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SYW134 – How to Care for a Creative Heart

Jennifer Wilson

I’m your guide here at Simple Scrapper. Our community helps people find what fills you up and fits your life in memory keeping.

September 20, 2021

May Flaum is a veteran craft industry professional who has learned that the most authentic, self-preserving path may not be the most popular. She has made intentional choices about how she creates and what she shares so that her career sustains her soul as well as her livelihood. In this episode May shares her favorite daily craft, her path to peace with Facebook, and how selfies shifted her wellness path.

Links Mentioned

May Flaum 0:00

The stitches take the time they take, and it looks like nothing and nothing is happening. But then all of a sudden the image starts to come into focus. And all of a sudden it starts to get exciting. And all of a sudden, your days, your weeks, your months of stitching start to take form.

Jennifer Wilson 0:19

Welcome to Scrapbook Your Way, the show that explores the breadth of ways to be a memory keeper today. I'm your host, Jennifer Wilson, owner of Simple Scrapper and author of The New Rules of Scrapbooking. This is Episode 134. In this episode, I'm joined by May Flaum, to talk about how we cope, realign and truly care for ourselves when the world feels like too much. While we approach the topics in this episode with compassion and positivity, please be aware our conversation touches on mental health, body image politics and social media. If you are struggling, please reach out to a professional for help.

Jennifer Wilson 1:00

Hey May, welcome to Scrapbook Your Way.

May Flaum 1:02

Hi, it's great to be here.

Jennifer Wilson 1:04

Yeah, I have wanted to talk to you for so long on this show. And there was finally a perfect topic. And we had so many Instagram conversations in our DMS about this. And I think our guests are really in for a meaningful and positive episode today. I think they're going to go away with some new ideas.

May Flaum 1:27

Well, I'm glad to be here. I know we do, we have some fun on Instagram chatting.

Jennifer Wilson 1:33

So could you share a little bit about yourself if anyone doesn't know who you are?

May Flaum 1:36

Sure. So my name is May Flaum, on social media it's craftwithmay. And I live in Northern California with my husband, who's a fire captain and my two daughters, and our three little dogs. And I've been here crafting and, and scrapbooking and crafting, ah, I think this is year 20 or 21.

Jennifer Wilson 1:59

Wow.

May Flaum 2:00

Yeah. I've been here a little while.

Jennifer Wilson 2:02

That's so mind blowing.

May Flaum 2:05

Yeah.

Jennifer Wilson 2:06

I'm curious what do you think what is, obviously, we're going to talk a little bit about social media today as part of our conversation. But beyond kind of the internet side of things, what has changed in 20 years? Do you think?

May Flaum 2:18

You know what so much has changed, and yet nothing has changed. So I mean, everything has changed in the sense that with the, with the social media, and even the internet, most companies did not have websites when I started. So with the Internet, and then with the development of social media, a lot has changed in the sense that companies can get to consumers, companies can be seen. So those products that you're looking for or that you wish existed exist. And because of it small, independent shops and makers can actually create small batches of things very specialty. So that, you know, maybe you have a very specific niche in your life that you want to craft. But that product doesn't exist. Well, it probably does, go over on Etsy and search for it. Somebody is probably making that sticker or that paper, that fabric, and you can actually get your hands on it. So I feel like it's made it much more accessible and inclusive to all kinds of lifestyles and all kinds of people because it doesn't just have to be weddings and babies and generic vacation anymore.

Jennifer Wilson 3:30

Yes, yes. And just not only being able to foster the access, but also the conversations about what we're doing. And you know, have the fact that we have

May Flaum 3:38

Oh, yeah.

Jennifer Wilson 3:39

Multiple scrapbooking podcasts and have for so long now. It's just yeah, it's, it's, it's amazing. And I'm just continuing to feel honored to be part of it. So

May Flaum 3:49

Yeah.

Jennifer Wilson 3:50

So what's exciting you right now inside of our hobby?

May Flaum 3:53

You know, what, what's the most exciting for me is that I am at a place where and it's funny because it used to be a long, long time ago, if I had come out and said this, it would have been like, not career ending, but it would have been like this shocking, horrible thing. And now it's just like, yeah, cool, do you, you can do this however you want. There is not a correct way. And there is no one out there like trying to force all of us into one way of doing this memory keeping thing. I mix all the way from, I have pages in my albums that are simply photos. There are no words there is not a sticker. It is a page of photos. And I have from all the way to that all the way to the far other end where there's a lot of technique and maybe I've printed out a very long thoughtfully written story. Maybe there's you know, maybe there's a page where it's just a photo and lots of fun. But the whole realm of it. You can mix pocket pages in with traditional, you can mix all different sizes in the same album. And there's not. And that's what I'm excited about. That's what I'm doing. I'm just going on what is this story want? How do I feel today? What do I feel like doing with this story today? And whatever that is, that's how it's gonna happen.

Jennifer Wilson 5:22

Oh, I love that. You will, whenever we have this conversation about just putting photos in your album. I mean, before we were scrapbookers, nobody hesitated to just put some photos and some sleeves and stick them somewhere. That's what we did. That's, that's what the options were to us before we knew about scrapbooking. And...

May Flaum 5:40

Yeah, and I started scrapbooking in I think it was 1986. So I've been scrapbooking for a long time, I almost, you know, basically as long of my life as I've been able.

Jennifer Wilson 5:51

Yeah.

May Flaum 5:52

And it was white paper, photos, a sentence and a sticker. Because that's what that's what it was at, you know, for child me. That's what made sense. Here's the picture. Here's why I'm putting the picture. And here's the sticker stickers are fun.

Jennifer Wilson 6:11

I mean, that's very, very traditional scrapbooking for a 1986. I mean, that's, that's, that's so awesome that you were including story with it back then.

May Flaum 6:20

Yeah. And when I look back at it, I'm like, you know what, like, that's the root of it. Picture, picture story, fun. Like, have elements however, that looks. And I remember, I went through periods of time, and I think all of us probably if you've been scrapbooking long enough, you will have I went through periods of time where, you know, I felt like my style was wrong, or there was a lot of pressure to have a style. And just the whole thing where I am now or it's like, you know what my style is what I want it to be on any given minute. And there's nothing wrong with that.

Jennifer Wilson 6:58

Yes, yes. I've always admired that about you that you're, you have just like this degree of authenticity that I appreciate that you're just showing up as yourself, you love to create, and you often create in different mediums as well. And, you know, you're going to share what you love and teach it and you know, educate others as well. And I just I really admire that.

May Flaum 7:19

Oh, thank you. Well, I'll be very honest, there have been plenty of periods over the years, where that is cost me.

Jennifer Wilson 7:26

Sure.

May Flaum 7:26

Where, you know, it's it's cost me work, it's cost me money, it's cost me opportunity. But I would never go back. And now knowing what I know, now, you know, looking back past, you know, decades, and knowing what I know, now I would tell I would tell my young self, oh, no girl, just keep at it, just keep doing it your way. Do not fold. Do not give in. It's just not a happy road if you're not being yourself.

Jennifer Wilson 7:53

Well, and I think I've had multiple conversations recently about what makes you follow someone online and like what makes you interested. And it's because they're doing something that's just a little bit different. That where you can see this is the, this is the suite of things that they're all about. And it doesn't look like everybody else wasn't the case, back in the day, back in the day when you know, the magazines had a certain look, and you had to fit into that look, or you were not part of the club.

May Flaum 8:22

You know, and even when Instagram started up, there were very clear style preferences in your photos and your captions. And I know personally there still is to a degree but is there more, it is more open. It is way more opened up. You know, it's not at quite as it has to be this or else, or else no one will look. And I think that being yourself and opening up with personality stuff is more and more welcome, which I mean personally, I'm all for it because I love getting to know people. I love getting to know who's behind this scrapbook page or whatever I. Whatever it is if they do photography, or whatever it is they're sharing, they they maybe they cook a lot, but I want to know about the person.

Jennifer Wilson 9:10

It makes you feel connected. And that's, you know, one of the things that we're craving so much right now.

May Flaum 9:16

Absolutely.

Jennifer Wilson 9:18

All right, so before we get into our main topic, I have to ask you if there's a story on your memory keeping Bucket List. So these are tend to be like bigger, more meaningful stories. They don't always have to be serious, but often they are something that feels weighty to you that you haven't yet captured.

May Flaum 9:35

So I've got two and the one is that I want to tell the story of how the, how it fell in line where the whole family got vaccinated for for COVID. I don't know why I haven't done it. I think it's just because it needs me to sit down at the computer and type out the story. Which by the way, that's something I tend to do if the story is long. And I don't want to deal with rewriting because I've changed my mind and scratch things. That's basically, that's when you'll see I don't do computer writing for small things. But I've got, I want to tell the story, I want to tell the timeline, I want to tell how my husband was actually administering COVID vaccines through work. He volunteered to go and get certified. And then he's been, he was helping at, you know, at the peak of things he was helping with vaccination clinics. And you know, and then the day that it became 12, and over, it was just kind of a fluke that my daughter was able to go and get the day it opened, go and get hers, you know, but there's a lot of story there. And it tells a lot for me, I don't do a ton of day to day type, memory keeping. And it's, it's just because I don't tend to get to down to where I'm telling those stories, from the bigger stories I want to tell. So for me, that incorporates so much, that story is going to incorporate so much of where what the world looked like that that time. And I will get into, you know, some of the things with you know, some people turning it very political, or, you know, some of kind of the bigger topics and some of the, you know, revelations to be had about some people that we know, or people that I don't know, too. But you know, just all of these kinds of different things that are going on all around that issue of the vaccine.

Jennifer Wilson 11:36

Yeah.

May Flaum 11:36

So I want that story told, it's just, and you know, and there's nothing holding me back so much as I want to have a nice afternoon or evening, clear and open where I can just sit down and be present and tell that story.

Jennifer Wilson 11:51

Well and it is a story that's gonna have feelings inside of it. It's not just about the facts of what happened to you. That's, those are kind of the grounding points of here's how our family came to be vaccinated. But the context of it is a lot more weighty and complicated. And it is an investment of time.

May Flaum 12:11

I actually have that jotted down. I think it's probably in two or three weeks, I'm going to find in my in my planner, I'm going to find a note about that. And, specifically, I wanted to wait through the summer and just kind of feel because I wanted it to be just kind of a story overall, like what is the overall tone? What is going on? With the country, with the world? You know, how is that all going? Before I told the story, you know, so that it was just a little more complete? A little more perspective, not so in the moment. And I think sometimes we need that. Sometimes we can tell the story right away, but sometimes we want, you know, a little more space a little more perspective, before we tell the story.

Jennifer Wilson 12:53

Well, and this has been such a time in our life where this the story has been so uncertain and unfolding before us. You know, the stories we told in like, April, in May of 2020 are very different than the ones we tell now.

May Flaum 13:07

You know what you're right. Because I, the page that I did when it first all locked down started is, you know, the kids are giving me acrylic paint, they're painting my face with acrylic paint for fun in different animal, you just just because there's nothing to do with there's not even school at all. So they're doing stuff like that. And we're having like daily wine and cheese hour and doing all that stuff. And I'm glad that story got told because fast forward to right now. And there's no, no alcohol in the house, no caffeine in the house. That's for me for medical issue. There's no cheese, there's very little cheese, there's very little indulgence. It's very much like let's be healthy and in shape. And, you know, we went a little overboard. Let's undo a little that it's a different place. And I'm glad that, that story got told in the moment because it was very in the moment and very short term. So I'm glad that got told you to right there in that moment, but you're right. And it's a totally different and it looks totally different. Everything does. So I mean that to me, those are really interesting stories to tell, just because when you look back even six months, it's a different thing altogether.

Jennifer Wilson 14:22

Yeah. And this is one of the times in my life where it's really felt so shifting and up and down. And of course, we've gone through challenging times before but just to have something that's so collective as well for all of us.

May Flaum 14:35

Absolutely. And I think that's the thing is, when I go up and down, you know, when I'm battling different things in my own life, it's always very personal. And it's such a different experience that we all every single person in the world is having some experience with it. And maybe there's they're a little different than mine, but it's still an experience is still a challenge. It's still difficulties.

Jennifer Wilson 15:01

Yeah, so you said you had one more story you wanted to share?

May Flaum 15:03

Oh, the other one is just, I have, I have an eight by eight book, I took my youngest daughter to New York City for three days. It was a whole bizarre trip that came about due to a musical closing that was not supposed to be closing. And obviously, before COVID it was this whole wild thing where we worked all this stuff out. And this shocked her. And then I took off with her and we went, and I've got all the photos in the album, I've got it page protector, I've got all the photos, and I've got about a third of the thing done. I just need to add the stories and any decoration elements, I just need to go in there and add some stuff. So I keep saying it's number one on the list, and it keeps not happening. So that one's just one that's like, all right, come on, like we just need to set aside a single day. Yeah, just knock this thing out. Because it's not so much that it's some enormous story. It's just that it's an incomplete story that can and should be completed. And I know getting ahead of myself here. But that kind of thing, having that kind of a project incomplete versus look it's done, is a mental health boost. Or kind of like, a little irritation, you know that it's sitting there, it's sitting there prepped to make it as easy as possible for myself. Yet, I still won't do it. It can be kind of a mental kind of mess with you mentally, like, why are you so lazy? Why won't you just do this?

Jennifer Wilson 16:30

Oh, 100%. So throughout the episodes in this series, right now, we're talking a lot about what are some of the barriers to finishing. And it's not always the same thing. So your previous story, it's more of I need to set aside some time. That's where I'm emotionally ready to tell the story and get all the words and feelings out of me. Whereas for this other project, it's really you just need the time and accountability to yourself to say, I am sitting down and I am focusing on this and I'm gonna finish it. There's not some of the other barriers. It sounds like you even have a creative plan, you just need to do the work.

May Flaum 17:05

Oh, absolutely. There's a little container with the stickers like I made it as easy as possible. All I have to do is sit down and do it. And yeah, that absolutely. And it's it's one of those projects where there's no excuse, there's no reason and I'm really big on when there's no excuse, there's no reason I simply haven't done something, just say it. Say it, I just haven't done it. That's all it just hasn't happened. So yeah, that one is is very high on the list, just because it will feel really good to have it complete.

Jennifer Wilson 17:38

And you know what? I think that's so many of our projects. I think sometimes we try to make, we find the, try to find the excuse. But really there isn't one. It was just, it just hasn't happened like the intersection of time and desire didn't line up.

May Flaum 17:55

Absolutely.

Jennifer Wilson 17:56

Yeah. So we've hinted a bit about what we're going to talk about today, but we're gonna really dive into it. There's also the idea of self preservation of how do we protect ourselves, our hearts and, and continue to feel good and grow. While still being out there in the world. I don't think, we don't need to itemize all the different reasons why people are maybe feeling a little bit more challenged today. And as well as have been for the past 18 months plus. But you and I got into this conversation about Okay, how can we make some more intentional choices for ourselves so that we can start feeling better more of the time.

May Flaum 18:39

So I think one of the things that I have personally found is this is a lot like one of the things I say a lot and I say it to myself and I say it to other people. We all have different priorities, but we all have the same time. So I think a lot of it becomes what I'm feeling out of alignment, right and I'm feeling. And you know what bad stuff is always gonna be going on in the world. There's always gonna be issues, there's always gonna be somebody being oppressed. There's always something at war. I mean, there's just always horrible things happening. So if I step it all the way back to myself, then I look at okay, well, let me take a couple days and just catalog precisely what I'm doing and what I'm not and notice what I'm not doing but let me catalog exactly what I'm doing. And just kind of take a look at that. Step all the way back, don't excuse it, don't justify anything, just raw fact. And if what I'm doing is well, every hour I refresh the news. Or I keep the news, you know, I keep the talking heads on the TV all afternoon. Or, you know, if I'm looking at what am I doing or I'm I'm following social media accounts that are very inflammatory, that are making me furious, and I see them and I'm furious. I'm not doing these things, but I'm just, you know, these are some examples of things that could be going on. And you know that they're, or I'm following these social media accounts that make me feel really inferior, and I feel really bad. And that's how they make me feel. And not that it's their intention or not, that's about but that's how I feel looking at this. I look at all of that kind of stuff and ask myself, okay, well, what I'm saying if this, or what I'm doing is I'm saying, I don't prioritize my own mental health, I don't value my own time to go and do things. I am putting the value, I am putting the priority on consuming. Whether it's trauma, or drama, or terrible news and terrible information, whatever it is, but if I'm if I'm prioritizing, consuming those things, then that's where my head's gonna be.

Jennifer Wilson 20:54

Yes, yes.

May Flaum 20:55

So I find, on social media, I will not, I will not follow, I'm very protective of myself on social media. And that is not to say my head is in the sand. That is not to say, I'm not paying attention and not aware, it's just to say that on social media, if there's someone who's sharing information or sharing their heart, that's one thing. If there's someone that is intentionally, and I have over the years, had to unfollow some people that were very intentionally just trying to stoke the flames of anger, and hatred and division. And even if it's causes that I aligned with them, it's stirring up feelings that probably don't need to be on my Instagram.

Jennifer Wilson 21:43

I've very much been there.

May Flaum 21:44

There was one individual that I unfollowed that I hated to do it, but this individual, it didn't matter what was happening, this individual would find something to be furious about every single day, and then post a whole bunch about it. And so I mean, you couldn't help but find yourself in that horrible negative, you know, I'm waking up and choosing violence today kind of a mood, you know, and you're like, Okay, no, we can't do that. Because now I'm all you know, like, fired up and furious. And, and I'm not any good, the community, I'm not any good out in the real world where it matters where I need to be good, and need to be helping my community. I can't do any of that now, because I'm sitting here glued to this person, that's, you know, just kind of firing me up, but I've got nowhere to go with it.

Jennifer Wilson 22:30

Yeah, it doesn't mean that we don't care if we're not choosing to be furious all day.

May Flaum 22:35

Well and it also doesn't mean that an issue does not make me you know, so furious that I need to go and like, I don't know, like go and try to exhaust myself on a hike and do as much running as my body can just to get like get the energy out. It doesn't mean I'm not furious. It just means that I'm not engaging in that one particular way. And I find that a lot of times what I'll do, like with the news and such, I have a very strict limit about number one, where I'll only read the news, I don't do the TV stuff. So, you know, I just set very strict limits on like, what kinds of sites are nonpartisan and very accurate and very factual based. And then how can I get you know, I get this information that I need, you know, educate myself if there are issues that say I need to be writing to my city, or to my state representatives, or whomever. You know, making that note in my planner, you need to write, you know, you need to write to these people, or you need to speak up about this, or you need to check up on so and so because you know that they're involved with this group, and maybe they need some help, or whatever it might be. So educating myself enough so that I'm aware of the happenings without getting so deep in it, that all I'm doing is consuming and not actually able to do anything because I'm so exhausted from consuming.

Jennifer Wilson 24:00

And I love the point you mentioned about the TV because the whole point of television entertainment, and even you know, some of the YouTube entertainment we have as well, is to keep you watching. And so they take the facts and even the those channels that were I may feel that I'm in political agreement with what they're saying, I know that they're choosing their tone and their phrasing and how they're approaching it so that I feel more connected to that fact. And and of course and sometimes it makes me more angry than if I would have read that fact on you know, a very like on AP, here's the facts of what happened versus a television personality sharing that same fact.

May Flaum 24:43

You know what, you're right. And I wrote, it wasn't that long ago, but I read a quote that said basically, the television news is interested in making you upset, scared and angry. They are not interested in educating you.

Jennifer Wilson 25:00

Yeah.

May Flaum 25:01

Which, I that's I just went, okay, yes, I totally agree with this. But also this is like, this is what I will say when I'm trying to explain to someone why I will not turn that on. Because if all it was what I'm trying to do is get the information, I need to be a decently educated adult in this world. I don't need to do, all I need to do is the way I'm doing it, where I'm finding sources that are based,in fact, and reliable, and informative. And if there's something I want to learn more about, if there's a social issue going on that I think I need to educate myself more well, then I can go and dig into that and learn more, or ask an expert or find a way to learn more about what I need to learn more about. But through channels that are fact based and education focused versus inflammatory.

Jennifer Wilson 25:53

Yes, yes. Well, and I think if we like if we step back here, the one of the big takeaways that I heard from you is to just be really mindful about how you are feeling and emotionally responding to what you consume. And that could be any type of content, not just news content, you know, even some crafty content, like how is this, is this behavior making you feel? And then maybe even subsequently, how is it making you act in your life? Are you continuing to do that? Are you then checking out? Or then are you taking action and doing something productive? The more that we pay attention, the more that we can then redirect a little bit, I think,

May Flaum 26:31

Oh, absolutely.

Jennifer Wilson 26:34

So scrapbooking is ultimately so personal, you know, we're literally documenting our lives. You know, I missed all these crafts out there, which are more functional and for fun, and beauty and the process of it. And so I'm curious, you just feel like you don't have the emotional bandwidth to scrapbook right now to choose that as your creative outlet.

May Flaum 26:57

So I take breaks from scrapbooking pretty regularly. Sometimes, like right now, let me think about this. The last time I scrapbooked was in June. And the reason is because I took June as well, early June, I took June, July and August off, because next year is the final summer that I will have two kids at home, going to high school, going into high school like everything the same, everything normal. So knowing that, that this past summer was the next to last summer like it, I simply did not, didn't do anything creatively unless it was specifically for work. And it was very minimal, like two days a week, or whatever it needed to be. And I had worked way ahead. So a lot of my deadlines and stuff were already you know, long ago turned in and worked way ahead of the schedule. So I intentionally did that to give myself the summer to be the summer, you know, to go camping, to be outside, go hiking, do whatever it is I want to do, and not specifically think about creativity. And what's funny about that is when I tend to do that I come back so fired up to tell more stories or to do more documenting because I gave myself a break that it did. It doesn't have to be, there was a time in my life when I scrapbooked every single day. And it got to the point where I just got sick of it because I was doing it every single day. And to the point where I mean, I know we've all been there where we think boy, if I had four hours to scrapbook every day, that would be the best. Yes, until you've had four hours a day to scrapbook or whatever it is, for three years. And now you're just like, Is this all I do? Is this all I do anymore? I'm so burnt out. So for me, I'll take breaks. This one was you know, obviously it was intentional. And because I was prioritizing, being present and being with my kids and offline, and also just out of my studio, because I'm always in the studio. So being out of the studio, most of the time being present. And that was really good. But there have been times when, for whatever reason, I was just like you know, for this week or this month, or whatever it is I just this is not going to be my choice of creative outlet. This is just not not what I'm feeling right now. And for me, at least, as long as that choice is either because I really feel strongly about doing something else. Or because I'm just not super inspired by any particular story in that moment. That's fine. I just asked myself, you know, is there a story? Is there something I'm avoiding? You know, is there something that I don't want to face? And if that's the case, well then it's time to you know, have some therapy talk and that's a whole different conversation. But I will ask my, so I will pause and ask myself, you know, is there something I'm trying to not face? Is there something, you know, is there something deeper here that I need to be thinking about? Like, there was a period where I took a break, because I was very unhappy about how I appeared in photos. And so I didn't want to touch that, you know, I was like, okay, let's can we just like put the photos in a drawer and just like not scrapbook right now. Because that's upsetting, or I'm having to face You know, my health issues and where I am right now. I have to face it, if I look at the pictures. So I am, I do try to be aware of why the break. Or why the change of pace? Is it healthy? Or is there something I need, I need help with?

Jennifer Wilson 30:42

Yeah, how do you, how did you work through that particular challenge?

May Flaum 30:47

Honestly, it took quite a while to just accept that my body hasn't been healthy in a very long time. And it's not personal. It's, I mean, it's not something I did to myself, it's not so you know, it's not something that I, you know, through a series of injuries and just unfortunate events, this is just where we got to. And so just kind of embracing and accepting that life takes turns. This is where I turned and Hey, where are we now? Well, you know, I've had very conscious efforts with what kind of foods and things are good for me that I'm taking in. Not that I wasn't before, because I was, but just more effort on, look how good you do, and you always eat healthy breakfast, and you're always making this good choice and not good choice. And look, you went on your walk today, really just honestly praising where I am now and what I do, to looking ahead for my future self and looking ahead for my own self care. That, oh, but you're taking such good care of yourself. So yeah, you know, this, this is not you know, how you'd like to appear. However, you're doing such a good job. And you're going to be so glad you know, in 10 years and 20 years that you've put such effort into keeping yourself healthy. So I try to put it that way to myself and really not like stare and pick out what I don't like about pictures.

Jennifer Wilson 32:18

Well and I think the more that we can accept what is. Then that what is, is always going to have positives and negatives to it. The more than we can celebrate those positives, and as you said, like, celebrate the steps that you are taking, even if they are sometimes the baby steps.

May Flaum 32:35

You know what and what I have had to accept is, baby steps is my reality. And that's a very hard thing to accept. Because I have always been like a go big, let's go let's do it kind of a person. And I physically can't. It's physically impossible to go big. Here where I, so it's been very, that took a lot of time. And when I say a lot of time, I mean several years. It is taken to accept that I'm sorry, self, No, you cannot go big. No, you cannot just power this thing out. You have to just every single day, take the baby steps and praise the baby steps because if they happen every single day, things are going in the correct direction.

Jennifer Wilson 33:19

Yes, yes.

May Flaum 33:20

And that's it. There is no big wow. Sorry, I know that's how I like to do things but that's not physically possible. And I think that can be a very and I've had a lot of great conversations with people who either that are whole lot, some of whom their whole life have had to have that baby step mentality. And how they do it or what works for them or you know how, how that works. Because for me, I've always just, that's just not how my brain goes. So having to rewire that has taken time.

Jennifer Wilson 33:50

Yeah, I think sometimes we're fighting against our own personalities.

May Flaum 33:53

Yes.

Jennifer Wilson 33:54

In so many ways. I'm curious if you are drawn to any particular crafty endeavors, maybe when you are feeling more withdrawn or challenged or or let's just say sad. I know that I am more towards like journaling and mixed media more just kind of expressive, or, like let's just dump out all the feelings versus something that like even a scrapbook page to me is much more controlled. And I always don't feel that sense of control when I'm having big feelings.

May Flaum 34:28

So if the feelings are really big, I go towards, tend to go towards the art journal. And an art journal by the way, it could be a piece of printer paper, it doesn't actually have to be a journal or a formal anything. And if I need to vent really ugly things, what I tend to do is I either if I'm home alone, I'll quietly say them. If I'm not home alone, I'll think them and I take the pen or the paintbrush with the color, whatever, some color medium, it doesn't matter at all. But I think or say the words while I move the pen or the brush around the paper, and I'm not writing the words. I'm just because sometimes we have feelings that we don't, wouldn't want someone else to see, whether it's just private, or we wouldn't want to have to explain ourselves or we fear being judged. So I'm not writing the words down so that I don't have to censor it or try to edit it to make sense to anyone else. And I will just move my hand around, whether it's an angry strokes or quiet, whatever, until the thought is out. And so there are periods of time when I do this every single day, there are periods of time where it's once a week, and I think my thoughts and movement, but it gets the ideas out. And the funniest thing is when I go back and look at those pages, I can tell you what was happening. I can tell you the story.

Jennifer Wilson 35:57

Mmm.

May Flaum 35:58

I know exactly. Oh, yeah. You know, that was that day when you know this was happening, or I was feeling overwhelmed, or I was really hating on myself on this day or whatever. What I can tell you what was going on looking at them, because they're that ingrained, because you're just in that moment, you're just giving yourself that moment. So I will do that. The thing that I, I do all I mean, you name it. I so, I do all kinds of different paper crafts, jewelry making, embroidery, cross stich. I do everything. The one that I'm finding to be the most therapeutic is actually cross stitching. And it's a funny thing, but it goes with what I was just telling you about how I've had to embrace the baby steps.

Jennifer Wilson 36:44

Yes.

May Flaum 36:45

So cross stitching is incredibly tedious, and incredibly slow. And you have to do it correctly. Every single stitch. It there is no, there's and there's also it's physically impossible to rush. It's not possible to jump ahead or do a whole, it's just not the stitches take the time they take and what I find incredibly therapeutic. And really, it's like it's my therapy, I do it every single day. And it might only be for 10 minutes, but I do it every single day. And what ends up happening. And I'll be sure to share my current work in progress. After when this when this goes up, I'll be sure to share my current work in progress. What ended up happening is, okay, well there's a little blue triangle. Whoa, okay, now there's also a yellow blob, and it looks like nothing and nothing is happening. But then all of a sudden, there's the image starts to come into focus. And all of a sudden, it starts to get exciting. And all of a sudden, your days, your weeks, your months of stitching start to take form. And the thing of it is that whole big scene or whatever it is, your stitching would not be possible without each and every teeny, tiny tedious stitch. So for me, it just really brings my, keeps my head in that the small things matter, the baby steps matter. There is no big thing without every single teeny, tiny step. So not only is it beautiful, and not only and it really is quite satisfying. But it helps me, I'm not I can't be in a rush. I can't, you know, I can't do it angrily or not look at the pattern. And the other thing about it is, we all go through dry spells where we don't feel creative.

Jennifer Wilson 38:46

For sure.

May Flaum 38:46

You're creating here, but on cross stitch, assuming you're using someone else's pattern, you're being creative without having to create the pattern. All you're going to do is take the color of thread it says and put it in the places it says. So you're not having to engage your creative mind. If you're, if you are overwhelmed, if everything is too much. You just have to be able to move your needle and thread.

Jennifer Wilson 39:11

Your job is to show up.

May Flaum 39:13

Yeah, your job is to show up and put in your stitches each day. And it's really interesting because I am cross stitched on and off for quite a while. The long and the short of it was I was not allowed to cross stitch as a child. And that's a whole different story for a whole nother day. Basically, I was told it wasn't a valid form of art. It wasn't valid. It was trash, so I wasn't allowed. And obviously when I would look at these cross stitches that I saw and think they were the most beautiful things. I couldn't imagine all the work that went into them. You know, they were just the most beautiful things to me as a child and I thought okay, well, one day as an adult, I think I was probably 28 or 30. I saw a cross stitch pattern or kit in the craft store. And I just got so excited, because I had totally forgotten about it all these years. And I picked it up and tried it and it was terrible. And I picked up another one and tried another one. And it was terrible. But I had so much fun doing it. So it really just started as oh, gosh, that's right, this was forbidden when I was a kid, and I want to do it because I wasn't allowed. And then what ended up happening was just kind of discovering that it can really help me. It's also a great time, because you're not having to create, or make the creative decisions yourself, you're just following along. It's also a great time for me to just kind of process my thoughts and check in with myself.

Jennifer Wilson 40:41

Yeah, it forces you to slow down so that you can do that.

May Flaum 40:44

Right. And while I'm sitting here quietly, you know, doing whatever it is that I'm doing, I can also be checking in on, you know, how are we feeling? How are we doing? Is, you know, what's going well, what, what do we need to maybe pay attention to and that kind of thing as well.

Jennifer Wilson 41:01

So I feel like you've uncovered another Bucket List story here with the connection between your personal wellness journey, your cross stitch habit, and maybe some elements of your childhood rolled into that altogether. Something about baby steps, maybe I don't know. But there's, there's, there's something really big here.

May Flaum 41:24

So that's kind of tends to be the stories that I put into my writing journal.

Jennifer Wilson 41:29

Okay, okay.

May Flaum 41:30

So I don't always document things in my scrapbook. And the reason is, I like my scrapbooks to be very accessible to anyone who wants to read them at any time. Or anybody who wants to go traveling down memory lane, is welcome to pick up my scrapbooks. And what I have found is if I put my personal stories, or maybe I don't, not that I would care if anyone else heard them, but maybe I would feel a little self conscious without me being present to, you know, explain or give context or whatever else. I edit myself too much. It's a little too edited, it's a little too glossy. So what I tend to do with those stories is I have and I've, I've had a couple volumes over the years. It started out as my childhood stories probably about 25 years ago. And it's just a place where sometimes there's a photo, and sometimes there's not, but I just tell the stories. I just hand write the stories. Once you know it's it's there's no editing, it's just hand write, the stories as here or here as I am. And just kind of tell the stories of me. Yeah, so that's where those kinds of things tend to go.

Jennifer Wilson 42:45

Well, and I love that you've identified your need for that separation, because I can, I definitely have talked to others who who would feel that and have struggled with that. And then others who have no problem putting it all in one place. But we, as you said at the very beginning, we have choices that we get to do it however we want.

May Flaum 43:02

Absolutely. And in my mind, it's whatever, whatever stories you want to tell, and I know, there are some people who absolutely do not want to tell those stories, period. And that's valid too. If you know, if you really don't want to tell it, don't tell it, then go tell something else.

Jennifer Wilson 43:21

Yeah, for sure. I wanted to briefly talk a little bit about non crafty self care, because I feel like there's a lot of debate today. And of course, there's a debate about everything, but what counts as self care. And so I think the question is, is what's the border between kind of numbing, checking out and watching Netflix because you want to relax for a bit.

May Flaum 43:42

So to my mind, not that's not self care. So here's what my my personal ruling is, number one, everybody's self care is going to look different. So for me, with where I am and with what my personal like, I'd like to be a long living healthy adult for a very long time. So for me saying it's cool, grab pizza and a doughnut, that's self care. Well, no, actually, that's self sabotage.

Jennifer Wilson 44:11

Yes.

May Flaum 44:12

Or, or that's, you know, what today is your treat yourself day. So you're gonna have a treat, but it's not, it's not self care. It's, you know, it might be an intentional choice of this, you know, I would like this treat today. I'm giving myself this treat today. And it's a different, it's a different conversation. It's a different self conversation. It's a different thing. My line is, self care to me means that future May is going to appreciate the results of whatever it was I did to care for myself today. So on some days, it's a little tough love. On some days, the tough love or the self care is that I'm kicking my own butt out the door. Even if it's I'm not feeling good, but I'm gonna get a 15 minute walk around the block in kicking myself out the door at five in the morning to do the exercise. Because I physically can. I'm just be, you know, I'm just trying, I'm not doing it in my head, let's go. So sometimes, sometimes it's a little pull myself by the ear, when in other times, it might be, you know what my, you know, my elbow is really dry and cracked, I'm gonna take some time and give myself massage. I'm gonna massage some lotion into this, and take a couple minutes and I'm putting it on my schedule for every day, you know, make sure that I'm applying lotion to my elbow. You know, it might be something that's very small, or it might be something that's very big. It might be something that you personally don't think of as you're worth it, or it's, you know, that's too much, that's selfish, or That's too much. It might be something like going to the doctor, it might be something like making time to do some gardening because it brings you such joy, but you feel like you shouldn't do it because you have other things, you know. So I think it can look very different for everybody. I just feel like your mental, if mentally if you know that whatever this action is, is going to benefit your mental health. And it's going to benefit your future self. Then 100% do it. And I think for some people, they will not allow themselves to sit and be still and have a day. Then those people probably a day of relaxation is self care.

Jennifer Wilson 46:34

Yes.

May Flaum 46:34

Whereas someone like me, where all struggle, if I let myself do that, then I, it gets real quick, what ends up happening is then I get into, well, now I'm anxious because the house is filthy. And I'm way behind on this and that and it will actually end up causing more harm in anxiety and feeling overwhelmed and things are too much. And I'll end up taking five days. And now we've got a problem. It's not good. Now I've got a bigger problem to fix. Because I thought because I saw online so and so is using this as self care, but so and so does not have the same personality. And it's not quite walking as thin of a line as I am at this time. So for them it worked. But for me it wouldn't. I think that's very important too, is making sure you're honest with yourself about you know, is this an indulgence? Is this self care? Is this self harm? What, what is this to me because I think everybody's very different. I know right now for me, I've been making sure to take time to scrub my feet, which sounds ridiculous, but I've just been, I'm pandemic, I used to get pedicures all the time before COVID. I haven't been taking care of my feet. So they're dry, they're cracked, that's horrible. And I hate it. I hate seeing, it's like well, hello, take two extra minutes every day. And pause you know, take two extra minutes to take care of your your feet or and that's the other thing is putting lotion on my hands every evening. Oh, whatever, I'm tired, that's, it's okay, you know, if my hands are dry? Well, you know what, though? That's not nice to myself. How about I just pause? And you know, take care of these dry hands? Or how about I pause and do a deep condition or a facial mask or whatever it is, whatever part of you that's needing a little attention, pause and be nice to yourself in whatever way that that is in however that looks. As long as it's something that's you know, positive and going to have some kind of positive. I always say dear future self, dear future self, I'm doing this for you. And whatever it is. Drinking water.

Jennifer Wilson 48:47

I love that perspective. For sure. Oh yeah, water 100% I've never regretted drinking too much water. So...

May Flaum 48:54

And you know what, and it can be it can be very small too. Like, for example, I set up the computer with our notes and a cup of water and all this stuff at five o'clock this morning when I got up. But I'm doing things, I got this all set up, so that then you know 830 in the morning May, did not have to run around and say oh my gosh, you know I'm you know, and get anxious or get worked up? No, no, no everything set, you already set that up for yourself. You're already taken care of.

Jennifer Wilson 49:25

Well, and I love how this perspective on that when we're intentionally choosing self care and hopefully regularly that has this future perspective. But that doesn't exclude some of the time choosing a pleasure. But it's an acknowledgement that this is, this is a choice in this moment. And it may not be contributed to my health or my well being but I know that this is a a short term moment of pleasure that I'm opting into because, you know, it's fun or tasty or whatever.

May Flaum 49:57

Absolutely. And I think that the I mean, for me, at least it goes into, I have to be very honest with myself about what I'm doing. And if I'm honestly saying, there's a new cookie store in town, we'd like to have cookies today. Well, absolutely treat yourself indulge in those cookies. But understand that that's what you're doing. It's not your right. It's not, you know, it doesn't have to be is just what you're doing. So, and I think that that's really important, too, to make sure I mean, the more honest we are with ourselves, honestly, the easier things get. The easier it is to say, okay, well, you know, I'm doing this or I want that. And just make it what it is. There's no excusing, there's no justifying just is.

Jennifer Wilson 50:46

Very, very good. Yes. So I want to talk briefly about home a little bit, because the pandemic led so many to be doing remodeling, decorating and gardening, organizing, and this is certainly a byproduct of just being at home. But do you think our spaces impact how we feel and I think you hinted at that a little bit in the last part about how you know that if your house is untidy, it's gonna really agitate you a little bit.

May Flaum 51:13

So I always it's kind of funny, because you can tell where my mental state is, based on what my what my house looks like. No, not necessarily my studio, because if I'm having a really great creative session, and, you know, maybe we're scrapped, I've got the scrapbook out, we're doing it and there's paper scraps everywhere, and it's a mess. That doesn't mean anything that just means I'm busy, I'm active, things are going right. But if you see, let's say, a pile of unopened shopping boxes in the corner, and you see garbage overflowing, and not that that's how it, but you get what I mean. There's a very big difference in what kind of mess am I seeing and where. But the mess that you see within my space, very much tells you what you need to know about my mental state. Because I can see that yeah, when things are, you know, if things are overflowing, and, and then and it also it's very, I feel like all of this stuff, also, everything ends up being connected, right. So if I'm in a very dark mental place, and I'm struggling with feelings of depression, anxiety, I'm not going to be as productive. And then when I'm not as productive, I'm probably not going to choose to you know, deep clean the floors or vacuum or whatever it might be. And the laundry is gonna pile up. And then there's is I feel like it all kind of can landslide on each other and build up or tear down, however that's going to be. So for me, if I'm not feeling well, or my my mental state is not great or even if it is one of the first things I do is just look at okay, well, do I have five minutes? Can I do something? So like, this morning, I dropped the kids at high school, and I get home and I go holy smokes, I'm like 45 minutes ahead of schedule with myself here. What, how am I doing this? And I look around and I say you know what, there's a couple of drawers in the fridge that are kind of gross. You know, something spilled on them. Let's just whip those out and wash those. Or let's use that if I can choose to see things that I can fix. And then I can clean, it also can really help me feel like I'm accomplished. I'm doing things, I'm getting it done. And then that can really build up to better things. And I really do find if I'm ever in a mental state where I just can't quite figure out like why am I so overwhelmed? Why do I feel like everything's too much? Or I just feel like I can't all look around and see. Okay, is there a bunch of mess? Like is this like my environment telling me, like am I soaking in like my environments, overwhelming my environments too much, or messy or you know, whatever. And so then I'm actually ending up like soaking that in, I'm ending up pulling that in and that's what I'm feeling that's what I'm hearing.

Jennifer Wilson 54:17

It seems like it can snowball either in a positive direction or a negative direction but it certainly builds on itself either way.

May Flaum 54:25

It can and my biggest suggestion if, that when this happens, it's I swear it's not even an if anymore, it's a when. When it starts happening, is just start in one spot. You know, it doesn't have to be huge. It can just be you know what, just go run the dishwasher. Or you know what, like last night for the last couple days it's been bothering me that in my bedroom, the clean laundry is, my clean laundry is just sitting there. Everyone else took care, there's mine is sitting there. And but I looked and I went and looked and said okay, well when's the day when I don't know there's something silly on TV that I can use. Like, when is a good day for sitcom reruns. And whatever day that is, I'll put the TV on and I'll sit there for myself. And mentally, I'm just like we watching TV. But in fact, I just spent an hour and cleared and fixed the laundry mess. You know, my laundry mountain is now gone, everything's put away and folded and neat. So sometimes I'll delay just because I know there's a better moment or there's, you know, or I'll schedule it. And then sometimes it's little things, like I said, I noticed in the fridge are like, Okay, well, this drawer is icky. I need to wash this, okay, well, I have time, let's just do it. Let's just do it. And let's and every little bit and every little piece, it really does, it adds up, or tears down. But and, and the adding up part, I always say you're never going to get to the top of the mountain, you know, it's life, we're always going to make more messes, there's always going to be more setbacks, but we can keep on making sure that we don't slide down. We can keep on and even if we do, we can get up and take a few steps. You know, and that's always, that's always better than nothing at all.

Jennifer Wilson 56:04

Well, and I found that there's a certain number of Okay, these are my bare bones minimum that if I do these things every day, it's gonna be more likely that I won't slide back into a negative place. Or that if I am feeling like, Oh my gosh, like, everything feels so heavy right now, if I if I could just start the laundry and make the bed. Like those two things I know are gonna make me feel just a little bit better and more in control. When, when often there's so many things that I can't control in my life.

May Flaum 56:32

You know what, that's absolutely true, too. And especially, especially right now with so much uncertainty. Yeah, if the dishes are, if the dishes are washed, and the counter is was wiped down. And you know, the shoes are not just all over, but they're organized, there's a few little things that can happen that just have such a nice visual effect. If I go and I do I have my own checklist to that I go through every morning, and just make sure or every evening, depending, and make sure these things are done. So that it's just there's a baseline.

Jennifer Wilson 57:00

Yeah, yeah. So I love that we've managed to talk for almost an hour without really focusing on social media, because it just shows that there's multiple contributors to some of these challenges, but we can't escape this. And I think Facebook in particular, has its own quirks that make it particularly a draining place for some at some times. And so can you tell me a little bit about how your relationship with Facebook has changed over time.

May Flaum 57:30

So I have never in my life wanted to be on Facebook. And that remains to this day as far as how a lot of people will use Facebook with the the daily mundane updates that are just random and the drama and the here's stuff I hate, let me talk to you about how much I hate all of this stuff kind of posts. The things that are either inflammatory or filler like these are not things I need to know. You know, I don't need to know that Joe found, you know, Joe got a new pair of jeans today at Target. That's not information I need in my, in my world. That's not, and not only is it not information I don't need but it's not, there's no, it's not adding. Like I find on Instagram, like an Instagram stories, I find that I can get little peeks into people's worlds in a really beautiful connective way. That you know, just kind of like oh, yeah, I had to go to the grocery store today too. And Oh, that looks tasty or Oh, I should try that. There's it's a different feel to me in Instagram stories because we are sharing raw videos and, and photos, it's almost more of like, a real time memory keeping for me.

Jennifer Wilson 58:47

Yes, yes.

May Flaum 58:47

The people that I follow, that I'm in there. And in their journal, I'm in their scrapbook, a little bit of, of the flashes and the moments of today. And for me that feels much more personal and much more relevant. Over on Facebook, the only reason I ever joined is because I was working for a company that said you had to be in Facebook, or you didn't have a job. And their reasoning was they wanted you to be able to encourage in it and this is a million years ago, Instagram didn't even exist. So or if it did, I had never heard of it, it was tiny. So I don't think it existed yet though. So it was that they wanted to, you know, have more engagement and have more user generated content in this that we needed to be a part of that. So I joined for that reason. And for like a minute it was fun to like see high school friends or this or that. And I ended up as soon as I quit that job, I closed my Facebook account. Like Okay, cool. We're done with this. And before I did though, I removed everyone as a friend but gave anyone who was A friend of mine, my contact information, my email, my phone number, etc. And what I discovered instantly was a lot of the people that I thought I was connected with on there, never talked to me, never reached out. They were Facebook friends, as we all know the term, they were only interested if I was posting, you know, juicy little bit on which I wasn't. But if I was posting updates or juicy bits, they'd be interested in it. But only there on Facebook, I was not enough of a priority to be talked to in any, like, I was not worth any effort to them. I was only worthy if I was right there and Facebook for them. And seeing that was, it wasn't, it wasn't that it was hard. But it was really like, yeah, that's kind of what I thought about this place. Like, that's how it is over there. And I left and I had it shut down for quite a while. However, what I found was, what ended up happening was with my children as they got older with school, the schools famously like that's where all the information for parents is.

Jennifer Wilson 1:00:51

Yes.

May Flaum 1:01:14

Every stinking thing, I mean, every event, if you want to know about back to school night, if you want to know the hours, if you want to know the next fundraiser or whatever, it's on Facebook. So what I ended up doing is turning my account back on, but when I did, I did not add anyone back on as a friend. And I made it very private, so I can exist there. But I don't have Facebook friends, if that makes sense. I don't have you know, random acquaintances, or I met this, you know, I know this gal from school or from the craft store or whatever. I don't have Facebook friends on there. And then, and I don't post very often maybe three or four times a year. Because there are a very select handful, close, true, in real life friends, that I do have as, legally as, Facebook friends.

Jennifer Wilson 1:02:12

Yeah.

May Flaum 1:02:12

Because either because they share things there that is, that I want, they share information that I'd like to have or, or for whatever reason. So every once in a while, I'll post something there. And it's honestly more for me, because then every year, it'll show me you know, it'll show you the memory,

Jennifer Wilson 1:02:32

For sure.

May Flaum 1:02:32

So it's really more for me, if there's something I want documented to pop back up for me, then I'll go ahead and post it there. But what I've really made that place is I follow craft companies, there's so many craft companies that post beautiful videos and live shows and all kinds of interesting things. So I have them in my feed. And then I have, I have my own page where I just post, all I'm posting is crafty stuff. So I'm posting you know, if I've made a project, or if I find something really cool that I want to share with people, because you know what, there are really great people on Facebook. I haven't said that yet. But it is true. There are really wonderful people that are on Facebook for wonderful reasons. And that are there for inspiration or to get cooking ideas or whatever they're there for, but they're there for positive things. So there are people that are like minded, like me that are there to share and, and do things in a very positive, uplifting way. And because of that I actually ended up developing a private Facebook group. And I say private just because you can't just you know, like search it and see what's being said. It has the settings where you have to be a group member, but actually started a crafty group over there years ago. That's just, you know, what we share what we're making, and we talk about what we're making. And what or if we have a question about something crafty, we share that and that's it, you know, and that's so on Facebook, it's just very much cooking and crafting and puppy dogs and, and just things that are very positive. And I'm not engaging in discussions or politics or any of that kind of stuff. When I open it up. It's just the craft side and home side. Because the craft in the home around here, they tend to overlap they tend to get into each other. So it's just all of that kind of stuff. And anything that would make me feel like inspired or uplifted or give me a new idea. It's that kind of stuff for me on social media.

Jennifer Wilson 1:04:40

It was so interesting is that as you describe what you've created on your Facebook, and I'm working on that myself right now, I realized I'd been turning back to Pinterest recently because when I log into Pinterest, it's like it's recipes and paint chips and cute outfits and only like things that are uplifting and positive.

May Flaum 1:04:59

So that's all You know what, that's my Instagram and my Facebook. That's what it is. It's all it's. And actually, they're better than Pinterest for me for two reasons because I can engage with the creator of the content.

Jennifer Wilson 1:05:13

Yes.

May Flaum 1:05:13

And I control. Because sometimes I, Pinterest, I love Pinterest, but sometimes it'll get an idea. You know that it thinks I want something that I don't want. And I can't you know, like, I can't make it stop showing me like for a while it was showing me frog crafting. Frogs, felt frogs, paper frogs, quilted frogs. I'm like, I don't like frogs. Why, why, what happened here? And for the longest time, I couldn't get it to stop it. Just stop with the frogs. And I like Pinterest, like, if you were an account, I would just have unfollowed you. The frogs would be gone, if you were somebody on a frog kick, but I just couldn't handle any more. So I love Pinterest a lot. But you know what, that's a great comparison. Because that's really what I have just a more interactive and ability to connect with positive people in those social media channels. And I one thing I know, I've said that I've said this before to individuals, when someone tells me, you know, oh, well, social media is a horrible place. It's only a horrible place if you make it. So because we all control, we all have total control. And if anyone's not aware on Facebook, you know, if there is a family reason that you absolutely have to allow a mother and aunt or whoever to be your Facebook friend. If for whatever reason you feel you know, this is an absolute necessity or on Instagram, you can then you can allow that and then go and mute them. There are options where you can technically be their friend, but you will never see a single thing they ever put online.

Jennifer Wilson 1:06:58

Correct, and that's yeah, that's what I ended up doing. I unfriended like 200 people, but then I unfollowed the other 500.

May Flaum 1:07:07

What I like about that is it takes away the that I know, I know, we shouldn't have that anxiety, right, we shouldn't feel like this is something I have I am committed to doing. But it takes away that anxiety and that pressure of I'm going to have to have a confrontation. And you can just preserve your own mental health and your own self care without having that confrontation.

Jennifer Wilson 1:07:39

Yes.

May Flaum 1:07:40

You could just make them disappear.

Jennifer Wilson 1:07:42

Well, I just I think the point we need to make is that you have so much choice and even options within that choice of how you want to what you want to see on Facebook. Whether it's pages or groups or specific people or no people at all. And while those you know, the exact features have shifted a little bit over time, I think they're they're definitely moving in the direction of giving you more and more control. You know, within their sphere of they still have to show you ads and all of that. But it's Yeah, it's just so refreshing to be able to log in and not be incensed every moment of the day.

May Flaum 1:08:19

It is and, and I know there have been times when I've said to someone who's telling me like how negative or how much the, mute, unfollow or mute, unfollow, or mute. That's all you've got to do. You don't have to see this. You don't have to engage with it. And no, there's not a rule. And here's the other thing. And you know what, if any, I don't think anybody listening is someone I do this to Well, now, you know? No, but the way the Instagram, especially on Facebook, the way the algorithms are, they never show you everything.

Jennifer Wilson 1:08:56

Correct.

May Flaum 1:08:57

So if someone ever comes to you and is saying, hey, you didn't leave a comment on my post, you know, and I'm very upset about that. You can just say, well, and it really is true. Yes, obviously in a few select circumstances, it's because of the person is on mute. But it really is true. Well, I didn't see that I actually have a very good friend who was posting and posting and I never saw it because they had taken her out of my rotation. Yeah, I was following her I had put her to be followed. And as a close friend, and I just wasn't seeing the post. So it does legitimately happen. And you can just say I'm so sorry, I didn't see that. Or, Oh, I'm so sorry. But you know, if it's, you know, a real life friend or family member, you can always say, Well, you know, if you'll ever have something to share with me and you want to make sure I personally see it, you're always welcome to email or text me.

Jennifer Wilson 1:09:45

100% I love that.

May Flaum 1:09:46

If you want to make sure and there's a few people where I might post something to Instagram but I've also texted it to them because I don't know if they're gonna see it or not. And I want to make sure for them that they see this that there's, you know, something I want to share with a specific friend. I personally know that I always feel great when a friend reaches out when a friend is texting or emailing or calling me with something specific that they want to make sure I personally see. And I think that's important to remember too, is we still need to reach out directly to our friends.

Jennifer Wilson 1:10:16

Yes, yes. And I think that if it's that feeling of connection that you want to, you know, we've always talked about how but you know, moms in particular. But you know, everyone, we have this feeling of loneliness and disconnection because of social media. And the pandemic, I think just exacerbated that. And now we could we get to choose and we get to say, Oh, I wish I could text you or send you a message in some way. It doesn't have to be this kind of broadcast bulk conversation, we can actually have one on one relationships with people.

May Flaum 1:10:48

Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. And I also always encourage people, you know, go ahead and direct message people when you have like, when you're especially in stories, when you get a connection to content, or there's something shared that you really, it resonates with you and it hits you, tell the person. Because you never know, you know, what conversations you'll start. Like you and I have had great conversations. I love our conversations. But that wouldn't have started if we had not DMed each other.

Jennifer Wilson 1:11:16

Yeah, yeah.

May Flaum 1:11:17

You know, you can't start the conversation without starting the conversation. So make sure that you're engaging, as well. Because if you're looking at you know, whomever's content, but you're never ever talking to them, they don't know you're there. And maybe they would love to talk to you. And maybe I would love to talk to you. But I have no idea you're there because you've never commented or you've never said anything. So I have no idea.

Jennifer Wilson 1:11:43

Yes, yeah. And I think, and you can't be intimidated, I think cuz sometimes I've certainly felt myself intimidated messaging, someone who maybe has significantly more followers than me. And sometimes they don't ever reply back. But sometimes they do. Even if it's just a heart, it knows that, you know, you've made that connection, and you've been able to share your heart with them. And they were able to receive that like, that's...

May Flaum 1:12:08

Absolutely, absolutely.

Jennifer Wilson 1:12:12

Well I just I really appreciate the encouragement you gave me to make my own Facebook dramatic overhaul, and it definitely has helped.

May Flaum 1:12:21

You know, it's, I think it's something where I exist in a very strange dimension over here, I always joke, I always joke that I'm the mayor of the Island of Misfit Toys. Because I just, and I always have just in how I was raised in my upbringing, in my, my two very different, very different cultures and all of the stuff that I just kind of always have existed in my own world. So a lot of this stuff for me is it's just like, well just do what you want to do. And for so many of us, it's not like it's not quite there at the front of your mind to just block everything. Just mute everybody, just, you know, mute them all and get your peace back. And so I think I'm yeah, if you ever need someone to tell you the misfit ways of being, just come on over. No imtimidation, come on over. I'll, I'll tell you how it is, because, you know, and, and it really is true for everything. Like I remember a long, long time ago in scrapbooking when it was like, Oh, you know that May Flaum, she's so weird, she is making cards and then all of a sudden cards were the thing.

Jennifer Wilson 1:13:32

Maybe you're just a trailblazer?

May Flaum 1:13:35

Well, or I just well, you know what I don't think of it that way so much is I'm just marching to the beat of my own drum. And you know what, if you like the tune, join me. And if you don't, well, then I hope you find the band that you know rocks your world. Go right ahead, whatever, whatever that might be is just kind of how I roll over here. So no, I'm very excited for you, that you're reclaiming your Facebook. I'm excited.

Jennifer Wilson 1:13:59

I think we all need to listen to our inner voices a little bit more and to choose our own path forward, and really start to figure out what we want right now and in the future. And the more we do that, the more we'll feel more confident. Confident and empowered and connected to you know, not only our friends and family, but the the creative world out there as well.

May Flaum 1:14:23

Absolutely.

Jennifer Wilson 1:14:25

Well, May, thank you so much for your time, can you share where we can find you online and anything new or fun you might have coming up?

May Flaum 1:14:31

So I'm actually working on a lot of different stuff. Part of my whole summer break thing was to re evaluate YouTube and social media and what I'm doing, and how much of, how much of the story and also how much content just doesn't get shared for whatever reason. And how to kind of reevaluate that because there are things of value and actually I'm really appreciative that we had this conversation. Because stuff like this, that It goes through my head all day every day and I never share it. I just keep it to myself. And because I don't think anybody would be normally, I don't think anybody would be interested. But the more I share of this stuff the more interested people seem to be, which is exciting because I'd love to talk about this stuff. Because I feel like the more we talk about, the more we normalize, the healthier the better we all feel.

Jennifer Wilson 1:15:23

100% yes.

May Flaum 1:15:24

That no I don't have it all together. No, things are not clean. Yes, I will show you my mess. Yes, I will, you want to see my, but here you go, you know, so. The best places to find me are on Facebook and on Instagram, I'm @craftwithmay. And I share you know, puppy dogs and crafting and all that kind of good stuff. And then on those pages, you can find link link to my Youtube. Those are really the main places that I'm sharing right now. And I always share link to Brand Partners as I have different video tutorials for them and just sharing all kinds of crafty goodness online because that's, that's what makes me happy. So I'm hoping it makes other people happy too.

Jennifer Wilson 1:16:07

Well, your, your feed certainly makes me happy and I will share the link in the show notes for this episode.

May Flaum 1:16:13

Well, thank you so much for having me. This has been wonderful. I love talking with you.

Jennifer Wilson 1:16:17

Yes, likewise. And to all of our listeners, please remember that you have permission to Scrapbook Your Way. If you like the podcast, you'll love being a member. When you join you'll get access to weekly Zoom crops, bimonthly retreats, and a huge content library. You can head over to simplescrapper.com/membership to learn more and join our creative community

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