fun, therapeutic side of my art has been lost in the business. My Muse is feeling neglected and ignored. I used to spend so much time playing with my designs, enjoying the creative process, learning new techniques. I literally dreamed up jewelry designs in my sleep! Making jewelry was and is a healing process for me. It's the "selling jewelry" portion of this business I dread and deplore.

Having looked carefully at my lists I have been thinking a sabbatical from the rat race of photographing, listing, selling, mailing, figuring out fees would be good for me. I had planned to start the new year way back in January with a fresh new logo, and lots of brand new listings, networking and advertising galore. Then...

Life got really big in my house. In the fall just before the holidays my body just hit "the wall", a term my husband uses quite often. The side effects of a Mild Traumatic Brain Injury, Fibromyalgia, a severe Vitamin D Deficiency and Chronic infections caught up and dragged me down. Just surviving the holidays was a great accomplishment! Sales were pathetic because advertising, listing, and networking was under par. My bad.

In March, just as I was beginning to regain a little energy, my daughter was badly burned in a cooking accident at home. I launched myself into cleaning wounds and changing bandages. Although she recovered much faster than anyone predicted and I am so very grateful for that gift, physically I was back in the same worn down condition.

April came and I thought Spring would provide lift and inspiration! It did provide inspiration. Unfortunately I developed terrible pain in my legs, back and pelvic regions. I couldn't walk! Finally I gave in and went to the Emergency Room only to be admitted for a battery of tests that resulted in few answers. Bone loss, bulging disks in my spine, and arthritis have taken hold. I spent a couple of weeks on ice packs and pain pills then decided I was too darned young to be benched on the sidelines of my own life.

Then it was discovered my husband is also a Traumatic Brain Injury Survivor!  The cause of his injury occurred before we met and the symptoms had always been there, we just were not able to recognize them for what they were. I was so efficient in handling the details, organizing, and running the family we didn't realize he had lost the ability to do those things until I no longer could.  Our lives began to fall apart and I couldn't understand why.  Now I "get it"!  He is just like me :)  Although I'm glad we finally know and understand the "why" we now have to figure out the "how" of managing a home with three brain injured adults living under the same roof. Can you say S-T-R-E-S-S!?  LOL!

A serendipitous opportunity came my way! My daughter, a former disabled rider in a local Equine Assisted Therapy Program was asked to assist our friend Pat with an experimental program. They needed her assistance with the horses. While speaking with Pat, a NAHRA certified instructor and horse owner, I found that he was offering this therapy program at no expense to three riders he would choose to participate. He would use his own well trained horses, on his property, and he would be the only instructor. The riders would spend as much time riding during the month of May as possible. The reason for this experiment was to find the answer to one question...Would riding a therapy horse more often and for longer periods of time be more beneficial to the handicapped or disabled riders? Most programs offer clients/riders one therapy session per week lasting approximately twenty to thirty minutes. We've all heard "less is more" but it is true in this situation? Maybe "more is better" in the world of Equine Therapy.
Pat's theory had even captured the attention of local hospitals and therapists. He and I were working out the details of Chrissy's volunteer time..what days he would need her help, how many hours per day, etc. when I asked him how many riders he had lined up. He told me he had two riders lined up but was looking for another. The two were both children with different forms of Autism. The mothers of the children would be required to keep a daily journal of the progress or problems they would observe during this experiment.

I really don't know what made me do it but I suddenly asked if he would consider taking on an adult rider with multiple issues....me. After a moment of surprised consideration he agreed. It would be interesting to see the benefits or problems I would experience with my own physical and mental challenges and it would be interesting to get the responses directly from the "rider" rather than from the mother's point of view. As an adult I could voice my own feelings, fears, opinions and progress - something that had yet to be considered.

After committing to the month long program I realized I was TERRIFIED! I wasn't comfortable around horses, hadn't ridden since I was just a small child, and started to question whether I could even handle the riding exercises in my physical condition. I almost chickened out but Pat wouldn't let me and neither would my daughter!

So, in the end, I guess the decision was made for me. I would take a short break from my business for the month of May 2010 to experience something new. We'll see how I feel at the end of this experience. It's possible I will be ready to jump back into my business...or not. I may discover freedom in stepping forward to try something new and relief in taking a step back from the "normal",

I'll keep you posted. In the meantime I won't be listing new products, or taking new orders. I'll be listening to my inner spirit and hopefully discovering new inspiration. See you soon!

(Note: I originally posted this a few weeks ago but somehow managed to post it to a different page. If you've read my post Meeting Boo...the first day of riding you have already seen the first post about the actual experience. Have I confused you completely? If so, I completely understand :) The important thing is that you understand...this post should have come first. After you read it you may want to click on the link and read about my first experience with riding Boo......)


Nicki said...

I am closely following to see how this wonderful story continues....

Carassia said...

"benched on the sidelines of my own life"... wonderful words for an ugly condition! - Just discovered your blog (I am faaaast, huh? LOL) and keep following breathlessly!
Hang in there - your place in the jewelry community won't be lost at all, no matter how long any sabbatical would be ;-)