"So I pull the switch, the switch, the switch, the switch inside my head
and I see black, black, green and brown, brown, brown and blue, yellow, violets, red.
And suddenly a light appears in my brain,
and I think of my ways, think, think of my ways, and know that I have changed."
The dust has settled, the land has been leveled. The store is closed and my entire house looks like a bad episode of Hoarders: Old Lady Edition.
The above lyrics are the most accurate representation of how I currently am feeling about the whole situation.
I took a much-needed week off after Remnants closed and took the first weekend off I'd had in over seven years. My entire young adult life I worked more than full-time. At first I felt extremely guilty for taking the time, because the house was crazy-go-nuts and fabric, boxes, and other miscellaneous quilty items littered every surface. In retrospect, if I hadn't have taken it, I probably would have gone crazy.
I feel like a few months after my mom died, my entire paradigm on life flipped. I think it was the accident in New Mexico that put a lot of feelings into perspective. I have always valued my ability to work; not just to work, but to work hard and long, and to enjoy the work that I'm doing. I've only ever had jobs that I was really passionate about because I knew I had this worker-bee trait ingrained in me from the time I was a small child. I figure, if I'm going to work 60+ hours a week, I may as well be doing what I really love.
I come from a long line of overachievers. My sister Sammy started a hair salon when she was 21 years old. TWENTY ONE. Here I was at TWENTY FIVE thinking that I was so behind in life because I was behind my sister. I have many friends, and many peers, and I don't know a single other person in their early 20's, period, that owned or currently owns a retail store-front business. Not a single one, including all of my college-educated friends that I envied the entire time I was working thru my early adulthood.
Recently, I began to realize that the entire time I owned Remnants I absolutely hated my life. Don't get me wrong--the fabric, the creativity, the social interaction with the sewing community and the amazing friendships I forged all added value to my life. But the stress of inventory control, budgets, never feeling like my store was good enough, or full enough, never feeling like I had enough.....it was slowly killing me.
When I owned Remnants I felt like I wasn't living a valuable life. Stress, anger, resentment and exhaustion were everyday feelings. My eyes were bigger than my stomach and I took on WAY more than I was able to chew. I feel like I had put this invisible force-field of pressure on myself and in doing that, I burnt out without even realizing it, but still felt the pressure to keep on keeping on, thus continuing this vicious cycle of suck. It was stupid.
Shutting the store down was the first honest and self-serving thing I've done for myself in seven years. I've added a value to my life that I never even knew existed: work-life balance. I wasn't really aware of how incredibly depressed and exhausted I was until it was all over. Life was so busy between QuiltCon, Portland Market, running the store everyday, special in-store events all summer, and attempting to stay present in the community, that after it was all said and done, I realized that I still hadn't grieved for my mom, and she passed away in February.
I made the decision to close Remnants as a store-front and to focus on my home studio because I have learned every lesson in life the hard way. Why build a house with rotten wood? Why touch the iron when clearly we know that it is hot? This captain does not go down with the ship.
The value that I now place on my personal rejuvenation and also in my daily needs has been the best lesson I learned from owning the shop. I am starting to set boundaries; sometimes I cannot fulfill a deadline, or decline an invitation to a work-related event. It's a relief to give myself permission to do only what I'm capable of doing, and being satisfied with not being able to do everything all of the time.
It's been almost a month since we closed the doors, and I finally feel like I'm ready to start putting things back together. The Gammill is up and running and computerized quilting has started to happen again. The Millennium is mostly assembled- I plan to put her together this week. No rush.
Putting 4,000 square feet into my portion of a 2,000 square foot house has been......fun. Not really. Do you know when you have such a long, tedious road ahead of you that you just avoid everything and sew instead? Yeah, I do that too. In time, the boxes will all be unpacked, quilting will resume, and life will go on.
I feel healthier and happier than I could have possibly imagined. I love being able to quilt in my underwear. (Sorry if that's an overshare, but it's still pretty awesome.)
Long Island (my peacock from last blog) and I are forging a strong path. It hasn't been exactly as easy as either of us expected- after all, we have coastal opposition. The Pacific and the Atlantic Oceans are so different. There's the Pacific, with its placidity, its crispness and airy tide. Then there's The Atlantic with its rocky crushes of waves. Both of us have sunken ships; our sunken pasts. The way that I see it, when you weather it together, it becomes a perfect storm. We're lightly anchored; we're just riding out the wave. After all, life's a beach, right?
Many of my friends and guests have asked where to find me. I am still quilting as a service! Instead of having a regular storefront, I now rent an office suite where I meet to do pickups and dropoffs. I do all of the quilting out of my house, which is pet-free and smoke-free. The office suite's address is 6448 Hwy 290 E, Suite D107A, Austin TX 78723. I do not keep regular hours there and do all my work by appointment, so please do not show up without calling and setting up an appointment with me! I am excited to get back into the swing of things and am happily quilting away. To set up an appointment, you can call the same number we've always had- 512-821-1511.
As always, I thank you for taking the time out of your day to read this blog and to allow me the opportunity to share my life with all of you. It is an extreme honor to be able to do what I love every day, and to do it for the best community in the world- quilters.