Re-Evaluating for Sanity’s Sake

Have you ever wanted to throw up everything and say “I quit!”

That’s been me for the last few weeks. Anxiety is at an all time-high. I’ve been dealing with a toe infection. Schoolwork keeps coming, mom life keeps rolling, and negativity is flourishing anywhere and everywhere.

So what do you do? I took a social media break for about a month, maybe more. Not to say I cut it out entirely, but I did spend significantly less time online. I would check in on my family and very close friends who usually update their information on there (and some is very important) but otherwise I’d only pop on maybe every few days to make sure nothing was pressing and quickly sign off.

And you know? It helped!

Long time blog readers will be laughing at me, since back in 2020 I mentioned that social media is *not* good for me. But call it a weakness, forgetfullness, societal pressure (*everyone* knew on facebook, how did you not?), but I slowly eased back into that lifestyle. I even tried, briefly, to make Instagram reels. I do enjoy the artistic expression with camera and film, when I get the chance, so it’s easy to slip back into getting a good shot, playing with lighting, and showcasing that to people. But… why?

In the end, it fosters an illusion that I’m a much larger business and have much more of a tough skin than I actually do. I’m micro. I’ve just been doing it… for a long time… so the photos, the patterns, the info, the blogs, they’ve been coming since 2007 (when my Etsy shop opened). For those like me who are losing track of time, that’s 16 years ago. Not five years ago. Heck, that’s probably as old as some of my followers on social media. That output is not related to size. That’s longevity. And I’m tired.

The social media comparison game is rough. Because, many forget, I did not start as a pattern line. I started as a hobby maker, just like *most* vintage and historical sewers on instagram and facebook (back then Livejournal or blogs). It’s easy to think “wow, everyone gets to travel and make new dresses,” when I’m at home joint homeschooling and answering customer emails and sewing on the same dining room table, and might sew one big thing a year that’s not related to work.

The comparison game isn’t only internal. People, not realizing (or maybe not caring) there’s an actual human on the other side of the account, make sure to let you know. “You know, so-and-so pattern line is doing ‘x,y,z'”, “It would look so much better if…”, or heck, even things about a person’s physical appearance. Leave it to the internet. Now I’m not saying this is the majority. It’s not AT ALL. Most people are perfectly lovely and supportive. But the negativity does build up. And eventually the critique, both external and internal, gets to be so much that you need to let it go (cue Elsa).

Our mental health is important. Makers are notoriously bad at both self-critique, and looking after their joy and mental well-being. Something’s gotta change. And what a positive change it can be!

So, yeah. I kind of quit. Not quitting making patterns. Not quitting sewing. Not quitting researching. But I quit the things that perpetually give negativity a stronghold when creation should be a joy. I quit performing for a mass audience, when I’m basically treading water under the surface. And you know, I think most of us are doing exactly that. Social media, media in general, marketing, it’s allll illusion. Never get so big in your britches that you forget that your neighbor is as human as yourself. Their mess might just be pushed to the other side of the camera. Everyone’s messy.

Maybe I’m not quitting social media forever. Heck, maybe not even until next month. But for right now, happiness, and taking care of what I need to (including myself, and my family), means I’m releasing the anxiety, negativity, the comparison, the judgement (some self-inflicted), and I’m allowing myself to find new horizons as well.

There’s freedom in doing our own thing, for our own selves, without needing praise (or censure). There’s strength in coming back to the core of why we started in on a path in the first place.

Keep creating, lovelies. You deserve it. Whatever that means for you, and however, and wherever, you want to. Online, offine, in person, at home, with people, by yourself. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to making. And it’s totally ok to re-center and then proceed. Whatever that means for you.

I’ll keep seeing you here. Because I know darn well I always have more to say about old clothes, and I’ve got to put it somewhere ;)


6 Comments on Re-Evaluating for Sanity’s Sake

  1. Ana
    April 12, 2023 at 5:03 am (1 year ago)

    Yes! I’ve wanted to quit my day job, my side hustle, my pet parenting… and some of those I’ve wanted to quit this morning. I completely understand and support the micro-makers. We are customer service, shipping, receiving, accounting, design, social media marketers and everything else. And some days, we just want to go back to making stuff and loving the projects, not all the minutiae. Hope you find your happy place!

    • Lauren
      April 13, 2023 at 8:45 am (1 year ago)

      Yes, 100%! It’s so hard to wear so many hats and do so many jobs. So many times we’re pushed to do passions as side hustles (or full time hustles), but the reality is a lot different looking than the average person knows. I’m still thankful for those still, quiet moments when I can sit and enjoy making just for making’s sake!

  2. Cassidy
    April 12, 2023 at 7:00 am (1 year ago)

    I’m sorry you’re feeling that way, but I totally get it! The social media aspect of this hobby has gotten so intense, especially when there’s business involved – I haven’t touched my Etsy shop in ages except to relist patterns that have run out, and I haven’t sewn anything from scratch in so long. It’s exhausting.

    • Lauren
      April 13, 2023 at 8:43 am (1 year ago)

      I get it. But I totally appreciate the work and hours of research you have done, Cassidy! It’s hard when our passions we have worked hard on are on burnout. Hugs.

  3. Anette K
    May 29, 2023 at 1:19 am (1 year ago)

    Hello! A little comment fra DK. Do not burn out. Take care of your self and your family. Do what makes you happy and creative all the way through . You have a lovely theme and universe. Furthermore all of us who read your blog , we can wait as patiently as history normally takes place anyway.

  4. Three Eyed Goddess
    December 10, 2023 at 5:29 pm (7 months ago)

    Hi Lauren, just found your blog again after……..almost 12 years! It’s wonderful to see what you’ve done since then. I admired your work and enjoyed the pictures you posted of the soirees you attended in your handmade clothes – it’s great to be here again – and we’re both still sewing!
    Best wishes to you and your family from an old fan.

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