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1.14.2014

The State of the State



I'm not going to start this by apologizing for not blogging in forever, as I have in the last 1,000 posts I've written.  We all take breaks and have lulls, so no need to discuss right?  Right!


I had a pretty difficult 2013.  Rather than typing out the laundry list of NOPE that occurred last year, I want to try and take a more positive approach. I have some things I need to say, and I hope y'all will bear with me.


The success of LouBeeClothing took me by surprise.  It is the greatest accomplishment of my life thus far, and it brings me heaps of pride.  But SWEET JESUS what the hell just happened.  I wasn't prepared - mentally - for that success.  And please, don't think I'm first-world-problem whining about having a successful small (very small) business.  It's not that.  I am humbled by it every day. I simply was not armed to cope.


Cope with what, you may ask?  Well.  I have this problem.  It's that I don't allow myself success past a certain point.  I like to prove I can do things - big things, but once I begin to receive positive feedback or any accolades - forget it.  Game over.  I win in that I can do it; I lose in not surrendering to the fear to find out 'what's next'.  I am actually in counseling for this currently.  I've had this mental barricade for as far back as I can remember. I have never seen a thing through to it's rightful end.  Not once. I AM getting, and WILL get to the bottom of it though, and break the cycle.  I don't want this for myself, nor do I want this to be the template my daughter uses when reaching for her dreams.  This is not self care, it's self sabotage.  I feel like I'm 12 months pregnant with my next set of patterns.


So last spring and summer, and then fall... and early winter.  They all passed.  Painfully slow. I thought about my patterns every single day, sketched, filled notebooks with calculations and grade rules, sewed mock-ups. But when it came time to do the work necessary to experience that joy of releasing a pattern again?  NOPE.  No. No, no, no.

All of that psychological tug-of-war led to a pretty rapid descent into depression.  I am prone, genetics-wise, and have had numerous bouts of depression over the course of my adult life, but this was a doozie. The pressure, the stress, the anxiety... they just gobbled me whole.  I didn't want to sew, blog, check Facebook, scroll Instagram.  It all just reminded me, painfully, that I wasn't dealing, wasn't doing well, wasn't coping.  

Then came the nail in the coffin.  This image:



Went viral.

Awesome, right?!  I was so excited. I had BOATS of traffic from people pinning and repinning this image, it was great - my work, and this pattern getting the credit they deserved. Until one day, as I was scrolling my own Pinterest feed - I came across this same image - MY image of MY daughter, wearing THAT garment I'd made - with my watermark removed, and with the link changed; directed now to a Minnentonka product page.  Traffic to my original post died overnight.

This image was repinned over 10,000 times with the false link, and with my watermark removed.

EDITED TO ADD: My image was cropped and re-attributed by a Pinterest user, not by Minnetonka.  They claimed no involvement, and they were pretty horrified about the whole thing, honestly. This user had MANY falsely attributed images, and I have no idea what their motivation could be other than money.  Who's paying them?  No idea.  

Emmy IS wearing Minnetonka's in this image.  I bought them on Etsy, vintage, for thirteen dollars, for this photo you see above - for styling.  She wears them all the time, but I got them specifically to style this garment that I sewed. In my original post, there is no mention of her shoes - their brand or otherwise.

I will tell you, my friends - I. Lost. My. Mind.

That's my kid.  That's my work.  That's my image. THAT'S MY KID.

Minnetonka responded to my complaints almost immediately to help remedy the situation.  They offered to and did Pin every image from my original post to their Pinterest pages.  It was a nice gesture, but I never got an answer to whether or not they profited from my property, or my child. I have yet to hear back from Pinterest.

This happened in the fall.  I still see this image on Pinterest in my own feed - not attributed to me - whenever the moments arise that I can stomach a peek onto Pinterest.  It's not often that I can.  I was and am disgusted with their lack of action - especially because in this instance the links were changed to a retail company.  If my link was changed to someone else's blog - that's one thing; it's shitty, but it's likely manageable.  This is not that.  Try explaining to your husband that an image you took of your three year old daughter is being exploited for profit on the internet.  See how that goes.

Needless to say - my depression got a lot worse after that. I was legit immobile. If I had sewing responsibilities that weren't already sewn - forget it.  If I had ANY responsibilities that weren't already taken care of - NOPE.  I wanted to quit life - blogging and sewing seemed so, so ridiculous.  My blog turned into a skeleton of guest posts.  Please, though - don't get me wrong - sewing other peoples patterns, and having my Bimaa tour were WELCOME respites.  I have never, ever wanted to leave this space - even though at times I just can't do it.  This here is mine; hot mess or not.

  


Lately, I've realized that I can come back to this place and not have that (self-imposed?) pressure.  There is support here, and a sisterhood unlike any other place.  I have been craving sewing lately, and community, and that makes me so hopeful that I'm coming out of this.  I WANT to come out of this.  With pride and confidence, and as a more centered and self-assured woman.  That is the work - it's not the patterns, the blogging, the sewing - it's the self care.  Everything else will fall into place - so cliche, but shit. So true.

On New Years Eve day, after just 2 months at my new job, I was offered a promotion.  I am now a buyer for OnlineFabricStore.net. It's the best job I've ever had.  If you were to say that 2014 is starting off much better than 2013, you would be CORRECT.  Cheers, friends.  Thank you for listening. : )

There's so much more.  I am really happy I got this much out, though.  I love you guys.

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32 comments:

  1. Wow. I totally get the hold yourself back thing, I am there so often. I was there today when I should have been cleaning and sewing. I couldn't do it. Yesterday when I took the kids out for a photoshoot for a blog post someone took my phone and wallet. I felt so stupid for trying to keep an eye on two young children and take pictures. I was mad because they took my phone that had pictures of my babies (luckily not the best ones). It totally made me very upset I felt the mama bear saying those are my babies and you took what wasn't yours. Your situation is the same but worse they exploited your baby thousands of time. You deserve to have a better year this year.
    Thank you for writing this because I don't think that before I was in the sewing blogging world I knew how hard balance and having a tough skin would be.
    Best Wishes for this year,
    Scary

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  2. Can I hug you now, please? Praying for you!

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  3. Sarah - Wow. I am floored by your honesty in this post. I can relate to so much of the first part - the self sabotaging tendencies and predisposition to depression. So, I hear ya. Success can be a very scary thing. I've been sitting on several BIG things for a while now, and I'm trying to make 2014 the year that I start ACTING instead of stalling at the end. I think it's so hard to put our babies out there - our patterns - our ART - and open ourselves up to potential criticism...potential errors... For me, my perfectionism means that even the slightest problem with something I create (or someone else's negative opinion) can send me into a free fall of unhappiness. I am working on it every day because I know I have so much to offer (at least that's what my husband tells me).

    It's heartbreaking to hear what happened with your daughter's photo. It makes me think twice about that company for sure. I hope you get some resolution and are able to keep your head up as we head into the new year.

    Congrats on your new job!! AMAZING! And email me any time you want to chat. :)

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  4. First, congrats on the promotion. Yay! Hope 2014 is much better for you. I'm so sad to hear about that image, can't believe that would happen. Honestly, I go back and forth about showing pictures of my kids in the clothes I sew for them. For so many different reasons! I hope it gets resolved for you. Wishing you happiness this year!

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  5. I can relate so much with the first part of your post! It is so hard to balance and not get overwhelmed with the comments and pressure. I am so so sorry about your picture being used in that way! That is so wrong and I pray they will make it right for you. I'm so glad to hear about the new job and pray 2014 is a much better year for all of us! Stay strong!!

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  6. Wow, sounds like you've had a really rough time. I'm so sorry to hear this =(

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  7. Oh man sorry to hear about all this yuckiness :(

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  8. so, so sorry for you. i know many people that suffer depression and I'm sure none of them would even consider to put themselves out in the internet, to do a blog, to make patterns etc. they would be too afraid of the bad comments they might get. I'm deeply impressed that you even started a blog and an own business and how you are aware of your problems and try to change your life! I really wish you all the best and hope that you'll be able to find a way to deal with your illness in the future. Further, I'm so sorry to hear about that pic of your daugther. That is so mean. When I started my blog in september last year, I thought a lot about such things and found that for me it felt better to not show my kids' faces on the blog. Obviously the clothes would look better if I could show them (I mean they are the cutest things on Earth...), but even though the sewing community itself is so nice, there might be someone else who isn't and would use the pic for what it's not supposed to... However, that just is the right way for me. Everyone has to choose for herself how to deal with this... Wishing you all the best, Annika

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  9. Sarah, you are A.MA.ZING! I am in awe that a company as such would stoop to such low levels as to steal a picture from a mama! and to profit from it, to say the least! You deserve a percentage of all their profits from the date of the first stolen Pinterest image...and more! I will never be buying from the mentioned brand, that's for sure. I am SO bad at watermarking my images. In fact, I only just started doing it recently...sometimes. I will be rethinking how I post pictures now. I can't thank you enough for this awareness.

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  10. I'm very much in awe of you Sarah - this must have been hard to write, but great that you did.

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  11. Thank you for writing that all out. I'm so sorry for the crushing feeling you've experienced over the past year. Some of your issues I can actually relate with so I know a bit of what you're dealing with. It's hard. It sucks the breath out of you. And now I'm glad I got mocs from a different company than Minnetonka (Manitoba mukluks. They're awesome!) because that was a total shit move stealing your intellectual property and child to make money.
    Hope to see you back soon, working out your creativity and taking the sewing world by storm with new ideas.

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  12. I can relate to so many things you've written here. I really believe success is scarier than failure. I hope you can continue to work at this (yourself, your business, your everything) and embrace the success that is coming your way. You deserve it!! And what a crappppppy thing to happen with that picture. People are big fat jerks.

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  13. So, of course, I haven't had that specific scenario, but I hear you. And I'm glad you have a trained ear helping you process and get through and stop the cycle and help you continue to be awesome. I'm a fan of the trained ears myself. Yay for you for taking charge of things!

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  14. Wow, Sarah! Thank you for your honesty. Take care of yourself! Hugs.

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  15. I'm sorry it's been a rough time for you Sarah. The realities of the internet - which do not make it easier at.all. when it's your child. But also, having worked with Minnetonka and having found them delightful to work with, I kind of feel like they're getting a bad rap here for something a Pinterest user did. I've seen a lot of my content stolen by Pinterest users, and it's unfortunate, but beyond reporting to Pinterest there's not much I can do about it. Nor would there be anything Minnetonka could do here - the onus would be on Pinterest to track and remove the pins. And with their terms of service, they'll just say if you want damages to go after the Pinterest user who violated your copyright. Yeah, right. It's unfortunate all around, but the person who did the cropping is the one at fault here. Hugs to you and I hope your 2014 is much better and you can move past all of this.

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  16. Sarah - what an amazing post. I am so sorry for everything you have been through. I, like you, have issues of seeing things through. Not paralyzing - but its like I just want to see that I CAN. And once I do, the glamour wears off. But it sounds like things are looking up for you. Hang in there hun, you are amazing.

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  17. I hear you. Blogging/sewing/creating can be so rewarding and so draining. And it seems like we can be our own worst enemy. Sorry for your bad experience with the picture. That really sucks. Glad things are getting better and congrats on the promotion.

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  18. So sorry for what you went through with the photo situation. Once you put your photos out there on internet, you just do not know what can happen...people can be so mean and cruel :( But I am happy to hear about your successes! Yes, 2014 will be a GREAT year!

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  19. Well shit. Thank you for your honesty. That took guts girl. Sorry you've had a rough go lately. You're right... success can be pretty scary! And of course, dealing with the stolen image must of been (and still is...) just ugly. I love that you wrote this... I hope you are back stronger. And if you're not just yet, that's ok too. Take the time needed. You have an amazing talent and whether you release ten patterns a year, or nothing for a while is fine by me. I am crazy about your Bimaa and can's wait to see what else your brain creates... but take the time you need. Your sisterhood will be here waiting...

    Natalie
    XX
    www.natandgang.com

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  20. It's so scary that pictures thing and Pinterest as well. I hope you're felling better now. I know about self sabotage and lost interest when you´re doing the things well. I hope you have a great 2014 ad send to you a big hug. ;)

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  21. I'm sorry to hear that you had such a rough year. I hope and pray that 2014 brings you much joy!

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  22. Sarah, I love this post- so raw! I think I do some of that self sabbatage stuff too, but mine is a fear of commitment. I think once I commit to something it will lose the "joy" and something I love will turn into work. I totally get it, kind of. (Lol) but that's so horrible about that company. I know they are a huge sponsor of a couple blogs I read, (sewing) and it's pretty convenient that someone linked it to their site. I want to have faith in mankind but nobody is going to redirect a link and remove a watermark just for sport. That's insane to believe that. So sorry!
    On that note, I have pinned stuff of yours on sight (because I recognize your model as belonging to you, and assume it's your work!) so I'll be checking my pins and deleting if they don't link back to you. Glad to see you around!

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  23. I'm sorry you had such a difficult year. I really understand where you're coming from. I have so much respect for you and everything you've done. Congratulations on the promotion. I really hope the counselling helps because I would love to see more success come your way. xxx

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  24. Sarah, you are awesome. I know we will see great things from you in the future.

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  25. From one self-sabotaging depressive to another- fist bump. JK, sending you a message :) xx

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  26. Thank you for continuing to blog - I enjoy seeing what products you come up with.

    Never give up !

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  27. first of all, I LOVE the Bimaa I made (you should totally make an adult pattern for it!! I would but it in a heart beat, or a tutorial on how to draft that cowl neck piece for an adult pattern that already fits, i would buy that too) and second, it seems like pinterest and other social media is totally a double edged sword. I remember when pinterest first got big and there were a lot of posts about how to pin responsibly (which the newcomers to pinterest these days probably haven't read)

    anyway, hang in there. I really love your blog and appreciate that it's an effort and that there is negative things that happen because of it. happy 2014

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  28. Hi Sarah, thanks for writing this very open and emotional blogpost. I recognise myself in the first part of the blogpost. My Louisa dress became popular and I had never expected this would happen. It makes me very insecure to be honest. Don't know what to do next. Just going fast forward at the moment, but I'm sure that I will bang my head pretty soon.... Blogging is so strange. It just takes you out of real life and on the other hand it dominates your life. It's like you say: especially when something like with your picture happens, with the social media, thinks are coming back to you without you wanting this to happen. Hang on there! I'm sure you are a talented person. If you need some rest I'm sure you have enough credibility to do so. Just take care of yourself first! And I'm sure that whenever you like designing a new pattern, every one will be waiting for you. Marte

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  29. hugs to you Sarah. You don't have to keep publishing patterns if it doesn't make you happy. Just do it if it feels right. I am sorry to hear of the stress you had over Emmylou's photo. That must have been an awful feeling...little doll! xx

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  30. Thank you for your post. I just discovered your blog today, anyway I share a lot of the same kinds of things related to anxiety, pictures of the kids getting on the internet, etc. It's so good to hear I'm not the only one. Hang in there. I'm glad you're on your way out of it!

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