Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Confessions and Craft Shows

I've talked a bit about phobias before and I've got a majorly personal one on the brain now. Social phobia. They also call it social anxiety disorder. One day I'll tell you why I prefer the former.

For those of you fortunate enough not to know what it is, I think of it as shyness to the 10th power. Just to give you an idea-- a general one-- we're all different so things vary by individual:

A shy person goes to the party, but doesn't dance. A social phobic stays home.
A shy person dreads her presentation on Monday. The social phobic calls in.
Social phobics are prone to depression, low self-esteem and panic attacks, they hate crowds, hate phones, hate moving, hate inconveniencing anyone, they rehash their own mistakes mercilessly, walk the long way to the post office so they don't have to speak to the neighbor, pray they can get home without having to speak to anyone, avoid eye contact with waiters and cashiers, dread their sister's wedding for months, think seriously about skipping their favorite aunt's funeral, don't speak to someone they met three months ago unless they're sure that person recognizes them first and they live like that from childhood on knowing that their fears are groundless and generally wondering what in the world is wrong with them.

I'm bringing all this up because this social phobic has applied for a spot in the Savannah Market Bazaar next month. And she's already sick about it.

It's been forever since I've done a show. I did a few when I was younger and on medication to control my issues. Eventually I went off the meds and on some herbal supplements and I stopped selling my jewelry except to friends and I had my jewelry in a gallery. A year and a half ago things got worse literally overnight. Things that were already difficult became impossible, things that were okay became difficult. I re-immersed myself in my art and worked another year before I quit my job. I went back on medication.

Etsy has been good to me and I find Internet anonymity to be a godsend. But my dwindling bank account demands further action. So it's a Bazaar. Mother mine and sister mine have both promised to go with me. Social phobics do better when they have 'safe' people around them. I have lots of inventory and a few weeks to make more. I still have my tent and table.

I need to tag what's not tagged with prices and I want to make some freebies, little thebeadedlily bookmarks. I'm already obsessing about things like what time we have to leave and food and whether I should take seats. There will be some Etsy people there from the newly formed Savannah Etsy Team. I'll have to meet them. I want to meet them, and I don't.

I should make more nose rings. Savannah is the home of SCAD-- Savannah College of Art and Design. World-renowned for art, locally renowned for folks who dress a bit out of the ordinary. I've relished each time someone asked if I was a SCAD student.

So with this hanging over my head like Madame le Guillotine I couldn't blog about anything else. And despite the fact that this is all intensely personal and has to do with beading about as much the guillotine has to do with white horses as I suspect you'll get to hear all about it again.


  1. Sarah, sweetness!, all I can do is hug you :) I had a paralyzing phase the first few years of college (I would drive across town and sit in the university parking lot rather than go to my classes...lots of Fs and Ws those first few semesters). When I lived in the dorms my first semester, I would time my laundry room visits so that I would encounter the fewest possible number of -- for goodness sake! -- fellow dormies. I still have a horrible time (mostly in preparation of rather than during) with social situations. Once I'm actually "there," however, I seem to function pretty well. I taught. I gave presentations. I've had a spot at the farmers and crafts market (hoping to return). It's so funny it's sad. Or is that, it's so sad, it's funny.

    But your situation is s omething more serious...I wish I could help with more than moral support and understanding, but please know that you definitely have both of those in droves!

  2. I know where you are coming from, Sarah. My daughter has the same problem. She is on medication and still has a hard time with it. She has a tendency to what I call "overthink things" way in advance. She has come to live with us along with her 2 children. I see more of it now than I did before. I have it to some extent but not as bad as my daughter. As with her, I wish there were some way that I could help you. All I can do for both of you is give my moral support and love. I wish you all the luck in the world with your bazaar. I should be doing them too but can't get myself out there yet. Maybe you will be my inspiration.

  3. Sarah - I am a natural born extrovert, so I can not really relate to your situation. However, I wanted to wish you all the best! Do whatever you have to do to help yourself get ready for this - and know that I am sending you a huge, giant hug that this goes well for you and that you can deal with the anxiety that this is bringing. Let me know if I can be of any help at all!

    Lots of love and another big hug to you!

  4. I hear you Sarah.

    I think it's probably something a lot of 'artistic types' suffer from. If it weren't for the internet I mostly would never 'leave' my house.

    You can do it and I am so glad you have the support of your Mom and your sister.



  5. Thanks you guys:)

    Carol Dean-- I get all that:) It's good to know that you've had some success or that things have gotten easier somehow. As with all the demons we fight (and I know enough to not think that mine are worse than yours or anyone elses:) a bit of support goes a long, long way:) I'm for so sad it's funny.

    Marilyn-- she's incredibly fortunate to have you:) and I think when you do a show, it will be a smashing success!

    Jules-- I envy you just a bit! I'm glad you can't relate, but thanks so much for taking a moment to sympathize:)

    Kerrie-- Perhaps. If so, I'm betting that art is a coping mechanism and a comfortable space for others as it is for me. I think the stats are something like 7% of folks here in the States are social phobics. Of course, that's only one reason people stay home!
    I'm ever grateful for the support of my family and friends. Without it, I just don't know what!

  6. Thankyou for sharing that, I know exactly how you feel. I have social phobia too. Its probably why most of the group don't know me that well!! A few years ago I tried a few market stalls with my mother and sister and ended up spending most of it hiding behind the display. I also can't work because of it. I wanted to earn some money by selling my jewellery online, but haven't had much luck. I hope you do well!

  7. Emma-- I'm sorry:( Keep plugging dear! You do beautiful work and it deserves to be shared!
    I hold on your comments like a lifesaver and think, I can always duck under the table:)

  8. *hug*

    I have a friend who struggles with the same thing, I think. It's hard to know when to leave her alone and when to assume she really does love me and I should go ahead and knock on the door. I feel like a clueless oaf at least half the time.

    Wishing you a successful and not too stressful time. And thanks for taking the risk and sharing your feelings. I imagine it was a scary thing to do.

  9. hey sarah,

    you are so brave to even open up and talk about it. most people just keep it to themselves.
    my grandmother had anxiety issues - paranoia, anxiety, worry - and i inherited a lot of that from her, so i completely understand. i don't have social anxiety, but i am a world class worrier - and i really over think pretty much everything. we just got home from a 2 week vacation in california and i spent a lot of the time worrying if i was being upbead enough! ha! imagine that.
    i find that if i am caught up in my own thoughts, it is worse. once i am among others - especially in a retail environment, it gets much much better.
    i know you are going to do great at the show and kudos to you for putting yourself out there and doing it even though you don't want to. i think that's half the battle of coping, right there!

  10. Melody-- Always assume she loves you, just know that that doesn't always mean you should knock on the door:) Don't feel clueless though, if you can talk about it that would be great for her. If not, maybe just an agreement that she can tell you that she needs her space without being scared that it will hurt you.
    It's wonderful of you to keep trying though. I know she appreciates you:)

    Amber-- You always come accross upbeat! Not too upbeat-- just the perfect amount of upbeatness:)
    I've been sitting on it for years, but there was nothing else to talk about last night, really. And I think you're right about the coping.

  11. Oh,Sarah, I wish I could just give you a hug and tell you it will be all right but that's not too realistic. I love doing shows and interacting with people so I can't honestly say I can relate to your anxiety but I have received treatment for depression so I know matters of the mind sometimes defy logic. I agree that facing your fears is a giant step towards conquering them. I hope you are able to overcome your anxiety enough to have success with your show and even enjoy yourself a bit. My boyfriend is a number 1,class A worrier and when he has doubts he always jokes that he's going to do his Little Engine imitation. You know, "I think I can, I think I can, I think I can". Good luck to you.

  12. It's always eventually alright:) Somehow, some way. I'd settle for success at the bazaar even if I'm miserable . . that may be wrong . . . Enjoying myself would be colossal.

  13. Sarah, I have mild anxiety issues and I know how much they suck. I'm so glad you're facing your fears and that your mom and sister will be by your side. Just know that it will eventually be over. Good luck with everything!

  14. Sarah...My heart goes out to you. I have issues of my own which I don't discuss, so I have to congratulate you on sharing yours with those of us who read your blog. For what it's worth I've been admiring how organized and articulate you are in all of your dealings as an EBW Mod. Thank you for participating with us; your efforts are valued. And I'm wishing you all of the best at the bazaar!

  15. Adina-- I count on it being over! I frequently tell myself 'It's only for x hours. You can deal with anything for x hours!'

    Marlaine-- I know, and I didn't intend to say anything. But the blog. I've made a goal not to miss a day and I haven't. And honestly that was so much in my head I literally couldn't think of what else to write.
    Now that it's done, I'm glad. I've appreciated everyone's comments so much! Support and acceptance are blessings in this world.