Can I Tell You Something?

I’ve been having a hard time.

I knew I hadn’t blogged for a while, and though I’d been writing out my goals every month and always included publishing a blog post, it never seemed to happen. I kept thinking I’d do it tomorrow or next week, and then it was six months ago.

Thing is, every time I sat down to write, the same blog post title popped into my head, the one above. And I knew what it meant too, and what I should write about. But just like every stereotype that’s hangs round the words ‘mental health’ I couldn’t do it. I told myself people would think I was weak. Or hopeless. Or most often, that no one actually cares.

But I’m writing the post today.  I don’t know why, other than it’s easier to type all this stuff and push it out into the ether than say it to someone directly. If you’re reading it I guess that means I hit publish, though I’m not sure I will.

Retail is hard. Much harder than I ever imagined, and I’d expected it to be Everest. And sometimes it’s hard to distinguish between shop sales and my own self worth. When I have a good day I feel amazing, like I’m on the right path and doing good things. I feel like I’m contributing to something valuable and that my interactions with others are overwhelmingly positive. And I feel so very grateful that people walk through the door, talk with me about their homes and their lives and make a purchase.

On slow days, which have been frequent lately, well, not so much.

Being an introvert who is shy and lacks self confidence is a challenge. It’s even more of a challenge when you’re running a shop. When someone walks through that door, before they have opened their mouth, or I mine, in a millisecond I rehearse what I will say. This is just part of my everyday interaction with everyone and anyone, it’s not new and it’s how I work. The problem is that in the next millisecond the loudest voice says ‘you’re useless’. Or ‘they’ll hate you’. Or one of any number of other negative things that are not at all helpful.

So it’s been a hard few weeks. I wondered what I should do and who I should talk to. As the fog is lifting I know there are two separate issues here, how I’m feeling about myself, and what’s happening in my business. What helped was reading a blog post from Jayde at Little Paper Lane – it’s here if you want to have a look. Jayde has a beautiful stationery store on the NSW Northern Beaches, and she wrote about the struggles of a small business and I realised I wasn’t alone. When I look at these other beautiful businesses also experiencing ups and downs I can tell that voice to shut up, ever so slightly more confidently than before.

So today I’m telling myself that my dream for this business to be a success is stronger and braver than the loud voice telling me otherwise. I will keep trying, and I hope that in whatever way you can, you will keep supporting me. Come spend a few dollars in the shop. Comment on the blog, on Facebook or Instagram. Leave me a positive review if you’re so inclined or tell your friends about my business. I’ll be here putting one foot in front of the other and hopeful for tomorrow.

And putting a huge tick next to that monthly goal of a blog post by the end of May.




  • Shelley Harris

    Catherine, you are doing an amazing job and your shop is an absolute inspiration. My only wish is that I wasn’t as chemically sensitive as I am and I could do more decorating with your beautiful Annie Sloane paints. Anyway, you always have so much to say and are so welcoming to anyone who walks into your lovely shop, that I wanted you to know that you are doing very important work- to make the world beautiful or to create an inspiring environment of up cycling and restoration is very valuable work. To keep earning a living and growing in a competitive world is an achievement on its own – everyone has good and bad days and you at least have your health which is a big deal indeed. Keep up with your lovely shop !

    May 31, 2017
    • Catherine

      Oh Shelley, thank you so much for your kind words and support of my business. I agree, everyone has good and bad days, and I’m looking forward to some brighter ones ahead.

      May 31, 2017
  • catherine, i wish you all the best. i know how hard owning a store is, and how everything feels personal, even if it’s not. the store is an extension of your self, so how can it not feel personal? just know that i am here and i hear you! you aren’t alone.

    May 31, 2017
    • Catherine

      Thank you so much Cassie. I’ve been stewing over this for so long, I’m so glad I shared today. Knowing that it’s not just me makes a difference xxx

      May 31, 2017
  • Kelly

    Catherine – you are certainly not alone. It is tough out there and we are all feeling the things you feel. The tougher it gets the more that annoying little voice pops up, just when you need it to f-off ! Good on you for posting what you feeling, that is certainly a brave thing to do. I love seeing your pictures on social media! I really wish I lived near your shop, however will certainly make the effort to visit if I am ever that way.

    June 01, 2017
    • Catherine

      Thanks Kelly! I’m not sure I feel very brave, but I did realise that this is me and my experience and I’d rather be truthful and authentic and just showing a facade. And realising that I’m not along makes me feel that much better, I kinda wish I’d said so sooner! Definitely pop in if you’re ever this way!

      June 01, 2017
  • Nice post, thanks so much for this sharing!

    June 01, 2017
  • Jess

    I love your honesty Catherine- I was just on the website looking at chalk paint and your post title got my eye!!

    June 02, 2017
    • Catherine

      Thanks Jess.

      June 02, 2017

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