The Privilege of Hobbies
Soap making is going well – fun, and challenging at the same time. The Soap Testers have been a blessing on all fronts, not the least of which is having people to share the adventure with.
Chickens are good – we finally got the fence up, so they’re roaming around the half acre that is the back yard. Well, when they aren’t hiding in the shade; Florida summers are a little on the roasty side.
Not much in the painting realm going on – I have things I’d like to try, but I still want to work out the logistics and framework needed to try them.
Picked jewelry back up, just as a creative hobby, in the periodic down time between soap batches. Before anyone tries to call me a flake – I figured I would eventually, once I didn’t find myself irritated or reliving burn out. Irritated at the memories of being sucked into someone else’s drama (complete with fake Facebook accounts sending me messages full of insults) and burn out because in running jewelry as a business, there wasn’t much creative-art-idea-doing going on. (Which is exactly why they tell you that some hobbies are better kept as hobbies, a business can ruin the joy of them.) So now, I’m just making whatever I want. No worries if it will be too expensive for the market I have access to, no worries if I can repeat it, no worries if anyone else likes it. Jewelry is relegated to the same realm as painting – a thing I do when and how I want to.
And in doing so, I’m reminded each time I pick up the tools just how much of a privilege hobbies are, how fortunate I am to be able to have them now. It’s a recent thing – to not need for the activity to support itself monetarily is new to me. I’ve been in situations for so long that required that any activity I had needed to support itself that I’m a mix of giddy and disoriented, to be able to just make whatever I want, how I want, when I want. I’m learning what to do with it, albeit quickly, and I’m not complaining. It’s fascinating to watch the thoughts and feels that bubble up in the process. (Bloody metacognition, I know.) Realizing that a large part of the anger I carry around is because I’ve forced myself to think about what other would think as a means of my own survival, and because it felt stifling; the resulting jealously at seeing others not have to do that; the frustration with knowing I could do some badass things if I had the means and time and didn’t have to keep the market in mind, and knowing that the more you stand out the better you do, but you have to be able to afford to stand out, a crushing catch-22.
It’s all just there, floating around in my head and chest, while I weave links and try to reconstitute my metal clay, along with the residual worries From Before, a constant talking down of myself, reminding myself to not worry; so what if it’s a $800 bracelet if you do it that way and chase that idea into reality, it doesn’t matter now, show yourself what you are made of, prove your faith in yourself, finally. Maybe slowly, and maybe it’ll take years to be able to take those big ideas stored in the back of your mind and make them real, but you can. No more being frustrated because you have to set them aside and make small things because small things sell. Just make.
And that is a privilege. I’m not hyperbolizing (it’s a word now) when I say knowing I CAN do that makes me get teary from relief. It’s not something people who are barely scraping by have. I’ve been there. And even if I’ve busted ass to have it now, and it’s tenuous at best still, I have it. I know what it’s like to do something just because I want to, how I want to. I’ve wanted this for so long, and it’s better than anyone can tell you.
And so I’m making the things I like. Like my (fancy-ass expensive) chains with sparkly stones, because those are things that I enjoy seeing. And wearing. And hoarding. Complicated, meditative, sensuous, sparkly things. And hoping that the skill of my hands catches up with the vision of my brain, and I’ll finally get to make those ideas I’ve put off because they weren’t practical or affordable or marketable.
Because, y’all? THAT’S ART. And I’m an artist.