For the better part of ten years, Elva Fields was my life. It was everything. Though I wince a bit at admitting this (and sometimes, often, feel ashamed to say it) it came first in the priority list, ahead of a husband, two very tiny children, housework, board meetings, friends, family, and all other elements of what appeared to most to be a happy, full, successful life.
Photo shoots, product launches, press tours, interviews, trunk shows, boutique openings, collaborations, fashion shows, buying trips…it was all so glamorous, or certainly seemed to be. People—strangers and friends alike—were so excited about seeing Elva Fields in the latest magazines. “You’re so famous!” “You’re doing so well!” they’d exclaim.
And so much of it was exactly what I’d always dreamed for Elva Fields—the reason I’d pushed myself so hard, poured my heart, mind, soul—everything in to , spending endless hours in the studio…it sustained and drove me. In a dedication and outpouring of energy I’d never offered anyone or anything else, Elva Fields became a bigger success than I ever imagined or envisioned. It also became something else I had not foreseen—a refuge and an outlet.
Where my marriage and my home failed me, left me feeling unbearably lonely and disappointed, Elva Fields brought purpose, achievement, identity and fulfillment. I wasn’t great at being a wife or a mother (or so I thought) but I was really good at Elva Fields. I was recognized and rewarded for my hard work and effort in ways I never was in other parts of my life, so I gave it my all in return. You feed the beast that serves you, that you can control, that makes you feel best, I suppose.
Just as Elva Fields reached a high point—our biggest year yet—with features in major publications, record sales, and a move to a much larger studio, hiring new assistants to meet demands of growth, my personal life was falling apart, nearing an all-time low.
And now, a year into this life-altering process, I find myself looking to Elva Fields for the support, security, and motivation it provided so plentifully in the past…and I’m coming up empty-handed. In fact, the studio that served as my safe-haven for so long is now a dreaded destination on many days, a reminder of projects unfinished, emails awaiting reply, accounts not balanced, projections not met, and countless other things un-achieved lately.
Perhaps it’s a matter of attitude and perspective rather than an accurate reflection of the state of things. I was speaking to a group of women recently about Elva Fields and the story of how the business came to be, and one remarked, “Oh my daughter would kill to do what you do. She would LOVE to have your job.” Another said,”How wonderful to make a living doing what you love.” Still another noted,”It’s amazing to see and hear how a dream can become reality.” Upon hearing these things, I was stunned and silent. It’s been so long since I’ve stopped to think about this journey—the long road to here. I should be infinitely grateful for the opportunity to have a business like this—to create and share my passion with the world at large. To grow the Elva Fields brand and share our story and products every day. But, the truth is, this past year has changed everything about my life so much that I’ve completely failed to recognize or acknowledge its worth and meaning…and in many ways Elva Fields has lost a little of both for me in the process.
It doesn’t serve the purpose it did before, so not only do I no longer need it in that way (now that my life is more of a fully-lived one with joy and fulfillment elsewhere) but I also don’t know how to run, relate to, or operate this business in this new framework. I realize I am in transition, and because Elva Fields is so personal to me—made up of so much of me and who I am—it is also in transition with me and waiting for new direction and purpose to slowly materialize.
Things for me take their own kind of time, and I’m learning to be patient as circumstances align themselves, allowing some room for it all to shift and settle, keeping an open heart and mind about the possibilities and setbacks, ultimately allowing the next chapter to unfold so that I might arrive at a place of peace and understanding about where I may be headed next. With any luck, Elva Fields will be a reflection of this new version of myself—different, but more experienced, deepened, solid, anchored, joyful, and hopeful. We shall see…stay tuned.