The Torture of Starting Over - Stephanie Ritchie Jewelry

The Torture of Starting Over

There are a lot of us who like new beginnings. In relationship psychology there is a term for the zeal and fervor of fresh romantic interest. It’s called new relationship energy. Some folks have a life littered with projects that were embarked upon with dedicated interest but never finished. Why then are we not quite as excited when the circumstances of our lives go completely to shit and we have to start over from scratch? Where’s the new relationship energy then? Where’s the project passion when our survival, our livelihood, our purpose and direction are hanging in the balance?

I think starting over is torture. Like most forms of torture, it hurts like hell but you live through it. So this is my mantra right now as I start over. This hurts and I’m going to live through it. I’m going to live through it. I’m going to live through it.

Though I’ve been making jewelry for about 35 years, my retail business has been functionally dormant for the past 10. Last year I hired a web development company to help me launch a new website. I hired a photographer to take fresh, clean product shots of the jewelry. Just lately I hired a studio assistant to help pull it all together so that the whole damn thing can get up and running. Though I could not make this happen without the talent and help of them all, it has truly been a torture to me. I do not like green eggs and ham. I do not like making content, writing descriptions, and editing photos. I like pounding metal and playing with fire. I like that moment when I am ready to set a stone. The benchmate is positioned. The pushers and hammer handpiece are at the ready. The blue tape has been placed over the part I’m hoping not to ruin with the slip of a tool. I adjust my chair, my hair, and my magnification. I close my eyes and take 3 deep breaths. I center myself so that I can pay good attention and have a steady hand. Then I begin to dance with the molecular structure of metal, asking it to fold over here, to flatten out there, to stretch lengthwise, to compress down. That’s the stuff I like.

Relaunching my jewelry empire (muhuhahaha) involves a whole lot of things I don’t like and very few of the things I do. That’s why it is a torture to me. I experience all the big emotions on a make-or-break scale. I feel like the process might kill me. Thankfully I’ve learned to let feelings come and go.Thankfully I’ve learned not to believe every thought that crosses my mind. Thankfully I’ve learned to layer up with the talismans of my time. When the torture of starting over fills me with doubt, regret, and uncertainty I clutch the hearts and skulls that hang around my neck everyday. My own personal bejeweled touchstones give me more strength than the mightiest movie-magic amulet. They serve as an invitation to the creative process but also as armor against the things that kill my creativity. Like the backend of WordPress. If you are reading this, it means that the new site has in fact launched, the shiny baubles are ready to ship, and the mean business of Stripe and and all manner of other torturous infrastructure has loosened the grip around my heart, mind, and wallet. I didn’t think I would survive the things that caused me to need this relaunch. I didn’t think I’d get the chance to start over. But here I am, muthafucka!

Gawd, it feels like nothing is worse when you’re having to do it, but you too can survive the torture of starting over. So grab your hearts and skullies, girls, we’ll sally forth in gems and pearls!