I just read this fantastic blog post by Cherie Roe Dirksen (and watched the video from Amanda Palmer within it): http://cherieroedirksen.com/2013/09/04/how-trust-can-bring-you-abundance/
This was on the heels of watching Chad Calek’s Blood Red Sky last night (which everybody should see–trust me on this): https://www.facebook.com/abloodredsky
I have issues with trust. There, I said it, up front, and for all the world to see. Why do I have issues with trust? I come from a great family, full of people who have been there for me through thick and thin; people who have literally carried me when I couldn’t walk. I have great friends–friends who have been there for me, through thick and thin; people who have allowed me to come into their homes and their lives and turn them upside down, but with fantastic results after the initial topsy turvy, for me and for them. So why do I, of all people, have trust issues?
Because, unfortunately, that’s not the full picture of my life.
I went to school in a town where some of my very best friends–in fact, most of my very best friends–totally turned their backs on me, betrayed me, and did despicable things to me when I was homebound for developing psoriasis at the ripe young age of 16. Prior to that, I was labelled a witch by some boys in my class, and they honestly threatened to burn me at the stake–that was the year before the psoriasis happened. And that was because they heard about me doing “spellwork” and reading Tarot–from some of my very best friends (or, so I thought), who I had asked not to tell anyone that I was into that sort of thing in our largely Southern Baptist town.
Post psoriasis, my mother was told by the minister of our church that either she or I must have “done something horrible”, to warrant the Good Lord striking me with such an illness (because psoriasis was often misrepresented as leprosy in the Bible, in case y’all didn’t know that going in….). In college, the wife of our college pastor (at a Presbyterian college, no less) told me the same thing–that my outward disease was a sign of my inner sin. She later went on to divorce said pastor, who we asked to officiate at our wedding, because he always seemed like an incredible man–he declined to officiate at the last minute because he felt our planned service was too pagan: because I wanted to include a tradition from my husband’s Cherokee heritage in the service, the wrapping of the bride and groom in a blanket by the matriarch of the family, my Mema.
I have a history of befriending the wrong people, who then cut my heart out, stomp on it a few times, and walk away. (Luckily, I also have a history of befriending a few of the right people–and you all know precisely who you are! )
Don’t even get me started on my Father…or my Grandfather….
So, a couple years ago, I took the plunge and actually self-published two of my written works. I put my “babies” out there, and I trusted the Universe; I trusted discerning readers; I trusted my family and friends to at least purchase a copy. Around the same time, I set up a Facebook Page on my original account, advertising not only my books, but also my art (then available solely at Cafepress), and I likewise trusted the Universe, the discerning customer, and, again my family and friends to share, like, and get me out there, by hook or by crook, that I might start to earn a living off of my art as well. So, want to know how many books I’ve sold in two years, trusting to all of that? Precisely TWELVE. Want to know how many sales, shares, likes and everything else I’ve gotten for my artwork, trusting to all of that? Quite a few–the vast majority from the same TWO PEOPLE (thank you, Sharon and Suzanne!).
I decided last spring to start fresh with a new “marketing campaign”–I set up this blog, and I set up a new FB profile and page, and I dusted myself off, and tried to start trusting AGAIN. When I first decided to do all of that, a very wise New Englander suggested that I put “more of myself” into my marketing–into this blog, and into FB and Twitter, and everywhere else that I’m presently networking. I scoffed at that notion: how in the world could I possibly TRUST enough to do THAT, after all I’ve been through, in life, and in my business thus far? So, for the past year, I have NOT done that. I’m doing it now. Let’s see what happens….
In the aforementioned film, Chad Calek performs an experiment wherein he attempts to prove that the microcosm (the individual mind) can potentially affect the macrocosm (the condition of what’s going on in the world–in the case of the film, the fears of catastrophe leading up to December 21, 2012). He wonders whether if we all would just “stay positive”, we might actually see an end to cataclysmic changes in the environment, etc. Waking up this morning and reading the aforementioned article by Ms. Dirksen just confirmed in my own mind that I’m on the right track when I’ve decided to test this hypothesis myself, with my business–with the most precious thing I have to offer the world right now, which is a peek into my soul, via writing and art.
When I set up the previous FB Page, I spent a ridiculous amount of time looking at how many likes I had, versus how many shares I was actually getting; at how many people had liked the page, versus how many people had actually shared the page or the posts from my page, and/or purchased either my book, or my art, or both (and to those who did, thank you for keeping me from having a complete nervous breakdown). In the end, the pain I felt wasn’t in my pocketbook (although, yeah, that, too)–it was in my heart. I felt betrayed; I felt like I didn’t matter to these people who had always said, to anyone who would listen, that I mattered to them. The near-nervous breakdown that sparked is precisely why I have the new page (https://www.facebook.com/Iaconagraphy). It reached a point that for my own mental welfare, I honestly could not even visit the other one anymore.
But the film last night and the article this morning raise the questions: What if, instead of focusing on all of the bad that was going on in that situation, I had instead concentrated on those few people who were doing good at that time in my life? What if, instead of focusing on the fact that I am desperate at this point in my life to make a living (no kidding), I instead focus on what I do have, and trust you guys, and the universe, to pull me through? What if I actually got over my trust issues, and, like the overplayed Disney song advises, Let It Go?
So, over the next few weeks, I’m going to be trying some new and different things. I’m going to make some freebies available on my website (http://www.michelleiacona.com), and trust that folks who find and enjoy them will come back to maybe purchase something down the road. (I may even figure out how to create the magical “donate” button!) I’m going to keep posting blog entries, and trust that folks will enjoy reading enough to like, share, get me out there, and maybe even comment to the blog itself–and maybe, in the process, find some art they just can’t live without. And I am going to pour my blood, sweat, and tears into my art as I always have, and into this blog, as I should have done all along. In short, I am going to change the way I do business; the way I present myself to the world–and we’ll see what happens next. I’ll keep y’all posted…..