Giving & Guilt
Giving always makes one feel SO good. It's a therapy in a way. Whether it's giving in the form of a meal for friends or a birthday gift or thank you card, or simply volunteering your time, or even just a compliment to a stranger (who in today's world would only think you're a weirdo). It just does make anyone feel really good about themselves and we could all do with a bit of that now, couldn't we? There is also the giving that we don't even know we're doing, as in with our friends, that makes friendship such a wonderful thing.
Sitting on the train into my old city of work and single days haunt, London, this random thought popped into my head. Friendship Giving = when you insist you're a social smoker so never ever buy your own fags and end up bumming 20+ every Fri night off your friends who let you because well, they're drunk too, and they're your friends who do buy their own and are therefore real smokers/terrible people destroying their health. Ha, ha, that was so me back then.
The best giving of all though surely has to be the charitable kind? To do something to help those who need it and cannot afford it, and expecting nothing in return, has to be one of the most worthwhile types of 'giving'. Satisfying and just downright fills you to the brim with happiness. And somehow it comes back at you, it does. This week I dropped off my first @beautybank donation to @Cafe1809 in Hildenborough and it lifted my mood tremendously (especially with screenager in the car next to me, headphones on, acting like he doesn't even know me - this was supposed to be some London time with him, one-on-one without being stressed and consumed by his brother Henry's autism in public).
I put some really nice stuff in the donation box too because we all know what a squirt of scent or lovely eyeliner can do for a gal and they are gifts I never opened to use and makeup I bought that has never been touched (please tell me I am not the only one who does this?) and well, they are hopefully going to make a Mum or teenager feel spoilt and worthwhile and amazing, hopefully.
And guess what happens not 15mins later? I am standing at the station car park paying machine trying to fathom how to buy a ticket when a man in an Aston Martin!!! pulls up to the exit and offers me his all day parking ticket. You see. Give and it shall be returned to you in some way, shape or form, and not necessarily immediately, or by someone driving an Aston!
It makes me feel so bad that 'Autism Threads Ltd' is not a charity. Sometimes people ask me at markets etc. and I want to die with GUILT. We have committed to and always will, donate a percentage of our profits (currently 10%) to The National Autistic Society (NAS) and I hope, in time, we can increase that percentage and also offer 100% of profits made on the day type thing at school Summer Fairs etc.
I know I should not feel bad but, I do, even more so because we are some way off making even one penny of profit so the NAS donations are not exactly materialising yet...We launched 15 May 2018 so admittedly, its very early days but, I feel the pressure of a rather chunky thousands of pounds figure in startup costs that have come from my brave husbands own pocket, every single day. I have to keep reminding myself of the 'raison d'etre' so to speak for Autism Threads Ltd. Yes, we are a family with means, sufficient means to provide for autistic Henry and his two siblings, in a good way.
All of this responsibility currently lies with my husband and I want to be able to contribute in a tiny way to that load. It's also not the case of providing for Henry until we are pushing up daisies, it's a case of providing for Henry until he is pushing up daisies, potentially a whole lot of extra decades after we are dead and I do not want this responsibility to fall to his siblings. This is sounding really cheery...I can assure you, it's not something we like to think about and we almost never discuss it but, we know it's there. Henry's siblings will already have a huge emotional responsibility towards their brother, they don't even know it yet. Their future partners will one day need to buy into it emotionally too, and there is no way we want there to be a financial responsibility on top of this.
If I can slowly put away a small sum each month from this business towards ensuring Henry is well cared for, for his entire life, free up the meagre state funding for someone who really needs it, raise awareness for everyone living life with autism and support Mums and families like ours along the way then I will have achieved everything I set out to do. Shew! Most definitely a long-term plan then and so far, I am loving it and wake up feeling as though this was absolutely what I was meant to be doing so, I will continue to work really hard and dedicate my time and emotional energy and writing/posting/blogging/sharing to hopefully get that "traffic" racing towards my website and people purchasing our products that have taken an enormous amount of thought, planning, design, tech and cash to produce.
I am sensationally good at spending money and not so hot on making any i.e. sales! I simply have to take that petrifying (for me) leap now and put myself and my companies products out there. So, Christmas markets have been booked (Judd School; Tonbridge Farmers; RTW Local Pop Up; Penshurst Kingdom), press type packs planned to send out to companies, schools, famous people ah-hem, the works, and I will be doing as many Summer Fairs as I can possibly handle around Henry's care, next year, in Kent.
Thank you to so many of you out there for your support, likes, reviews, shares, retweets and positive vibes for what I am trying to do. Sending oodles of good vibes back at you.