8.15.2015

No more updates (probably. But definitely no more here.)

Blogging has always been really fun for me and this blog has been, at times, a combination of a journal and something I thought might help me as a business/marketing tool. Many people have used blogs (very) successfully and, although I don't crave fame or anything, I, like many artists, love the idea of being able to monetize what I do enough to make a living. I decided a little bit of trying to create an online presence might help me do that if I ever managed to hit that narrow strip between working hard at it and just getting downright lucky enough that some of my online accounts ever took off. Eventually I started to figure that blogging just isn't as populated and easy to break into as I thought. I've always put a ton of creative energy into trying to blog and never accomplished much with it besides the personal satisfaction of seeing a collection of content I'm generally proud of.


Eventually I figured that if I was ever going to make it to the point where I might be able to make a living on art online, I would need to try harder at social media outside of blogging in order to connect with more people. I dabbled on Instagram and Pinterest and Tumblr but have never managed to stick to those. I'm not what you call a natural at social media or self-promotion. I'm also painfully shy online and freak out about interacting with people. I've never even tried Twitter because, where many people seem to get excited by someone responding to them directly and getting tagged or whatever by other people, that's actually my idea of a nightmare. I'd love to have the things I -do- on the internet, I just don't like -myself- to be on the internet, if that makes sense.


Anyway, it's a sea out there, as anyone who blogs or tries to do business online knows. And since I'm just not really interested in any personal attention and just want to not end up as a barista or filing paperwork for a living, I pretty much just want to be able to sell some artwork. Don't get me wrong, it's always great to be able to share something I'm excited by and maybe hear a compliment. I have really liked those couple of times I've interacted with people about what I make and what they make and had a good ol' time and whatnot. But actually "making it" online in terms of sales, or popularity which often leads to sales and opportunities for sales, is a full time job that I'm just not well suited for. My best month in online sales has just, only one time, not been beaten immediately by any live event/art fair/etc. I've ever attended. Even the slow ones blow my online experiences out of the water. I also have way more fun at these events because I get to talk to individuals on a one-on-one basis and have real conversations with people and connect. It's usually only for a few minutes but it feels more real than the connections I've made in a sentence or a hashtag exchange on social media with people.




For all of these reasons, I'm just not going to continue blogging here. It's a lot of effort for what is, essentially, a scrapbook for my own viewing. Trying to network on Instagram/Tumblr/Pinterest etc. is overwhelming to my brainzone and personality type and I just can't handle it when those are the things I must master to make my job work for me and pay some bills. I'm much more capable of handling real life stuff. Sales events, teaching art, in-person retail. So when they're more lucrative and more fun and less stress for me anyway, the math is pretty clear on what I should be doing. That means Etsy is getting emptied/maybe just used as a vehicle for processing custom orders. I'll probably keep up casual blogging/sharing of creative things on Facebook or occasionally take a stab at Instagram or Tumblr, but without a ton of commitment. I'll always happily stay open to custom orders or making sales/shipping online, but it's just not going to be sales that I actively try to generate. I intend to simply create and present a portfolio of my work and if someone wants to reach out and get something online, they can. The rest of my energy left over after creating will go to hauling stock to events and setting up tables. If I ever do want to start blogging again, I will also be putting it on wordpress and will provide a link here if that happens. I will still probably blog at my angry vegetarian cutelunch and bento blog when I'm inspired.

We'd all like to feel useful or appreciated for what we do or what we're passionate about. I guess I'm just saying I get that from meeting people in real time and seeing someone go home with something I made that made them happy. I've come to this decision after many years of going back and forth on why I actually do this. I've done enough of the online game to see how numbers suddenly become meaningless. 100 subscribers felt like a huge milestone. Then I had 1000 and suddenly 300 views on a video felt like an abject failure. One of my videos had 60,000 views and it felt like being royalty. But these days, that's the new 300. It's just too much. It just feels like a race to get more instead of enjoying the process. I just want off that ride, I guess. For many years I felt pressured to get back to video making, because it was the only place I had ever generated any substantial numbers but the truth was I didn't actually enjoy trying to create content that I was being expected to do or needed to do in order to pursue making a living. The last video I created and put up was something I was way more pleased with, but then proceeded to be not at all successful in comparison to my old numbers. For a moment I was stressed about this 'failure' and then I forgot about it. As soon as I stopped caring about if the content I'd shared could help me generate business (or more following that might lead to business) then I just really enjoyed the video. That moment stuck with me as really when I crossed over from talking the talk about doing something for the enjoyment instead of doing it for the payoff to walking that walk. While the internet can be a huge business tool, for me and how I feel right now, I'd rather have it be a joy and keep my business old school.

So.... Considering I've not got a ton of readership in terms of blogging anyway, I doubt anyone will be glaring my direction for this change anyway. And I like that. I have heard that popularity is exhausting and demanding. From the mild success I have experienced, I found them emotionally draining and stressful so I imagine this is very true. I think that Eliza Doolittle said it best (no, the pop singer, not Audrey Hepburn.) "The whole world is trying to be somebody, kicking themselves about what could have been. What's wrong with being a nobody?" As much as I love making art, I see fighting hard for attention for something like civil rights and social equity as a better use of passion anyway. All in all, I'm just clearly not cut out to fight my way to the top of the internet for celebrity and adoration. I just want the world to be a better place and to feel proud of my ability to make a living with my trade.


So, what I'm really saying here is: 


And thanks to AcidBetta for the art and Douglas Adams for the best sign off phrase of all time.







It's been good fun to blog for all these years and I've really been grateful to the people who popped in and tried to show me some support and commented and interacted with me in my little space. And to everyone for supporting me in my sale to raise money for treatment. I'm pleased to update that briefly to just say that I was glad that, at the last moment, it was determined I would not need to undergo surgery to remove my tumor and I've been happily treating myself with daily hormone injections that make a huge difference in my life. Although I'm still in the process of recovering and improving and the shots are cumulatively far more expensive than my surgery would have ever dreamed of being, I'm grateful for my access to affordable health care that allows me to keep pursuing a trade I'm passionate about, instead of seeking money above all just in interest of affording injections and supporting prescriptions. And I'm really grateful to people who shopped in that sale that helped me afford almost 2 months of care until my insurance kicked in. I hope the pieces you bought from me made you as happy as it made me to sell them.


Wishing everyone, very genuinely, the very best and a life filled with what makes them happy and grateful and shit!

TTFN,
Meander

11.03.2014

Care to help me out a bit?



You may, or may not, have noticed that I updated my bio up there on the right side of the screen to reference another blog I call "Confused Cushie". 'Cushie' is a slang term for a person who has Cushing's Disease or Syndrome and, when I started the blog I was 'confused' about whether or not I might have it, I've since been officially diagnosed with Cushing's Disease. Blah! Sucksbummer. Cushing's Disease is most commonly caused by a small tumor on you pituitary gland in the South Pole region of your brain. It's a condition where your body is under a hormonal stress state almost constantly and leads to muscular and bone degradation, severe fatigue, problems sleeping, irritation and extreme emotions, and pretty much a load of crap that makes life suck a lot until you die from heart disease or diabetes complications or get seizures and broken bones and other terrible stuff that Cushing's put you on the path to. It's, essentially, not a ton of fun. I'm very fortunate to have caught my symptoms and gotten a diagnosis before I've progressed to a point of no return and I've been cleared for surgery at any time. I'd really like to get that surgery in order to avoid the aforementioned stuff that blows, as I would very much like to not die.

Unfortunately, I'm already scraping the barrel to try to afford medications and supplements that I can't actually afford and know that, due to the condition being rare, few neurosurgeons have a lot of experience doing pituitary surgery so it appears I may have additional costs for traveling out of state to find a great surgeon on top of all of the expected hospital costs. And that hasn't even gotten into the many months of post-surgery recovery and hormone replacement adventure. Even with insurance, which I don't currently have, but hope to have soon, it's still going to be pretty mind boggling! I know that many people have been touched by some kind of serious disease or condition in their lives, whether personally or through someone they love, so I'm sure lots of people have the misfortune to understand the kind of pressure and stress that comes from knowing you need treatment but wondering how to pay for it. Sometimes I feel almost as stressed out about how I'm supposed to afford treatment as I am that I need treatment at all! It's hard to wrap your mind around really being ill, despite frequently feeling like crap. It's not at all as hard to picture bills though. That part is really easy to wrap my mind around. : )



The Cushing's Awareness Ribbon, made floral style!

I've decided to put everything in my shop on sale in hopes of drumming up a bit more business. I'm hoping to create some new things I've had working in the back of my mind for a while as well that are not floral designs, but still have a rad vibe. If there's a chance I can make some money with my art while saving person who desires said art at a great price, why, I think that could make two people very happy. That/'s what they call a win/win right there, I think!

Over the next couple days I'm going to be restoring expired listings to my Etsy store and over the next couple months I hope to upload new designs and new objects. I'd love if people could remember me whenever they feel that itch for a special treasure or next time they're doing gift shopping. I'd also love if people were willing to spread the word about my shop to someone they think might appreciate it. : )



Click here if you'd like to go to my Etsy!

Thanks so much for checking out my post and for anyone who's willing or able to support my fundraising efforts or to spread the word to someone they think might be interested. I'd love your help to help me help myself. It's a really big help!

Wishing you all well, 
Meander

7.02.2014

Laptop repair!

Just an update here real quick-- A couple weeks ago my laptop had an issue with the charge port and I needed to send it in for repair. However, I also had a last minute (very massive) change in our moving plans for the cross-country move my family and I were scheduled to take... oh... a few days ago. Ehem. That put off sending in my laptop and now I'm here! It's been weeks since my last post. I have some new projects I'd like to put up... A cute negative space pillow I'm halfway through as well as a pride headband I made for the Seattle Pride Parade (which I also had to miss because of these plans :\ but hey, I still made the headband and I'll still share it!)

Without my laptop, I can't really access the pictures from my proper camera so I'll have to wait the five to twenty-five business days for the repair (sob!!! ;....;) and then I'll be back and blogging! (as well as so excited to have my laptop back that I'll snuggle it and never let it go!


Anyway, hope everyone is having a good summer!

--Meander