Comparisons, Joy & Jealousy

I read a comment recently that “Comparison is a Joy Killer” and I agree.

I spend way too much time comparing my growth as a designer, my abilities, my time, etc., to other folks, and I expect that all of us do that to some extent. Since childhood my most fervent wish (prayer at times) has been that I don’t fall short of others.

I came to the conclusion that the only cure for this was to try – and succeed – to drown out the loud sounds of the comparisons.

My own personal ‘voice of comparison’ sounds a lot like my Aunt Lorraine, a truly sad woman who found joy only when others were sadder than she.

Twitter, Facebook and social median can be hard for this reason – I’m constantly reading about other folks doing great things. And I’m happy for them, and send along my “Go you!” and “Congrats!” messages whenever I can.

I realize that my natterings about my own successes can be causing the same grief, so I try to keep them circumspect and not too braggy. We all deserve our moments in the sun, and we shouldn’t hide who we are and what we’ve accomplished. But we also have to be aware of our luck, good fortune and the fact that the sun may not be shining in someone else’s yard today.

So that’s my job – perhaps for this week, this year or the rest of my life – to celebrate ALL successes, without falling victim to a comparison trap. It’s a game no one can win. Maybe I’ll just run away and join a carnival.

My dad briefly ran a carnival after WWII. My dad did a lot of things, few of them entirely sober. I think he was, in no small part, escaping the judgement of his sister – the aforementioned Lorraine.

There’s been a recent spate of questions posed to me, in person, via email or on Twitter, about how folks can find my Craftsy classes.

I don’t have any.

Stefanie Japel is a designer I admire, and a personal friend. When she started with Craftsy she asked our design group (Stitch Coop) if anyone would be interested in submitting a class, but I had too many other irons in the fire and begged off.

Later they asked me again, and after some negotiation on a topic at TNNA last year, we decided on an intarsia class (not my first choice, I wanted to do a plaid knitting class…)

The first producer assigned to me was very nice, and dealt with my oddities (I can’t speak – or rather, hear – clearly on the phone. I get confused very easily when someone calls me, especially if I don’t know their phone voice – I’m in the process of acquiring hearing aids, which is just – odd.)

But then my producer was changed and the new producer had no patience with my lack of phone ability, and with lightening speed (or so it seemed to me) I received this email, which broke my heart a little.

Screen Shot 2013-05-04 at 10.15.38 AM

So, the answer is that Craftsy won’t have me.

It makes me sad, and the week after I received this email I flew out to Denver to shoot a video for Interweave on Double Knitting (which has been doing really well in sales – yay!) That was a bit of a boost to my bruised ego.

My own online classes continue to do very well, although I’d love to re-shoot them soon with a higher resolution camera so they’re better to watch. A project for future! And I’m in the process of offering some classes via Udemy (right now I have a free how-to-knit class up at their website)

So when I see all of the news about Craftsy, the classes my friends are teaching, the Twitter and Facebook posts, I’m both very happy for my friends whose classes are doing well, and very sad that I’m not in their ranks.

I’d hesitated to blog openly about this, but so many questions have come to me (“Why can’t I take a class from you at Craftsy?” is the most popular query) that I thought I should try to explain. I hope I’ve been fair in my post!

And you’re always welcome to contact craftsy directly to let them know if you would like to take a class from me via their website.

I don’t honestly think it would make any difference, but it would have more of an effect than writing to me to tell me “You should teach a Craftsy class.!”

12 thoughts on “Comparisons, Joy & Jealousy

  1. First, I have never seen you stoop to schaduenfreude on your blog. You are always gracious with other designers. I took your free class on Udemy. You do an excellent job.

    Second, the Love of my Life, has a severe hearing problem. I am his ears in many conversations. Hearing loss is an almost invisible disability and if a producer could not be patient with you and your hearing problem, then the producer is the loser, imho.

  2. Not a problem Annie it is certainly Craftsy’s loss and thanks to these lovely contraptions it is very very simple to let them know the true meaning of being “UnFriended” lol….keep you chin up

  3. Sometimes all we see are the successes of others because that is all they share online. It is easy to beat yourself up for not being as good as other people if the only thing you ever get to hear about are their triumphs. People don’t like to talk about their frustrations and failures. It’s human nature.

    It does mean, however, that the secret nature of bad news means that you can never learn from other people’s mistakes or commiserate with your friends when they are feeling down. It gives a very skewed sense of who people really are. I would much rather get to know a person online as a three dimensional human being. I know this is difficult for people who earn their living via blogs and design work, but I find I am more likely to buy from people I like as we’ll as admire.

    I am really sorry that Craftsy discriminated against you because of your physical challenges and personally I’m disgusted that they didn’t try to find a way round it, for instance using video calling or instant messaging, surely these days the phone isn’t the only method of instant communication. I hope the hearing aids help you out. My mother in law found they transformed her life.

  4. I think you are such a delightful person and fun teacher! Keep doing what you’re doing the way you do it.
    My husband has hearing problems also and it’s tough on him as a contractor meeting people. I run interference and take notes at meetings for him.

  5. I wonder why the people who are asking for Craftsy classes are not just taking your class here. I know you would do a higher volume of classes somewhere else but I bet that you make more money per class when they are taken here. Something to think about, is there a TComm program near you that requires internships? You could contract with a student to film some new classes in a pro enviroment and it would be a win for both of you.

    • I think many folks just aren’t aware that I DO offer classes, Craftsy has the benefit of a large advertising structure to bring in students who might not know of me otherwise.

  6. I have so many points where I feel great compassion and empathy for you that I had to comment although I don’t very often. I love your work, though I don’t knit, only crochet. I had your crochet-something -everyday calendar a few years ago and I loved it. I understand being happy for friends yet wishing you had their success. I graduated from college yesterday, I’m 58 years old. Many of my classmates had jobs I would like, or new cars, or other things. I am so happy for them all, but I do need a job, a car, a knee replacement–hahaha. I visited my 85 year old mother recently and she has lost nearly all her hearing, she needs a new or better hearing aid, but she, like you, doesn’t like the process of getting one. On top of that, since she had an aneurism a couple of years ago, she hears music nearly all the time in her head, the same songs over and over again. She has become quite defensive about her hearing, and stressed out by the music in her head. I am pleading with her to talk to her audiologist again. Besides all my personal complaining, I have found that I really don’t like craftsy. They made me feel like I was constantly being “sold” something I didn’t really want, so I unliked them on facebook, and unsubscribed from them in email. By the way, I see tags on your blog here that lead me to believe you are gluten-free, so am I; that comes along with plenty of angst all on its own. Keep your chin up. I love your fiber art, whatever type it is.

  7. Annie, I don’t know Craftsy from a cake o’ soap, however, because you clearly have a documented disability (documented by the need for hearing aids), this seems to have ADA/ discrimination implications. I work in higher ed, and I cannot imagine the fallout if I, or one of my colleagues, did not try to accommodate this kind of issue in our courses and programs. When we’re made aware of the need for accommodation we do our best to provide it. I don’t see this as any different.

    Ultimately, though, it is their loss. Best wishes.

    • In their defense, at the time they stopped production on my class I knew I wasn’t hearing well, that my tinnitus was crazy (and had been avoiding the phone for a few years because it always ended badly in a get-off-my-lawn way)

      But it wasn’t until this Fall that I had my hearing actually CHECKED and was told I should get hearing aids. At the time I was about to lose my insurance (again) but now I have it back so I’ll be getting those aids while their covered.

  8. This is sad. If Craftsy staff can’t accommodate your issues – how do they expect to be able to accommodate the issues of their users? Although you’ve put a positive spin on this, it certainly seems that it is greatly their loss – and the loss of anyone who would want to take the class. I’m so glad you got a bit of an ego boost with the video you made. So what is the difference between Craftsy and Interweave? Sounds like you ran into someone without any patience or empathy if she/he was aware of your issues.

  9. So sorry about the problems with Craftsy. It is their loss! But I understand how it feels like a loss for you, too. I have a congenital hearing loss, and I have found that the ADA is not as helpful for that as it is for physical and cognitive disabilities. But if you have hearing aids that work, that’s better than ADA accommodations.

    As a writer, I identified with your struggle with comparison. Writers agonize over their friends’ accomplishment. And then we feel terrible for begrudging happiness — especially to people we care about. It’s the same type of comparison. We live in a competitive society, and I think most of us struggle with it.

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