Sometimes a series of events come together in a way that lets you see a situation so clearly as to make your next move easier. Perhaps not less painful but easier all the same.
I am a big fan of Brené Brown, I have all of her books, both hard copy and audio- I am hardcore. If you don’t know Brene, she is a Grounded Theory researcher who has a focus on shame, and our stories of belonging. Her stuff is remarkable and I suggest buying the books and a pen and marking up her books with all your thoughts and feelings as you read. If for some reason you feel nothing as you read I suspect you might have “the emotional range of a teaspoon”, to quote Hermione Granger from Harry Potter.. and you might want to seek some help with that. More on Brene in a bit…..
Anyway…. So I have been struggling of late. It has been quite the year. In fact one year ago this week we said goodbye to SPOOL, we had moved through the stress of the previous months of our grandson being born prematurely and it seems as I was approaching my 50th birthday (this coming January, gifts welcome!) things were brewing to a head literally in my head and in my body. Lots of physical things, bum shoulder, Baker’s cyst, blown veins, autoimmune issues and now a cluster of what-nots in my thyroid (yeah that sucks).
But past all those things my tolerance for a lot of things has dropped to an all time low, as I am want to say ~ my give-a-fuck ~ seems to be broken. My friends who have passed over this 50 year bridge tell me that it is a fine time to see what else life holds and it seems that I am going to be doing just that.
During this BadAss Quilter journey I have been so blessed to work some amazing creatives and companies. If you have seen their name here on the blog you can know that I think mostly highly of them and that I will continue to do so and even work with them a bit. So while I am not going away I am going to be switching gears and looking for more fulfillment than an industry that is really struggling and yet also keeps tightening the noose around it’s own neck like a damn fool.
While BAQS is personally fulfilling it also needs to pay the bills as well as let me be generous with my time and money and that is just not happening with many companies (those you don’t see here) telling me that while they “like me a lot personally” they can’t have me work with their company since my BAQS brand is offensive to their core customer. Or even better companies that do come to me and want me to work for free so they can “expose me”.. ( I can expose myself, thank you very much!) Both of these things are hard in their own way for sure.
So this leads me back to Brene… as I was listening to her newest book she spoke about how one company wanted her to eliminate her references to her faith in her talk and yet another chided her about her use of somewhat colorful language at times, both requesting that she “put a cap on it” to be allowed to work with them…. She spoke about how this made her feel ( que the personal shame monolog) and reflected about how the most important times of our lives…the things that really change us usually include no short measure of “cussin and prayin” and that is just who she was and that both organizations where going to have to find someone else to speak since she was no longer going to twist herself to be who they needed her to be.
This small exchange was like a profound jolt to me since for the past 6 months I had been nursing a burr under my saddle from when I checked in for a two speaking events at Spring Quilt Market and was delivered the direct message that I was going to have to “watch my mouth and not drop any F-bombs during my presentations” or I would no longer be welcome to speak there. At the time I was so shocked that I said nothing and honestly I am not sure I have ever done a professional presentation when I have dropped the “f-bomb” no matter how many times I might have typed out the word FUCK on my very own blog. They had hired me and then wanted me to change in order to be worthy of them… and I am just not alright with that anymore. There are a lot of other people out there who are willing to bend, willing to keep their personal mouths shut in the face of some really awful stuff, and to watch this industry do it’s level best to exclude and silence people of color, those of non-binary sexuality and those who just don’t fit their norm, but I am not one of them, but understand why many feel the need to put on this mask to stay employed. Masks make me hyperventilate, can’t do it.
The truth is that I never have been one to take shit but have tried like hell to keep the BAQS brand and it’s flavor of BadAss support open and accessible to all who need it while also making sure it helped put bacon on the table. Now the truth is that I am so very-very lucky. I have a most amazing husband who takes wonderful care of our family and it allows me to the latitude and comfort to try things even when they are crazy like “creating a quilting brand that supports diversity and BadAss openness” but putting 40-60 hours a week into something for more than 6 years to have it only just holding it’s own and maybe not so much is no longer going to cut it.
Honestly I am not quite sure what is next, but I was totally honest about those BadAss sweatshirts and gear being the last offering of the year. I am not closing the FB page or the blog at least for now. You are my community, you are my friends, you are my BadAss people, thank you for loving me and each being BadAss in your very own way.
p.s. Brene if you are ever reading this….. Thank you for the courage.