T H E G R E A T W T F
How is it that I can find myself in this place of damaged body/tool and
the fear of finding out what is wrong?
It seems I’ve chosen a profession that is damaging to my quality of life.
A cycle that I keep hearing myself refer to as a merry-go-round going nowhere. I can’t seem to get ahead however, I am further along than before but not far enough to actually thrive. Not even far enough along to cover the medical insurance I need to take care of the issues the work toils upon my body.
Seriously. All for a hat. A freaking hat.
I get that any work can have a toil on the body. The eyes, the muscles, the stress levels, etc. But I do not feel the benefit of the work I do. So odd to me that my collections retail for averages of $360 - $500 per piece. And yet, I am taking home a total of $1375 for nine hats sold in the month of October. Nine hats sold that brought in retail wise, $3682. As well, the $1375 I did receive is not profit. Expenses for those nine hats sold came to $385. So now, the amount I receive as the laborer/designer/master creator is $990, averaging $110 a hat. I have to think of the labor, the studio costs, the back end due diligence costs...and it is not worth it.
No wonder I have no health insurance. No wonder I am wiped out. Is it terrible that I want to make one last chapeau, just for me and then call it a day for awhile? To not stress to restock a store when a hat I brought in the other day sold within three hours? To just pack up my supplies and take them to mi Madre’s because in the end I might end up there permanently? To just leave NYC with only what is in the shop (two hats) and trust I can find another way of doing what I do that is more nurturing to my body and spirit ?
I admit, I feel a little bitter in this all. Such a strong desire to just stop. But then what? The whole reason I am leaving NY this winter is that I needed a break and as is clearly seen here...I really DO need a break.
The night I damaged my left thumb was directly after working at the shop. I felt drained. Frustrated by the lack of money I received for my expertise. Frustrated with heading home to the apartment in the Bronx and the crappy housemates I had at the time. Exhausted from also working my own business simultaneously.
I decided to step into the wine shop in Soho before getting on my train home. I didn’t know what I wanted but I did want a bottle of wine. Everything they had was $15+. And none of it was “pinging” me like…”this!”. I decided to leave and buy a $5 bottle of red in my hood instead. I smiled at the workers, said “thank you” and proceeded to leave, tripped on the lip of their doorway and fell hard and flat upon my hand. My thumb instantly crooked. The pain throbbing harshly. A sick feeling in my stomach. I could barely communicate. I was shaking and they were semi attentive but not at all nurturing. I desperately needed ice. They had none. I had to leave. I walked straight into a bar across the street and asked for ice. I couldn’t even talk to them I was in tears, shaking, nerves shattered and even just writing this I feel all those emotions. Utter fear.
So many bills, so many hats needed to be made, so much work to do packing up an apartment, packing up my life, everything requiring me and everything requiring my left thumb. I am left handed. I have no staff to do the work for me. And thanks to my life in NY, and the amount I am paid since being here, I had no extra money to cover the expenses without me performing hat magic tricks. For reals. I was screwed and now I was screwed with a screwed up thumb.
I didn’t go to the emergency room. I went home. I had work the next day at the shop and not a job that had paid sick days. Part time there or full-time somewhere else...in NYC I had rarely experienced a job with any benefits at all. I am definitely on the wrong merry-go-round. Definitely.
I did put ice on, wrapped my hand, read up on what to do...but I never sought a medical opinion. In my mind I wanted to will it to heal. I couldn’t possibly do what I had to do with a cast on. Nor could I afford the cost or life on hold. The frustrating feeling knowing I had had insurance for six months and never needed it and still owed the insurance company $600 for something I didn’t need then but now I did. Seriously. WTF.
And wrapped or in a brace glove, I carried on. I made the hats. I packed my life up. I showed up to the shop. I moved all my furniture with the help of a dear friend. I unloaded and set up a storage space. I kept making the hats. Blessed be they kept selling. I kept replacing. I did custom orders as fast as I could to meet deadlines of others. I made from wherever I was staying because a month after my fall I was now houseguesting and house-sitting in Manhattan.
I’d sell hats and then take a huge chunk to go replenish what had sold. I paid over $100 to ship hats out to clients I had offered free shipping to as an incentive that ALWAYS bites me in the ass later. I paid off big debts and kept working, kept sewing, kept schlepping, kept going.
And here I am on one of the last three days I have to create, sitting here preparing my resignation to the world (so it feels) at 12:30pm when I really I should be blocking.
And my hand, I feel it. I looked into clinics this morning. All require paperwork and this and that and while I am grateful that I can look into these options it really pisses me off that I need to.
I don’t want to be in the pauper’s need-a-free-clinic club. I work my ass off. I should be able to afford to go to THE VERY BEST CARE for hands. My hands deserve the best and I am struggling to find a place that can offer mediocre diagnosis once I prove that I am poor enough for their help. What the actual “F”!
So what AM I doing with my life? What is the point? I make these hats that are superb but they don’t support my general high quality life? For reals? What AM I doing?
WHY am I doing?
So yeah, here I am with today, tomorrow and Saturday...the swan song of NY production and I just feel so bleh. My hand is freaking me out. The thumb look/feels the same but the wrist on that hand just below my pinky finger is bruised and swollen. I did bang it last week but I wonder if it is now continued due to the thumb? Either way...it has my attention. Everything has my attention. In 16 days I’ll be with my Mama. In three days I “technically” will be done with hats via NY and the next rounds were meant to be via AZ.
Question really is...am I already done?
Well, maybe not yet...but coming soon.