Starting Over

It's just going to be a quick little blurb. Really.

Because I want to get a few thoughts out before the day is done. A few thoughts? I have so many right now.

You know those five stages of grief? Most of us think of them when we think of losing a family member, a dear friend, or a beloved pet.

I learned the hard way last year that they also apply to other things in our lives. Specifically, dreams we have to let go of.

You see, two years ago, I was in the midst of realizing one of my greatest dreams. I'd always wanted my own little shop. I worked for years to obtain that goal, and two years ago, it finally came true. We sold our house in Florida, and used the profits to open and maintain a retail store where I got to sell my bath products in a sweet little store called Scrub Oak Soaps. It was amazing.

And then, after a short while, I realized that dreams change. Life changes. And I had kids now, and they were counting on me to provide for them. Not just monetarily, but also in many other aspects. Social and academic support were going to become crucial as they begin to enter the school age. I had no idea just how big of a task this was going to be, but as I began to understand just how great of an undertaking it would be, I decided to close my retail store. Not for good, but "for now."

For a little over a year, I continued to sell some of the most popular products, both through wholesaling to a few clients, and also through my web site. But I was finding that, after school started for my oldest and my younger began to develop other needs (he was always easygoing, but now he's full of so much mischief!) it became difficult to keep up with orders while prioritizing my family.

So here's where all of the stages of grief start to creep in.

Denial. I don't have to close the business. I can keep it going. Women have been keeping house and home and maintaining businesses for centuries. Who am I to be so weak as to not be able to handle this task?

Anger. Stay out of my way. I have so much work to get done. I need to do this. I need to keep this business afloat. I put so much of my life, my heart, my money into this. If you get in my way I'm going to yell. So just... stay out of my way.

Bargaining. Maybe if I just change things up a little bit? Yeah, that could work. After all, selling online isn't as much work as it was when I was selling in the store, right? Maybe if we just change the way we market our products. Maybe if we set some specific work hours. Maybe I could...

Depression. I'll be the first to say it. I've failed. I've failed pretty hard. I mean, I guess it could be worse, but when your income has slowly trickled to a stream instead of a steady flowing river, and the profits you saw from selling your house are gone and you're still in debt the way you were when you first moved to a new state? It hits pretty hard. Long days in bed. Not always sleeping, sometimes it's snuggled up with my kids to watch movies. Other days, everything seems like it's in a fog. I know I could open another store some day. But really, I don't think I want to.

Acceptance. You know what? It's actually okay that I had to close the store. It's okay that I decided to close up the online side of the original business, too. It's just not the correct stage of my life to be focusing on it, anyway. After all, my kids will only ever be this small once. Tomorrow, their tiny fingers and toes will be just a smidge longer. Their hair will be one step closer to needing a trim, their teeth will be even more wiggly, while new ones are coming in. Their abilities are changing, adapting, thriving, flourishing. They need me, not my store. The store can wait. The store can always come back. But for now, I am exactly where I need to be.

And that about sums it up.

I've heard it said that the stages of grief are fluid. That you don't always experience them in order, and that you can sometimes experience all or none at once. And it makes sense to me, seeing as right now I'm back and forth between the stages of depression and acceptance. Some days are easier than others. Some days, I am ready to get things done, to move on. Other days, I just want to stay in bed and mourn for what I've lost, both things I've had and needed to let go of, and things that I've longed for but come to realize will not be achieved. At least, they won't be right now.

Originally, I started Magical Girl Soap Company as a bit of an in-between. After I'd resolved to close up Scrub Oak Soaps as a retail storefront, I wanted to bring back a little something familiar to get the kids involved with. I needed a business that could grow and adapt with them, both in interests and availability. I wanted it to come to replace Scrub Oak Soaps.

Over the course of a few months, I began to understand that it was going to be something much different. It would be social - a way to connect with others that share a love for all things mahou shoujo. It would be a way to connect my kids with my other loves - fun, fancy, magic. It would be a way for myself and my family to express ourselves artistically, through the creation of bath and body products (something I really have come to love) and making other goods for the home, including artwork done by the kids. It would be a way to build a business around our lives, not our lives around the business.

So now, things have changed. I have fun ideas that I want to get out in one form or another, and I do my best to manifest them in the form of fun bath products and goodies that would make for a great thing to bring to a convention. I want to make sure that I'm taking time for my family, first and foremost, and then adding products in my spare time, as I am able, so that I am not overwhelmed by the demands of making things for large orders that threaten to exhaust me physically, mentally, and emotionally, so that I'm no longer available to meet the needs of my kids. And I want to take the next few weeks to pare down on what I have left over from Scrub Oak Soaps and ensure that I don't let this new business take over my life the way the previous had. Beyond that, I will be able to put into place the system of operations to be able to expand Magical Girl Soap Company in a way that grows and changes with my family, and not in a way that pushes against us.

So, that's that. My "quick blurb." It's a lot to take in, and I know not many will read this, and that's okay. I hope to check in on my blog from time to time to let you all know how I'm doing, because this is going to be an ongoing process.

And that's okay.

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