Not your typical love story.
Eight years old must have been the first time I could remember being able to problem solve or think creatively. Left alone in front of a mall and my first problem of not having enough money for something. I took a look at my surroundings and scanned for possible solutions. I can now see the connection of how I think and create today, to that one day at the mall. I was standing near a bed of flowers, yellow I think, and plenty of people entering and exiting the mall mid afternoon, my parents are inside waiting to be interviewed. The goal was to get enough money for McDonalds. It clicked, I was an adorable young girl, not afraid of engaging in conversation and smart, so why not pick these beautiful flowers and sell them to the people walking in and out of the mall. So I did, and I’m not sure how true this story is, or if it’s just a memory of a story told to me when I was younger, but it sure sounds like me.
Over the next eight years I would remember times like designing a tree house within minutes, finding whatever found objects I could use and borrowing tools to make it myself, while all my male friends watched or I instructed them to do things. I was taught how to sew and loved sitting in the middle of the room surrounded by fabric and buttons, thread and strings, my mind would look at each items and run down a quick list of things that could be created from it. How would each item work with each other, and then with no fear of it needing to be perfect I would just sew.
I made a stretch belt, a four inch wide elastic band with each end finished with leather and snaps. My dad and I sold many of these at the flea market next to Tower Records back in the day. These belts became very popular in the 80’s and according to him I invented it and someone took the idea, again I don’t know how true that story is but it seems like me.
At fifteen or so, I needed privacy and shared a room with my sister so I designed the space I wanted and had my father come help me build it. I now had a room within a room, a step up into my private creative space. My closet had my clothes neatly hung and color coordinated, my desk area ready to do homework and a small 1’x1’ sheetrock frame that I made to practice my close distance punches because I know Bruce Lee did this. I even had room to park my moped.
In my twenties I had this passion for tools and sewing, so I got the things I needed to create. I had a real job or career now so my time to create was limited. I had to find a way to be creative at work, and I had the perfect job for that. I was a UPS supervisor that required problem solving all day long, broken conveyor belts, building extensions out of cardboard boxes, moving people around. Doing these things helped that part of my mind that needed to be stimulated for awhile, but It didn’t take the place of creating.
Around twenty-five I was invited to a friends for gay pride, games and drinks with a bunch of other people. He gave me tour and mention he didn’t have a headboard, a few drinks later, my mind unable to think of anything else I headed to see the scrap wood he had in the garage and built a headboard for him by the end of day.
In California I would create many things, none of which I documented, this is another reason why I developed my website. I want to acknowledge what I’m capable of and share my journey getting there.
In my mid thirties I moved back to New York where I did a lot of creating. The gate company would give me their scrap metal and I would make lamps which would have been much better if I knew how to weld, but people liked them. I would build in my loft anything I needed to have it function for my business. I developed a shirt line that I would love to still launch in time and started sewing again with a good friend back in Australia, creating jackets, scarves shirts and a bag. Of course my invention for shoes is still my main focus.
That moment when I’m in a spot and everything gets quiet, my mind races in an organized way and for however long I’m unable to speak out loud. My jaw may drop, my hand reaches to my brow or pinches my lip as I stare down like I’m trying to get deeper into my head. The sparks are flying, the dots are connecting, one problem eliminates and another solution arises, and this pattern make my blood flow, my heart beat and I realize this is what I love.
I sit here with tears falling because at forty-seven I’m just realizing that what I loved to do all my life, needs to be what I do and I’m just now trying to figure out how to make it work.
I love to create, I love to build, I love to invent, I love taking a problem and fixing it, I love designing stuff with meaning, things that make people better and believe in themselves.
My Love story is with my mind and how it functions for me, its heartbreaks, it’s loneliness, it’s learning and bonding, it’s reinventing, and sometimes it’s giving up. It’s almost 1 am and I needed to find someway for me to stay focused on that love of creating and passion. Someone tonight mentioned to me that she doesn’t know of one inventor or creative that didn’t have a story of adversity, shit is going to happen and we are always given the opportunity to just give up or keep going.
A love story has empathy, heart, courage, drive, compassion, self care, a shoulder to cry on, a hand to help you up, and if you get and experience all of these things, it will have a happy beginning to something more.
Tonight I just needed to be vulnerable and share.
Much Love, Jamie