Happy New Year!
I am a creature of habit. This time of year I am slowly coming back to life, feeling my senses come about limb by limb. It takes me a couple weeks. I have a lot of respect and amazement for the micro-business types who go through the holidays without a blip and are back at it right away on with the Instagram posts and the Facebook Lives while I'm still sinking into the welt on my sofa. But I am who I am. I wake up slowly come mid-January from an all-out hibernation. By February I should be approaching full-steam. We'll see.
The holidays are always so hectic and frenzied, this year was no exception --even without a retail store for the first time in a long time. And then there was this invisible haze brought on not only by the pandemic but also by the divisive state of our politics. A haze of loneliness and estrangement. A haze of uncertainty and fear. It beats us down more than we know, I think. I know it has taken a toll on me.
In 2020, having a store and studio in Kensington, MD, I had no need for a home studio. But being sent home in March changed that quickly and I set up a spare bedroom. I now have business and staff meetings in my front yard and porch. Patrick brought a torch and metals and equipment needed to produce LBJ designs to his home an hour away. Amelia set up a photo booth in her bedroom window. We worked from our homes until mid-summer and had twice a week meetings in a grocery store parking lot exchanging finished jewelry with gemstones and instructions masked and through open car windows. I’m surprised we weren’t approached by police -- it certainly looked suspicious! We made it work and watched LBJ grow and flourish even amid the challenges.
Masks, masks, masks! At the beginning of the pandemic, all of us wanted to help somehow. I watched my local food banks stepping up, and the nurses and front line workers. I am so humbled still by the heroism. I saw the politicians making things better for people with legislation that helped small businesses and families. I feel VERY lucky to be located where I am. Being “crafty”, for lack of a better term, I pulled out my sewing machine and started making masks. Being an entrepreneur, I had to make the operation into a business. Um, some would describe my next couple months as manic. I remember feeling a surge of energy I’ve never felt. I now call it my “pandemic mode” which I did not know I had. I hired folks to help which was wonderful as people needed work. Personally, made about a thousand masks. Maybe. But I tend to exaggerate.
Now in the beginning of 2021, the manic phase is over. We are no longer on “lockdown”. But what does that mean? Yesterday I watched an NBA game with my son and I got a little weepy thinking about what it feels like to be in a sea of people in a stadium. Will we ever have that again? We’re not on lockdown but that only means we get to go out and interact at the store or doctors appointments -- nothing fun. I see people at the post office next to my studio. I know I know some of them. But I cannot recognize them in masks. And when I do run into people it’s as if we’ve lost something. None of us know what’s going to happen, We’ve lost our ease and familiarity with socializing. We’ve lost our confidence. We shrug our shoulders. Hugs are gone.
So for 2021 with the vaccination here and the new administration almost here, I am hoping for the haze to lift even little by little. I also hope that little by little the masks lift and we can see each other and go do something fun together. I know that through difficult times comes change and growth. I hope we will change and grow into a society that can not only tolerate each other but learn to love and appreciate each other.
Happy New Year from LBJ and thank you for supporting our little handmade jewelry company!
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