Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Next Step.

I have started typing this first sentence too many times to count now. Nothing seemed adequate enough to encapsulate my feelings as I read through all of your comments and emails regarding my post on Monday. I am beyond - truly - blown away. In the past two years, no post has received as much feedback, and I do not feel like any post has ever connected me to you more than this one. I am so very honored and sincerely touched by the outpouring of advice, wisdom and uplifting words. 

Just in the past two days I have come to several realizations. 

One wonderful email I got said, "Do not feel that your choices are between abandoning your business completely, or neglecting yourself and your family. Things are rarely that black and white." I am not ready to stop working at this point in my life or career. I enjoy being Mrs. I enjoy being Mommy. And I enjoy being Sheridan French behind my clothing line. Those are all parts of my pie that do create my balance, even if some pieces are bigger than they should be right now. {Awesome analogy from one of the anonymous posters by the way - you guys need to read the comments below. There are some seriously wise women reading this blog! I feel so honored.} IF I stopped working, I would fill my time with something else - art classes, interior design, something or other - because that is just who I am. I am a do-er. I like being busy. I have invested so much in every sense of the word into my line that I do not want to pull the rip cord just yet, only to fill my time with another activity. I love design and creating products when the headaches that go along with it are minimal, so that is where I need to sort things out. Adjust xyz to minimize the headaches. 

Whether that means finding some interns, not pursuing stores with such fervor, or solely switching to one area like accessories, I do not yet know. I will see 2012's orders and collection through regardless so I have time to think about what is the best way forward. I will, of course, keep you all posted on how things are developing.

The other, perhaps much more important thing I realized after all of the feedback, personal stories and insights, is that I love connecting with people. I love talking to people. I love listening and understanding what another person is going through, helping one another out in this amazing journey called life, being the support or outlet others may need and vice versa. THAT is my passion. I want to help everybody. The world is so big, yet so very small, and we are all connected. I wish I had a better way to pursue connecting with people... looking at other blogs, there are several with 5000, 7000, 20,000+ followers... I am so teeny tiny still. I don't feel like this is the best way for me to have a voice, as little fish get so lost in the big ocean. 

I had a long talk with a dear friend of mine yesterday afternoon and we discussed women like Oprah and Martha Stewart - they have amazing power and opportunity to connect, yet, as much as I love them both, in all honesty, I don't feel like I can personally identify with either of them. Oprah is not married, does not have children {albeit cute pups}, and lives a life that probably no housewife {ok maybe like 4 do} that watches her has. Martha Stewart's marriage was not successful and she has a practically estranged daughter that just wrote a tell-all book about her. I certainly cannot identify with celebrities. {Well, maybe Jennifer Garner. She's a cutie cute.} Obviously I am not judging anyone's life path or choices - each to their own - but MY wish is that we had a young woman to look up to and learn from that was in a public position like that of Oprah or Miss Martha, not just an actress or celebrity, that had successfully balanced marriage, children and a career. I want to TALK to her. Learn from her. Listen to her. Where is she? I would love to fill those shoes, even though I'm still practically a toddler compared to those ladies and really have no idea what I'm doing...but maybe that's the point. Do any of us? Oprah seems to have all the answers, yet I still do not. Martha makes perfect cakes and pies and handmade Easter decorations, but when I try to dye eggs, 14 of them end up broken and on the floor and Squish has just eaten half a jar of glitter. I want a real {?} normal {?} mother and wife to be talking to me. 

How do I do that? How do I reach 100,000 people? 1 million people? Just keep dreaming? Am I officially crazy to reach for the stars? Someone give me Oprah's former producer's number so I can pitch this to her, and in the meantime know I am sending massive, enormous hugs and thank you's to each and every one of you for your words, your thoughts and your insights into your own personal lives and experiences. Perhaps I will stop with clothing design. Perhaps I will move on to other things. Perhaps in one year's time I will decide to take a year off and see where God takes me. There is always so very much to learn. Thank you for teaching me.