Because Getting Others To Help You Doesn’t Mean You’re Less DIY


This monkey was kind of my breaking point, where I realized that if I make everything, I won’t have time to enjoy truly delightful things like this little guy here. So recently I have come to realize why I have only hired two people to help me. In thirteen years. One to set up my site (2003 represent!) and one to help move things to WordPress (2014?).

And I was determined not to hire anyone because being a part of the DIY craft community was my identity, which I thought meant having to do everything alone. My hands needed to make it or else I would be caving. (Even after some thought, I still don’t know what I thought I’d be caving to, other than a better life?) But keeping a site that looks like drunken elves made it because you want to stick to your teenage principles? Worst idea ever. Because I’m not 18 wearing clothes three sizes too big (ah, the 90s!) and dying my hair pink so badly I looked like I maybe had mange and thinking that I was cool (I wasn’t, I was still a total dork).

Because the real DIY scales to where you are now, not where you were. The real DIY believes in helping other people live lives on their own terms (whether that be touring in an old van or working in a cubicle) and supporting them. It does not mean suffering and now growing. It means taking your inherent skills and running with them, not ignoring them because you think you have to *literally* do everything yourself.

Being involved in the punk scene didn’t help in this capacity, as hiring someone through that lens, too, felt icky and wrong.

So I did the best I could, but it was always less than because I didn’t have the requisite skills. It’s like when I see something at the mall I could make* and then buy the materials and never use them, adding crap to my house and in almost all cases spending more time and energy than it would take to just buy the darn thing. Because I’m DIY! Thread runs through my very veins!

Then the supplies I bought sit in a box that makes me feel like guilty because I know it’s full of ideas of things I didn’t do. Knit cute covers for wood beads to stuck into a necklace? That sounds fun and looks easy! However, there is not “this took 15 hours” footnote, so I think I can just whip it up in an evening and fail, so it goes into the box.

That box is a bummer. It is the worst for real, man.

So I don’t do all I could be doing in the fields that I rule at because that box and other related things I could make but don’t need to are an albatross on my neck… because I’m DIY, damnit. Hear the mighty force of the sound of my knitting needles work, that is my Helen Reddy roar.

But you know what? Getting a small biz or individual to help you out is also DIY, because it is supporting the community. DIY isn’t about going without, it’s about celebrating your community, which you can’t do because all of your money is going to things in that damn box.

So let’s burn the box and go do all the things we’re good at and let people help us with the rest. That’s DIY too.

*If you do this with handmade things you should definitely just buy the thing- you’ll be supporting someone like you, which is DIY, yeah! 💪🏼💪🏼💪🏼


3 Responses to Because Getting Others To Help You Doesn’t Mean You’re Less DIY

  1. Carley Biblin March 22, 2016 at 11:59 pm #

    Yes. I have a box like that. I’ve gotten rid of a few things that I’m sure will never interest me again and I’m steadily trying to work my way through finishing the rest. It’s a difficult thing to do in part because you know you “failed” the first time you tried it and there’s an apprehension that goes with picking it up again to try to finish it. Among DIYers there is a feeling of failure when you pay someone else to make/do something, but it’s part of a culture that can change. We can reject that feeling and instead feel proud that we are helping support others who are trying to do the same thing.

    • Betsy March 23, 2016 at 7:08 pm #

      So glad to hear it’s not just me, Carly! When I moved last year I ended up getting rid of 80% of things in the box, sadly I have replenished it since the move, even though I know better!

      And this is so spot on! “Among DIYers there is a feeling of failure when you pay someone else to make/do something, but it’s part of a culture that can change.”

  2. Joanne P March 25, 2016 at 4:12 pm #

    Let’s invent DIO – Do It Ourselves! ie swap skills with a friend, I cross stitched designs for my cousin’s children and she painted some for my kids. MIL knits for me and we do stuff for her.

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