everything has its season.

The desert was a graveyard for all of the people I didn’t even know I was until I got there.

I grieve everyday in some way for the women I became, and so often un-became in a heartbeat; before I even knew her.

I left home at 34 and aged at least another 20 years in my bones in the 8 years I was gone. I came back wiser, stronger, and older - and ready to settle down. My partner tells me all the time that I’m not old, that I shouldn’t give up yet, that I’m still young and sexy… but a lot of days, in my soul, I still feel so tired.

8 years after my first visit, and nearly 2 years after leaving my desert homes to come back East, I see it much more clearly now. Nothing was ever as it seemed, because I fully believed nothing could hurt me. What if I gave myself grace for these memories that have left me feeling disjointed? Stopped writing about them and stopped giving them strength? Who would I be then? Who am I now? All of the mystery moments and sad memories of all the women I ended up being - what if I gave every single version of myself the grace to be forgiven?

I’ve recently dropped down to a 4 day work week at my dayjob so that I can spend Mondays at home working on my business. This helps to free up a bit of weekend time or weekday evenings if I want to actually spend them with my partner (either working on the house or *gasp* relaxing).

Small business life is as crazy as its always been - with big plans coming for this Summer, when I am a dyed fabric vendor at a 3 day state quilt show. This means I have 400 yards of fabric to dye before July, some for shop updates and some for the show. This is on top of dyeing wearables and wanting to do a small quilted collection. Even gaining a day, I still never have enough time to get it all done. Its better than it was - but being mostly a one woman show (my partner does help iron things for me sometimes! and helps with photography when I have to model), I’m never not working.

Even working full time last year at my dayjob, in the midst of a pandemic, I still made more income from my business. Two full time jobs. But having a house now, its not quite possible to go to full time self-employed. We need the extra income. In winter we have to have oil delivered often for our heat, which is so expensive. Later this Spring/Summer we have a couple of big house projects we want to get done. We spend quite a bit in gas and highway tolls to commute 45 minutes each way to our dayjob everyday. Being able to set aside savings from my business is so helpful and keeps us from needing to put everything on credit cards. It gives us a nest egg of emergency money — something I’ve never really had before.

The trade-off to feeling somewhat monetarily secure (something I never thought I’d say), is that I don’t get much down time. I try to relax when I can, and when I have a lot of computer/website work to do I make sure I do it while cozied up in bed or on the sofa. I try to use Mondays to my advantage and spend the whole day working just as I would if I was at my dayjob. It takes quite a bit of planning and motivation. Putting myself on a strict dyeing/washing schedule. Keeping track of all the in and out. Photographing and packaging products. Packing orders. Remembering to pay the bills on time and setting aside $$$ for taxes to pay quarterly. I am very lucky that my brain likes to work in this organized type of way, otherwise I truly think my business would have sunk by now. Instead, its only growing growing growing, and its in direct correlation to how hard I work. The more I focus and pay attention and put my best work out, the more successful I am. This is not a coincidence.

Not to mention, between the house projects and my business, I’ve managed to push down that feeling of existential dread for the world that I tend to carry around every day. Some days its really hard to enjoy what I’m doing, knowing whats happening outside these walls. But the community I’ve built through my social media etc has helped so much - there are always folks checking in and loving what I do, inspired by what I do, and that means the world.

Just one friend called at Christmas, from Arizona, full of happiness for what we are building here. It brought me to silent tears to hear her voice. I have barely reached out to anyone, and its impossible to see any local friends these days. I really don’t hear from anyone, as we are all just living our own lives. I have very little time to connect. I’ve always been a bit of an introverted hermit. Its been so interesting to see which friends reach out and who I do my best to check in on. Its all very sporadic and pretty quiet. It really makes you think hard about the convenience of most friendships.

I have my days when I miss the desert, but most days I’m so focused on just being here and enjoying our home. We have all of our desert trinkets, photos and art around us to remind us of the good parts. I’m still inspired by all of the things I first loved about it. I daydream about those landscapes often. I do not miss a lot about it, and I’m okay with that. Its okay to miss some things and not others, its okay to like more than one thing at a time.

Everything has its season, and here in this winter season I have to spend more time here in my body and less time there in the past. Home isn’t necessarily where your heart is, but I think I’ve left pieces of my heart in many different places.

Focusing so much on my business all the time (and dayjob and real life day to day things), doesn’t leave a lot of time to focus on myself… but I’ve been trying to take some time a few days a week to do a full skincare regimen and hair blow out and try to make myself feel good. Its the little things. I have read just one book so far this year, and I already know I won’t hit my reading goal I set for myself (20 books this year), but if I make it through any I’ll consider it a win. I’m currently listening to The Stand by Stephen King on audio book while I’m at my dayjob, a book I’d never make it through if I were to read it on my own.

I’m finding small ways every day to remind myself why I’m here. I have a few photos of me as a child set up on my work desk near my family altar, where my grandparents and Jonathan’s mom cheer us on. I often picture myself a small girl here in Maine growing up in the snow and burying herself in books and drawing and music, and I try to invite her to join me when I’m working on my current creations. I try to hold her hand and tell her that even though she’ll never be popular or “cool”, she’ll always be creative and she’ll grow up to be pretty strong.

Sometimes I try to sit with a lot of those women I became in the desert, and let them know that its okay to move on. That I will never forget them, but many of them no longer have a home here with me. Its hard to see them, feel them, remember how desperate they were. But I know that each one of them shaped me into this truly resilient, tough, and driven woman now. I don’t recommend most of the things I went through as a means to self-discovery, but alas I’ve made my bed.

Focusing on my creative work and my hustle gives me something to be proud of every single day. Even on the days I don’t want to do a damn thing, I often thank myself for having planned a to-do list. I go to bed every single night having felt productive and proud. I know a lot of people are pushing rest and cancelling hustle-culture, but some of us need to work. Balance in all things, eventually - but not right now.

Everything has its season.

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