When I worked for Roger's Jewelry Company in the greater Sacramento area, I had a mentor named Chalo Luna who changed my paradigm and my sense of self. He would give me these great "Chaloisms" to remember.
"There are two types of people in this world: victims and overcomers."
"God gave you two ears and one mouth, so you can do twice as much listening as you do talking."
"Sell with the least amount of information."
"Always gather all of your information before you respond."
"You are either speaking life into people or death into people."
I use all of these Chaloisms daily. The one that resonated the most with me was the victims vs. overcomers statement.
Lately I've been likening my social atmosphere to a song by a now-defunct Austin band called Voxtrot. The song is called "Kid Gloves."
When people greet me, they have this pained look on their faces.
"How are you?.......Are you ok? You've been having the worst year...."
Yes, yes I know that. Thank you for reminding me.
I didn't share my arduous, emotionally tumultuous year with the public so that I could garner pity, or even empathy, from anyone. I shared my story because I'm a completely transparent person and I can't hide things or lie to people. I also shared my life with all of you because there are so many of you that are struggling with the same problems that I faced. Death and divorce are heavy subjects and oftentimes we don't talk about them, or we talk about them to our friends but not to the person that's going thru them.
I also needed an explanation as to why I was late opening my store every day in the last half of 2012 and early 2013, or why someone's quilt wasn't finished on time, or why I wasn't returning anyone's calls, texts, or emails for a short period of time.
I'd like to share a story with you that makes my blankest year look like a cakewalk.
When I managed the Zumiez at the Domain in Austin, I would meet all kinds of interesting people. One day when I was straightening out face-outs and folding tee shirts, two guys walked into my store. Well, one guy walked and one guy wheeled himself into the store.
Now lemme tell you something. If you're a white kid with a Wu Tang tattoo, odds are we're probably going to be friends.
Who is the Wu Tang clan, you may ask? GASP. This is insufferable.
Warning: Grandma Pam, you probably don't want to watch this video.....or do you? I can see Grandma rockin' a do-rag, screaming out TACKOW like Method Man.....no? You don't see it?
Ok, white people, scroll down until you see other white people.
Austin Cogar wheeled into the store with a loud "WASSSSSUUUUUUUP" and that was pretty much the start of our friendship. It turns out we were neighbors.
Thruout the following year, we began to hang out quite regularly. I think when you meet someone that's in a wheelchair, you do this weird social dance- you want to ask questions, but you don't know how it will affect them; you wonder what the proper terminology is to refer to their condition; you wonder what jokes are inappropriate or not.
Austin is the most disarming person you'll ever meet. He breaks down the wheelchair thing and gets past that right away, so that you can have a true friendship. Before you know it you're referring to people as "cripples" and "able-bodies". One day in the beginning, I confessed to him that I felt uncomfortable because I had legs that worked. That's when he told me his story.
Austin was 17 years old and a track superstar. At 6'5", he made jumping hurdles look like an everyday occasion. One weekend after hanging out at a friends house all nite, having fun, he made the short drive home in the middle of the nite. He'd made this drive so many times before, it was no big deal.
Austin fell asleep at the wheel that nite and was in a horrific automobile accident that nearly claimed his life. He was spared, but his spinal cord was severed at an angle at the base of his neck. He was paralyzed from the waist down, with limitations on the movements of his hands. I believe the terminology is paraplegic.
You can't keep a good man down. What does an overcomer do when their entire life is flipped upside down and they end up in a wheelchair?
They play wheelchair rugby.
MY HOMIE IS A BEAST.
Austin entered my life to teach me that when God closes a door, he opens a window. Austin has never once complained about his condition; never uttered an angry word about anyone; never felt sorry for himself. He is my hero and I think about him every time I start feeling sorry for myself.
One nite after he moved to Houston I happened to be there for Market. I came and chilled at his apartment for a while, catching up and petting his dog Roscoe and checking up on his turtle Linus. I confessed to him that I pray for him every nite to have legs that work again.
He gave me the reality talk- that because he's severed at an angle, stem cells ain't gonna cut it. He told me that he is never getting out of the chair.
I still hold out hope, because I'm a forever optimist, and because I know deep in my heart that if there is one person that deserves to walk again, it's my buddy Austin. Austin, if you're reading this, you should know how much I truly love you and your presence in my life has shaped me to be a better person. I thank you for all those chill nites at your house, for feeding me, letting me into your family, and for allowing me to be close to your heart and sharing with me your deepest insides. I love you. I love you. I love you.
It is at this time that I need something from all of you loyal readers.
This is the real talk here.
Divorce and death are two incredibly emotionally and financially draining situations. Lately I've been worried about the possibility of closing Remnants.
I need your patronage now more than I ever have. If you believe in my dream, please patronize my store- take our classes, shop our website
, our clearance section and our remnants. I'm about to do a HUGE overhaul on the online shop, listing even more product that we've had come in recently.
Please help me keep this dream alive and help me to show others that in my deepest, darkest time of my life, I overcame this struggle. I don't want Remnants to be another dream deferred.
Share our Facebook page. Tag me (@jessicakdarling) on instagram and on twitter (@fiber_culture).
Share this blog post.
I ask this of you because I have stayed 8 hours past my store's closing to finish custom quilts for guests going out of town. I've come back to the store after we closed because a guest thought we closed at 7 and drove all the way from Dripping Springs. I've opened my door and my heart to various sewing organizations here in town. I hosted your guild. I discounted my products. I chose to work my store instead of closing it and watching my mom wither away and die. I did all of this for you, not for me---who wants to work a 16-hour day? Who wants to choose fabric over family? I did what I had to do, but not without regret. If the store closes, it would make me feel like I chose Remnants over my mom and made the wrong choice if both were to inevitably die.
If I can do all of these things with (mostly) an open heart and open arms, surely you can help me stay afloat thru this transitional period. Without Remnants, where is the future of modern quilting in Austin?
I am happy to say that our blog has hit 40,000 views this month. To the 40,000 pairs of eyes that laid upon this page- thank you for validating me. Thank you for listening.
When my sister Sammy was born, my mom received a gift from my sister Kelly's 4th grade class. It was a collage of rainbows. At the top of the page, it said "Sammy: give to the world the best you can, and the best will come back to you. "
This is the Horton mantra. We are our mother's daughters.
I am giving my full heart to you, world. Come on, boomerang!
PS Please don't be offended by my love for all things hoodrat. I yam who I yam.