4 years of being a whatchamcallit- a lead brand ambassador, an evangalist, a community leader. Done. I struggle with how to sum it all up but, after writing 601 blog posts for Fiskateers.com, traveling to at least 12 states (some many, many times), speaking at BlogHer, The National Restaurant Association and Brains on Fire's Fire Sessions about grassroots community movements, meeting thousands of Fiskateers and buying up more orange clothing than most people even knew existed, I think I sum it up best by saying, "Wheeeee! What a ride!"
To paraphrase a bit from my farewell post on the Fiskateers blog:
When I was chosen to become a lead brand ambassador for the Fiskateers.com community, Brains on Fire and Fiskars chose me for who I am, not, necessarily, for what or how I craft. That has made a big impression on me. I can't express enough how much I appreciate the Fiskateers and crafters at large who got my quirky sense of humor, my frenetic energy. Was every moment magical and drama-free? Of course not. There were one or two times where an individual Fiskateer (or 3) misinterpreted something I wrote as negative and I couldn't convince them otherwise which was disappointing for me but for a community of amost 10,000 people- I was overwhelmed by positive energy and happy people supporting one another. I know my personality isn't necessarily going to translate well for everyone (whose is?) so if you "got" me, I thank you for it more that you'll ever know.
And what did I take away from the experience? For each Fiskateer who has been brave enough to post a handmade creation in the gallery, I admire that you took that step. You allowed yourself to be judged, gave yourself the opportunity to share not only what you create but a little bit of yourself. You opened yourself up to making connections with people who share your passion. That is big. That is everything. You have taught me that, while I will always craft (ALWAYS), what moves me most is being a part of a community which shares a passion. I have learned to embrace my obsessions and to encourage others to nurture their enthusiasm for whatever it is they feel passionate about. You have all helped to teach me this. This is the path I intend to explore as I move forward as a Fiskateer Legend. I will seek to surround myself with passionate people and strive to inspire fun and enthusiasm in others.
So thank you, Fiskateers. Thank you Brains on Fire. Thank you Fiskars. You have changed my life in small but consistent ways these past 4 years. All these years when people have said, "WOW. What a COOL job you have," I've always answered, "Yes, I know. I'm so lucky. It's the best job EVER." And I am happy that, after 4 years, I can stand by that statement. And now? I'm ready to head out for new adventures. I want to continue to help people learn to embrace their passions, encourage people to have fun, be silly. Whether its crafting or some other venue, I'm ready. And I might even still wear orange every once in awhile.