My eyes felt like they'd been given a thorough scrubbing with coarse sandpaper. Weary and red, they blinked away a few more sleepy tears as I lay back against the wooden headboard, the bedroom fan rippling airwaves across my face as a full moon shone vividly across the dark sky outside. It was precisely nine days since I had opened my Etsy shop and you'd think that I would be nothing but a bundle of happiness every second of the day as a result.
Nothing, unfortunately, could have been further from the truth. While I was, and very much am, elated that I launched a shop, what I wasn't prepared for once I'd done so was the toll and barrage of stress, challenging emotions, mixed reactions and responses (about having gone from being "just" a blog to a blog + a shop) from my online public, the toil that the financial investment I laid out to get things off the ground, and the incredible fatigue and long stretch of that zero sleep (three days or more sometimes at a time) that having done so would take on me. I was taken aback, and not in a good way, but how some people responded to me opening a shop and this hurt me to the core at a time when my emotions and nerves were already as a raw as a freshly peeled grape.
Beyond that though, was the larger picture. I was exhausted and worried and each new concern or reminder of what was troubling me seemed to heighten my anxiety and set me off into a fit of tears. This, I assure, sensitive soul as I always am, is not commonplace for me in the slightest. Quite the opposite actually, I'm usually the type to buck up instantly, smile through the stress, and plow forward with steadfast determination. But I think that I'd simply been pushing myself too hard, for too long, with a head far too full of concerns, and as a result I was going though a bit of mini emotional meltdown.
I loathed how I was feeling, knew that it was hampering my productivity, and that I truly was happy to have launched a shop, which, don't get me wrong, tons of folks (online and off) were, and are, wildly supportive of. I needed to pull myself up by the bootstraps and move forward right quickly. So that's what I did.
You see, I've always believed that we have the power to choose happiness and to create our own destiny. It's okay to be blue and sad, even to throw a pity party for ourselves from time to time, especially when such is justifiable, but hitting low points like that are incredibly draining and won't help you do anything more than tread water at best and at worst, they may cause you to sink entirely.
Glancing towards at the silvery May moon, I blinked away those straggling tears, got up, splashed cold water on my burning eyes, quite literally shook my head a few times, and vowed to look upward and onward, not down at my worries from here on out.
My Etsy shop is not my blog and I needed to realize that I can't see it as merely an extension of such. It is a brand new baby, with much growing and developing on its own to do. Yes, it may get a bit of help from my blog, its five year old sibling, and its audience sometimes, but I must look at it as the separate entity that it is and foster its growth and development right from the start in ways that are mix of familiar and brand new to me.
I had to remind myself that this (opening a vintage shop) was already the fulfillment of a dream of mine that took root years ago, that I'd already done so much and that I didn't have to push myself, no joke, to the point of collapse every single day for the shop to succeed. And, most of all, I had to tell myself that there will be times when peoples' true colours are shown and no amount of tears in the world will change the fact that there are plenty of fair-weather friends and blog readers in this world. It's flat out naive to think otherwise.
In the days since that last painfully long night, I have reevaluated and rejigged my schedule, stopped worrying quite as much (I'm a natural born worrier, so I'll never stop there entirely), began pacing myself better when it comes to handling the new trifecta of my shop + my blog + daily life, done several things that I believe will help grow my shop's sales numbers and reach, and above all, stopped crying, put a smile back on my face, and banished my temporary blues.
These are new and exciting times. I can't expect myself to know everything or to get each step 100% right all the time. I may know blogging like the back of my hand, but online business ownership and operation is brand spanking new to me and it will come with its fair share of challenges, and ultimately, I believe triumphs as well. Hard work and problem solving have never scared me away from anything, no matter how big the challenge, and I'm not about to let this be the first time that happens.
Chin up, buttercup? You better believe it, I've got a new business to run, grow, and to see turn into something utterly amazing!