Hot Mess

I’m writing, it’s 1 a.m.. I am trying to work on “WORK-LIFE BALANCE” with my therapist. Since I started making candles (less than two months ago), I work too much, and I don’t sleep. I joked to my husband that I’m going to make a sign for my cottage door that says “BUSINESS HOURS 6am-2am” only it’s not a joke; there are a lot of 20 hour days. Too many. “Self care” is a day when I put on a bra to go to the post office, get a sandwich, take a shower, or get off my feet for 20 minutes to eat something.

I know things will settle down. I have focused on space arrangement and organization, scheduling, and even learning how to do a spreadsheet– all things that are outside my comfort zone. Honestly, successfully running a business is outside my comfort zone. I ran SeaCrate and thought I did an ok job but it never made any money and I sold the company for $1 after a year. I have never really had a brain for the math side of business; the creative part is what I love. Making candles is creative, so I love it.

Part of candle proceeds benefit The Beachcombing Center, where all the funds I worked to raise remain in place to open that space and the board and I have been exploring a few locations. Needless to say the pandemic thwarted our initial efforts, but they have not killed the dream of opening an international beachcombing museum- it will still happen. There is one historic building I am considering that would allow me to have museum exhibit space in one part of the building and a candlemaking space in the back. Patience, I have learned, is not only a virtue, but sometimes simply the only option.

I wrote last time about the sad end to a treasured friendship. My therapist has helped me through the loss, and so has counting the blessings of the many friends I do still have in my life, ones who value me enough not to end a relationship in a text message because they share my belief that people aren’t disposable. Although the past few weeks have been really sad, maybe things happen for a reason. It got back to me that she said I was only giving half-truths about what happened, and I guess it’s true I can only give my own truth, however I don’t have reason to lie about being heartbroken. I don’t lie. I own that I’m not an easy person to be friends with all the time. I have been reading and learning a lot about Borderline Personality Disorder, and being friends with someone who has mental health challenges takes a great deal of strength and patience. I do think I have some good qualities that some people find make a good friend, so I have tried not to beat myself up too much about it despite my own brain’s tricks. Things that remind me of her have had to be packed away to minimize the sadness and pain, and time will just have to do its thing to heal.

I told my therapist that I had not only worked to rekindle friendships with amazing women I admire in my life, but also made a new friend or two, and she was proud of me for putting myself out there like that. Although I am social online, I am a recluse in person and with BPD am very vulnerable to being hurt and abandoned, hence the big deal about recent events, like when your worst fear actually happens. But then I guess you sort of learn if you can survive your worst fear, the worst thing has already happened and everything else can only be better.

Life lessons in mindfulness from therapy meet candlemaking: I was making candles and checking a quick email (will never multitask like that again) and as 4 pounds of wax melted in my meter, I heard a funny bubbling sound, realizing far too late that the spout on the melter was open, and hot wax was pouring all over my floor. I panicked, using shop towels and paper towels to try to clean up the mess. I noticed the outer wax edge on the cold hardwood floor had started to harden and I could just snap up the cooled wax in sections. Of course, I thought, this just cools into a flat, large, wickless pancake candle. Why hadn’t I thought to just let it all cool and easily snap up the sections, instead of spreading hot wax all over the floor and making a giant hot mess?

There are many metaphors in candlemaking- I have a whole playlist of songs I draw from for my business Instagram page when I do videos. We go “through the fire” so often in life, why did I have to have such a “meltdown,” I’m a total “hot mess,” man I hate it when people I cared about “burn a bridge and scorch the earth,” things are better “when cooler heads prevail.” Next time, when I spill a bunch of hot wax, instead of reacting emotionally, I will take a deep breath and simply wait five minutes, because the cleanup will be a lot easier. Learning to take that breath and that five minutes will be a great life skill too.