Wednesday, January 8, 2014

A Little Post About Shrinkage

The sum total of today's output (so far). Great oaks from mighty acorns...
My husband tells me that I am an acquired taste...and yes, I am. I'm also not to everyone's taste...but that wasn't always so. Before I became an acquired taste, I was as bland as vanilla ice cream, as palatable as chamomile tea, and probably a lot more well-liked than I am now. Which is not to say that people don't like me...but the more *me* I become, inevitably I seem to be more of an "I don't know about her..." kind of girl. I might take some getting used to. Some people decide they don't like me. And that's okay.

What does that have to do with jewelry? Or the photo above, of the hundreds of tiny metal mosaic pieces I have just cut? Well..a lot, actually...

The very brilliant and perceptive Danielle LaPorte has an excellent post on her blog called, "The Real Reason Some People Are Bad for You" and I utterly agree with her perspective. It's about what we do in response to negativity from others. Go, read it now, and then feel free to share your the meantime, I'll share mine.  :)

This very much touches on the post I wrote here about self-love. I think that if you love yourself, and you're comfortable / happy with who you are, it *does* hurt to shrink. Not that it can't be done from time to time, in order to be graceful, or kind, or considerate of others, yeah, okay, you rein yourself in for a bit. But having to shrink one's self all the time is soul-killing.

And that will also kill a creative's spirit. I can't tell you how many times when people "talk" on some of my online chat groups they post things like, "Well, my husband denigrates my work" or "my family doesn't support me" or "I am not allowed (!!) to do thus-and-such". I have been there, and it's hurtful. It's demoralizing. These women are living small. And I get it (though I hate it); it's hard to live loud and proud when those around you want you to be small...or need for you to be small so that they can feel big. It's a power struggle and the person who shrinks themselves, who denies themselves, loses. Every time.

Now, I'm not saying that every creative should make a career out of what they love. It's risky, it's typically a very up-and-down roller coaster ride of finances, and it requires long, long hours of work to make the creations, then market and sell them. That can be hard on a family. And for every stay-at-home-mom who's "made it" on Etsy or eBay or elsewhere, there are at least a hundred others who don't. Or can't. Sometimes what you love should stay a passionate hobby. You can still create in your downtime from work, on the weekends, when the kids are asleep...there are options for the passionate hobbyist. If you love it, you'll continue to do it, in whatever measure. Unless you are in a relationship(s) where you and your creativity are constantly boxed in, denigrated...shrunken. Then you'll either leave, or give up your passion entirely for as long as you are in that situation.

But sometimes, it becomes more than you expected. My own designing started out as a hobby, and stayed that way, for nearly a decade. In fact, *I* didn't think about turning it into a business; it was Brett who suggested it, and then when I was laid off via a corporate merger in the early aughts, he really pushed me to pursue it. And owning and running my own business has been instrumental in allowing me to stretch and reach and to actually believe in myself (because when things seem impossible, and you're the only person standing up for yourself (because it's your business), you'd damn well better believe in YOU because YOU are the only thing that's going to get you through the rough times). It made me to develop a...shall we say, "stronger" personality so I wouldn't get pushed around. And the stronger part developed into the girl who didn't, who eventually couldn't, just shrink herself and make nice. Instead she stretched and grew and even occasionally roared when she had to. And I think once you do that, and do it long enough that it becomes who you are, you can't go back.

I've been thinking about this a lot lately as I am working on pushing the mosaic creations further, and as I work on creating bolder, bigger designs. The mosaics get a lot of attention; they sometimes even inspire awe (always very gratifying). But they are not for everyone. They're not the "be happy and play nice" of most of my more gemstone-focused designs. The stone-based pieces say, "Mmm! I like color! I'm a little bold! I don't mind asymmetry!" All true. All good. But there are others who want to adorn themselves with something that's really different. People who are comfortable being different. Who don't worry about what the rest of us think about them. The people who, as Wayne Dyer might say, have broken "from the tribe" and are forging their own paths.

Those are the people I find fascinating. The ones I strive to learn from. The ones I want to design for. They're living life on their own terms and yeah, that might not be to everyone's taste. They might have to grow on you...or maybe they won't. But they don't shrink and they don't worry about being sounds kind of nice, doesn't it?

I want the mosaic designs to be like that. Bold. You might have to consider them, get used to the idea. They might be an acquired taste...and that's totally okay.

As bold as I've far. 

So all those little tiny bits of sterling in the photo above? They're just waiting to become something daring and different and wonderful. And to go to a good home with someone who appreciates their unique-ness.  :) 

Don't shrink yourself. For anyone. Expand, grow, emerge, bloom!  You won't regret it!


  1. I LOVE this blog! I'm finally breaking free from "shrinking" myself. Thank you! I love the idea of the mosaic pieces. As a curvy girl both literally & figuratively I prefer creativity without pointy corners. :) Bless you!

  2. Hey Jennifer, I'm so glad to hear that you are stretching and's a never-ending process. :) "creativity without pointy corners" - that's brilliant and it may show up in a future blog post. Hope all is well with you and the family!