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Life’s Clutter

I’ve been inconsistent with these blogs lately, which is unusual for me. Typically, I’m the most consistent and reliable person you’ll ever meet. Nearly everyone who knows me knows I’m that “one phone call away” kind of person. Whether you’re a friend, a coworker, or just someone in need, I’m there. But over the past year and a half, I’ve felt like I’ve become unreliable. At the end of 2022, I left a job I loved to start this business, and it has definitely tested my patience and perseverance. I’m not where I hoped to be by now, but that doesn’t mean I’ve given up. Despite my near-permanent absence from social media these past months, I’ve been busy getting my life in order to be a more efficient and happy person again. Social media has become a miserable place for me. It’s not just shameless bathroom selfies and duck faces with my girlfriends anymore—life is more serious now.


When Covid hit in 2020, something in my psyche changed. I think most of humanity felt that, even if those of us old enough to recognize it don’t want to admit it. Suddenly, the world became a scary place to me. Wars started, and they’re still ongoing and arguably getting worse. Inflation and price gouging by corporations on basic needs became such a nightmare that workers around the world began to realize just how little they mean to the workforce we’re all part of. Classism resurfaced, with the “ruling class” being the same people making millions of dollars a year but unable to give their workers more than a 25-cent raise. These same executives sleep soundly at night while their employees work multiple side hustles just to keep a roof over their heads. The food we can afford to buy is slowly killing us, and our government condones it. So many dark things suddenly became painfully obvious. Where has my head been all these years? How long have I been blind to the fact that the reason my life has been such a struggle is that our own government doesn’t care and allows it to be so? In an instant, all the freedoms I’ve taken for granted my whole life were suddenly gone, and I’m standing here wondering, “How did this happen?” Suddenly, I’m living in a dystopia I thought was only reserved for film and theater.


Recently, I interviewed for a GM position and during that interview, I was asked, “Why didn’t you stay at your job?” I had to pause for a moment before answering because I realized that no matter what I say, this person has drank so much corporate Kool-Aid they’re not going to respect any answer I give them. I’m pompous enough to say, “because I could afford to,” since I’ve been working since I was 15 and felt I’d earned the break (which has been anything but a break). Another option was to say, “I was burnt out and needed a sabbatical,” but that’d trigger some alarm that I can’t manage stress. In reality, I was tired of committing 40+ hours a week to a company (ANY company) that only paid me enough to live paycheck to paycheck. I was tired of busting my ass all year, suffering relentless abuse from strangers just because I was providing a service, and praying I’d get a raise for all this hard work and sacrifice. Then, facing the crushing reality of not getting a raise at all, or getting such an offensive amount that I wondered what I’d sold my soul for all year. Honestly, if all you’re going to do is offer a 25-cent raise after a year, you clearly need that more than me. What is that doing for anyone’s quality of life? Meanwhile, I’m watching them buy hundred-thousand-dollar SUVs, million-dollar homes, and take lavish vacations multiple times a year. I don’t expect to be paid enough to do that, but in my mind, you should want your staff to live comfortably before treating yourself to such excesses. People should slow down, spread the wealth, and stop focusing on growth. This “growth mindset” we’ve been conditioned to think of is ruining how we see and value others. Invest in your people so they invest in you.


I met my now-husband in January 2022, and by November of that year, I’d sold my house and quit my job to start my own business. I left my job to focus on the new family I’d waited my whole adult life for. Overnight, I had four kids and a wonderful husband who supports everything I do. I gained a huge extended family, the best support system a girl could ask for. I love my in-laws; it’s not one of those estranged families you want no part of. I felt included and loved by them, valued for the first time in a very long time. Suddenly, I couldn’t accept abuse from people anymore, because if I did, my kids would think that’s okay. I have decades of work trauma to cope with and many regrets about how I’ve navigated my career. I don’t want my kids to suffer through what I did. I’d rather be broke and happy than working to be miserable and barely making ends meet. Anything that isn’t improving my life suddenly isn’t worth the distraction it brings.


Last year felt like a rush-job of trying to become a successful business owner. I had too many ideas and not enough experience or support to sustain half of them. “I’m gonna start a podcast!” or “I’m going to start a blog!” suddenly became wayward ideas of expression I didn’t have the confidence for yet. I left my job to become an eyewear designer, but I was filling my time with distractions. My house never felt organized enough to be a home to me. I’ve felt displaced for at least a year, with a slight identity crisis mixed in as an added bonus. Transitioning from being a single “strong independent woman” to a wife, mother, business owner, student, and “therapist” was a lot to handle at once. And then there was the curveball of planning a wedding in Hawaii, only to have it forcibly changed two months beforehand. My dream wedding suddenly became a last-minute affair in Vegas, a cheesy wedding I didn’t want but did the best I could with. Life changed so quickly, and trying to keep up became defeating. I found myself in situations where I was physically present but mentally absent. I was missing connections with people and permanently cranky, which isn’t who I am at all. Something had to change.


I’ve spent the past few months reassessing what’s wrong in my world and where I need to improve. I realized the workshop we started off with was a disorganized and shell of what I’d dreamt it would be. I realized as much as I love sketching glasses and assembling things, software is not my strong suit. This is definitely the most challenging part of this dream of mine. I have abstract dreams with conventional skills (which are amateur at best) and this requires an extra level of dedication on my part to work on mastering. Since selling my house, we’ve lived in a house almost the same size as my own, with 5 times more people and two households worth of life’s clutter. I have OCD, no matter what I sat down to work on, my brain wouldn’t allow me to focus on anything until I sort my shit out. We’ve purged years of “junk” these past weeks. I’ve deep cleaned every bedroom in our house, cleaning each one from floor to ceiling. I’ve taken so much trash to the curb our trash men probably wonder what we’re hoarding.


The 10x12 shed “workshop” we spent last year putting together has suddenly become so small just entering it drove me to manic cleaning episodes. At the sake of sounding like “that” artist, I finally had to say “I can’t work like this” and begged him to help me get our life organized. We’re both fairly neat people, we like to know where things are and that everything has a “home” and spending 20 minutes off task trying to locate things we need or cleaning a fresh layer of dust off of projects we just started a day prior isn’t our idea of efficiency. So here we are, a year and a half down the road of this journey we started, finally getting our workshop set up in a way that works for us both. We’re moving out of the shed and into our gutted garage and making miracles happen in a bigger space and after what feels like forever, we’ll soon be back in operation better than ever before.


I’ve taken this time to reasses the things I need to do to make this work and the things I want to include as part of the journey. Hopefully when we’re settled, Lucia and I can bring back the podcast and my Indy Spotlight blogs can resume. She and I are in deep discussions on locating an appropriate storefront for us to grow into with a revised business concept and once my husband and I have conquered this attempt to become frame makers we’ll already have a storefront ready to place our products in. So many good ideas are in the works now and having the space to execute them all in is finally becoming a reality for me.


If you’ve never met me but you’re silently supporting this journey from afar, I just want to extend an official thank you. This has been a difficult journey for me and I appreciate the silent support and patience you’ve had through all my “here and there” communications. Have patience with me and soon amazing things will come of this all.


I’d love to hear any suggestions of things you’d like to see or hear from all of this as well. Are there topics you’d like to hear on our podcast? Is there something you’d like to see in a new eyeglass design? Do you have questions about a brand you’d like my input on before you commit to purchasing from them? Let me know! I want to hear it all! Leave it in the comments or send me an email at irisb@erraticglass.com . I hope to hear from you!


I’ll be back again soon! Thank you all :-)


Iris


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