24 June 2009

Unexpected Validation

Validation of the handmade comes at unexpected times. Last week, I was having black cloud morning. Every customer seemed to be in a foul mood and every cashier overly needy. After six years of mundane, often meaningless routine, sometimes I get bombarded with feelings of worthlessness and despair I will never move on.

After lunch, I went to talk to the scheduler because earlier that morning I realized I had 19 hours of vacation to take before September on top of the 40 hours I had already planned for August. She helped me work it out, and even more, helped lift my mood high above the black clouds for the day.

About a year ago, she had bought a bracelet from me for her special needs daughter. I had nearly forgotten about this since I have not sold much to my coworkers. The scheduler's daughter, I learned, has a problem with giving things away. She gave away a $300 necklace and $80 cash among other things without seeing anything wrong with it. The scheduler told me a girl at daycare tried to convince her daughter the bracelet I had made (and she wore every day) wasn't hers but the other girl's. She refused to give the girl the bracelet, telling her "no! My mom bought this for me from a girl at work."

When I heard this story, my heart melted. Here was a girl who gave away jewelry worth so much more, but she protected the valued, handmade bracelet--a bracelet I had made--without a second thought. I get little validation through my job--retail demands much from workers with the only return being a check every two weeks. With this bracelet I made over a year ago the return was more than the few dollars I charged for material and services.

As I work for release from retail, this story will remain with me, and I will remember this unexpected validation for years to come.

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