I’ve recently had some amazing opportunities and appearances lately. I’ve also been quiet. I’ve had all kinds of fears about how this looks to people – I’ve been fearful that I seem unappreciative or downright selfish. Here’s what happened: I stopped taking my depression meds about two months ago. I didn’t make a conscious decision to self-sabotage, but it happened nonetheless. I had a mental health slip.

In those two months, I hit some pretty low points and had suicide plans. I didn’t care about anything, and “work” was pretty much off the table. I cried a lot and isolated myself. I stopped talking to people and withdrew, except for my briefly calculated attempts at engaging on Social Media so that I appear “okay.” During those two months, I also spoke on multiple podcasts about my story with self injury and how to heal from mental health. I felt like a total fraud.

I recently received a whopping $7000 for a small business loan from Kiva! I am undoubtedly grateful. The people who have supported me throughout this journey have never failed to amaze me with their kindness. I am incredibly blessed to have so many people who believe in me, even when I don’t believe in myself.

So I’m here, telling you all that I’ve been off my meds for a while and attempting to give everyone an update, but also tell everyone that this kind of stuff happens. Mental Health is fluid – sometimes I can function, sometimes it’s difficult. Sometimes my inability to function lasts a lot longer than I want it to, and it begins a self-loathing cycle. Thankfully, I’m on the upswing. I’ve taken my antidepressants almost a week in a row now, and feel some of the depression fog lifting. It’ll take me a bit to be at 100%, but I’m no longer scared for my safety.  

So, what am I doing? I received a $7000 small business loan through Kiva, which is an organization that helps minorities and small businesses around the world receive life changing small business loans. This has definitely been life changing. With the equipment and materials I’m now able to buy now, I’ll double my income from creating batts.

Many people who know me now aren’t as familiar with my work in the fiber-sphere, so I’ll catch everyone up really quick. Four or five years ago, I worked for Abby Franquemont at her brick and mortar fiber arts studio. I helped teach spinning classes and learned how to prepare fiber the same way Abby has with her classic Abby Bats. I am the only person trained to do so! Abby says it’s because I’m smart and competent and able to train to do anything, so I suppose she’s right.

What the hell is a batt?

A batt is different colored and types of fiber (wool, silk, tencel, and more) blended together to create a roughly 1 ounce bundle of fiber to spin into yarn. This one is called “The Color Purple” from our Banned Books Series.

I worked for Abby while I was in college and once I got my degree, I left the studio and tried desperately to make corporate America work. It didn’t. Every year or so, I’d have some kind of mental health crisis that would cause me to quit working for each company. I worked for some wonderful and big name companies, and I was good at what I did, but corporate America didn’t provide me with the lifestyle that I needed to best take care of myself.

This past September, I quit a job where I was making $72k a year. Long story short, after telling the company that I was suicidal, I was not allowed to take any time off. I left the job and began to set up shop as an entrepreneur. I knew that working for big businesses and corporations, and quite frankly having a boss that doesn’t understand mental health, is never going to serve me.

In October, things got scary. I was constantly crying and unable to function, I was in constant fear my home would be taken from me, and we were way behind financially. I didn’t mean to stop taking my medication, but I did, and I went about two months without it. Things only got worse.

November rolled around, which is a month full of anniversaries and traumatic times for me. I still had difficulty functioning, but I reached out to Abby. I knew her and her husband, Chad Tudor, were working on some really awesome stuff like a new e-spinner (The Device). I started working with Abby again, and we decided that we’d both benefit the most, if we worked as entrepreneurial partners rather than in an employer/employee dynamic.

I found out about Kiva from a friend of Abby’s, and she emailed them as to why I’d be perfect for a Kiva loan. I applied, went through the crowdfunding period, and in ONE WEEK from from filling out the application, my loan was crowdfunded and then dispersed! That is not an easy feat, and I have so many people to thank for it!

There were also many people who donated to my on Kiva, where I had mentioned sending a free batt if I hit loan matching. I didn’t have a way to track everything at that point, so PLEASE use the following form if you donated via Kiva and would like a batt: https://goo.gl/forms/Z8AgIJjFjjkDFeZU2

I have big plans for 2018. I’m hoping in the next couple weeks to be able to show off my new work room in our home. I’ll be talking more about fiber, and still talking about magic. I might even talk about magic and textiles! Thanks for joining me on my journey. Until next time, my friends.