I came into my little half- finished corner in this half- finished room/office/work space, to begin my first night of working from here rather than my bed or the kitchen table or couch. It seems very fitting that it was one year ago today that I launched my online greeting card store. My silly, funny, sometimes nice, colorful, not everyone's cup of tea greeting cards. But this was not at all the very beginning of my journey.
I have been asked on multiple occasions about the name, "Barrelassin”, by my acquaintances. So this is my...
For my entire life I have heard my mother use the word barrelassin'. Naturally, my mother is not the only person in the world to say the word;she didn't invent it or anything. She's not even the only person I ever heard use it growing up- it's a pretty common word. But according to my mom, everyone on the planet was actually physically acting out the word. "Watch going around these curves, some car is likely to come barrelassin' around it." "Watch getting over- these people are barrelassin' down the road today." "This car just came barrelassin' up on my bumper." People were not only committing this act on the roads behind the wheel either- they were doing it on their two bare feet! He/she was always barrelassin' up or down the stairs, around the corner, or into a room.You get the point.
One day a very long time ago, my mom, my sister, and me, were on a little road trip. Heaven only knows which one; actually I do know which one, but anyway...it appeared that everything throughout our drive was pretty damn hilarious. We were having a great time and naturally, everyone else on the road around us was barrelassin' the whole way there and back. I began to analyze it for a few minutes and finally announced, "Mom, one of these days I'm gonna get you that word. It will be your word, all for you." Of course we came up with a million different things that the word would be used for and I knew exactly from day one what I wanted the logo to look like. Our very first idea was to have our very own Barrelassin' Beer. Obviously that wasn't really gonna work out for us so we never even gave the beer another thought. I eventually turned it into my blog name and started blogging. I wasn't sure what to talk about but I knew I had tons to say. I wanted it to be a successful blog-whatever the hell that meant- but didn't really think posting whatever crossed my mind was a good idea. As it would later turn out- that was the best idea because it's such an incredible outlet for me. My mind never stops thinking and sometimes, I can think about a blog post for days before I ever blog about it. Not deciding what to say- but making myself sign in a start typing rather than signing in and checking a thousand other things, changing a widget, checking stats, etc.
I started off thinking I was going to talk about music and concerts since I'm very passionate about the music and artists that I really like and listen to. Face it- there's no one on the face of the Earth that doesn't have a connection to some sort of music. But that wasn't cutting it for me either because I found that I didn't have a lot to say about music except that I like it. Then I decided that I didn't need for my blog to even be about anything I had any knowledge of at all but, just something that worked well with my catchy name. So we decided it would be about racing- except not really, we were just going to allow people to upload their racing videos to the site because that was the big topic going on around us from the kids then. Well- that was a dumb idea because if I thought beer would be difficult, the journey to make that site happen was threatening to push me over the edge. It simply wasn't meant to be and I'm so happy I couldn't make that work.
It wasn't until Facebook came along and I was a little more free and comfortable to speak what was on my mind, that I began to figure out that what I needed was to be posting these things on my blog because they're sometimes long and drawn out.
None of this was easy for me due to where I live. Which is in the woods with only dial up internet available to me, and it was so slow that my mom and me would go to the library about twice a week and get on the internet just to avoid trying to post a picture or a comment on Facebook and waiting for it to successfully upload before bedtime. Neither of us even had a smartphone! The smartest our phones got at that time was taking a blurry picture of something and then emailing it to ourselves so we could open it up, save it, and then try to post it. Lord I'm exhausted just thinking about it!!
We finally ended up with satellite internet at my house and I was able to work more on the blog and some other social media sites. The only problem there was that I had no idea how to utilize all of the technology available to me; I still don't for the most part! But I would sit for hours in between life happening and try to do something as simple as center a photo or my blog post- silly stuff.
I had written several little...what I like to call books, and had been working on many of them- all about different things. I guess I'm just too many different women inside my head, and this was long before Facebook or my blog or any of that other stuff, and I knew I wanted to publish them someday and I knew that I would. I just didn't know how in the hell I was going to do it. It seemed so easy- and it might be by now, but that's only because I practically went to a fake college of Mickey Bryan on the laptop where I was the student and the professor. Every single solitary aspect of it required me to go find another answer to solve another problem. I eventually graduated myself and I gladly paid someone to format the photo and the book for me for an online version. I didn't want my Masters- I just wanted to publish 14,000 little words, so I hired someone to do it. I had to get an education on how to find those people,too.
Don't think for one minute that I should have been asking the people I know- because I did that first. One very kind person drew my logo several times for me until he captured my vision and he did it for free. Again- he was a very kind person. Not long afterwards, he sadly passed away. Another young man that I know was kind enough in the beginning to take my calls from across the country, relentlessly begging him to tell me how to create an account, create the website, get a host, (I'm like, what the hell is a host?) among many other stupid questions and God bless his little heart for doing so. He was a very busy man but he always took the time and never once hung up on me or stopped taking my calls. He was far away- he could have easily put me on ignore forever and ever. There were plenty of people that I asked for help who pretty much blew me off, and it was their right to do so, but it was just shocking at how many people were really not willing to help me or even take me seriously when I shared my vision or my dreams about it with them. So, I got the hint.
If I was shocked then, I was even more shocked when I finally published my little eBook and the very people that I knew would have my back and be happy and proud, were nowhere to be found. I mean literally! The revelation was absolutely astounding! People that I thought very highly of blocked me and even unfriended me on social media sites for inviting them to like my page. People I fully supported on social media and gave money to, raised money for, shared, shared, and shared some more, every single thing they posted for their causes and businesses, literally never even so much as clicked the like button or shared my announcement of the book one single time. Never congratulated me or expressed any kind of happiness for me whatsoever. Even more astounding was the amount of support that I received from people who I was actually afraid might judge me, or consider it too risque to share or help promote; people I would have never thought would even read a book titled I Only Wrote this to Piss People Off! were sharing and caring in a big way. They got it! They got me! They completely understood it. I totally get why people would be weary of sharing things like that on their social media pages- but those people are the ones who took the time to send me message after message after message in private to tell me how proud they were of me and happy for me. It meant the world to me to hear it from those people. I admired and respected them already, and for them to compliment me so nicely made my heart overflow with gratitude.
So this, finally, is where the greeting cards come in. I enjoyed making up memes and smart-assy little sayings and laughing at them, and it hit me one night- I could write these things all day long. I'll just make greeting cards that you can't just go out and buy anywhere and give those a shot, too. Why not? I have too many ideas and not near enough time, but I don't have to do one thing and one thing only, and so it was born. I stayed awake for months teaching myself all of the rules and regulations to trying to design and sell greeting cards. Now, not only do I have a diploma from the college of Mickey Bryan on eBook publishing, but I have one for designing and printing professionally made greeting cards, and one heck of an education in preparing and filing a trademark for your own logo degree.
That one was an expensive degree and involved the government, and screwing that one up would have been a mistake I could not afford to make- although, I made one small error and they charged me $100.00 for me to figure it out and file another form to revise the form that it had already taken me months to file in the first place. Definitely unlike the degree I earned for making the decision to represent myself and be my own attorney during a very long, drawn out custody issue when my kids were little where I didn't charge myself. I mean, I was a single mom after all- I couldn't afford to pay me. You wanna talk about filing forms...try that one on for size! Every single one of those forms I got off of the government website and printed and filled out myself and filed with the court. Even the judge was puzzled by me. He actually said he never recommends anyone representing themselves but I was welcome to try it. I think he was actually scratching his head when he told me that I only missed one single form, and if I could come up with that one and drop it off with the clerk, he'd sign it and grant me my wishes- and he kept his word. My bff told me that I looked and sounded just like a real attorney when I was in front of the courtroom arguing my case lol. The funny thing was- I wasn't worried about all of the forms and filing and time commitment, I was absolutely terrified to stand up in front of everyone in that courtroom and open my mouth. I have no idea where that girl came from- (maybe Law & Order?), but I sure am glad I summoned her that day.
Anyhoo, I don't know if anyone wants those darned little cards or not, I don't know if people want me to fail or succeed sometimes, and I don't know if any of Barrelassin's future plans will play out the way I wish, but I do know the two morals of this story...
1) When anyone ever makes me feel silly for dreaming big, scoffs at me, or tells me that I cannot do something- that is a surefire way to motivate me, and I will die trying to prove them wrong.
2) Barrelassin' isn't just a blog or just some silly online greeting card store. Barrelassin' is a way of life for us- and I majored in Barrelassin' and graduated with honors. Those cards, this blog- all of it started out honoring my mother- and I know you can't technically own a word on its own- but I have a piece of paper here from the United States Patent and Trademark office stating that to the best of my absolute legal ability...I got my mom her word-just like I said I would.
My favorite quote: "Nobody ever made any money betting against me."- Bethenny Frankel
Who knows where you'll see us next.
Enjoy, Barrelassers ;)