A few thoughts on the green eyed monster...

 
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Hmm... can we talk about the green eyed monster that is fueled by social media for a moment? You know you've felt it, at least once or twice. But what happens when it takes hold, and the rational side of your brain can't win? This is supposed to be a life enriching social platform to connect and share. But it's also about business, and making a living as an artist, for me at least. What do you do when you've been working tirelessly on building your business and vulnerably sharing your work for years, and then a follower builds a business similar (but different) to yours, and in such a short period of time, and with such an annoying ease? Oh, and then she gets a brand new piece of expensive machinery that you've been practically dying over for the last few years (and then rubs your face in it... at least thats how it feels). How are you supposed to feel? It is frustrating me beyond belief. I know it's just jealousy, I'm not afraid to admit that. And I feel absolutely horrible about it (I do wish her success). I know that the only real answer is to stop focusing on what others are doing and focus on what I can do. I know that the only purpose of jealousy should be to help propel forward, to use it as inspiration to work harder, and more creatively, to build a body of work that is completely my own, and pushes beyond what other people are doing. But it's hard. Sitting here, very impatiently waiting for my own beater to arrive, after selling my car to find the money, and then finding that the maker who agreed to build me one refuses to answer my emails and inquiries about when it may be finished. Ugh. I’m complaining again. Another follower recently told me to ''stop complaining and share more paper.’’A valid point, but I’m not ashamed to admit that that comment was followed by far too many irrational tears and thoughts of self hatred. But why? Why has this social media platform become so engrained in our own wellbeing? It is supposed to be a positive place of vulnerably sharing parts or yourself with others. How did it become such an overly curated pile of bullshit? Why are we all kidding ourselves with these perfect photo shoot feeds and failing to recognize the whole picture? Why are we comparing ourselves to the perfectly curated version of “tastemakers” who hawk unbelievable expensive brands, and somehow fashion our own self worth over wether or not we can afford it? I can’t afford it. I can’t afford a lot of things. But that’s okay, that’s the truth I recognized a long time ago when I decided to make my living as a maker. I knew it would be difficult and that money would always be an issue. Honestly, up until I moved to Philly, all of the money that I made selling my products went directly back into building my business. Still does, but now I can afford to pay rent. (Hey, thanks guys!) Do you ever stop to think about who you’re buying from? Who you're choosing to give your hard earned money to? What is their perspective? What is their story? Have you really been listening? We all need to listen, and share, and be overall less judgmental, because let’s face it, we are all deeply judgmental and flawed humans, and it is scary to put yourself out there, and we do burst into tears hiding behind our phones. We are human. Today I am impatient, and scatterbrained, and jealous, and also inspired, and done rambling and making a fool of myself.

It’s time to get to work.

Your humble papermaker,

Stephanie

P.S. Pretty sure I just named my new beater "The Monster". If it ever gets here...

Stephanie Hare