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.)

10 comments:

  1. Well said! Those optimistic stories really are important. Good luck with all your projects!

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  2. I am a fabric stasher. I got ready to get rid of some of it and called one of the assisted nursing centers to see if they might could use any of it. They jumped at the chance. They told me that they had a lot of people that quilted. I love the positive. I have lots of works in progress still. lol

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    1. I've enjoyed seeing your fabric projects through the years, Mindy! I'm glad you found a good home for your extra fabric!

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  3. Love love love... and you are a piece and a peace of that by telling your story and letting yourself be known, and then it ripples from there.... I agree with Rachel, the optimistic is so important. And then there are the times we forget and look down...dang.. I love bits and pieces... we're all piecemealed together. We all made sucky choices, all of us.. Diane look, thank you for speaking for all of us... you said exactly what and where we all are. Thank you. I love you for speaking your truth...

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    1. Thanks, Lori. I'm glad you liked it. I am trying to do better at speaking my truth. It's scary hard sometimes!

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  4. I know it is... and will always be.. like the learning thing. We are in that perpetual state of learning, fear, being vulnerable, and all the rest... but you know.. remember in The Shack where Sariyu takes the man into the "garden" and he sees only a weedy mess... and she explains to him that the view from above is one of a fractal... it was so beautiful... and so well written... and made so much sense, that if we see ourselves that way, the way we're seen from "above" then we're not so messy after all. I have to remind myself that. Most days I feel like a train wreck.. but then again.. that's all part of it too.
    amen

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    1. Your words are so true. We never have the full picture and it seems like I am forever forgetting that!

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  5. It sounds like you had a good introspective time in your organizing. Now think about this. Sometimes we don't need to finish something to be "complete." Sometimes we've learned what we needed to learn and it's okay to put that unfinished thing in a bag and deliver it to Goodwill so someone who would like to learn from it can pick it up and do so.

    Sometimes there are events in our lives that happen and we learn and we move on, and we don't ever need to go back and revisit those. Maybe they were failures, but we learn more from failure than we do from success, more from trial than from the easy times.

    You ARE all those things. You always will be, even if you move on from something and leave it behind. It's part of you forever. You are many things yet to be discovered, as well. That's good. In education there's a term, "lifelong learner." I always liked that term. It means there's always more to us, we are never finished becoming, discovering, learning. That fuels my desire to keep going, so many times.

    I think we need to keep the pieces that grew us and toss the ones that didn't. Pete Seeger had a bit of wisdom there. Use it in your own way. Hugs to you on this journey.

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    1. Thank you for your encouragement!

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