Tennessee 6 Months Later, Not Being Afraid to Say No More, and What’s in a Name?

Has it really been SIX MONTHS??? Wow oh wow…so what happened in the past 6 months can be properly summarized as: I came, I saw, my ass has been thoroughly kicked.
Education is THE toughest field I’ve ever worked in. So tough that I needed to end that last sentence with a preposition and to not give a shit.  At least I balanced the previous sentence.  And I’m not even teaching English, I’m teaching math.

So all of you who know me can stop laughing RIGHT NOW.  Yup, I’m teaching math, so what? It gets better.  I’m teaching 5th grade math.  And 6th grade math.  And I co-teach 7th grade math.  Now for those of you who are not dead on the floor of side-splitting laughter, I’ll continue my bitching.

Now most of you know I used to teach at a homeless shelter.  That was a CAKEWALK compared to what I’m dealing with.  My students come from very harsh realities that no one should ever have to face. It’s heart-wrenching to see how children at the age of 10 are already so disillusioned with the world that they have built up callousness and ambivalence I’ve never encountered before in many of the adults I’ve taught.

Now take the teaching factor into consideration and what have you got?  A whole lot of heartache, self-doubt, and an emotional roller coaster from hell.

Add in the masters degree I was pursuing, a family, a husband who is disabled, and what have you got NOW?  Way too much on your plate.

I’ve learned so much about myself in the past six months and I’ve grown.  I learned that I don’t have to be the hero all the time, that I do need to recognize my limitations, and that it’s OK to walk away from something that isn’t right for me.

The results?  I’ve decided to not pursue my masters degree, which means that at the end of my two year commitment with Teach for America I most likely won’t be able to teach anymore since the licensure rules are changing for special education.

I don’t feel guilty, which was unexpected.  I feel liberated.  I spent over 20 years in corporate America living with a heavy heart, feeling like I had no choice, no options.  I will not do that to myself again.

I don’t regret moving down to Tennessee, I’m extremely happy down here.  I don’t regret teaching either, I just wish it was something that I felt better about.  They say the first year is always the hardest and I sure as shit believe it.  But it’s more than first year jitters.  I know myself well enough to know when something isn’t sitting well with me.  I can’t live my life striving to please those that will never be pleased.  I have to do what’s best for me.

So what does that mean for me after Teach for America?  No idea.  But I’ve been branching out a bit more with my jewelry, including partnering up with my best friend, Shannon Price to introduce a brand new line of t-shirts that we’re extremely proud of.  Yup, ended that one with a preposition too. (How sad is it that my personal affront to education is only as severe as bad grammar?)

https://www.etsy.com/shop/Eldwenne?section_id=16377137&ref=shopsection_leftnav_2

Come check out our Supernatural Inspired t-shirts!  These babies can be purchased online now or I will be taking orders for them in person at SFCon in January!

Are you a Deanmon Girl??

Are you a Deanmon Girl??

I know I sure as shit would too!

I know I sure as shit would too!

Try not to cry while wearing this one

Try not to cry while wearing this one

I know it definitely had an impact on mine - tell us about how it saved yours!

I know it definitely had an impact on mine – tell us about how it saved yours!

This line is the epitome of the bond between the boys

This line is the epitome of the bond between the boys

Well, do you?

Well, do you?

How many times in our lives would it have been awesome to hear this? Well, the "for the right reasons" part.  Heard plenty of the "you were stupid"....

How many times in our lives would it have been awesome to hear this? Well, the “for the right reasons” part. Heard plenty of the “you were stupid”….

Now back to my crankiness – I’ve been getting some flack about the names I choose for my Supernatural inspired jewelry.

I get messages on etsy, even people approaching me at conventions, telling me my names are wrong, they don’t agree with them, I mustn’t watch the show, blah blah blah.

I thought maybe it’d be helpful to articulate exactly what I do when I work on a Supernatural Inspired piece of jewelry.

Please note that I call these pieces ‘Supernatural Inspired.’

Each of the characters on the show affect me in some way, as I assume they do most fans.  Each piece takes an extraordinary amount of time to develop, design, and fine tune before it’s something I considered to be finished.

So exactly what am I doing when I’m developing, designing and fine-tuning?  I’m taking a character that I’m connecting with and thinking about an aspect of that character that’s resonating with me.  For example, let’s talk about The Tenacity of Dean Winchester – the first Dean piece I ever created.

Dean Winchester radiates with courage, perseverance, and true grit.  The one word that pulls these words together for me is tenacity.

I chose the color green for Dean not because of his eyes, like so many people assume, it’s much deeper than that.  For me, the color green represents bravery, steadfastness, and truth.  Qualities that I associate with the character.

Dean’s weapon of choice is his gun, thus to pay homage to the character I chose to include a pistol. Dean would never go anywhere without it and neither would this piece.

The one common thread that most of my pieces have is the wrapped strands that appear to be chaotic but are actually controlled.

The reason for that?  While each of the characters have their set ways and personalities, as we’ve all learned over the years about these characters is that nothing is ever static, everything can change.  The variety in the lines; their appearance of being random, is actually quite deliberate on my part.

Back to my point – for someone to come up to me and say that I shouldn’t name a piece what I’ve named it – well, that’s the same as walking up to someone and telling them you don’t agree with what they’ve named their kid.  They have their reasons, personal or not so personal as to why they chose the name they did.  As do I.

Each piece is made with my heart and so much intention to represent MY interpretation of the characters.  Hey, don’t get me wrong – I’m always up for healthy debates.  There have been fans who approach me at cons and ASK me why I named a piece what I did and we talk about it.  But then there are people who just outright TELL me I’m “wrong”, “don’t you watch the show” or have a snarky “if you watched episode 6.2 and freeze framed it at precisely 32.5 minutes in, you’ll clearly see that you’re wrong.”  The shoot first and maybe if I feel like it I’ll ask questions later attitude.  It’s hurtful, uncalled for, and definitely not what the SPN Family is all about.

Everyone is entitled to their own interpretation, so let’s please show each other respect.  I’m not saying don’t ever ask me about my work – I am HONORED to be asked about it – nothing warms me more than having people care enough to ask me about my process, why did I make the piece, etc.  What I am saying is that if you don’t like strangers approaching you and telling you something that’s dear to you is wrong, please don’t do it to someone else.

I’m happy to say that 99% of my encounters with fans are wonderful, amazing, and I’ve made lifelong friends of many of them.  The 1% that were hurtful were pretty damn hurtful, and one was as recent as yesterday, hence my post.

Lastly, my best friend, Shannon, (designer of the amazing t-shirts!) said this to me, “bc you are an artist, the negativity is a catalyst to create more beautiful work.  Name your next piece ‘go fuck yourself’” – ok, I MIGHT not use that title, but she’s absolutely right and I’ve been taking this to heart and have been creating MANY new pieces!

Come say hi to the newest in my Supernatural Inspired series:

The Initiation of Sheriff Donna

The Initiation of Sheriff Donna

The Guile of Rowena

The Guile of Rowena

The Fortitude of Jo Harvelle

The Fortitude of Jo Harvelle

The Devotion of Ellen Harvelle

The Devotion of Ellen Harvelle

The Propriety of Death

The Propriety of Death

The Soul of Sam Winchester Earrings!

The Soul of Sam Winchester Earrings!

The Soul of Sam Winchester Ring

The Soul of Sam Winchester Ring

Sam and Dean Winchester Brotherly Bond

Sam and Dean Winchester Brotherly Bond

I’ll be in San Francisco next month and I hope to see you! Sigh…so good to be back!

Learning to Recognize Truths, Kicking Emotional Vampires to the Curb, and BurCon is ONE WEEK AWAY!

Learning to recognize truths.  Well what the hell do I mean by that one, you’re thinking.  Or not, it’s ok, I can take it – because I CAN RECOGNIZE THAT TRUTH.  Get it?  Not yet?  Let me explain…

As everyone who’s been reading this blog knows, my family and I have had our challenges set out before us.  Not gonna get into the specifics of it here, but if you’re so inclined, please check my post from two weeks ago: https://jewelrybyjodizulueta.com/2013/11/01/teaching-for-america-what-kind-of-discounts-move-you-tell-me-and-win-a-gift-certificate-and-do-i-need-to-start-liking-country-music/

As difficult as these experiences have been for us – they’ve been freeing as well. “Sokath, his eyes uncovered!”  Go check it out, Trekkies.

There are people we’ve surrounded ourselves with for years.  Since childhood.  ‘Friends’. ‘Family’.

Bobby Singer had it right when he growled out, “Family don’t end with blood, boy!”

I have people I have known since grammar school, high school, college, etc.  I also have family members that have been in my life since childhood.  And some family members that I’ve been fortunate enough to reconnect with fairly recently.

Some of these ‘friends’ from grammar school, high school, and college – not one single phone call.  Not one single email to say, “Hey, how are you?”  I have actually gotten a couple of snarky emails from so-called friends with hints of jealousy that I lost my job of all things.  Seriously.  They’re upset that I lost my job, but not because I’m unemployed.  They’re upset because they’re still employed. Nuts you say?

This is where I began to learn how to recognize the truth.  It only took me 4 decades.

So I hadn’t heard from pretty much anyone after I lost my job.  Two months later, I emailed one of these ‘friends’, giving her the benefit of the doubt that maybe she does care, since she used to email me multiple times a day every day when I was working.

Now that I wasn’t working in an office (but working my ass off on my jewelry), maybe I was out of sight/out of mind and it’s an honest mistake. I recognize that truth.

She replied a couple of days later and it kind of sent me reeling.  Her remark, “I’ve been so busy with holding down a full time job and doing homework with my son every night”  took the wind out of my sails.  OUCH.

I have never not worked from the time I was 16 years old.  I never lost a job before.  I never collected unemployment before.  So she’s pissed that not only does she have a job BUT she has a child that she has to help do homework??

Talk about your first world problems…about 18 different memes just came to mind, if only I knew how to make those damn things…

Your heart may belong to a vampire - but an emotional vampire will drain away your soul

Your heart may belong to a vampire – but an emotional vampire will drain away your soul

What bothered me most of all was something else she had written.  She wrote about how she thinks she has what my husband has because of a few nightmares she had.  That was the moment I finally recognized the truth.

For anyone who has suffered from depression or has loved someone suffering from depression – you all know you do NOT compare yourself to the one suffering.  It’s insulting.  Demeaning.

My husband was hospitalized at one point because of his struggles with depression. It’s not the blues, it’s not ‘oh I’m having a bad day/week’,  it’s debilitating.

But this isn’t new for her.  I should’ve expected it.  This is the kind of person where if you have a headache – she’s got brain cancer.

If you stubbed your toe – she’s got an amputation scheduled.

Some people are only happy when they're unhappy

Some people are only happy when they’re unhappy

Do I need this emotional vampire in my life?  NOPE!  Why?  Because I can finally see the truth for what it really is.  No more excuses being made for other people’s behaviors and shortcomings.

The family members that we just reunited with not too long ago?  They can’t do enough for us.  Even if we go for a length of time without emailing, I know in my heart that I am as much in their thoughts as they are in mine.  There’s no question.

Last night we had a horrible time with our van.  We went out to Staten Island and while making a turn, our wheel fell off our van.  Yup – just fell off.

Trying to make light of it, I posted a pic of the mishap to Facebook.  I have family that I’ve not seen in the longest time over in Brooklyn and they messaged me last night to make sure we were ok.  They have an 8 year old and a 1 year old at home and they were ready to come pick us up and take us back to Jersey City.

Same thing for family in Jersey City that texted me to come into Staten Island and pick us up.

THAT’S FAMILY.

I have friends that I’ve not seen in years who messaged me to make sure we were ok, even though there was nothing they could’ve possibly done, they wanted us to know they were thinking of us.

THAT’S FAMILY.

And the friends that I’ve made in my handmade jewelry journey – I’ve only met them a short while ago and I feel as if I’ve known them forever.  And they’ve been more of a friend to me than most have been my entire life.

I LOVE the fact that many of my customers that I’ve met at the Salute to Supernatural conventions and Vampire Diaries conventions friend me on Facebook, take the time to email me and actually become friends with me.

THAT’S FAMILY.

There are some friends that I’ve only met online and they’ve been more supportive than people who have grown up with me.

THAT’S FAMILY.

People in other countries.  Other states.

What has this all taught me then?  That I choose who I want to surround myself and my family with.  It has nothing to do with blood lines, legal documents, just because we’ve known each other X amount of years, etc – IT’S SPRING CLEANING  FOR THE EMOTIONAL CLOSETS TIME, GANG!

I've seen the light!  Recognizing the truth, trusting your instincts - who would've thunk??

I’ve seen the light! Recognizing the truth, trusting your instincts – who would’ve thunk??

It’s sooooo liberating.  I now can recognize the truth. See things for what they really are. They don’t seem like friends or don’t seem like family BECAUSE THEY’RE NOT.

Listening to that good old gut instinct is so freeing. So if I were to leave one word of advice behind –  it would be to always ALWAYS trust your feelings.  You feel that way for a reason.

You will feel so much better for being honest with yourself and taking action to make yourself happier.

The floodgates of creativity have been unleashed as a result of my recent introspection:

Family don't end with blood bracelet - Sam, Dean, Cas, Bobby, Ellen, Jo, Ash, Rufus and Garth

Family don’t end with blood bracelet – Sam, Dean, Cas, Bobby, Ellen, Jo, Ash, Rufus and Garth – who would YOU put on your own Family bracelet?

This is a piece I did with just that in mind.  Included on this piece are all of the Supernatural characters  – related by blood or by circumstance – that are family.

If you were to make a bracelet like this with people from your life – who would make the cut?  Think about that!

I’ve taken the reins and am forging ahead.  Too many new and exciting things to look forward to.  No need to waste my energy and time on people who are simply just not worth it.

So BurCon, Salute to Supernatural is coming!  This time next week I’ll be in the vendor room working my fingers away at custom orders for the amazing fans I’m going to meet – exciting!!

I’m going to have my amazing 9 year old son, Phoenix with me – please be prepared to laugh.  He is everything short of a stand-up comedian.  And an excellent cook, by the way. If you read his blog –  phoenixphenomfood.wordpress.com you’ll know that already.

The Phoenix is coming to BurCon - prepare for belly laughs!

The Phoenix is coming to BurCon – prepare for belly laughs!

What I’m looking forward to most of all is that I’m going to be with my Aunt Doree.  Really looking forward to being able to spend quality time with her, my Uncle Jeff, my cousin Jenny, and her pet snakes (they’re gorgeous!).  My cousin Alexis and her beautiful little boy Zane are coming in as well – whoo hoo!

It’s going to be a great time creating a lot of fun memories.  And hopefully I’ll be creating some of those memories for YOU!

Like this lovely lady:

She wears it well - Melstiel wearing a custom-ordered I love Castiel necklace - LOVE IT!  One of my favorite pieces!

She wears it well – Melstiel wearing a custom-ordered I love Castiel necklace – LOVE IT!

She commissioned me to make her an “I love Castiel” necklace back at TorCon – she wears it beautifully!

This is one of my favorite pieces!

This is one of my favorite pieces!

I’m really super proud of this piece – it’s one of the coolest things I made there!!  I loved how the texturing came out.

I LOVE the fact that she asked for the large wing. I originally wanted to use a different charm but Melstiel insisted on the larger one – and she was 1000% correct – just look at it!! And what Melstiel doesn’t realize is that I’m going to be asking her to be an upcoming Featured Customer of the Month – so Melstiel, if you’re reading this, message me on FB to let me know if you’re cool with that! Nothing like putting my friends on the spot, lol!

I have so many new pieces that are going to be coming your way next week at BurCon – I have gorgeous handpainted coffin jewelry boxes inspired by Supernatural like one that is painted like the Impala (with a devil’s trap when you open the lid!), keychains, and Eldwenne’s Mystery Hex Bags!

Inspired by the episode of the same name - Cas' first episode as a human

Inspired by the episode of the same name – Cas’ first episode as a human

There's no way you can keep calm and carry on while watching an episode of SPN - but you can certainly try!

There’s no way you can keep calm and carry on while watching an episode of SPN – but you can certainly try!

The Hex Bags are going to being a blast – you won’t know what’s inside!  It could be a necklace, a bracelet, a keychain…who knows??

I'll be customizing these for you at BurCon!

I’ll be customizing these for you at BurCon!

I’ll also have gift certificates available for sale as well in case you want to get some holiday shopping underway!

You name the denomination!  It can be from $5 to $5,000,000!  (Well a girl can dream, right?!?)

You name the denomination! It can be from $5 to $5,000,000! (Well a girl can dream, right?!?)

I’ll also be selling the most awesome t-shirts, hoodies and beanies – Clifhanger gear!!!

My beautiful friend, Shannon designed these groovy wearables and I’ll be doing her and Clif a favor and manning their Clifhanger table at BurCon!

Women's t-shirt

Women’s t-shirt

Men's t-shirt

Men’s t-shirt

Hoodie - THIS IS AMAZING!

Hoodie – THIS IS AMAZING!

Beanie - I'm buying me one of these at BurCon!

Beanie – I’m buying me one of these at BurCon!

If you’re a Supernatural fan, then you’re a Clifhanger – simple as that.  Clif Kosterman, Bodyguard4JandJ is the man who keeps Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles safe and sound.

He’s also an incredibly generous soul who cares a lot about the Supernatural fans. Let’s show some Clifhangin’ support and buy the best t-shirts, beanies and hoodies you will ever lay your eyes on!

Come check out the Clifhangers page www.facebook.com/Clifhangers

I wanted to remind you that there are just a little over 30 days left for my Click Start Me campaign and I need your help promoting/sharing my Click Start Me page:

http://tinycs.me/9T

The funds I raise with my Click Start Me campaign go towards the following:

– Travel expenses to get to the conventions where I can meet you and personalize pieces just for you!

– Much needed supplies and materials to create new pieces (that’s how my new line of hand-stamped pieces was born – through your generous donations!)

– Educational opportunities to learn new techniques and mediums

– Some venues charge high table fees to vend with them – this helps make these venues more attainable to me so that I can connect with you in person!

I have great rewards in return for your generosity! ALL donations receive a gift certificate worth the amount of your donation at Eldwenne’s Fantasy: http://www.eldwenne.etsy.com INCLUDING CUSTOM ORDERS, by the way!

For example, if you donate $20, you will receive a gift certificate worth $20.

If you donate $25 or more, I will add an ADDITIONAL $25 to your gift certificate!!

For example, if you donate $25, you will receive a gift certificate worth $50! If you donate $50, you will receive a gift certificate worth $75! There’s no limit!! I will always add $25 to all gift certificates on donations of $25 or more!

It doesn’t stop there. I always give rewards to those who share my link with someone who donates!

If you share my link http://tinycs.me/9T with someone who donates, you will receive a gift certificate for $25!

Remember – my gift certificates never expire!! They’re valid until they’re spent! Their value never goes down if you don’t use them right away. A gift certificate’s value is what it is – no fees, no expiration dates – just opportunities to buy one of a kind, handmade jewelry!

Thank you all for reading!  I hope to see you all at BurCon next week!! Until then, remember to trust your instincts!!

My ode to Charie Bradbury

My ode to Charie Bradbury