Saturday, January 30, 2021

I am a Magic Maker

We're one month into the new year and as a gift to myself, I'm getting some stuff off my chest and leaving it in 2020.  It's time for some real talk- some deep, personal talk.  I've been working on this post for the past few weeks and I think I'm finally ready to release it out into the world.  Honestly, I'm a little bit scared, but here goes... 

Ever since I left my "real" job back in August of 2018, I've struggled to adjust to being self-employed full time and with working from home.  I don't have any regrets; this was the right decision for me.  At times, I've seriously questioned my decision; but overall, I'm happy with my choices.  Working from home is what I've always wanted to do.

Something that I've learned is that working from home and working for yourself isn't all it's cracked up to be.  I've had a hard time finding the balance between work and my personal life.  That's part of the reason that I made my decision to leave my job after all.  It's harder to separate the two when your business is in your home.  I have to make conscious efforts to separate the two when necessary.

Working from home has also presented it's own challenges.  It can be hard to focus and to have good time management when there are tons of distractions all around you at home.  That's part of the reason that I'm trying to use my new Disney Princess Planners.  I'm hoping that they will help keep me more organized and on a schedule.

Don't get me wrong, working from home and for yourself is the dream.  I don't want to sound like I'm complaining because I know that I've got it good.  I truly enjoy being my own boss and being able to make business decisions.  It sounds great- and it is- but it's also hard.  When you're the boss, you are the only one to blame when things go wrong.  You're also the one celebrating when things are awesome.  It's a mixed bag.

The worst thing for me personally has been worrying too much about what others think of me.  In most regards, I couldn't care less about what someone thinks about me.  I've moved past that phase of my life.  However, in situations regarding our businesses, I'm a lot more sensitive.  This is my baby, my soul, my art.  Each thing we make with care and love- each product feels like it has a small piece of my heart.

In regards to our businesses, I feel like I've been unintentionally bullied.  And it hurts.

It began when Eliot and I started to have to defend ourselves and our business.  I was so excited about Happily Ever Hatter and our success, but when I told others, I found many to be very skeptical.  I found myself defending our business to patients at my chiropractic office.  Eliot had a lot of similar situations with his co-workers.  I tried to laugh it off and say that you'd be surprised by how much we were making.  Mouse ears are profitable business.  Eliot told people they could laugh all they wanted to and that we were laughing all the way to the bank.  But it still hurt.

The reality was that we were making a lot of money... to the tune of five figures.  The year I left my job, we made more money for our business than I was making at my part time job- the job where my job titles were office manager, chiropractic assistant and receptionist.  When we realized how much money we were making, and how much time the business was taking up, that's when it suddenly made sense for me to work at home.  We barely had time for our personal lives because both Eliot and I were always working all the time between our "real jobs" and Happily Ever Hatter.

I was so proud when I left my chiropractic job to pursue working on Happily Ever Hatter full time.  My boss was so happy for me. The other doctors were also supportive and cheered me on.  I got so many well wishes from patients before I left.  Some were still skeptical, but most of them were happy for me because it was clear how happy I was about it.  My dream of working for myself was actually coming true!

And most people have been wonderful about it.  My travel agent friends have been amazingly supportive both in purchasing ears from us and with sharing and liking our social media posts.  I have friends from high school and college who comment and cheer me on as well.  It's wonderful to feel so supported.  However, not everyone has had a great reaction.  Some people just don't "get it" and that's been hard for me.  You would think people would be happy because I'm happy, but life isn't as simple as that.

I can usually tell when someone thinks I'm full of crap or insane.  When I finally went to get my hair cut back in July, I mentioned that I worked at home so I was hardly leaving the house.  The hair stylist asked what I did and I told her.  I was met with a bunch of questions, but they weren't the genuinely curious kind; they were the skeptical kind.  I proceeded to spend the rest of my hair appointment defending myself, our products and our businesses.  Then, I left the hair salon humiliated and hurt.

However, as hurtful as that experience was, it doesn't compare to when people who I care about make comments.  Some of my own family members have made hurtful comments.  Last year, someone who I've always trusted and have held in great respect told my mother that "all she cares about is Disney."  It's not that the statement was completely absurd; Eliot and I do have a great love of Disney.  What hurt was that the words themselves were meant to cause pain.  They were said as if Disney was more important to me than my family.  As if I was being a petulant child that's lost in a world of make believe versus the real world.  And those words cut into me deeply.

Words matter.  I can sit here and recite 'sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me' and all that... but the reality is that words can really impact someone and how they value themselves and their self-worth.

Here's where the truth talk comes into play... I was depressed for the majority of 2019 and for a good portion of 2020.  I silently struggled with my emotions and feelings and didn't let anyone else in.  I think Eliot intuitively knew something was wrong with me.  I hinted at it with a few family members, but I didn't come out and say it.  Each person had a tiny piece of my truth without me fully letting any one person inside my walls.  

It was a battle.  At times, I didn't even know what my purpose on Earth was anymore.  I struggled with finding meaning in my life.  Why did I get out of bed each day?  No one thinks that I do anything anyways, so why bother?  I went through an endless loop of hopelessness, desperation and self pity.  Each time I'd finally feel better about myself, someone would make a comment, or something would happen and I'd spiral again.

2020 sucked for everyone, but for me, it provided some much needed perspective.  I slowly found my way out of the hole I was in.  Suddenly, during quarantine people were talking about being lonely and that being ok.  It was ok to be depressed and to have feelings of hopelessness.  Mental health was something that we all were suddenly aware of and talking about... and that made me feel less alone.

After spending months at home, people saw the value in the arts.  Artists and creators were the people that helped get us through quarantine, similarly to how the essential workers, doctors and nurses were the ones getting us through the pandemic.  People were looking for the small pieces of magic in their everyday life.  

Somewhere along the way, right in the middle of quarantining during a pandemic, I had discovered my purpose.  I reaffirmed the value in my creative talents.  I've always been proud of them, but that was suddenly reignited.  I'd found meaning in my life again.

You may recall that in my 2021 Disney Goals post, I declared that my 2021 word of the year was PURPOSE.  It took a bit of a brainstorming session to arrive at that point, but once I found it, that was the only word that even remotely made sense.  

The word purpose has two meanings.  As a noun, it means "the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists."  As a verb, it also means "One's intention or objective."  Both of those definitions spoke to me.  As I mentioned in my goal post, the word has a special meaning to me.

The reason "purpose" means so much to me, is that for a time, I'd lost mine.  I was alone in the darkness- partaking in an unwanted silent battle.  It was a struggle, but somehow I made it through, reentered the light and I found my purpose again.

About a month and a half ago, right when Eliot and I were in the last hours of our busy holiday season, I came to a revelation.  We were right in the middle of it.  There were mouse ear and desk accessory orders all over our dining and living room... and piles of shipping labels, boxes and packaging supplies everywhere.  We had slept all sorts of weird hours.  That particular day, I'd literally only seen two hours of daylight in between sleep and taking a really long nap most of the afternoon while Eliot was at work.

However, instead of feeling irritated, tired, annoyed or in despair, I was happy.  I even stopped in my tracks for a minute to acknowledge and watch the beautiful colors of the sunset.  As I sat back down to go back to work and get us organized for what needed to be done that evening, I felt thankful.  I was grateful that we were working so hard- and we were so busy completing orders... grateful that in the middle of a world wide pandemic when people were struggling, Eliot and I still had many orders to fill.

Even though 2020 sucked for everyone, I finally felt like I'd found myself again.  Eliot and I busted our butts over those last few weeks before the shipping deadline.  We were able to send out our products and make peoples' Christmas morning a little more magical.  Our little handmade treasures were going to make someone else's day a bit better.  That small piece of my heart crafted with care and love was going to live with it's new owner.  And after the year we'd all had, in that moment, I couldn't think of anything else that I'd rather be doing than giving others the gift of magic and joy.

I've rediscovered the reason I'm here on Earth.  I know what I need to do in order to fill my own cup, and more importantly, I'm ok with it.  I don't really give a darn what people think of me.  Love me or hate me, I'm here to live my life for me- not anyone else- and I'm going to do whatever makes me happy.

Yes, I still care what people think of our businesses- they are like my children- but I'm working on being less sensitive about it.  I've come to the conclusion that some people don't "get it" and they never will.  It's not my mission in life for them to get it.  Plus, I'm trying to remind myself that some people who are critical are probably ticked off that I'm working at home, for myself, selling handmade items.  I'm only 36 and I'm living out my dream, and some people are probably jealous of that fact.  Like Taylor Swift sang, "the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate" and I need to "shake it off."  And I am.

This year, I'm focusing on taking more time for myself.  I'm making time to create, to craft, to read, to learn and making time for self-care.  Most importantly, I know that I need a dog.  I've always known that pets are therapeutic, but I finally came to the conclusion that I don't just want one, I need one.  As I've mentioned before, Eliot and I are planning to get two puppies sometime this year.  I'm really looking forward to that.

As I look ahead into the rest of 2021, and beyond, I'm doing so with purpose.

What is my purpose?  I am a Magic Maker.  

I'm proud of my job.  I'm proud of the businesses and products that I painstakingly created and nurtured over the past seven years.  I'm proud of the time and effort Eliot and I have put into them.  Right now, our businesses are our children- and I'm proud of how much they've grown.  I'm proud, humbled and incredibly honored that people entrust us to create special treasures for them and their loved ones.  I am proud about what I do for others through our businesses.  And no one can take that away from me.

I'm creative and I like to make things.  It's what I'm most passionate about.  I'm always thinking of a new product to make for our shops, or new decor or artwork to create for our house.  There's nothing wrong with that or with me for wanting to do that.

I've found my purpose.  I am a Magic Maker.  I'm here on Earth to spread magic and joy to others... and I can't think of anything else that I'd rather be doing.  °o°


  1. You are a Magic Maker and a darn good one! Just continue to be and do what makes you feel happy...(jv)

    1. Thank you so much JV! I appreciate you and your comments so much! This post was an emotional labor of love, but I did it for myself. Now, over a month later, I can say that I'm feeling better than ever about where I am and what I'm doing. It's a blessing to be in this place after everything that's happened.