Saturday, January 18, 2014

A Sadness Lifted

I didn't plan on going to the Craft and Hobby Association (CHA) trade show, but My Craft Channel called me at the last minute to see if I'd fill in for someone who fell ill. To be honest, I wanted to say no. I wanted to keep my distance. If you've ever lost a job, you know it messes with your confidence, no matter what the reasons are for that job going away. And my heart still hurts from the sting of losing my job with Creating Keepsakes, so I just couldn't see myself facing the CHA environment just yet, as lovely as I know it to be.

But something told me to go. To take Kristine Mckay up on her kind offer, hop an airplane, and make my way to sunny So. Cal. Oh, how glad I am that I did.

This trip helped me come to a very powerful realization. 

My sadness is not crafting.

It's not the scrapbooking industry. It's an isolated sadness. A heavy sadness that comes from missing my dream job. Missing the friends I was lucky enough to call coworkers. Missing the position of creative editor that I climbed the ranks for years to achieve. Missing Creating Keepsakes magazine and it's INCREDIBLE readers. 

My sadness is NOT creativity. 

As simple as this sounds, I did not realize it before this trip to CHA. I was confusing the two. I was feeling done with the entire scrapbooking industry. Tormented about the desire I felt to hang up my crafty cap and look at other career moves. I had plans to stay in the industry, but my heart didn't feel in any of it. It felt more as if I was going through the motions because that's what was expected of me. 

You know what brought me clarity? The people! My friends. Amazing business owners, crafters, bloggers, and other immensely talented professionals who I've come to call friends over the years. That's what happens after a decade working in this industry. 

Suddenly a convention center FULL of people becomes a building full of faces you know and love. Faces you respect and admire. Faces you long to see. 

My journey of self discovery (if you want to go so far as to call it that) started at the hotel lobby upon check-in. There she was: Ms. Charlet Mallett—a former coworker and friend of mine from the Stampin' Up! days. Seeing her sweet face made my nervous heart calm a bit. Feel a bit safer and more comfortable in these unsteady waters.

Then I hit the show floor. And there, at the first booth we hit, was Sharon Laakkonen—one of the beautiful Prima faces and someone I've also known for many, many years. Her advice to me set the stage for this show. She told me to walk with my head held high. She told me that I deserved to be there just as much as the next person and that I had nothing to fear. I didn't exactly believe her, but I took her advice, put my uneasy head up, and made my way through the show.

Sharon, or "Shannon," as I'm known to say when the camera jitters set it. Thanks for the lovely advice, friend. I'm so glad our paths crossed first. You're as wise as you are talented! 

And you know what? Holding my head up helped. 

I started seeing more faces I knew and loved. More smiles. More friends to embrace. I also started seeing the glorious products surrounding me. The crafting treats that make my creative heart pitter patter. And that's just what happened. My heart jolted. I felt drawn to product lines in a way I haven't felt in a long time. Either this was a REALLY good show or I was just out from behind my slump. Or perhaps it was a little of both. Either way, I'll take it. 

As the day progressed, I continued to encounter friends who seemed sincerely happy to see me. Friends who offered encouraging words, warm hugs, and happy hearts. Friends who shared in my sadness for CK, but who also felt like great things were waiting ahead. 

How cool is this? Christa here remembers me from a class I taught her back in 2009. She has been a strong supporter of mine ever since. This was her first CHA, and I'm so happy I could be a part of it with her. Great seeing you again, Christa! Thank  you for stopping me with your friendly hello!

I felt like my creative soul was truly awakening for the first time since losing my job last fall. I felt alive and happy. Inspired and energized. I felt good.

So, I write this post to thank the many beautiful friends who made this journey the positive experience it was. It's because of you that I sit here today, a happier and more content person than I was a week ago. 

Words can't begin to express the way I feel about this girl. The fun we have when we get together can't be beat, and she's always been one of my best cheerleaders. So, so happy to know Miss Kelly Purkey! 

I also want to thank my friends at My Craft Channel for making this journey possible—Kristine, Dan, and Lori. You rock. Thanks for believing in me. It means more than words can express. 

Most of all, I must thank Brian, my camera guy and all-around partner in crime at the show. We met for the first time at the airport and became fast friends. He put up with my insanity. If you've ever walked a trade show with me, you know it's not the easiest of tasks, but he never made even the slightest indicator that he wanted off the ride. Instead, he cheered me on and helped me believe in my ability to do a good job. What a lucky gal I was to share his company on this journey.

Brian Makanoa—one cool cat and crazy-talented photog!

I suppose this all seems a bit over the top, but it's coming from my grateful heart and I couldn't go to bed without sharing these words. I feel blessed, and I thank all of you in this magnificent industry for making me feel this way. CHA was a wonderful adventure, and I can't wait to share more about it with you soon. But this post is strictly to say thank you. Thank you to the friendly faces of the crafting industry who make my life more complete. I adore knowing you!

From my heart,

Oh dear. Certainly not my finest hour, but we had fun. Thanks for putting up with my shenanigans, Summer Fullerton (and friends). 

Sweet Cynthea and I are almost family. Literally. See, my sis-in-law's husband is Cynthea's bro-in-law. Close enough for me to consider her a member of the fam. ;) 

Cute Ashley jumped booths and, as she put it, "ditched Kelly Purkey" to see me. Only temporarily, of course, as it's nearly impossible to leave cute KP's side. But I sure appreciated the gesture and her incredible enthusiasm. We both have young girls at home, so there's always much to talk about when we get together. 

This lovely lady knows her stuff when it comes to trends, and it's always such fun to chat with her. While we've only known each other for a year, I feel as if we're long lost friends thanks to Instagram, where we regularly connect. 
A stop at Teresa Collins' booth always means an uplifting word and a smile. She's so kind. As is her equally adorable booth cohort, Cheri. Not only did they offer me delicious black licorice from another country (yum!), but Cheri was kind enough to be on tooth patrol afterwards to make sure I didn't have a black grill before filming. Thanks, girls!
Though there was a time when Tanya Fox and I worked for competing magazines, she with Cardmaker Mag and I with Paper Crafts mag, we've never been anything but friends. We first started working together when I was in PR for Stampin' Up! and our relationship has maintained over the years. Now I'm super excited to be working with her on a few special projects. How fun! 

If you know Suzy Plantamura, you know there is nobody in the world quite like her. She's sassy, she tells it like it is, she's heeeelarious, and she's fiercely loyal.
Thanks for the warm cookies, Deb Duty. #cookiemonster 
I love that there's a heart above our heads in this shot with Allison Kreft Abad, as I admit I have a bit of a girl crush on her. She's oozes trendiness, but it's her incredibly kind way of being that makes me adore her so. When I first lost my job, she talked on the phone with me for more than hour when she had two tiny tots at home to care for. She offered advice and insight that I will not forget. 
Charee Filimoehala is another one who feels like a friend I see on a regular basis thanks to Instagram. She has the sweetest baby boy, and I love watching her as a mama through photos she posts. And she's always so nice about reaching out to me via my pics. So it's nothing but a joy to see her IRL. Then there's the joyful Ms. Sherry Mendoza who happened by while we were filming. Her bubbly personality will make anybody smile, and her charming Australian accent only adds to her charm. So fun seeing these gals! 

Oh my. You know you're close to someone when you can rest your head on their bosom when you're 100% sober. Teri Anderson, you make my heart happy. Thank you for always believing in me and making me smile! 
I had the pleasure of visiting with so many other dear hearts this trip (you know who you are). Unfortunately, I didn't have my phone on the ready as often as I should have. To those of you who made this CHA bright but aren't photographed here, thank you! I thank God scrapbooking and paper crafting brought you into my life. 


Ryan Ann said...

Loved waking up and reading this post. As I said at CKU, and I will say again, you are a talented crafter and a wonderful person and you WILL move on to bigger and better things. :)

Kelly Jean said...

Megan, as a fan of yours, I'm so happy to see this post and see you enjoying the crafting world once again. Its the love that we have forpaper and documenting our memories that keeps is going! CaCan't wait to see what the future holds for you!

Jingle said...

Megan,Mathis is such an awesome, happy post! I am so happy to know you are finding your footing in the industry again! You DO deserve it!

Cynthia B. said...

I was happy to see your pretty face on the MCC posts! I thought, "yay! She's still in the industry!" - not knowing that you'd gone through some ambivalence after the magazine changes. So I'm also very happy to read your words and to see you having so much fun at the show!

Tresa Black said...

Set-backs happen, but you won't ever lose your creativity. Beautiful post, loved reading about your journey. Brought a smile to my face to see you so happy at CHA!

Charlet Mallett said...

You are such a beautiful person, inside and out. I am so happy we reconnected and that your show experience was so fulfilling. Good things will happen for you Ms Meg.

Hydrangea Hippo - Jennifer Priest said...

It was so good to see you at CHA! I didn't get a chance to say hello but from my vantage point - it lok like you were having an awesome time and were in your element. Thank you for sharing your story and I am so glad that this trip gave you the love and clarity you needed!! Chin up, super craft woman!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for all you do and as I have always rock! Chin up!!!!

Ashley Horton said...

So glad that you were able to attend CHA, Megan!! I saw one of the photos of you doing an interview and was so happy, to see you there! I am thankful for getting to "know" you through CK and very sad that it has changed now, but I know great things are ahead for you! Just keep crafting your little heart out and look for opportunities and friends everywhere!! You are one awesome girlie!!

Rhonda said...

This post went straight to my heart. I had my dream job of managing a scrapbook store for a short 2 years. I then had to return to the real world and got a job in a doctors office. I was so sad for so long. I finally came to the same conclusions as you, and started crafting at home. It lifted my spirits. I also have kept on top of things and progressed as the hobby has progressed...thanks to people like you. :o)

Erika Hayes said...

I am so happy for you Megan! What a blessing. I wish I could say the same is true for me. I have given up on the scrapbook industry. I have mourned the loss of CK and all the wonderful people I have known through the years. I still have you all as friends, I pray for you each one, I miss you all. I have however decided that the industry is not where I belong. I HURT bad. I gave my everything -- worked hard,I gave CK my all but alas... I am still writing and creating but I hurt when I see where the industry has gone. I am happy you are staying in the mix. I have been one of your biggest fans since.. well as long as I can remember. I am blessed to have know you both personally and professionally. Thank you for enriching my life!

Ladyofthelake318 said...

Was so good to see this post and your article on trends! Glad you made the trip and it was good! As a Club CK Peep, those were golden times and the loss of the magazine and the void it has created is felt by many of us. I've often wondered what happened and was happening with you and some of the others who truly touched our lives and encouraged us along in our creative journeys over at CCK. Wishing you the best in the future.

Janis said...

I am not part of the industry...I'm just a crafter who is still learning and growing in my own creativity, so my words won't have the import of those from people you know and love. But, Megan, I am so touched by your post.

I still felt the pangs of the big shake-down at your former job and that was only from my perspective as a blog reader! I knew the pain of that situation had to be massive.

I am very blessed to see you finding peace and the confidence to move on. I know from personal experience how hard it must have been to enter that bldg. Thank God for good friends who helped you over the hump.

I am looking fwd to seeing what the future holds for you!!! Many hugs to you.
<3 J

jwoolbright at gmail dot com

jacksoki said...

Love you, love you! And I know the industry does too. I'm so glad you got to go and experience that love firsthand. :) giant hugs!

Megan D said...

What a heartfelt, touching post. I'm glad to see you had a great time. I hope this trip was what you needed and you can come to find the scrapping enjoyable as you once did. Best of luck and I miss CK so much.

Wendee Jones said...

Dearest Megan you are one in a millon and CK is the one that will be suffering from crafter sadness. You have so much talent and are one of the most genuine people I have ever met. I see very big things in your future...maybe your own booth at CHA? The sky is the limit and where better to start then your own scrapbook/crafting line. Just something to think about! I am thrilled that My Craft Channel reached out to pull you back into our world. When we spoke at CKC-Seattle this last November (Scrap for Justice) I was afraid I would never see you out and about again. It warms the heart to see you out doing what you do best and loving it again. So happy you got your scrapbook legs back.
Now get running!

Keri said...

This post makes my heart happy and bring a smile to my face.

robinann17 said...

Megan - what a heart-felt post! I know that a woman of your talent and creativity will not be held down for long. The suggestion to start your own line of products is something you ought to really ponder. The scrapbooking world seems to be going through a lot of changes, but change happens to all of us minute by minute. We need to continue to have you inspire us! I'm so glad your community of scrapbooking friends not only helped you re-enter the crafting world, but caused your heart to soar! Your posting really lifted my heart today! Best of everything coming your way - Robin

Heather Thompson said...

very lovley post, Very energizing, head up and smile. I miss CK also. It's a bump in the road and you just ride it out. Way to stick with it. Thank you for posting your feelings and thoughts, I look forward to hearing more from you.

jengd said...

I'm so glad that things are moving your way again! Wishing you the best!

Sandra Farrell said...

I'm so glad you found some comfort in old friends and fun. It's nice to see that you're feeling up again, and can't wait to read more about your journey on from this point.