Meeting Expectations

Week after week I sent out emails and heard nothing….sold nothing….taught nothing and by the end of December, in a tantrum, left social media and did nothing. Meeting my expectations of failure.

Previous “calls to action”, for sales, were met with crickets OR someone dropping off my email list. A sad state to be sure. There were even crickets when I offered to come to *your* home and teach a class or show and sell my work…. GAH!

Among many thoughts, there was one belief that I seemed to hold on to:  “See, I’m not good enough.” Even work I was selling for 50% off – which I never do – stays posted to the site, unloved to this day.  *boo hoo*

Logically, I know, my work is not for everyone. And “I must not be good at anything”.

There is that wonderment too, “did people who liked my posts . . . said out loud in the store….lie, when they said they loved my work?” Those that ‘heart’ a post in Instagram, were just mindlessly double tapping?

It’s not like *I* never lie. I lie all the time. I say I’m “fine” when I’m not, I still get “sick” to avoid social interactions/gatherings, I still use the “check is in the mail” line with bill collectors . . . I mean do they really wanna hear the story of how I got in the fix I’m in?!

Some how, some lies feel like I’m “saving people from my drama”.  My life does feel dramatic at times.  Those same, seemingly innocuous lies, have cost me dearly through my resistance to reach out for help. Other times, it’s felt like reaching out for help is just “here we go again, Delia, with your drama”. Other times, I have these exasperated thoughts of, “It’s not like I have nothing to give in return . . . they must not really like the work.”  I dunno where the balance is, or if there is one.

Long ago, I decided to be as “authentic” as I could be. Avoiding ‘tantrum/desperation speak’, I frequently tell y’all, what’s really on my mind and how things are going. I have a pretty Popeye take on that . . . ‘I am what I am’. It’s been suggested that I’m too TMI. I’m unsure of the balance there, as well.

I do know know that I don’t enjoy lying or pretending any more. I am an Empath and an Intuitive . . . it’s not good for me.

My messaging of late, has been pretty clear. I am a jewelry artist and metal clay arts instructor. Even with forays into Lyft driving….THIS is what I do for a living. THIS…..this making and teaching thing….it’s how I keep the lights on, food on the table, the internet working, the pets fed, keep my car….and occasionally get new underwear. You can ask me about the pitfalls of Lyft driving if you’d like, and I’ve been out of the “job” market since 2002.

I’m good at it . . . making and teaching I mean  . . . ”but am I really?” I hear in the back of my mind. “If I’m so good, why don’t people buy stuff or sign-up for a class.”

This is not a complaint . . . this has never been a complaint. A plaintive whine, maybe, but never a complaint. 🙂

I logically know, that people get busy and not everyone shops online or likes to take classes online. “But am I good enough?”

Who would know….when I was having a tantrum and doing nothing. It is a little like the chicken and the egg.

The inability, however, to gain enough players for an in-person class is why I don’t teach at Otis. The inability to gain enough sales to pay my rent at Crafted, is why I am not at Crafted. I was just not able to handle all the *things*, financially and pay rent, when the sum total of sales, from January and February were about $100. I get $1000 a month in “support income”, my expenses without Crafted are about $1600. I still kept at it, hoping to realize that dream of successful self employment . . . ever shrinking, with the thought that “clearly, I must not be good enough.”

Logically, I think too “out of sight, out of mind.” If I wasn’t sending emails weekly and not at Crafted any more . . . no one *sees* me any more, right?!?!

“But other artists do it. It’s me, I’m not good enough.”

I doubled my efforts on Instagram/Facebook and dove into SEO strategies. I’m still kinda drowning in the sea of SEO mis-understanding. I remember a time in the mid-nineties, when one could simply “put-up” a website and VOILA, sales and marketing handled. I did *that* for a living, for a while. It’s far more complicated and the the internet gawds, are far less kind.

It dawned on me this morning, that the lack of sales, and community over the “holiday period” had caused me to shrink and retreat, deeper, into a familiar hallucination: I. am. not. good. enough. I also, frequently hallucinate that many people would just prefer that I get “a real job”. I’ve been *fighting* that belief for a very long time. I started this jewelry arts journey in 2007 and still haven’t let go of that hallucination.

I’ve been here before. I’ve shared this story with many that know me, and I’ll share again.

In the summer of 2011, my world, pretty much, blew up. My business, then Phoenix Designs, was “dead in the water” as I saw it. I closed the proverbial doors. I felt so certain, that I just wasn’t good enough to make it as a solo-preneur.  People weren’t buying and I was tired of shows in the dirt.

I ended my 23 year marriage, which had been on the “brink” for 4 years, and my husband moved out, my children were angry and two weeks later, my sister passed away. I was a crispy fried human.

About the first week in September of that year, I stepped into my shop one morning to get something. I hadn’t been in the shop in a couple of months. When I went in, I could not remember why I went it. As I panned the room for an answer, I saw my work area, looking all lonely with several random projects incomplete. I sat down, I began working and about 8 hours later, I stepped out of the shop, with seven new pieces ready for the kiln and a series of overwhelming thoughts, “You can’t quit. You don’t get to quit. People need what you offer. . . . and what time is it and where is Devon (my youngest).” Dev was ok and it was 7ish. 🙂

“The Victoria Rose” An homage to my sister, that I created, that day in 2011

A friend, once referred to this story, as my “burning bush” moment – LOL. I feel fairly confident that while maybe not so dramatic as a burning bush, this was *my* guides suggesting that I keep moving forward. Yes, I believe in spiritual guides.

So I did. And as some might say, the rest is history, and I’ve been up against *it* again.

This morning was a new moment, in which I realized, that I must ignore my hallucination that I am not good enough and forge ahead. I must also ignore that *you* expect failure from me (and want me to get a real job). What *you* think is ultimately, none of my business – unless its is in regard to a custom piece 🙂

I say “ignore” as in push-aside, make irrelevant, acknowledge but give no power to,   versus “forget”, because I know me well enough to know, that I won’t “forget” a belief I’ve had about myself, since childhood. I can treat it like a crack in a sidewalk and walk around it, and not let it trip me up.

I went through a similar epiphany this September and disclosed challenges I have with depression. It was scary to be that vulnerable. Nothing caught on fire.

WHAT is it, about September.

I suppose one could say I’ve been depressed, again, what with being in a state of “tantrum” and all.  I suppose that’s true. Although this felt a little different.

Everything I had been working on, as to how my thoughts control my reality, was deeply challenged and I’ve felt “dead in the water”. It was the worst “holiday season” in sales, that I’ve experienced in 6 years. I’d been meeting the expectation that I will fail, by giving up – and proving my reality. “I fail and am no good.”

I don’t know all the answers right now and I’m clear there is no instant “fix”.

I know that I am not as far down the well, as I have been in the past.

I know, that doing nothing, will change nothing, and back on track with some consistency will move me forward.

I also know, without question, that I will not quit . . . any more. 🙂

So I am not . . . quitting, that is.

I really don’t want to quit! I still have dreams and goals to realize, and a world to adorn with pieces of meaning that help create community/tribe, and a world to teach, the value of creativity, and working with our hands, for healing, clarity and joy.

Life is good, it always is. It’s my response, that can be problematic.

Much Love and Light





PS. The store is open with those 50% off pieces, still available 🙂 I hope to post some new work next week. Also, I am still available to teach online and in your home.




About Phoenix

I am a mom, artist and teacher!
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2 Responses to Meeting Expectations

  1. Kate says:

    Stay strong Phoenix!
    You are very talented & a wonderful teacher.
    Your work is unique & something no one would see anywhere else.
    Hope to take another class soon (it’s been a rough couple of years for me too) & get back in tough with art again. I’d recommend your class to so many looking to enter the world of metal clay art.

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