Us Vs. Them

Well first you might ask, who is them? I find it ironic that I left the corporate world because I hated the mindless politics only to find myself in the jewelry world with different mindless politics.

What is it that drives industries, organizations, and individuals to create barriers? Us vs. Them is something I see everyday everywhere. Academic vs. Professional, Retailing vs. Wholesaling, Etsy vs. E-bay..... The list grows as I find myself branching out into new corners of the jewelry world. It's enough to make a single metalsmith crazy.

I recently told a friend that if I ever become someone who must look down my nose at others to feel solid in my own achievements, please tell me! I find the mentality sickening as there is room for all of us and what works for one doesn't necessarily work for others. You must do what works for you and be proud of what you do. At the end of the day it is your life, your vision, and your success that ultimately will tell if you found the right venue and tone for your work.

I must say that I got caught up in the Us. vs. Them recently. I began to feel less than I am and to question my abilities as a what is the word, artist? A word I still am not comfortable with but will use for lack of another, I found myself caving into this belief that I wasn't as good as others because I wasn't academic enough, I sold my work through Etsy, I retail and I wholesale..... All of these things made me what? An amateur.

Yet..... Yesterday while talking with a friend I realized that I had moved away from everything I know. Everything that makes me happy and fulfilled as well as successful in my chosen medium. I allowed others who didn't know me and do not have my best interest at heart to sway me into thinking that I am not as good as they. That I am not following some pre-determined rules.... and then I remembered, well hell, I've never been good at following the rules anyway! Perhaps this makes me an amateur but I enjoy wandering the course and making choices that I feel confident in. I enjoy the process of finding my own way.... and dare I say it? If They have all the answers, how is it They have time to tell me how I should be running my business?

Realizing all of this ultimately led me to the conclusion that I had in the beginning. I am the only one who cares enough about my work to go the extra mile, take the extra risk, and invest the money and time that will make it successful. I am the only one who will ultimately make this venture successful. That is not to say that others do not want to see me succeed but I am the only one without any other conflict..... just me and my little company. So.... I must do what is best for this little company. I must make the best decisions I know how with what I have and I must embrace what works for me.

And realizing this I too realize that there will be doors closed in my face for my choices. There will be those who believe I am somewhat contaminated, there will be those who mock me, and I must find the ability to overcome that mentally and balance it with the doors that will open for me.


Beth Cyr said...

"I enjoy the process of finding my own way" - I totally agree! Even if advice is coming from some one I love and totally respect, I find it better (in the long run anyway) to just do my own thing, make my own mistakes and learn the way I need to learn - in making jewelry, creating art and succeeding in business.

3pieceonline said...

I concur. I just found your blog but this sums up my mindset recently as well.

Melanie said...

So glad I found your blog. I'm just turning my beaded jewelry hobby into a business, and it's honestly good to see someone who struggles with the same problems and worries I do. Not that I'm glad you struggle, but it's nice to see someone else work through it. Keep strong, I can't be the only one who finds you inspiring!

JorgensenStudio said...

Thanks for this post. It is hard sometimes not to let that self doubt seep in especially when just starting to wade into the world of art & galleries. It becomes so intimidating and overwhelming. It is hard to remember to keep the focus inward instead on what others are telling you that you must do, especially as someone who is self taught and has no formal art training.

Delias Thompson said...

Yes, the most important thing is to realize that you wouldn't be here if you were not meant to be here and there is room for all of us!

Thank you for your posts!