I give up

I can’t do this anymore. I’m exhausted all the time. I’m in pain all the time. I’m lucky when it’s only mild pain. More often it’s severe pain. I’m sometimes happy, but I always return to being depressed. But what’s really doing me in is my increasing inability to concentrate. I just can’t do it.

I’ve known for years that I had depression, anxiety, migraine, asthma, and anemia. When I was diagnosed last year with fibromyalgia, it made perfect sense. I’m pretty sure I’ve had it since childhood.

But I’ve realized in the last few years that I’m also autistic and have ADHD.

When I was a kid, they didn’t think girls could even be autistic or have ADHD. (Yeah, that’s what happens when you list only the symptoms of boys who have it and say “these are the criteria.” Kind of like when they write cardiology textbooks and only describe heart attacks in men, and then a woman goes to the hospital having a heart attack and they say, “You’re not having the textbook symptoms of a heart attack, therefore you’re not having one. Go home,” and she goes home and she dies.)

I’m realizing now how much autism and ADHD have affected my inability to make a living. I have tried. I have really, really tried. But there are so many things one needs to do to make a business really work that my brain just cannot do.

And getting a job somewhere is just something I don’t have the energy to do anymore. I get really tired. And executive dysfunction and inability to concentrate are big problems in pretty much any job.

I’m in the beginning stages of applying for disability.

I am not going to be making jewelry anymore. I just can’t do it anymore. I started selling off some of my beads in another etsy shop I opened a few weeks ago, TreetownBeads.etsy.com (yeah, I forgot to tell you about that. Told you my brain wasn’t working). I’ve been adding things pretty slowly (because I have no energy), so let me know if there’s something you’re looking for.

I took down the listings for custom spinning. Realistically, I am not going to have the energy to deal with carding someone’s fiber, so yeah…no. And I am not going to take any custom orders for jewelry. I still have a few pieces of jewelry that came back from a gallery that I haven’t had the energy to photograph and list yet (are you seeing a pattern here?), but I will not be making any new pieces. If you want to buy any of my jewelry, ever, well, it’s now or never.

I still have a ton of my mom’s jewelry to list. I think I’m going to start putting some things up in lots rather than individual items. When I have the energy.

National All or Nothing Day

I read that today is National All or Nothing Day:

“We all have dreams we hold back, decisions left to make or plans uncompleted. On this day, people break free of everything holding them back. Everyone has at least one thing that they would like to overcome, need to do or want to do but might be fearful or hesitant to do so. This is the day to go ahead and do it, take that first step and go for it.”

And I realized…you know, I consider myself an artist, but I’m not making any art.

For a while, I had a good excuse. I broke my wrist. And then my mom died.

But over a month passed between the time I made something and the time I broke my wrist. What happened?

I think I started feeling like, “No one buys my jewelry. Why bother making it?” I wasn’t getting enough positive feedback. I made several pieces in September that I thought were awesome, and I was sure they would sell. They didn’t. I made some other pieces in December that I thought were awesome, completely different from the others, and I thought they would sell, and they didn’t.

was passionate about yarn and fiber, and I ended up $40k in debt. I was passionate about making jewelry, and I was still not making enough money to live on. That made it hard to keep the passion alive.

I started studying coding, planning to transition to work I could do that would pay more, but after my mom died, my brain was too scrambled to concentrate. I figured I would come back to it later. And now I’m spending most of my time selling vintage jewelry.

I like the vintage jewelry.

But…

I’m still not making enough money.

And I’m still not making art.

In my soul, I’m an artist. I need to make art.

And I need to make money to live in this society, since banks and grocery stores don’t accept earrings as payment.

I’m not sure where I’m really going with this. I just know I need to change something, and I don’t know what or how.

In the meantime, my bank account is hungry, so in honor of National All or Nothing Day, use the coupon code ALLORNOTHING in either shop to get 26% off your purchase. Valid now through Sunday night on all items except custom spinning services.

https://www.etsy.com/shop/RiinGillDesign?coupon=ALLORNOTHING
https://www.etsy.com/shop/MamaLikedShinyThings?coupon=ALLORNOTHING

Meet Lily

I adopted a cat. Meet Lily.

Lily on the stairs

She was a TNR cat who’s been living in the neighborhood for about four years. I started feeding her a few weeks ago to try to get her used to me, and she started coming up on my porch and leaning on my door. We made eye contact and meowed back and forth, so it was obvious that she was socialized, not feral.

My neighbor helped me catch her. She’s still adapting to this weird living inside thing. (Lily, not my neighbor.)

She has a vet appointment in a few days to get a check up, shots, and anything else she needs. Once she’s officially parasite-free and her nails have been trimmed, I’ll start slowly introducing her to Fiona, my bunny. Right now a baby gate is keeping her from entering the living room, so she only has access to the upstairs and the stairwell. She’s been spending most of her time in the coat closet and in my studio under my workbench.

If I pet her, she purrs loudly, but she insists on staying back where I have to nearly dislocate a shoulder to reach her, so I can’t pet her much. I think eventually she’ll be snuggly, but I have to give her time. I can do that.

Mama Liked Shiny Things

I mentioned it everywhere else, but forgot to mention it here (my brain may be a little fried) — I opened an etsy shop to sell my mom’s vintage and antique jewelry. Mama Liked Shiny Things (because she really did!).

Don’t worry; I’m keeping some of her jewelry. The pieces that really speak to me. But most of her jewelry isn’t really me, though a lot of the pieces are really beautiful and interesting. I’m having a good time researching vintage jewelry and learning a lot. Using clues to gather more information, like the type of catch on a brooch narrowing the time period when it could have been made, reminds me of when I used to do interlibrary loan. I like it!

It’s going to take a long time to get everything researched, photographed, edited, and listed, but I’m getting a few things up every day or so. Like this Austrian gold tone mesh and rhinestone brooch from the 1950s.

vintage austrian brooch, gold tone mesh with green and clear rhinestones

I wish I could ask my mom more about some of these pieces, but I can’t. I remember some of them from when I was a kid, but there are so many I’ve never seen before. And there are some I remember her wearing. I was even with her when she bought some of them.

Life, Death, and Angst

me with my mom in 1967

My mom died last week. She was 77.

She had been sick for several months, but I didn’t realize how serious it was, because she’d been sick for most of her life, really. She had been in and out of hospitals for my whole life. Even before I was born. So I didn’t realize this was different.

And then I got a message that she was in hospice.

And before I could really get used to that, the next day I got a phone call that she had died that morning.

It all happened so fast.

And then there was her funeral. And two days later I turned 54. But for the first time ever, she didn’t call to wish me a happy birthday. I don’t have a mom anymore.

I didn’t always have the best relationship with her. We didn’t see eye to eye on a lot of things, and she was very critical of me at times.

But she taught me how to sew. And she taught me how to do long division when my fifth grade teacher seemed to be pulling numbers out of her ass. And she read a lot, so I observed that reading was a thing that people did for pleasure.

I know she loved me, even if it didn’t feel like it sometimes. But now she’s gone.

And now I’m 54, and I’m looking back on the past year, and I’m thinking, man, that was a really shitty year. A few good things happened, but mostly really shitty things happened.

Rob left me and told me he had never been in love with me. That’s pretty shitty. I had a several month fibro flare and major depression. Shitty. I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Good to finally get a diagnosis, but shitty to have it. I became destitute. Shitty. I gained 30 pounds in about six months. Shitty. I met Russell. Yay, finally a good thing. I fell and broke my wrist. Totally shitty. It still hurts. I started taking coding classes online. Good. And then my mom died. That’s just totally shitty.

I am due for a lot of good stuff to start happening.

Do you hear that, Universe? Good stuff. I am due for good stuff to happen. A lot of good stuff needs to happen to me now.

 

At least it’s my left hand

Broken wrist with titanium plate

I’m slowly recovering, and getting used to doing more things one handed. The swelling has gone down a lot, and now the cast is pretty loose, and the inside feels like it’s made of straw, horse hair, and coarse steel wool. It itches! I have an appointment in a few days, and I think they’ll put on a new cast then, so I’ll have one that actually fits.

It doesn’t hurt nearly as bad as it did, but I still have occasional painful reminders that it’s not healed yet (I’m off the oxycodone but still taking Motrin). And I’m tired. Everything takes so much longer to do. And healing takes a lot of energy.

I’m applying for jobs. And I started taking some coding classes at Skillcrush (they gave me a discount code for unemployed people). It was hard for me to justify spending any money at all, but I think it will increase my chances of getting hired sooner.

It’s hard for me to know whether I should sleep as much as I want to (will this help me heal faster?), or should I push through the fatigue to apply for more jobs and/or work on my coursework for longer? I always feel like I can’t afford to sleep.

Life Sucks, And Then It Sucks Some More.

So you all know I’m broke, and I’ve been looking for a job while also trying to get people to buy my handmade jewelry or handspun yarn or hire me for web design.

Yesterday I took a break from all that and went for a walk. And I slipped in the slush and fell and either sprained or broke my wrist. I’ll find out which later today. Meanwhile I’m typing this with one hand. And I’m cursing the pain with every passing second.

Having the use of only one hand and being in excruciating pain makes it pretty hard to work on a website. Or write a cover letter. Or make jewelry. Or spin yarn.

Meanwhile, my bank balance keeps growing more and more negative. I need money, and I need it at a rate that outpaces the overdraft fees. (I called and got them to reverse some, but not all of the recent overdraft fees.)

Here are the ways you can help me:

• donate money to me here, now

• buy handmade jewelry I’ve already made

• buy handspun yarn I’ve already spun

• commission custom spinning with your fiber  (pay 50% up front, and the rest upon completion. I will begin work on your project when my wrist allows. The first to order is the first in the queue)

• commission a website. Contact me to tell me what you want. We’ll discuss the project and agree upon a price. You’ll pay 50% up front, and the rest upon completion. I will begin work on your project when my wrist allows. The first to order is the first in the queue.

• share this with your friends!

Thanks!


Oh crap

I’ve been taking a break from making jewelry this month and spending my time looking for a day job (it’s become clear that this business is never going to pay me enough to live). I’m hoping once I have a job I can continue to make jewelry on the side, but right now, I don’t even have the mental energy to go there. 

I’ve been basing my budget on an average of the last several months’ income, and unfortunately, this month skewed way low. I should have had enough money for another three weeks or so, but I’m out of money. 

So I’m having a sale because I need money now. Everything in my shop is 25% off now through the end of the month. No coupon necessary. 

Go there now. Buy lots of stuff. Tell all your friends. Please.

Thank you!

Looking for a day job

Sadly, I’m not making enough money to live on from jewelry sales. The good news is, I’m feeling well enough now that getting a day job is a possibility. A few months ago, I was afraid I was going to have to go on disability. Neuroplasticity for the win!

The bad news is, looking for a job sucks. Once I eliminate all the job postings that I’m not remotely qualified for, the ones that require driving (which I haven’t done since…2003? and swore I’d never do again), the ones that pay far less than a living wage (yeah, the reason I’m looking for a job is so I can make enough to live on, not so I can continue to be poor), the ones I am not physically capable of doing, the ones I am ethically opposed to, the ones that I would absolutely detest, the ones I would be horrible at, well…I applied for one job.

I’m waiting for a call back from a career counselor.

I think I just don’t know what to look for or where to look for it. I have skills. But I don’t know what the jobs are that require those skills.

part of my current resume

I know from experience that if I do the same thing all day long, every day, I will become severely depressed. I am intelligent and creative, and I need to be challenged. I’m really good at solving problems. I need to use my brain.

I’m not going to stop making jewelry, but it’s going to be a side gig, and once I find a job, it’s going to take a while to adapt to working full time somewhere before I have the energy to do anything else. In an ideal world, I could find something part time that paid enough to live on, but in an ideal world, my toenails would trim themselves, and I could eat four pounds of chocolate every day and neither gain weight nor get a migraine.

If you happen to know of a job opening in Ann Arbor that would be a good fit for me, could you give me a heads up? Thanks!

New designs and holiday shipping deadlines

It took me several weeks to make these necklaces; when I started them, I was only able to work two hours a day, so progress was pretty slow. By the end though, I was able to work 5-6 hours a day (I am feeling so much better!), so these necklaces represent a sort of victory for me!

 

They are all up on etsy now. From left to right: Upper Peninsula copper ore with vintage mother of pearl buttonocean jasper with Baltic amberrain forest jasper with garnetbumblebee jasper teardrop, and bumblebee jasper triangle, all set in fine and sterling silver. I hope you like them as much as I do!

Do you need to get a gift order somewhere before Christmas? The last day for ordering is December 19. I can’t guarantee it will get there in time, but USPS says it should, for US addresses. So, you should order sooner if you can. (This applies to in stock items. If you need me to make you something, if you order it NOW, I MAY be able to get it there in time. I will try!)