Sunday, July 26, 2015

Stuff and Things

         A customer recently asked me if I would post my hat collection for all to see. Unfortunately, I only have about a quarter of my hats together in one place. Presently, the rest of them are packed in boxes for me to take to my festivals, nicely padded with tissue paper between sets of hair falls and dreadlocks. That's the thing I want to talk about here. My things that I truly love, I take care of as if they were my own babies.

       I've heard many times, sentiments about how it's not "things" or "money" that make you  happy, but people and experiences. I've always wondered why it has to be this black and white, either/or case. When I buy handmade things from people that I care about, the "happy experience" and the "soul of the person" seem to be all wrapped up in the actual item. I know this is just my own "perception" of reality....but what IS reality, if not for our perception of it? So, what? It's my freaking reality.

       I personally have a deep belief that everything made of matter is buzzing with energy, and when we touch, partake, purchase, utilize, and obtain these items, we are participating in the energy of the item. As depressing as it may seem, I feel that when I choose to gorge myself on some junk food that was made cheaply, with the intent to get consumers addicted, without any regard to their health or satisfaction, I am TAKING that energy into my body. Yes, it's my decision, and I own up to that. But, it's not a light little indulgence. Similarly, when I am feeling cheap, and I choose to buy cheaply made clothing (I'm looking at you, Forever 21. Woot! This is getting edgy!), I participate in the energy of that clothing. It was made to be disposable (I know, I'm reading a book about the manufacturing of these cheap clothes, and because they're playing on super trendy stuff, they specifically construct the item to last one season. Yes. one.) It wasn't made with careful thought about FIT, COMFORT, QUALITY, AND WORKMANSHIP!  These are standards that I strive to uphold with the corsets and clothing that we build, but why wouldn't I support that in the normal clothing that I wear?? This clothing is made without regard to the employees and people sewing it. Their safety, brain health, job satisfaction, and SOULS are not taken into consideration.
This is the podcast that my husband, and two of the guys that work for me do. We figured that since they were ALREADY talking about comic book stuff constantly, they might as well freaking do a podcast so others could listen to their funny banter. If you want to check it out, I think you'll like it. My favorite episode, although it is very long, is the one on "Ultron", where my husband, Tyler, is the one who did the research. He is sooo funny in it!
       I would like you to know that the little team of people I have working for me is treated VERY well! I feed my employees good home-baked lunches every day, so they don't have to worry about packing lunch. We regularly go out and see movies together, ON THE CLOCK, because I figure I'm paying for them to have friendship and unity. I give them bonuses, I tell them "thank you" every single day. I listen to them when their is issues, work-related or home-related, and we all support each other and try to help each other out. For a while (although we've slacked off) I let them get off early on Fridays from sewing to do "on-the-clock Entrepreneur Day" where they were paid for a few hours to work on their own projects. That's where the podcast from up above came. As a result, I have had MANY people tell me that there is just "something" in the corsets that we make, and they can't figure it out, but they truly are special.

       I will have to write an entire blog on what I try to literally "sew" into our corsets, but let me just say that there is a reason that we have such a rabid fan-base, and there is also a reason that people get really....*cough* worked up over a simple thing like corsets. You guys are just embracing and participating in the energy of the corsets, and that's why they are special. You then go on to have wonderful experiences, emotional journeys, and breakthroughs with your life and your body image, and then the corset is imbued with that power. Luckily, these things are MADE TO LAST long enough to have these types of powers! ;)

        This is my jewelry collection. I would say it's about half-hand-made, and about half of it is more quality stuff that I got on clearance at department stores, that I then layer with the hand-made stuff. Interestingly, when one of my "store jewelry" items break, I just throw  it away. Who cares? It's cheap. When one of my hand-made items break, I have a whole tool-kit and I sit and fix it and bring it back to life. I'm hard on my jewelry, because I wear it so much, but I take a ton of pride in all of the hand-made items I wear. When I put them on, I think of the person who made it (usually, a talented lady who I'm proud to call my friend) and I think about how happy and proud they would be to know that they were  part of my day. NOW, THAT is good energy!
        I know, it takes a LOT of brain power to sit there and think about the origins of EVERYTHING that you have in your life. That's enough to explode my brain. Good night! However, I do think it would be beneficial to start looking at the things that surround you and just asking a question. "Is this serving my life right now?"   I have personally experienced wonderful results when I was able to "clean out" my life of things that didn't serve me to make way for things that will!
     I  just BARELY read one of the most INCREDIBLE books on prosperity that I have ever encountered. In fact, I can't, and won't shut up about it! I want everyone to read this! I believe it was in this book that she talks about how you can't expect to RECEIVE things if you aren't willing to first GIVE AWAY things to make space to receive.
       I have heard over and over again, ladies saying that they want one of our corsets really badly, but they just can't afford it. Holy face, if you want more corsets, then read this book. I know it will help you get there.  I believe deeply that if people gave up buying cheap, flimsy, apathetic articles of clothing, and started focusing on quality, durability, integrity, and proper fit, their LIVES would begin to be more quality, they would have more strength, integrity, and things that properly fit into their world.
       The things that we choose to bring into our life are a mirror for ourselves, in a lot of ways. As a small example, I spent years buying cheap shoes over and over again to wear with my costumes at festivals. My feet would hurt to badly by the end of the day that I COULD. NOT. MOVE. I would lay in the hotel bed and they would feel like they were on fire. It would put my mind into a bad place where I felt sorry for myself and blamed the outside world on my inside world. When I finally pulled the trigger and asked my customers what shoes they thought would work, and tons of ladies in Oklahoma urged me to get Ariat boots, I just paid the dang $279 and hoped for the best. 
      Here's the amazing part. When I chose quality for my life, rather than cheaply manufactured crap, the experiences I had while wearing Ariat boots were finer quality! People complimented me everywhere I went, my costumes looked AMAZING, and the BIGGEST thing was that my BODY reacted on a physical level to the boots. Not only did my feet NOT hurt after wearing the boots for a whole entire day, but I would feel more relaxed and focused, as I knew that my posture had been better, my outlook was brighter,  my brain was more peaceful, and my stress was down. 
      My first part of these boots that I bought still looks amazing and new FOUR YEARS LATER, and I take joy in polishing them, cleaning them, and even displaying them up on a shelf in my closet. What a truly different experience than my crappy little flats purchased from Famous Footwear that hurt and fell apart. I ended up SAVING MONEY because I only had to buy one pair of shoes, whereas, if I were wearing cheap quality shoes, I would have had to buy about 5 pairs a year, at around $40 a pair. You do the math. 
      Holy what?? This has been a long blog! You can tell that I'm very passionate about this very thing. Please, please remember that you are quality and you deserve quality. Please remember that you participate in the energy that your things have been imbued with. It's like when you eat a hastily slapped together $1 burger from Burger King, vs.  an amazing, mouthwatering, well-crafted burger from the local hole-in-the-wall run by an awesome family. They're both "burgers" but think about the difference in experience!!  
       I am bold enough to PROMISE you that as you seek for higher quality things and experiences for yourself, the whole universe will notice, and bring you the money and means and people to provide you with even more of these blessings. Your whole life can change if you are bold enough to believe that you deserve better. 

Monday, July 6, 2015

Thoughts on Elephant Seals

Man, do I LOVE ladies who dress up all piratey! These gals were especially fun, vibrant, beautiful women!
      I know, right? What the what?!? On our last trip to California,  I was able to attend not one, but TWO awesome Pirate Festivals right on the coast. These are the kind of moments when I just have to stop and think,"Wait....REALLY? For my freaking JOB, I get to dress up like a pirate, and play dress up with other awesome women on the beach. This is my life!!" It's truly times like this that make the stress and drama of the job worth it.

       My favorite part of my last adventure was not planned. We were traveling along the gorgeous Pacific coast, and just in case any of you imagine that the whole California coast looks like sunny beaches, bikinis, and endless parties, you are incorrect. I drove the WHOLE thing, and most of it is FIERCE and daunting and captivating and jagged's a picture down below. With the exception of the Pacific Coast Highway winding its way down the whole thing, most of it probably looks like it did when explorers and pioneers were forging their way to this glorious state! 
      We had been driving for about two hours, and were almost to our hotel. We had screaming kids in the back of the car, and all of us needed to go to the bathroom, when we saw a road sign that said, "Caution: Elephant Seal Area". I didn't think much of it, because usually when you see signs warning you of possible wildlife, you get excited, only to be let down...nothing but natural vegetation and absolute absence of said animals. 
        However, a couple minutes later, we rounded a corner, and saw a beach with HUNDREDS of these lumpy elephant seals! 

        We excitedly pulled over and went to a "viewing area" that they had set aside, with fences for the possible idiots that might try to go and frolic around on the beach with these massive sea animals. Immediately, I was struck by the NOISES coming out of these things! I would describe it as a mix between the raptors from Jurassic World and a flushing toilet...with maybe a little bit of chainsaw thrown in there. The calls they were making were loud, boisterous, and almost joyous! 

         Most of the elephant seals were just sort of lying around, crammed next to each other, sprawled out over one another, and just lounging without a care in the world. There were two males that seemed to be fighting over who was the alpha, and they were rearing back, yelling, and slapping each other, as well as snapping at each other with their strange, floppy nosed maws! 

         Holy night, these animals were the most beautiful, ugly things I had ever seen! At one point in time, my sister and I started to wonder if they were perhaps animals that God had made the very last, when he was tired and just wanted to get it over with. It looked as if he had just grabbed a wad of "matter dough" and started roughly rolling it out on his Celestial table until it was sort of a lumpy, oblong potato, and then had thrown some fins on it, slapped a floppy blob of matter clay on for its nose and called it a day, as he chucked it into the ocean. 
Freaking out about how awesome this hat is. This makes my 6th hat from this company. Yup. 
       Here's the thing though.....that was the CHARM of the animals! They were so...uh....unapologetic? I watched one "gluggidy-gloob" out of the ocean (I can't think of a proper verb to describe how it moved.) and the layers of blubber and fat shuddered violently with each explosive leap forward.  These things were MASSIVE, and every move made all their fat look as if it were vibrating.  But, guess what? All of the humans LOVED them! Everyone was camera-crazy-snapping away, amazed, awed, and astounded! Everyone was...well..excited about how fat they were!  I think that is one of the things that I absolutely adore about things in nature. They are so much at peace with their being in this world. I mean, sure there were still the big male butt-heads fighting each other, but even that was beautiful. Nature is at peace with itself. It is not apologizing to anyone. The elephant seals aren't caught up with trying to be more flopperific than the next floppy, "Squidward" nose. 
      I think I want to endeavor to start viewing the people around me in a similar was as I viewed the elephant seals. Yes, they were different from me and had led different lives, but I was so INTERESTED in them! I was freaking out about how awesome they were. I had JOY as I discussed how God crafted them! I thought they were beautiful, living their life, making their noises, biting each other, and jiggling their fat. There was not a single time when I was "comparing" one to the next and trying to sort them into categories in my brain. (Oh, that one is the nerd. That one is the cheerleader. That one is the jock. So on. ) I just saw them all for marvelous creatures that were filling the measure of their creation, and sounding like clogged flushing toilets whilst they were doing it! 

     If there's one thing that I've found amusing in my life lately, it's how ACCURATE those dang inspirational posters have sounded to me in my brain.  When I'm thinking about what advice I need most, I think things like, "Follow your DREAMS!" and "Keep At It!"  and "You are the only YOU!" and "You are BEAUTIFUL!" .  Sometimes, the basics are the basics for a reason. I tend to needlessly complicate lots of things about my life, but if I were just laying on the California Beach, looking at the beautiful sunset, and not minding how I jiggled when I moved, perhaps I could have the peace  of the elephant seal. 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Q and A...with....myself

 For me, personally, I LOVE behind-the-scenes info on how businesses run, how people get through adversity, and how entrepreneurship gets a beating heart. However, when people ask me about my own personal "triumphs" and struggles, I get a little wishy-washy. Really? I don't know....I just wake up and do my stuff....

But then I got to really thinking about it, and I think I might have some answers that will help. If nothing else, they will give some hopefully interesting insights into how a small business runs (one of the MANY ways!)

So, here is
Q:How long have you been doing this?
A: Holy freak. I don't think I've never NOT been doing Damsel in this Dress. These seeds were planted LONG ago, in my childhood. I think that most people that end up "finding their bliss" KNOW what they should have been doing with their lives from the time they're young. I'm serious about this. In childhood, we have our most pure, unfiltered, unadulterated feelings, desires, and dreams still in us. It's the world, school, teachers, parents, and the media that unfortunately tend to beat it out of us. We lose hope. We feel shame. We give up. I loved something I read the other day about how "for the first two years of a child's life, we are so EXCITED every time they talk and walk, and then for the next 16 years, we just try to get them to sit down and shut up. " Wah, wah.
So, around to the point. I've been doing this "professionally" under the name Damsel in this Dress for about 11 1/2 years, and I've been making and selling costumes online for about 13 years.

Q: What is your daily routine? What does a day look like for you?
A: I'm VERY methodical about my mornings, and have created very specific rituals that make my days go better. I get up at about 3:50 a.m. to 4:30, depending on how my baby let me sleep. I put some "Deva Curl" gel back into my hair and rough it up a little bit (I like big and crazy hair) or I put a bandana in it, pinup girl style, and bobby pin it back. I always put on a smoky eye makeup, every single freaking day. I get to work  and get sewing. My crew comes in at about 7 in the morning, we have some type of morning meeting where we talk about the goals for the day, and we listen to podcasts, audiobooks.....anything that will keep our brains active and fresh.
We try to end work around 3-4 (so, about a 12 hour day for me) but generally, I spend my late afternoons and evenings fabric shopping, figuring out photoshoots, working out, and sometimes even trying to spend time with my kids.  ;)  If it's a crazy week and we're getting ready for a show...which is a LOT of the year, I will work late into the evenings, trying to re-stock inventory and tag and hang up the pieces.
Q:What is the biggest challenge of owning your own company?
A: ARgg. I'm ashamed to say it, but I REALLY let "haters" get me down. I'll be in this wonderfully creative mode, and I'll be excited about new styles, new fabrics, and new concepts! I'll be thinking about what customers suggested, and then I'll read something online and it will SHUT. ME. DOWN.  Anytime someone points out a flaw in my product, and then goes on to tell me how it ruined their life and how disappointed they are in me...I mean, holy crap, like language of a controlling, manipulative parent or authority figure. "I'm so disappointed in you, and because you are so bad, I'm going to punish you."  I believe sooo much in the golden rule, and I can honestly say that I'm proud of how I usually handle people that are trying to purposefully make me feel bad about myself, however, I'm just always so surprised by this type of behavior. I suppose we live in a world where customer service  is so bad that everyone feels the need to "escalate" and yell and "speak to the manager" to get anything done, but working with a small business is usually not like that. When I buy something off of etsy, and there is an issue, I KINDLY contact the person, tell them that I COULD BE WRONG, but here is this issue, and would they be so KIND as to help me? People in small businesses are generally so sweet and accommodating!
It's amazing how- if we expect people to be butt-faces, WE, ourselves actually end up acting like butt-faces so that THEY will act accordingly and prove that our "story" is true. On the flip side, when I expect people to be awesome and help me and care about me, I get exactly what I expect. Cashiers are friendly and sweet, servers at restaurants give me great quality and I tip them accordingly....the world is full of love.
Anyhow..this clearly needs a whole entire post by itself, but maybe it doesn't. I mean, I can't control others, I can only control myself and the thoughts that I think about others that seem to make me crazy. I'm working on letting go of the negativity. The negative stuff KILLS creativity, though. I mean, it really shoots it dead. Then it takes that much more energy and motivation to come back from the low place that you were.
 Q: What advice would you give to people that want to start their own company?
A: Once again, this needs a whole entire post itself! But, for starters, I think the biggest thing would be to work on letting go on all your perceived limitations and "reasons" for why you can't do this awesome thing that you want to do. Unless you're clear and coming from a place of love and pure creation, you will be shot down repeatedly by others and by yourself, because you didn't build that original foundation.  You'll start your own  little company, but when the crap hits the fan, you won't be able to sustain the strength and fortitude that it takes to push past the obstacles and become something greater.
It's so easy to say, "Yeah, I want to be an author and I'm writing this book" and then when people ask about it, you say, "Oh, well, it's not ready to show people."  You've GOT to show people and you've GOT to be okay with people not liking it, bullying you, trying to tear you down because you created something and all they can create is drama.
I heard it phrased like this-When you set out to create, you do so with a clean canvas. Start fresh, and without all the negativity and fear. Otherwise, you can't create what you want because the canvas is already mucked up with ugly stuff and you'll have to be creating alongside it.
It's EXTREMELY hard to let go of all of your "stories" about why you "can't" and why you "haven't" and the "I really need to's" and "I probably should's".  However, ALL of the "limitations" that we put on ourselves and products of our own mind. I'm not saying that you can sit there and be all like, "I've let go of the fact that I have no legs, and now I'm going to run a marathon! No limitations! Holla!!!" However, most of our self-inflicted barriers are not like that. All the same, you know what your own stories are. Just start questioning them, and trying to plow your way through them. Start bullying THEM like they bully you, in your own brain.
Q:Where do you see your company in five years? 10?
A: Holy night, I ask myself hard questions!!!  Well, let me see. I would LOVE to form some trust-filled relationships with people across the country and meet people that would be good at possibly managing a booth for us at festivals that we can't make it to! Obviously,I would love to do an 8 weekend long festival in Maryland or something, but I myself, just cannot commit to that many weekends. I would want to get an INCREDIBLY good team of people for my booths, no matter where they end up. I'm VERY picky about the customer experience in my booth. We work our guts out to make sure it's a "safe zone" and to make sure that women leave feeling 100% better than when we met them. We want to change their brains about their body shape and size. I want to always have women working who will LISTEN and not just try to "sell" as I really hate sales tactics.  It's all a tall order, and that's why I've been personally present at almost all of my own events. Do it "In House" and you can have better control of the results. It scares me to think of having a completely different crew managing a show, and hoping that they would love my customers as much as I do. Eek! *hyperventilate here for a second*  I know I'm not perfect, but I am passionate about the product, and I do genuinely like people, even when I'm in a grumpy mood! ;)
So...5 years? Doing some more shows across the country. 10 years? If I'm being honest here, I REALLY want to start some kind of "stick-it-to-the-man" small business school(I don't like the word 'school'....uh...boot camp?) where people come in and learn how to make passive income online doing what they love. That is the future. I honestly believe that with the rise of technology, there is the urgent call for more of us to quit the cubicle life, or whatever drudgery job that we thought we were shackled to! We have the opportunity to CONNECT, and CREATE, and INNOVATE and I know those sound like buzz words, but I freaking buzz with excitement when I think about more people being excited to wake up to their lives in the morning. We live in the best time!!! Right now. I would love to encourage people to take hold of their dreams and shut down the inner voice of fear. Do what you came to earth to do!!  WHO KNOWS what the world will look like in 10 years! All I know is that I'm excited to be a part of it.  People that live in fear and are miserable will continue spending their time trolling on the internet, and tearing down others. In the meanwhile, people that are excited to live and want to help the world will rise up and create things we never even dreamed. 

Q: Last question. What are some things that help you in your daily life?
A: I'm glad you asked. I made a collage.  Here's the stuff from going through the vertical rows, from left to right.
top left: KT TAPE!!!  Sitting and sewing all day has jacked up my back and my wrists and all sorts of things. I don't even know what this tape is or how it does it, but HOLY NIGHT, it literally takes away all of my pain. I thought I would have to just live with lower back pain for the rest of my life, but all I do it take two strips of this tape and put them on either side of my spine, and I am a rock star.

middle left: Family. Obviously, that's the key to my success. This is an older picture, without my baby, but honestly, they're the reason I do everything I do.

bottom left: You can get zipfizz at Costco or Sam's Club. I love the dang stuff. I have a hard time drinking enough water, but like these fizzy tubes of goodness.

middle top: This just represents my general love for high quality makeup. Do yourself a favor and just spend the extra money. I PROMISE, it pays off in the end. My favorite brands are Urban Decay and Make Up For Ever. Nobody can make me feel bad about my love for makeup. But what about looking natural and feeling beautiful without  it on?  Guess what, I don't feel beautiful without a bra on either. Let me feel what I feel and you can feel what you feel, and we can all be friends. (by the way, I do recognize that my grammar in this blog is atrocious. I was just looking at the sentences above and getting nervous about my high school English teacher leaping out of nowhere and doing grammar karate on me or something...)

middle bottom: I still have my first pair of Zella leggings. These things will not freaking die. They are 3 1/2 years old, and I hold them up to my pair that I got two months ago, and they look exactly the same. The fabric is just incredible. Truly. Oh, and if you have anything nasty to say about people wearing leggings, please refer to my previous blog.  Anyhow, you can get these things at Nordstrom

right top: I love all kinds of kale chips forever. Plus, they get stuck in my teeth and make me into a total kissable babe.

right middle: Sharpie markers are the best. Even when my kids use them to create murals on my newly painted walls. Nothing can shake my love and loyalty to these things.

right bottom: Ah, yes. My sister, Emma calls this "Chocolate Yardwork" but don't's like if yardwork tasted good! I mix it into all of my shakes and smoothies. It's got like....70 types of organic green things jammed into it, and the company grows everything in Kansas. I love all their products, and love this one especially!!!

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Wearing Leggings, Inception, and Other Assorted Observations

I am going to get up on my soap box here real quick. I promise it won't take long...I just need to get this off of my chest. 

Okay, so the other day, I saw someone repost this absolutely wretched little meme that was all about how "leggings are great, unless you're 350 pounds!!"  hahah, Laugh at fat people and lycra.  Hahha. The comments were what you would imagine: deplorable....and it occurred to me-

Weight is an EXTREMELY hard struggle,  (one that I've dealt with on a very real level), as is emotional eating, eating disorders, and...... let's not even get INTO all of the loads of deeply painful issues that are byproducts of being overweight. You have the whole world telling you "Just Eat Less" and that is like saying "just breathe less!" or "just sleep less!". Truly, think about it. If "just eating less" were truly the answer, wouldn't every diet work, and then everyone who got overweight, went on a diet, and "just ate less" would be thin. 

I've been in a business where I have the privilege to talk to thousands of women about their bodies, and I've been doing it for 11 years. I can not POSSIBLY count how many intelligent, active, energetic, STRONG, driven women I have met who DO NOT EAT TONS OF FREAKING CRAP and exercise, run marathons, and countless other things, and STILL struggle on a very painful level with being overweight. 

Everything that I have learned and read has led me to believe that weight is not actually about the's about the power of our minds.  It's about who and what we believe ourselves to be. Holy night, it's so complicated, and I don't even have time to get into it right now, because I could write books and books on this (and other, smarter-than-me people HAVE!).

We live in a very toxic is toxic both on a physical level, with what we breathe, what we consume in our bastardized food, AND what we consume through our brains. We are so lucky to have to much information and so many pictures, but it also certainly wreaks havoc on the mind.  

So, keeping this in mind, and remembering that people who suffer with extra weight KNOW how painful it is, they KNOW how unacceptable society thinks they are, and they KNOW that they SHOULD do something different, and struggle every single day because of it. 

So, making fun of them for wearing lycra makes you a bastard. Period.  That's like pointing and laughing at someone for having depression (oh, gee, byproduct of excess weight) or for losing their job, or for going through ANY of the endlessly depressing struggles that life can throw our way!!! 

I truly believe that we are all brothers and sisters here on this earth. When we choose to belittle our fellow family members, it eats away at our souls. 
And HERE is where I'm going to blow your mind!!!  *POW!!!* I am part of the problem!!!  I see posts like this, and I get really defensive, think about how much people suck, and think assorted, colorful potty words!  I get online and get all worked up about what jerks people are!!!!  And....guess what????


I'm making fun of MORE people who have emotional problems and struggles.  When you feel SO low about yourself that you feel the need to "make fun of fat people"   OR in this instance, "make fun of people who make fun  of fat people"  (INCEPTION!) YOU, YOURSELF also have deep emotional problems, insecurities, struggle, sadness, disappointment, and you're trying to avoid the VOID in yourself by pointing out the flaws in others.

The crazy thing is....the only reason you're ABLE to see these flaws in others so obviously, is because you notice them in your own life so often. You know the flaws very well. You and the flaws get together every day and have vigorous discussions over pieces of cake and Diet Coke.


Sorry, to those of you who re-posted the "Fat people shouldn't wear leggings".  If you're feeling empty and like you need to pick on people, I need to be KIND to you and build you up so that you don't feel the need to take a poo on others.

Sorry to myself.  I should be SOOOO much nicer to you, because you are a stand-out type of gal, and you truly don't need to put others down to bring yourself up. We all have light to shine, and we all have gifts and talents and opportunities, and they WON'T emerge when we're beating ourselves and others down. Don't beat down. Bring up.

Let me go put on a pair of leggings.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Feeding the Beast?

        Holy night. I've had a hard time in my brain lately.  I'm in some kind of crazy-pants self-punishment loop where I will first start off trying to MAKE myself feel awesome about myself, but then I'll see what I perceive as a blatant weakness, or I'll receive criticism, and then it just sits and festers in my brain, and I think, "Holy crap, I'm such a loser. I'll never be able to change." and then I'll think, "Michelle, you absolutely KNOW better than that, and it's not the truth that you're a loser. What an IDIOT you are for even THINKING that!!!"
       I have tried affirmations, but I'm such a dang non-conformist, that I think I'll be able to "trick" my brain...or like....use reverse psychology on myself. I don't even know if I can possibly explain the complexity of this, but it goes something like this. I will repeat really positive affirmations about myself to trick my brain into feeling better and NOT going into "fight or flight" mode, and THEN when my brain least expects it, BAM!!!, I'll be all like, "Ha! You were feeling ALL GOOD about feeling good, but I TRICKED YOU! You're still a piece of junk!"
         So, basically, I view myself as a really negative person, and a negative force, because I can HEAR the thoughts in my brain, and they're so dang loud that I figure everyone must hear them and see me for what I am. I feel frustrated, because I DON'T want to be a negative person, and so I beat myself up in a negative way for not being a better person.
         Remember my love for self-help books? I really do keep trying to find the answer...pouring through literally hundreds  of super upbeat, promising, catchy tomes....the more I search, the deeper the answer gets buried inside of me.  The more "advice" people give when I try to explain what I'm going through, the less I trust myself and my intuition.
         It DID occur to me that I don't actually have a concrete problem. I mean...."starving children in China"  and "Well, at least you're not BOB! Did you hear about how he just got his elbows chopped off,  his wife left him, he lost his job, and he is now Celiac? You COULD be Bob! Stop complaining!!!"
             It also occurred to me VERY STRONGLY (I might add) that when I think about my problems and what I don't want...I literally feed them. I grow them. I snuggle them and make sure they're all safe and warm inside  my comfort zone, along with my indulgent negative thoughts about myself and others.  For instance, when I think, "Oh my gosh, running a company is so hard because there is SOOO much to do, and I've got my family and my employee's families to feed and take care of, and this one lady said this one negative thing online and my whole world is going to crumble and my corset company will be a thing of the past because it's all so hard and I just need to lose that damn 20 pounds"   I PERPETUATE all of those realities, and because they're in my brain constantly, I don't allow myself to experience other realities! For instance, instead of focusing on one lady who was super rude to me that day, I could focus on all of the people in the whole wide world who WEREN'T having a poopy experience that they needed to take out on someone else. Holy night, I could even focus on how BLESSED I am, and how I'm in a situation to HELP this lady have a less crappy day by the way that I speak with her, and how I focus on fixing her needs.
          Instead, I'm in a habit loop of waking up in the morning and just feeling this sudden dread hit me. I'm honest-to-goodness SCARED of all of these negative thoughts that seem to come from nowhere.  Once again....I don't think I need advice. I have an awesome support group, people who love me, a thirst for knowledge and self-healing......I really wonder if I'm just like everyone else....scared to love myself......because a "me" who loves me and doesn't listen to fear and negativity is SUCH A VIOLENT FORCE that there is no stopping me. I'm endlessly powerful and capable of greatness. Truly.
          However, it's so much EASIER and more gooey, fudgy, yummy to be pissed off at myself, my perceived problems (really, Michelle....REALLY, you're like every other woman in America and you "need to lose weight" because you're flawed how you are? Wow....real original. At least go for something non-conformist!!! ;)  and especially other people. I actively create my own problems.  It's so much more fun to create corsets, but instead I'll log onto facebook to see what crazy junk is happening.
          Holy crap, this was a downer. Uh.....let me draw something happy for people to be happy.
         Moral of the story? We truly do create our own lives, realities, perspectives, and "ups" and "downs".  I'm creating this one....and oddly enough, I'm giving it a CRAPLOAD of power by putting it on the internet! Doh! (I do enjoy a good irony.)  By focusing on what we DO want, instead of all of the things that we DON'T want, we can create a much more pleasant, love-filled, joyous life. I keep reminding myself (gently, this time), "Michelle, the more you focus on the events, situations and people that you don't like, the MORE OF THEM YOU'LL GET!  That is simply how it works. I notice it everywhere.  
        One good note? I WAS telling myself that I should just quit my blog because I spend do much time guilt-tripping myself for not keeping it up better.....but guess what? Today, I focused all of my mental energy on how much I LOVE writing, and how it is for myself, and not for anyone else..and guess what? Here I am...writing and doing what I love!!!!!!  I feel better already.  Now to go and get some of that "make you thinner" chocolate happening in my life. 

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Work It

When I cut new, un-tested patterns, they usually get cut out of ugly fabric, but I was taking a risk here. 

      If you have an artist's brain, or happen to know someone who is plagued with this mindset, you might understand what I'm talking about here.   The thing is-I'm ALWAYS making, constructing, and revising things in  my head. I could be sitting there reading "Fifty Shades of Gray", but REALLY, I would be figuring out if you could cut an octopus shaped hole into the back of a corset and not have it stretch the wrong way when you moved....or something to that effect.  
     It doesn't stop either. I am absolutely exhausted at night, but I'll still be figuring out if we could do a "Narwhal Collection" of corsetry.  ;) I'm happy for this gift, because it makes me good at my job, but I honestly think there is a heavy burden carried along with it. Ever notice how the most talented poets and painters throughout history are bat-sheep CRAY-Z?   Ever wonder why there can't be a mega-music star that leads a simple, clean life? I've wondered the same dang thing.  Does the art make the crazy, or does the crazy make the art?
Sleeve Number One. Holy actually worked out on the first try, and I ACTUALLY remembered to cut a DOUBLE of the sleeve! (*traditionally, I'll cut a pattern, sew it up, and think, "Woah....I'm a rock star of pattern making!" and then realize that I didn't make a "pattern" of the piece I just sewed, thus I have to carefully cut it all back apart, stretching the seams, and jacking up the base pattern. 
        Lately, I've been endeavoring to focus very clearly on things that CHARGE me full of energy and zest, rather than draining my life force. I was able to pinpoint SEVERAL things that started me rolling down a hideous cliff, and then turn them around.  This goes for people as well. If I interact with someone, and I'm angry and bent out of shape for days afterward, in my opinion, this is my body telling me to get the heck away from that person and stop letting them take up valuable brain space.   I made some BIG changes in my company (whereby I received more disappointed emails than I've ever gotten in my life) and I spent so much time just wallowing in uncertainty and self-pity that I physically and mentally couldn't do my job.  The energy was gone. I wasn't trusting myself and my inner voice to guide me. I had a little bit of a breakdown.
       I'm still not sure how I pulled out of the haze, but suddenly, I want to CREATE again! I wrote down about a HUNDRED ideas during my last trip, and I'm so excited for my life that I'm sitting here working on a Saturday afternoon, even though I've worked a ton of ridiculously long hours this week.  The thing is.....when I have my LIFE FORCE and natural flow back, I'm not "working."  I'm playing. I'm having fun. I'm loving every second of my life. I'm not living according to someone else's rules or limitations on me.  I'm creating the things that I want to create and not freaking out about the money aspect or focusing on how much "I need to make" to do XYZ.  I'm not living my life according to what  others think I should do.
       If there was one single thing I want to pass onto my kids, it's this idea-DO NOT GIVE YOUR POWER TO LIVE  YOUR LIFE TO SOMEONE ELSE. It doesn't matter if it's your spouse, your parents, your boss, your have a very specific purpose here on earth, and no one can do it except you. We all spend so much time walking on the "sidewalks" of our true path. We can sort of see the road, but we feel we need to stay where it's safe, instead of getting in the freaking car, taking the wheel, and DRIVING.
        That is all my musing for today. I will get back to "playing" now. ;)

Friday, February 6, 2015

How Life is sort of like Sauerkraut.

       Yes, that's what I was thinking about this morning as I ate freaking sauerkraut.   It REALLY is sort of like life. Stay with me here. Not that life is all cabbage-y and fermenty, BUT it can seem to be exceptionally...uh.....hard to swallow at first. But that's just the beginning.
       Anyone who knows me personally knows  that I'm an avid reader. I plow through non-fiction and fiction books like an enraged lawnmower. I ardently adore self help books, and ESPECIALLY love learning about one of my favorite things. Food. I could read dang diet books all the live long day. I counted how many I've read through on my kindle in the past month....yes, 11.  See, since my brain is always working on my business, even though I'm completely exhausted from the idiotic 16 hour days that I find myself working, I still can't get to sleep at night. I HAVE to read to re-focus my brain. Otherwise, every negative thing that any customer has ever said to me ever just cycles (Yes, this is a serious problem. Rest assured, if you have ever said anything unkind to me, I can zealously confirm that your target hit the mark, and I probably obsessed over it and frantically tried to think of ways that I could still somehow make you happy or make you feel like you were "heard" or "validated". I have this broken brain where I truly believe that I can solve every woman's problem with a good corset. *sigh*)

         Anyhow, in the midst of my adventures, I've learning about the hip-new thing on the market. Probiotics. I think it's simply fascinating that you have this crazy colony living inside of you, and everything you drink, eat, breathe, and think affects it, which affects your whole body, and your whole picture of health. Bad gut health is linked to....pretty much everything from depression to weight loss and all of the things forever.

         I am currently learning how to make my own fermented foods and beverages (sorry, friends, not talking about a whiskey still in my backyard. Just watery, sub-par kombucha so far.) because I would much rather have a healthy happy colony of organisms where they enjoy freedom and prosperity. Maybe with my help, the bacteria down there can gain more self worth, and start setting out to start new businesses and doing entrepreneurial things! They can power through awesome feats and create..uh....bacteria facebook and google? Sorry, super weird tangeant. 

        So, Sauerkraut. This is my experience. Every single time I taste it, I think it's first. Then, I keep chewing....pushing on.....getting used to the experience....then I sort of like it. Yeah. This ain't bad. I can TOTALLY do this! 

        The great thing is that it goes down into my body (the properly fermented stuff, not the cheaper junk from the grocery store.) and it gets to work HEALING me, from the inside out.   Yes, YES! This is totally like life!!    Life will throw these experiences at you that are like rotten cabbage water, and you're like, "Really, life....REALLY?" and then Life is like, "Oh, just you wait. It will all turn out for your ultimate good."   And even though the taste of the new, difficult, or downright crappy experience is NOT GOOD at first, because your current brain perceives  it that way, your insides start to change. The experience evolves.  You become different. You become more robust. You're better able to handle the NEXT bite of sauerkraut (rest assured, it will still taste nasty at first.). 

      I guess I like a lot of foods that have this quality. For me, the moldier the cheese, the better. And kombucha? Hecks yes. The only reason I've been better about exercising is because they put a dang health food store right  next to my gym, and so I tell myself-"Michelle, if you work out, you can go and buy some lavender kombucha that will make your eyes burn and put hair on your chest."  Yes, please. 

       Thus, the takeaway lesson? Eat more veggies. Especially if they've been sitting in a glass jar in a dark closet for days. OOoh, yeah.