Sunday, 14 August 2011

I'm not a bother.

I wasn't raised to be an artist. I was raised to be kind and responsible and helpful and to love God. And to not be a bother. My mum was raised the same. Probably my dad also. I remember someone playing the guitar at Grandma's house one time and hearing her call out from the kitchen, "WHAT is that noise?"
You don't express yourself. You don't disagree. You don't ask too much, (and you always preface a request with, "no pressure" or "feel free to say no") and you don't put yourself out there or say what you want, you wait to be asked. And I did. I was asked to run youth groups and kids clubs and be a secretary and babysitter and teacher. I've become a professional volunteer. And there's nothing wrong with volunteering. It's just when you want to start creating and selling, it feels wrong to ask people for money. And there are many voices around willing to tell you how much your stuff is worth. One person told me I should sell my quilts for $50. My brother in law (God bless him) thought $800 to be more appropriate.
How do you put a value on something you've made? Do you say to yourself, "Oh, it's just a hobby," and just try to recover your costs? Do you charge by the hour? Those hours stitching in front of the TV after the kids have gone to bed or sitting on the couch with Tully under one end of the quilt with a sore toe watching me work on the other? Those hours laying out pretty colours and sewing the 'puzzle' together, as Tully calls it. Do you charge for the times that have become precious memories or important lessons learnt, how you would do it differently next time?
And then there's advertising. How does someone trained not to bother anyone market themselves successfully? It's a challenge enough for me to link this to my Facebook page each time I write. I thought I could have fun giveaways and competitions and heard little voices in my head saying, "Oh isn't that cute! Jodi's trying to run a business!"
This morning I was a reading a blog I follow by Jennifer who has started to feature her followers, their blogs and their creations. She said that people interested in being featured should email her. After a few minutes of caution, I clicked on her email link. I told her I thought it was a great idea, a great way of finding other blogs, meeting new people, getting ideas...then came the moment to ask if I could have a turn. I stalled. I didn't know what to say. How to phrase it in a way that didn't look like I was after attention. Wait a minute. I was after attention. Was that such a bad thing? After all, if her new little feature was going to be successful, wouldn't this lady want people to email her, asking about it? And if I want more people to see my stuff, don't I need to seek out opportunities like this?
Tully's latest phrase at the moment is, "I'm not Super Tully, I'm just pretending to be Super Tully." I like it. I'm just putting on this cape for a little while. I'm still me so go easy. But I'm just going to have a bit of fun pretending I'm limitless. And maybe, the more he (and I) pretends, the more he'll discover things he can be in real life. And the more he'll find he's allowed to be Super Tully. That we won't just roll our eyes. And he's not a bother.

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I so love your comments! I read all of them and reply when I can. If you don't hear back, I'm lost under a mound of scraps or outside jumping on the trampoline with the kids. Jodi. xx