Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Good Intentions and Optimistic Stories
I spent the first morning of my weather-mandated two days off digging around in and trying to organize my fabric stash. I found some treasures, including a year's worth of "block of the month kits" and the hand stitched quilt squares from my first quilting class, both patiently waiting to be complete. I found cross stitch fabric. I found fabric cut with the pattern pinned on for a dress for me (which I might just finish, for the sake of my own curiosity!) I found a couple of pieces of fabric that were meant to become a dress and a suit for me. I found the tiny blue and white dress I'd lovingly smocked for my first born. And had never completed. I found this piece of smocking that was going to be a cute little sundress. If only it had been completed.
I thought of the saying "The one who dies with the most toys wins" and the quilting related saying, "She who dies with the most fabrics wins." I don't have that much fabric. My stash is relatively small. I abandoned it all years ago. Maybe partly because I got busy with the business of raising children. I did not think I'd ever circle back around to sewing or quilting. I am a little bit surprised at my desire to come back to cutting out bits of fabric and piecing them back together in new ways.
I spent the morning thinking to myself that I must somehow whittle down my interests and focus on taking a few of them seriously, rather than flitting around like a butterfly in a field of varying bright flowers. I was thinking this morning about how I can not do everything that seems to call to me. And I was thinking about exactly what all might be to me. Through the years I've seen myself as reader, seamstress, quilter, poet, writer, collage artist, photographer, mixed media artist, life-long student of life, purveyor of light, and quirky creative.
I am all those things--"Jack of all trades, master of none?" I won't go there. That would cause me to compare myself to others, which often leads me to feel "less than." What I can do, what I must do is learn what I am and be such (see previous post for the artwork!), as Pindar so aptly puts it.
I will be doing this for the rest of my life, I know. Occasionally the idea that I will be learning for the rest of my life what I am makes me feel like I am a remedial student of life. But for me, not learning what I am would be the greater tragedy.
I had good intentions on completing all my projects. But we all know where the road that good intentions pave leads! And I know there are a lot whose road has been far rougher than mine, but this morning I sort of feel like I've been to hell and back. And maybe now I'm ready to pick up some of these long abandoned projects and to make something new out of the bits and pieces I've found. I do not say this with any great self-pity, only with great self-awareness, but that is one of my life stories, crafting my life out of bits and pieces. It was never my intention to screw myself up, but sometimes those bits and pieces descend from my own crappy decisions (note to self: forgive yourself, let it go, get up and try again).
Part of what has fueled this bit of self-revelation was a quote I saw on Facebook about Pete Seeger, who died this morning at the age of 94: "Through the years, Mr. Seeger remained determinedly optimistic. 'The key to the future of the world,' he said in 1994, 'is finding the optimistic stories and letting them be known.'"
I know he was speaking more globally than I am this morning, but this is my optimistic story: the hope that I will find myself not only completing some of these unfinished fabric projects, but also the hope that I will continue to work on the biggest incomplete project of my life: MYSELF.
I too remain determinedly optimistic.
RIP, Pete Seeger. And thanks.
May we all stay forever young.
(I'm convinced continuing learning and self-growth is one of the secrets.)