My first craft market (although quite poorly attended due to the weather) was a resounding success in my mind. It was a good practice run and I wasn’t overwhelmed. I have chronic social anxiety. It was triggered but mostly I had fun in the process of getting to meet people and just talk. A lot of work went into making my jewelry and it is nice to see it appreciated.
I haven’t always been socially anxious. Before the car accident so many years ago, I was quite social. You can’t be a horse-back guide living with guests for 7-14 days in the woods if you aren’t social – well, you could but it definitely helps. I have fond memories of cooking dinner for the guests over a fire and chatting into the night.
As a result of years of persevering to attend to some of my mental and physical health issues, I have been able to skip up “a flight of stairs”. It has been a long climb, and during this first year of taking business courses and starting my own business I really had to practice being mindful as my pain levels were dangerously high. In the past weeks my pain levels have reduced enough that I am starting to relax and actually have fun making jewelry!
I now look forward to the next markets, showing off my jewelry and feeling connected with purpose. This is probably the biggest takeaway of starting my own business - having meaning through work. I think one of the biggest challenges for people with disabilities is feeling excluded from society. Bridging the social gap through work is a hard pill to swallow, but it is worth it and I am fortunate to once again feel connected.
While I hope my website brings in just as much sales especially through the winter months, I feel I have reached a new “normal” and this is exciting no matter what happens next.