Be You With A Vengeance

It’s been a little over 15 weeks since I last set foot in my office; since my kids got off the school bus for the last time this school year; since that barista at Starbucks wouldn’t touch my travel mug and I didn’t clue into why.

Time keeps rushing forward, stalling, going in slo-mo, backwards, sideways. And now it is nearly July.

I was scratching my head all weekend wondering what the hell to write here. I’ve been trying really hard to get into a more regular practice of showing up to write these posts. I know that if I want to make Ply Studio a reality, I have to do the work. And importantly, I have to SHARE the work, the thinking, the excitement so that when the time comes, YOU will come.

But on Sunday, I could not force myself to write. It wasn’t happening. It was an atrocious mix of writer’s block, lack of inspiration and just sheer boredom. A lot of kid meltdowns. And one more thing: fear.

As I consider what Ply Studio might look like when it opens (will we be able to sit close to one another as we make art? will we feel comfortable sharing snacks? will people want to bring their own chairs?), I wonder about the conversations and interactions that we will have when we get to the other side of the Weirds. Will we be more inclined to speak honestly? Will we complain less? Will we love more? Will we just be so goddamn happy to be out of our homes (without our kids!!) and sitting anywhere where we can make cool shit, together, while laughing, drinking coffee (if it’s morning) or wine (if it’s evening), and telling tales of how we made it through the pandemic mostly intact?

And in the same moment that I’m planning how and when and what the Studio will look like, my heart is breaking for the loss of so many awesome businesses and cool things that stitch the fabric of our communities together. It’s hard to imagine how to start a new business at this time.  That’s where the fear resides.  And the doubt. What gives me the right to start a business, let alone a creative enterprise, in this time? What makes me think that I can make a go of this, when so many others are failing and closing up shop?

And my honest answer is: I believe the world needs more of what I can bring. Places that are colourful, creative and fun. Stuff that we make with our hands. Ways to connect (whether in person or virtually) to others. More art inspiration and joy.

There is so much to be learned and reflected on right now. Resilience is a buzzy-buzz word all around us. My guess is that for every business that doesn’t make it in our current climate of uncertainty, there will be many more that spring up to give it a go. I have always believed that there is opportunity in abundance, if you’re willing to do the work to find it. Make it. Show up. Get beyond the fear of ‘what if it doesn’t work?’. I also believe that we need ALL the businesses and ideas that are willing to rise in order to get somewhere better, economically, socially, spiritually, environmentally – ALL.

So, here I am. Rambling and a little off-centre but trying really hard to embrace all that I believe is possible. I’m showing up so that you come on this adventure with me. Whether Ply is a place you take an outstanding in-person workshop (perhaps 2m from anyone else), plug into for an array of digital learning experiences unlike others you have seen, look to for supplies to support all your DIY-ness, or connect with to find the most amazing, handmade artisanal gifts, you’re gonna want to be here.

And there’s more. But I can’t give it all away here. Yet.

Follow me on Instagram @intheply (and sometimes Facebook and Twitter, same handle). Tell everyone you know. Now is the time to build one another up. Support efforts to rebuild our local economies. Encourage artists and creative entrepreneurs! Ply Studio is coming soon to support all the creative connection we are soooo missing and need so desperately!

And with that (my most shameless and rambling plug yet), I have written what I think I needed to write. It felt hard and not quite my typical style. But there you have it.

I hope you are finding ways to say what is true, honest and positive, too. It feels really good.

Go be you with a vengeance.

– Carmen xo

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