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Please don't remind me that I'm poor; I'm having too much fun pretending I'm simply "living green" like everyone else these days.


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Thank you to everyone who responded to my question on the other blog.

**My concern would be turning into the obnoxious business owner like I see people turn out to be with this job. They go from being really sweet to being too busy to do anything else and you are now "in the way". Loosing my friends/family to this {business} scares me as well.**

Oh my goodness! How well this person described me. I just had to type talk about it. As a professional machine quilter that had become the obnoxious business owner of course. (smile)

Going from a sweet person to an extremely "to busy" person happens so gradually that we don't even realize it until it's too late. It's because we are nice sweet people that we get ourselves into a situation requiring us to become obnoxious and rude. What do I mean? Well, a nice person has great difficulty saying NO to a customer. We say yes because we are nice and want our customers to be happy. We commit ourselves to get quilts done on deadlines. Deadlines mean we must stay at the machine to be on time. We will commit to doing 3 quilts when the customer has only scheduled one, because we are nice people. We hate to make a customer unhappy by telling them we can't do more than the one quilt.

We are such nice people that we become victims of "sad" stories and requests. We say yes to the customers because this is our income. Without it we must do without the things an income buys. We have a fear of getting a bad reputation among toppers. At the same time.... we will start saying no to our family and the friends who are not customers. We believe they "will understand" our need to earn our income. The more we say yes to our customers the more we have to say no to everyone else. It's so gradual! One sad story, one extra quilt request, one deadline, one illness that puts us behind schedule, one at a time, over a long period of time.

Each time we say yes to extra work or quicker deadlines; some customers then begin to believe it's ok to do it again... and again... and again. Not only that but they also tell other people about how nice and accommodating we are; so the other people also bring us special requests and sad stories. We say yes to them too.... because we are nice. In my case, I found myself doing two and three quilts in one day by working 16 or 18 hour days and using very quick to do designs instead of what the quilt really needed.

As professional quilters we start to find ways to cut corners on our "away from the machine time". In my case I cut corners on everything that keeps a person healthy in addition to saying "no I can't" to family and friends. As a result, I started getting sick over and over again. Putting my work even farther behind schedule. Requiring me to find even more ways to stop "living" and just keep quilting. Before I knew it, I realized my grand kids are grown and having kids too. Hmm.... when did he grow up? I thought he was still in elementary school. Now he's made me a great grandma again. (I have more than one great grandchild.)

Then comes the machine quilter's "burn out" phase. When the quilting ideas seem to elude us. We know how to quilt. We have done really great designs all this time. But, we stand and stare at the quilt on the machine without any idea of how to quilt it. Stand and stare time is not acceptable for a professional machine quilter. If the machine is not moving, it's not earning income.

Suddenly, I woke up one morning and realized I didn't like myself anymore! I had become the type of machine quilter I had feared becoming most. The one too busy to be nice. I started thinking back on all the times I had been rude to others. I thought of all the times people had invited me to lunch or to visit their quilt groups or go on retreats and I had said "no I can't". I thought of all the times my kids and grand kids had asked me to spend time with them but I said "no I can't". I thought of all the charity quilts I used to make but now say "I can't" to myself. I thought of all the times beginning machine quilters had asked me to help them learn to use their machine. At first I would say yes I will help you but later have to back out of it because I had deadlines to meet. NO, I didn't like myself at all! I was no longer the sweet, healthy, helpful, charitable, grandmother person I remembered. I said to someone, can't remember who, that I was a much happier person when I didn't have any customers and was broke all the time. Hmm... it might have been in a blog post.

I knew it was time for me to retire. So I could be the person I remember as me. True, I'm a whole lot older. Is this what they mean by "older and wiser"? In my case, yes. Now that I'm officially retired, I plan to first spend time with my sons and their families. I miss the closeness we had and the joy of just being around them. I have new great grands that need a quilt made just for them. I will eventually get around to showing others that I'm still the sweet person I was years ago. I have a lot of rudeness to make up for.

I best get into the studio and do some work today. Only a few more to go before the chains that hold me to the machine break and I can transform into the person I remember.


FoulkeArt said...

I have never seen a "rude" Anita. I have only seen an Anita who tries to please her customers, an Anita who postpones her own creative sewing to meet a deadline for a customer.

I now look forward to seeing an Anita who can go to lunch and an Art Gallery for inspiration for her own creative work.

winda aka DutchQ said...

I am so with you on this, not that i am a machine quilter, but the part were you say you aren't nice to yourself just because you always want to please others....
though I will miss your stories about your quiltingwork and all that comes with it, I do understand why you had to make this decision.... I hope you will find yourself again and learn to enjoy her!
hugs from the Netherlands

Winda aka DutchQ
aka (*ΓΌ*)

kathi said...

HURRAY for YOU!!!! I am so PROUD of YOU and know LIFE itself will be so much better, instead of having to deal with "life interruptions" and "quilting deadlines for others" all the time.. I am deffinately jelous. but in a good way.