How is everyone? Now that the markets and life outside the home have resumed, to a degree, I am happy to meet and get to know so many new people again as well as reconnecting with familiar faces. You just can’t beat personal interaction and direct communication. It’s truly lovely to be out and about, in relative freedom.
As I keep chatting with people, I often notice that similar questions and topics arise as regards myself and my work, inspiration, and even lifestyle choices. Since I am always curious to ask these questions myself and am interested to find out more about my favourite makers, shakers, movers, artists, and people in general, I thought it’d be fun to start a little series on this platform here. In irregular intervals, I plan to “interview” the many fascinating characters I get to meet at the markets, in particular the inspiring women who I admire and whose stories amaze or excite me. The idea is to ask them a couple of questions about their process, typical day, background, and inspiration or motivation. I would like to present and introduce them in a way they would like to be seen in this wild world. To give them the attention that I think they deserve. As a taster and because it’s easiest, I’ll start with myself. There are many of you new to my work and who are meeting me for the first time now, so a little re-introduction might be helpful to give you an idea about who I am. More about this in my next post, I will write a second one for June because why not!? You asked, so I’ll answer. After that, there are some wonderful and remarkable women that I would like you to meet! Stay in the loop to learn more about them…
For now, just a little update on how things are going, a bit of context for this new project, and the general state of current affairs at NDS Jewellery headquarters. Well, let me tell you being “out” is taking it out of me, too, in ways that were to be expected, I imagine. It’s almost like re-learning how to be social again after a feral few months in my own little corner of wilderness. After the first full market weekend, I thought my tongue was in knots and my mind was racing, trying hard to process all the new impressions. It was funny how something as anticipated as being back to human interaction also made my head spin no end. I cherish this challenge though and I am overjoyed at the opportunity to hopefully put all my newfound lockdown life lessons into practice. Spoiler alert, it’s not that easy. As per usual, I struggle with looking after myself well and being as kind to myself as I find it natural to be with others. Of course I never get enough sleep, so nothing new in that department either. I am slowly finding my feet again though, remembering how to “do” life outside my own home, workshop, and garden. Outside my own head even.
As I tackle market weekends, my daily workload, family life (yes!) and all kinds of chores, I realise it’ll probably be a while before everything falls back into place, before I can re-establish a healthy balance for myself that is sustainable in the long run. Most of all, I need to make allowance for this to be an ongoing work in process. Pivoting, emotional rollercoasters, and constant changes have been an integral part of the last year in particular, I shouldn’t expect this to stop anytime soon nor to be in full control of what is going to happen at any stage. As I try to prevent myself from overthinking and planning too far ahead, I also try to be patient. No mean feat for me. Some days I achieve this, others… well, suffice it to say that I am at least aware of my shortcomings and try to make fun of them, to ease the tension.
On this note, it makes sense to look at expectations vs. reality. I am putting more focus on appreciating what I have and/or can do, while trying to let go of what is (and probably will be for some time or possibly always) out of my control. Yes, I admittedly get frustrated often, especially since I am prone to “fix” situations that seem unfair/unreasonable/inefficient etc. Without going into details, I simply worry too much, I take on too much of other people’s drama, and I put too much weight on my shoulders where there is simply no need for it. I cannot singlehandedly change everything. So, again, I am changing what I can, namely my perception. Luckily, I am getting better at that at long last.
Looking at the title and excerpt of this post, you may wonder what that has to do with women? An awful lot, I suppose. It’s overwhelming to be a woman. At least it often is for me. Fulfilling so many sometimes contradictory roles is exhausting. Having to deal with other women who, presumably, also have it all going for themselves, can sometimes be a major provocation and test of my feminist beliefs. Having said that, I have been lucky enough to have met a whole bunch of extremely fantastic wonder women. I just can’t seem to connect with a certain type of woman, despite admiring their achievements, having common interests and/or struggles. Before anyone even thinks it, I am not a jealous person in that way either. I am genuinely happy to see women thrive in their endeavours.
Yet, despite my best intentions and efforts, I feel that I do not "click" with this very particular type of woman: the ones who are not straightforward or straight talking, but passive-aggressive and who bully through saccharine-sweet exclusion or omission. Obviously, this is not merely a gender-thing, it’s about character, too, and there are certain personality traits in others that I do not respond to well (or at all). Mostly, I suspect, it’s again to do with perception. I abhor anything fake, affected, or pretentious. Anyone (women and men) being excessively full of themselves in whichever way or for whatever reason is a nuisance to me. This conceit and falsely perceived sense of superiority, mostly based on entirely superficial, arbitrary measures, is beyond me. I simply cannot deal or connect with any of that. Sadly, the older I get [yup, I went there], the more of this I see and notice. Social media lets people get away with it, too, and encourages this damaging, demeaning behaviour. One more reason why I limit my use of it as much as business allows for it these days.
So why am I telling you this now? Simply put: to get it off my chest. I am (as a person as well as a business) operating on kindness, inclusion, friendliness, respect, and equality. As we are all getting (re)acquainted with each other, I want to make it crystal clear what I stand for but also what I cannot abide and won’t tolerate, not even for the sake of my work. I am about genuine connections, not followers or self-serving (female) cliques of any kind. I would rather say the unpopular but honest thing, just as I would rather be disliked for who I am than liked for who I am not. Yes, I get how this may sound off-putting, detrimental for my business even. In my book, this is also what courage and freedom look like though. Courage to be myself, stand up for myself, and freedom to speak up or walk away from anyone or anything that goes against my every belief in what human interaction should make anyone feel like. I hope, if you’re still reading after this, that you can appreciate my authentic, down-to-earth style of working and moving on in this world.
Going forward, expect plenty more unapologetically me style jewellery, writing, art, and interactions. This is what NDS Jewellery always stood for, what started it even. It’s about empowering women (and men! ALL!) to simply like what they like, to be who they want to be, and to live and let live while they’re at it. I have often said this [see my journal entry in January], it’s about lifting each other (everyone!) as we rise, not dragging or putting each other down. Savvy? So now you know, I’m glad I have written this down again for good measure, just to make sure we’re on the same page.
More about me, the strong-willed person behind NDS Jewellery in my extra June post, before it is on to the kind of women who embody a lot of what I love about, respect and admire in humans generally speaking, and women in particular. With this, I would like to promote forthright interaction and respectful connections, based on real interest. No sugar coating, no false friends or toxic self-interest. Just female reflections.
With all my gratitude for being here reading this and the biggest hugs to all those who understand.