Hello friends! It’s been a while and I’m sorry. I could spend the first few lines here giving you all sorts of excuses about how busy I’ve been, detail the long lists of projects I’m working on and parade my ever-growing To Do List in your face. Or I could publish a new project post and pretend I never skipped a beat.
But – instead I’m going to get personal. There’s something I’ve had weighing me down for too long and it’s affecting me. It’s seriously depleting my stock of creative juju. My heart isn’t singing as it should be. As much as I’ve tried to think it away, talk it away and pray it away, it’s still there.
And, it’s stealing my joy.
Back when I was dabbling with ideas for this website and deciding how I could put my stamp on the DIY world I remember sitting with a woman who owned a shop uptown, discussing furniture prices. I’d finished my very first painted piece and as a friend suggested took it into Janet’s shop for an opinion. It wasn’t long before the conversation moved beyond my little table to the wonderfully upcycled pieces (that women just like me had created) filling her shop.
A large white cabinet-ish thing caught my attention. The longer I admired it I realized it was constructed of several other salvaged pieces (a dresser, shelves, cabinet doors), painted and married together with new purpose. Now, I had just finished reimagining a curbside student desk to kitchen island so this piece was right up my alley. Janet told me a little about Joy, the woman who had built the cabinet, and showed me a few more of her pieces. I was equally impressed with those and immediately inspired by her work.
I said to Janet “I love how she takes things that no longer serve a purpose, deconstructs them then puts them together to create something entirely new. That’s exactly what I want to do!”
And – that’s how Deeconstructed was born.
But very quickly after I registered my URL and secured all necessary social media accounts my enthusiasm began to wane. Other than Janet’s store there were no other painted furniture shops in town (yet) to sell my soon-to-be-created goods. And, since I wasn’t going to rent/buy space on my own I started a Facebook group and invited all the women Janet had told me about locally. For free, we could all market our pieces in a virtual shopping mall. Janet was the first person on board and got started posting photos of items available in her shop. A couple of the other girls asked if they could join but see what others were posting before jumping in with their own items. One woman sent me a scathing message calling me everything under the sun because, apparently, there was beef between her and Janet.
That night I found out more than I ever wanted to know about the painted ladies of this town. Somehow my new hobby found me smack dab in the middle of a war between two business owners and their staff. And since Janet was the first to jump on board my flagship venture I had been cast in her army. Seriously, I’d known the woman for 5 minutes. This is precisely why I prefer working with men.
But I digress. Since no one was willing to share their photos or pricing the group never got off the ground. I retreated to the garage, spray paint can in hand, and got to work. I posted my projects here and kept to myself until I got an email one day saying I was mentioned in a public Facebook post. So excited that someone shared my work with their friends I clicked through…
…only to find, instead, that the very woman whose work I so admired was running my name into the ground.
Now listen, if she had commented about my affinity for graffiti art or my naivety of chalk paint then fine, I was open to some constructive criticism. If she was joking about my lack of actual construction skills after years in the industry she’d have been on point. But her comment that I should have my kid taken away because I was a horrible mother and evil person was a tad out of line. Apparently, she’d been reading this blog. And when she came across my Mother of the Year post felt compelled to share her opinion of me with her followers.
In case you don’t want to bother reading that post I’ll give you the jist. I never planned to have kids. I got pregnant. I have a kid. Life goes on. It’s sorta out of my hands ya know? Just like her inability to have kids. It’s not her fault right? And it’s not mine either. But it doesn’t give her the right to be mean.
In my private message to her I asked that she update her post to include the backlink to my story. At the very least, the folks she was rallying for a DCFS visit should read it for themselves right? And, what’s the harm in a few extra pageviews? Instead, she removed my name and website from the post and continued the verbal abuse.
For two fucking years, people. And, yes while I try to be a good Christian there is only so much slander I can take. This chick is here, in my town. And while I’ve never met her she continually posts passive-aggressively in my honor. Not long after our initial conversation I invited her to coffee. I figured if we could just talk for a bit we’d either laugh about the whole thing or agree to disagree. She ignored the request.
I’ve met friends of hers and extended the same invitation through them to her and received no response. Earlier this week, I shared her public status post (pertaining to me) on my newsfeed and responded to her directly. She responded with a slam on my faith, a screen print of my post and her version of the truth. To which, her tribe responded – saying they’d love to have my head on a platter.
What is interesting, actually, is that it turns out she was abused. By her boyfriend. Gee, that story sounds very familiar. If she’d have taken the time to meet me for coffee she might have realized it’s not just our furniture styles we have in common. But, the opportunity to find common ground has passed.
So – I’ve decided – there’s nothing more I can do. I can not care any more. I will not care anymore. And I will not allow this woman to steal my joy. Instead, I will address her one last time, on my terms, on my turf, for all to see. And then, I will move on.
Your negativity has no power over me. Say what you want, believe what you want. It’s no longer my issue. I sincerely hope you are able to work through your personal demons. It would be nice if you stopped dragging innocent people down along the way.
As I said to another friend, this is not the first woman who has blamed me for her unresolved personal issues and I sincerely doubt she’ll be the last. But it’s not my cross to bear. In time, I will have forgotten the spiteful things she’s said. Once I move, I don’t even have to worry about running into her around town. I will be forever grateful to her for inspiring my work.
Like I tell my son, although you can’t see it all things work for good. Even bad things happen for a reason. Eventually, it all comes out in the wash.
Whew. I feel better already. Let’s get some painting done!