A Ship in Harbor is Safe— But That is Not What Ships Were Built For

Do you believe in fate? I do, sometimes. Like when you receive a message that you desperately needed to hear.

I have severe anxiety disorders and frequent panic attacks. I remember it starting around the time I turned 8. I was that kid who gave herself stomach aches before school. The kid who got ulcers from stress. Now I’m the adult who has panic attacks. But that’s not what this entry is about. It’s about one of the best things I ever did to help give me some relief from my anxiety. A couple years ago, I took up sewing. Although, sewing is practically ingrained in my DNA. My grandmother is the most exceptional seamstress you may ever meet. I feel she could probably create an immaculate ball gown from absolutely nothing, not even a sewing pattern. She’s that good.

I’ve never been particularly great at anything, just mediocre at best. But I became really good at sewing— and very quickly. It became my niche, and I really excelled at it. Sewing then turned into other things, like a gateway drug. I wanted to put designs on the clothing pieces I created, so I bought a Silhouette Cameo for heat transfers. I found while learning the machine that making adhesive decals were actually pretty fun, too. And, oh, the things you can do with them. Car decals, laptop and tablet decals, decals to put on tumblers and glassware. And while we’re on the subject of glassware, you can even use the decals to make a stencil for etching glass. Even the machine can etch metal discs with the right tool. And then what if I bought a metal stamping set to stamp metal to go along with my etched metal, that way I can create custom pieces of jewelry? And that same fabric I sew with can be epoxied to tumblers to make custom tumbler cups, and then you can also add decals to those. Yep, I’ve jumped to doing all of that. 

At some point along the way, it became blatantly obvious that this could be, should be, more than just a hobby. If I was going to put so much of my time, effort, passion, and let’s be frank— money into crafting unique and beautiful things, I might as well get paid for it, right? And it wasn’t just me who thought this way. My wonderful, supportive husband has said this from the start. And any time I’d share a picture of one of my creations, the dear people in my life almost always suggested I sell my pieces. Any time I get stopped out and about and asked where I got my clothes from to reply “I made them”, I’d always hear sweet things like “you’re kidding? Do you sell them?” I’m so proud of my work and it’s something I put a lot into. It’s my dream that people would want to buy them to admire them for themselves. I feel so fortunate.

I’d been sitting on this idea of opening up a business for about a year and a half now. Ironically, though, it is my anxiety holding me back. I swore this year would be the year. I’d do it. I’d find someone to create my logo, I’d get the business cards and tags, I’d get a business license, I’d create a business bank account, I’d find a bookkeeping site I’m happy with, I’d build a website. I’d get my ducks in a row and open my business. I’m already CPSC compliant to sell clothing. I just can’t seem to pull the trigger. 

All these anxieties come flooding in. What if I fail? What if I get myself into too much debt? What if I accidentally do something wrong and somehow wind up in trouble with the IRS? What if I accidentally fail to do my CPSIA tracking correctly? What if it’s all a waste? What if I don’t build a client base and have to shut down? What will happen if I shut down? What if creating a business out of this burns me out or gives me worse anxiety? What if some sue happy person decides to find the littlest thing to sue me over? What if someone is unhappy with their purchase and goes online to attack me? What if I don’t have a thick enough skin for that? What if I can’t keep up? What if I’m not as good at this as I thought? What if I’m not creative enough? What if I don’t understand how to do my inventory or taxes correctly? I’ve never been the greatest at math. What if I can’t handle it? What if? What if. I’ve been putting it all out of my mind because I can’t deal with the panic that creeps up and chokes me.

I don’t go on dates very often with my husband, I’m talking 1-2 times a year, and one of those times is usually our anniversary. My husband vowed as his New Years resolution to take me out more. I love him so much for that. A few weeks into January was our first date of the year. We went to this huge Chinese buffet we like, but rarely go to. The food is absolute tasty garbage, but it’s just the kind of low-key, delicious comfort food that we like for our dates. Like any other Chinese restaurant, you get your fortune cookie at the end of your meal. I opened mine, it read: 

“A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships were built for”. —John A. Shedd

There it was, the message I needed to see. The message telling me that, yes, I will be safe from all those anxieties if I sit back and do nothing, but that is not what my life is made for. We are not meant to do nothing because we are constantly afraid. 

That is why I’m here. That is the reason for this blog; to do something beyond my comfort zone and to hopefully hold me more accountable. 

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