That’s been a hard message to internalize. It’s been a busy month, with lots of changes in my family & professional life. The stress got to me particularly in the middle of the month, where I went for a few days of just feeling all my feelings. Part of this could have been hormones; part of this could have been panic from being disorganized in my plans. But yeah, I had a few nights were I vacillated between fear & weakness & decided effort to get stuff crossed off my list the next day.
I’m better now; I’m on the other (rewarding) side of a couple different goals & feeling really good about how I got through in a mostly healthy way. The thing about allowing yourself to dance on the edge of colliding forces in your life means you have to believe that at the end, no matter what happens, you’ll be ok. & there are still parts of my brain that devoutly believe that I am not & never will be ok. I’m working on it & the gap between what I know & what I feel is still shrinking. But this month, this month feels like a victory, because I had those bad days, I took care of myself, & at the end of April, this new self-belief has a good chance at sticking.
Fall is coming, signaling the death & transformation of life. I’ve been thinking about the esoteric ideas I’ve read that talk about the shorter days of the year & the ending cycle of the moon as times of letting go & releasing energy. I’ve always thought of this wording as inherently passive, that “letting go” mean being still & pensive. To not make new plans or to generate attention. Continue reading →
Seasons change; focus changes. With spring’s arrival, there has been a lot of shifts and opportunities coming, not just for me but for many people that I know. One thing that has been coming to the forefront of my mind is my writing. I’m no longer as content to sit & let myself while away the hours with needle & thread. That doesn’t mean that crocheting or sewing or any other craft isn’t as important to my peace of mind; it just means that my attention has moved on.
Some of this is seasonal. When the weather is cold, my impulse is to be still & passive; to fill the hours in a warm place with someone familiar doing not much more than focusing on the work between my hands. Quiet activity in a quiet season. Writing is lonely & it’s hard to imagine sitting at a desk under a single lamp with the dark on the other side of the curtain, much less stare down the inner critic with pages in hand while my husband is in his kitchen making cookies & humming along to the radio.
But some of this is self-criticism too. After long years of not believing that I could make a “proper” living from writing, that I wasn’t worth listening too, that making something physical was practical, but that no one “needed” to read my words, my head is clearing. & while the idea of making writing my job (which has been my not-so-secret wish since childhood) is still scary, last week I decided to stop separating the things I create onto utilitarian & esoteric categories.
I decided to picture my writing career as a fiber work in progress. Each step, each choice, each class I take or group I run or commission I get is all built on top of each other.
I’m sure that the idea sounds really obvious & it is hard to admit that the realization took me this long. But, when I believed that I couldn’t actually succeed as a writer before, my perception was that I just kept chasing goals or stumbling into chances & every good thing that happened was just chance. I couldn’t control whether or not an editor would like my piece & if things went my way, there was no way to reproduce that success. If they went badly, then clearly it was proof that I was wrong & didn’t deserve anything anyway.
But I don’t believe that any more. I don’t want to believe it any more. & I can see where one choice leads to another & I’m free to make a way for myself just as I’m free to make something out of a needle and thread. At the very least, my writer’s brain is eager to run with the metaphor & find the foundation chain & trace the progress forward. Seasons change; focus changes.
I’m feeling possessive of my curtains. Paranoid might actually be a more accurate descriptor. We’re getting ready to move again in a few months & my anxiety has decided to fixate on whether or not we’ll be taking them with us to the new place.
I’m sure that sounds like a small petty thing; maybe it is. Let me explain it a little better. We moved around a lot when I was a kid—not military-family a lot but as my parents’ jobs & finances changed, we inevitably found a new place every 3-5 years. We never took the curtains with us & to this day, I don’t know why. Maybe they didn’t want to deal with the hassle of taking down the rods & hardware & putting it up at another place. Maybe there are super secret real estate arrangements that hinge on whether or not a family willingly gives up their window dressings. Maybe my parents have some heretofore unknown superstition about carrying draperies (& by extension bad luck) from one dwelling to another.
I don’t know & for the most part, it was just a thing I didn’t get to have a say in, like the moving. It didn’t really bother me until I got older, had a job, & was able to spend my own meager income on decorative things. We moved into one house where the owner had left behind her own drapes in some of the rooms. (Why?! What is the reasoning?) These were blackout drapes that were coated in cat fur near the top. I was working at a linens store at the time & I spent a couple of weeks looking at what I liked & comparing prices, before finally settling on green panels & long gauzy white swags. It would hardly make House Beautiful but I had ambitious dreams & a minimum wage budget, so I made it work.
A few years later, it was time to move again. And when I brought up how I was trying to figure out how to pack the curtains, my mom told me I couldn’t take them because, they weren’t included in the contract. HUGE fight followed: I’m screaming that I bought them with my own money & my mom yelling back that she’s not going back to the realtor to dicker over curtains.
When I finally moved out on my own, I didn’t take any curtains & lived in different rented places for seven years with just blinds & nothing else. And then, my husband & I moved to our current place & I loosened up a bit. There were no pre-existing blinds, the Target curtains we bought were flimsy & we had some drafts coming in through the windows, & I was learning how to sew. . . so I made curtains. Nothing too fancy, just repurposed sheets that were on sale but they made me happy & they were pretty. . . & now we’re getting ready to move again. And I don’t want to leave these behind too.
So I guess it’s time to grow up & ask why we always left the curtains behind. At the very least, I still have the cheapie Target curtains; I’d have no problem leaving those for strangers.
Hey there everyone, it’s late on a Monday & I want to put something up on the blog, but I’m tired & facing a basket of laundry. So, I thought I’d share a nice calming song as the day winds down. I’ve mentioned this one before, but here’s the song itself. Consider it my long-distance dedication to you, dear Reader, in hopes that it will give you some time to recollect yourself at the beginning of the week.