I work really hard to do even the simplest chores. Doing the dishes, cooking, heck, even blogging is hard work. I am sick, I am tired, and I am very shy with very little self-confidence. To have started 3 blogs, not to mention my own business making jewellery and doing photography was a miraculous event for my self-confidence and an increase to my workload, when I was trying to decrease it to help my health. I work harder than anyone can possibly know to make jewellery by hand, even when my muscles are in spasms, my stomach is nauseous, my head is foggy and dizzy and I just want to crawl into a hole and sleep for about 10 years. I also designed and created my own website, www.littlestudio.ca so, if I want to show it off, as well as the things I make, you'll have to excuse me, but I'm a teensy bit proud of that. Most completely healthy people wouldn't have been able to start doing what I do, and continue it day after day without money, sales, support, etc, but to have a serious illness, so bad that I am housebound for weeks at a time, makes my accomplishments all the more spectacular (if I do say so myself).
Back in October when I was first diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, I joined an online support group based in Ottawa for people struggling (like me) with this disease. It took a lot of courage to start posting on that forum, probably people wouldn't even believe how long I spent writing my first post of only 2 or 3 sentences, but there you go. It took months to tell people on the forum about my website. When people asked, "What do you do to take your mind off the pain?" day after day, I said nothing. Finally, I spoke, and said that I craft, and try to make income from my art. I showed them my website (at their request) and said to have a look, because everyone knows it doesn't cost a thing to look, and I know how tight money can be when you can't work and are sick. I repeatedly tell people that they are free to look around, and that I understand that people can't always buy things because money is tight. I always tell people that and I mean it.
When I started these blogs, I started them to help people. I want to discuss my battles and triumphs with Fibromyalgia and share it with others who are going through the same thing and don't even know they aren't alone. I want to give free recipes for people with food allergies needing recipes. Heck, I wrote a whole darn cookbook that I could have self-published and sold on my blog and website, but I didn't. I chose to give the recipes away as a small act of kindness because I know how hard it can be to cook when you have an allergy to gluten or dairy, eggs, corn, soy, etc., or are a vegetarian/vegan. My jewellery blog is just that. I talk about how I made a piece, and if it is for sale, I tell people to see the website IF they want to buy it.
Inviting people to go to a website is just that - an invitation. They don't have to go, they don't have to buy. I mean really, if I bought stuff from all the websites I've visited, I'd have mansions full of cars, boats, Louis Vuitton, you name it. I like to look. Looking at designer clothes or someone's handcrafted art is a fun way to window shop and escape reality. I don't have to leave my house (like I could most days anyway, the pain is horrible), and I don't have to spend. I expect the same of anyone who reads my blogs or goes to my website. I don't want people going into massive debt to buy my art (it's not that expensive, but that's not the point). I want them to look at all of the delicious-looking stuff and dream and escape their pain for a little bit.
Imagine my dismay when this morning I get an email from the moderator of the Fibro support forum saying they don't want me to post because they don't want people selling things. I was hurt and insulted - I've had at least 4 people from the support forum telling me how much they enjoyed going to my site! I never told them to stop visiting unless they bought something, I was just tickled that they had even gone to look at my work. I am angry, hurt and insulted that they think I would take advantage of others. I am one of them!I tried to compose a professional retaliatory email, but I don't know how clear it was that I am not trying to sell anything to people who don't want to buy. I don't care about making money, or I wouldn't be doing art for a living! With that single email, I feel like I've been betrayed by a best friend.
Honestly, I hate this disease. It's slowly taking everything away from me that I loved. I don't even want to look at my jewellery table - it feels dirty now.