Five things I’ve learned about myself since breaking my hand

My view for the next three weeks.  The surgeon could only put in one screw - when he looked at the x-rays, he saw it was a spiral fracture. When he got in there in the surgery, he saw that parts he thought were whole, had been shattered. They were very clSo, surgery is over (and my big fear was being given something I’m allergic to while under, and not being able to speak up for my allergies – so big thanks to the anesthesiologist who knew that what they were going to give me to relax me before putting me under contained lecithin, from eggs, and he got me something else instead) and the ten or so days of heavy pain meds are over (I think I slept more that week than I did then entire month of May) and the doctor is so thrilled with how my bones are healing that next week he’ll discuss when I can get my cast off.

So, things are looking up! But I did have a lot of time (too much time) for introspection and you know what that means… Navel Gazing! Here are five things that have come to my attention in the last almost-three weeks.

1. I’m not as positive or upbeat as I think I am. Man, talk about your attacks of doom and gloom! All I could think about was how I couldn’t do what I could normally do; couldn’t handwash the dishes (we don’t have a dishwasher, I can’t get my cast wet, and I can’t wear those yellow gloves over my cast)… couldn’t drive myself anywhere (you do NOT want to be behind the wheel with a head full of Oxy)… couldn’t knit, spin, handbuild, throw, weave, paint, or dye yarn – basically, all the crafty things that are who I am. All of this didn’t make me depressed as much as angry and bitchy, and I felt futile and useless. I’m feeling a LOT better now, but holy fuck, where did all that negativity come from? Did it spill out of my broken bone? Is that what bones are made of? Negativity?

2. I’m not as nice or as generous as I think I am. For the last few days before the surgery – especially on the weekend when friends came out to help with the fence and to move some heavy things around, all I could think about was all the times I hadn’t helped friends when they’d needed it; all the times I was too busy (like I couldn’t put off work), or already had plans (unimportant ones that could totally have been rescheduled), or times I knew they needed help but they hadn’t asked so I didn’t volunteer. Now I want to do better. Now I want to be that person who is always there, always with a smile and a helpful hand, always dependable.

I was walking the girls this morning and when we came around the house to come up the back deck, there was a tortoise. I got a picture (and a little video but I think I lost it) and we waited for him to go past... except he stopped. So I pulled the girls3. I have more fear than I think I do. I am now afraid of breaking another bone, afraid of my own fragility. I’ve never been afraid of being dead but I am afraid of pain and afraid of being useless. I’m stupidly afraid of what didn’t happen but might have – what if I’d lost the finger? (I know the best thing to do would be to grab the finger and get it on ice and call 911, but in shock, what if I let go of the dogs outside and they ran off? Or what if in shock I stupidly tried to get the dogs in the house and separated before calling 911? What if I bled to death before I could do anything? It’s beyond pointless to dwell on what DIDN’T happen, but my brain wouldn’t shut up about it last week.) And now I’m afraid of what’s going to happen the next time the dogs fight — OK, I’ve been afraid of that since the very first fight came out of nowhere. I’m not a fan of fear. I’ve always been a fan of facing fear, giving it the finger, and going on about your business. All this fear needs to get the fuck out.

4. I should maybe stop reading business blogs and joining business women’s groups on Facebook. I spent some of my down time catching up on some Facebook group reading. There are some things I feel I need help with (organization and scheduling techniques, that sort of thing), or sometimes just want to vent (why does everyone want to buy something when I show an in-progress photo but then when the item goes up for sale I get nothing but crickets?), and rather than friends, groups of other women in (roughly) the same boat as I am is a great place to do that. (Not that friends aren’t awesome, but sometimes you want feedback from someone who doesn’t have a dog in your fight.) But it seems that every time I find a group and start in with discussions, within a few months the talk always turns to how to wholesale and get your product into more stores, and when/how to hire people. Why? Why isn’t being happy with where you are, enough? Yes, I want to bring in new designs, but not keep making everything I have ever made, forever and ever! I want to let go of the old in order to bring in the new. Yes, I want to find more effective places to advertise, but not at the expense of sending something to a Famous Blogger and having them write about how fabulous my one item is, so that I wind up with 14 months of backorders for one specific item (trust me, from experience, that’s worse than it sounds, that much interest in one product when you make hundreds). And every time I mention that really, I’m kind of happy where I am right now and I don’t really want to get bigger and hire minions and be responsible for paying other people on a regular basis… I get asked… “why? why don’t you want to grow?”… and I’m getting tired of saying that I primarily make one of a kind items and/or I don’t want my babies for sale on a shelf at WalMart. But why does this make me feel as if I’m the weird one? Why isn’t it weird to want to get so big that your hands are no longer touching the product you used to love to make? Why isn’t it weird to want to put your name on something someone else makes in your name? I’ve even been told that if that’s how I feel, then I’m not running a business, that I’m not a business owner. That I’m self-employed, sure, but I’m not a business. What. The. Fuck. I give up, women’s business groups. I give up.

That Poor Man taking the girls on an evening constitutional. Will the fence get finished this weekend...? Stay tuned to find out! #dogsofinstagram5. I’m lucky. I have amazing, generous, sincere friends who know when to hold my hand (not the broken one) and when to heal my heart with gallows humor. I didn’t lose my finger, and in fact, the doctor is so thrilled with how well I’m healing, next week we’re going to talk about cast removal already! I didn’t have a fracture that broke the skin (trust me, DO NOT IMAGE SEARCH “open fracture” oh my god, my eyes). I have to take a work break and things are slow, but sales are actually a little better than they were in April (and I have some ideas for blog posts and advertisements for things that are still in stock so hopefully the lull won’t be so bad I have to go out and find a real Job – would’t THAT be ironic?!). I have a husband who’s been a right trooper through all of this, even though he’s got a huge presentation coming up at work, and we haven’t been able to even finish moving, let alone start renovating our other house to sell. I have a roof over my head and food to eat and a car that runs, and that’s more than a lot of people have. I didn’t get addicted to my painkillers and I’m not fighting soul-crushing depression, although I know people who have long battled both and their struggles hurt me in my heart. I’m not getting shot at because of the color of my skin, and I haven’t had family members or loved ones lost to police brutality or domestic terrorism. Overall, I am lucky, and my problems are what the hashtag users on Facebook would call #firstworldproblems. June might not be turning out to be the best of months, but when I see how it stacks up to others, it’s not the worst, either.

I am not afraid of storms #louisamayalcott

6 comments

  1. What you did in that last point, reminding yourself about all the good things you do have, really helps me keep perspective when things are feeling shitty. Hope you feel better soon!

  2. Believe me, you are so much better off knowing yourself well enough to stay where you are with your business. I’m in the process of finding a new job because I work for an etsy shop that didn’t know when to say “enough is enough” and grew way too fast when they are waaay too disorganized to handle that. I’d personally rather stay small than take on more stress and repetitive sewing than I can handle. So kudos to you!

    • Wordy McWordyPants! I’d rather stay small than be overwhelmed and drop the ball on things (and then risk being the boss who can’t pay the bills or the workers). And I started this journey because I didn’t want to work in a traditional setting… so why should I then become the one in charge of a traditional setting?! I’m glad someone understands!

  3. However; you make it really REALLY easy for me to accept your generosity to me. If you hadn’t opened your home and hearth to me over the holidays; you and your sister Sharon, i might have stuck the knife in my throat. K ? ok.

  4. I don’t think I know anyone more generous than you. I know a couple of people who are close, but you’re the gold standard.

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