Building my Way Back One Day at a Time
This year has been something I struggle to even put into words. I can tell you that because it has taken me days to even write this post. This year I lost my home, my pets, my comfort, my shop and even parts of myself in all of it. There were many days I really didn't know how to get any of it back or if I even wanted any of it back. I lost so much of myself I started to question every decision I was making or even if I had it in me to rebuild. Everyone expected it and was curious and I thought to myself for a long time that this era of my life was never going to be able to be rebuilt. I had spent 10 years getting my business to the place it was at and just like that it was crumbled to the ground.
I remember the excitement the first time I opened my shop doors and how proud I was of the accomplishment. I pivoted my original idea but I kept going and was extremely proud of what I build out of $50 and a dream. Then it all came crashing to the ground. I was trying desperately to function while I was living working and loving my kids from my once open door studio space. I made the extremely hard and jarring choice to leave it behind. I didn't really have a choice at that point but I packed up everything that I had worked a decade for into a trailer and to a storage unit.
I kept trying really hard to keep going and keep the business a float and support our customers but honestly I saw myself failing over and over again because my whole world was on fire and I was putting out that fire with a spray bottle. I wasn't being the mom I needed to be the business owner my customers knew and expected and I was running myself dry. I was adjusting to life as a solo mom while trying to rebuild the life I left behind for the kids. There were days it was all too heavy even my “one day at a time” motto became “one hour at a time”. I finally realized I just couldn't do it all seamlessly like I once could and had to take a break.
Taking that break was honestly one of the best things I could have done for my life. I knew in a way I was disappointing people but If I continued to burn the candle at both ends it would burn out. It allowed me to grieve the shop and life I had left behind and actually gave me space to think about the future of the business and myself.
I found a dream piece of property and against legitimately every single odd and many many months of paperwork the place became mine. My parents were a huge part of making this happen for all of us ( because divorce is terrible and extremely messy). I struggled with accepting help and honestly I felt ashamed of it but a friend recently told me that I have worked my whole life creating my people and my safety net and I'm extremely lucky to have loving supportive parents and that one day I will return the favors that so many people are doing for me right now and honestly that helped me realize its okay to accept help when you need it.
Once we got the house (which was only a few weeks ago) It was finally a sense of stability and calm for all of us and gave me the feeling of home and clarity to look to the future. We planned on making a similar space in the garage that I did before but once we got into the house it was in much worse shape that I thought. I thought that was it for the shop because the thought of another garage gut job and $20,000 renovation wasn't something I could do. I honestly didn't know what to do - Make shirts on my kitchen table, close up the shop, outsource, rent a space. I wasn't ready for any of those things, then I was driving my kids to school one morning and I saw a builder and stopped in and asked about a studio shed. It was in my price range and I thought to myself I can have an adorable little studio and not everything has to be perfect right away.
Can I afford to completely finish the space right away no. Do I have the time and energy and resources to make it exactly what I want it to be, no. But can I rebuild …. YES and I'm doing it. We may be running off of an extension cord for a little while and there may not be every little perfect thing but she's here and she's mine and I can finally create and feel like a piece of me is restored in this shop.
I also know that things will look a bit different and I'm only one person so open studios will be once a month to start and the website will be slower with updates but “one day at a time”. I hope you all venture to the hill and come visit and support the new studio, check out Amish country, stop by antique stores and cheese factories and stop by for a visit.
Our first open studio and “un-grand” opening will be May 27th 10:00-4:00. Nothing grand about it, Just the studio and me and as much as I can get done. Studio Address 6715 Bailey Hill Rd Cattaraugus NY 14719.
Thanks for sticking with me on this long journey