I came downstairs to find Tim entranced by something out the window. I came closer, and found that he was watching the first leaves fall from the trees…Welcome, Early Fall.
The hardest part of working at home is what I call the Butt-In-Chair Syndrome: No matter how much work there is to be done, it is the absolute hardest thing sometimes to get one’s butt in the chair and actually start doing the work.
This can be particularly difficult if you have the companion syndrome of Writer/Artist’s Block. Even worse if you fall into the trap of My-Work-Doesn’t-Matter-Anyway.
That’s the place in which I find myself these past few weeks. That, and the Land of The Self-Doubters.
Any of you ever find yourself in this place? Where nothing you do seems worth anything?
After all, it’s only knitting. (Spinning/writing/blogging/singing/batt making.)
After all, I don’t have a lot of (published) patterns.
There are many other designers who started out as peers (and in at least one case, as a student) who are now publishing books, teaching at Rhinebeck, and have dozens of designs to their credit.
After all: They are Professionals. I’m just a Sometime Knitting Designer and Writer.
Many days I wonder: Does any of what I do MATTER? I can’t wing it forever on the Glory Days of Yore; folks like me have to constantly reinvent themselves…and maybe, just maybe, that is precisely where I find myself: in the ReInvention Stage of growth. That’s a Good Thing, methinks, but I haven’t had much of Me to devote to the process. It’s slow-going, because this last year has been full of doctors and appointments and scans and waiting rooms, which are constantly nibbling at the creative energies I need to be myself, to thrive and grow.
Thus, I am hitting the Pause Button on the endless rounds of testing, the never-ending digging, scanning, symptoms-under-microscope sort of life I’ve lead for the past few years. We know by now that I am not dying, that I am not crumbling into dust, that there is no imminent danger.
So dear doctors, thank you so much for all your time and care, but I need some time off, to myself. (Not you, dear therapists and massage folks and acupuncture doctors, you’re still on the hook. See you at 1 PM.) I’ll be seeing the docs to maintain a watch on things, but not as often. Certainly not three times a week with 3-4 hour round-trip commutes along the 401, Highway of Insanity and Doom. (That was this week, the one just about over. OY.)
After the third day in a row of such a journey, I woke this morning feeling drained, blenderized, stripped of some Essential Essence that is critical to my spirit. I need my energies for myself and for my inner life and for being present to those around me, not for dodging bluetooth-talking, coffee-wrangling, frustrated race-car wannabes, all the reckless White Rabbits who keep shouting “Outta my way, I’m late, I’m late, I’m LATE!”, being so intent on their own needs that they are in constant danger of ending someone else’s life with their lack of concentration and judgment. (I might have Opinions on this subject.)
Instead of the re-invention I have been seeking, I feel as though this past year I got re-invented into the perfect waiting-room inhabitant. I know how much knitting to bring to which doctor’s office. I always have an extra project in my car just-in-case. I always have gas money, good tire pressure, and extra audiobooks always on hand. I watch the traffic reports. Check the highway traffic cams. GOOD GRIEF.
Enough. I don’t want to be The Blogger Who Is Sick-But-Amusing-But-She-Doesn’t-Post-Much. I don’t want to know the routes by heart to every testing facility in the region. I don’t want to be A Patient anymore. I want more.
What will I become? I know I want whatever I do to Matter, to touch people, to bring them together into a community somehow, to help love and grace grow, to bring compassion to our weary world.
I want to create, and to believe in myself. Because somewhere along the way, I stopped believing I could make a difference, that my knitting/spinning/writing/singing/blogging self was worth anything or was touching anyone or was even a wee bit Important.
The person who pulled me up short was The Microsoft Excel Guy. I’m sure you have heard of him: he paints amazingly detailed, wonderfully evocative works of art using only Microsoft Excel. (Oh, and let’s not forget: He’s 73 years old.)
His works are inspiring. Yes, there are others who create art using MS Excel, but their work does not have the depth, that ineffable sense of Meaning, that quality of drawing forth our inmost selves in the best way possible, that our 73-year-old friend can evoke.
He is a very unusual, off-the-beaten-path sort of guy, just as I am an off-the-beaten-path sort of fibre artist/knitter/writer. I’m not in his league, methinks…but from what I hear, I, too, touch people with my work. Somehow, between my long absences from the blog, my bouts of depression and anxiety and illness, my small design portfolio, and my isolation up here in lovely Bolton, Ontario (cornfields up the road, about two stoplights, turn right and there you are. don’t forget to come to the town tractor pull!), I touch people. Maybe I touch two people. Or five. Or a hundred.
Is that good enough? Maybe that’s the wrong question…
Am I finding ways of sharing the uniqueness that is my quirky form of creativity in ways that feed The Good in the world? Or, in my uncertainty and current Waiting Room Girl identity, have I lost the map to my own inner vision?
Anyone ever feel this way? What did you do about it? How did you treat the stages of your creativity respectfully and still get your butt in the chair?
Inquiring minds would really like to know.
Fortunately, I have a friend who works at a vet hospital (the animal kind, not the elder warrior kind). She sends me things like this, which I share with you out of a sense of civic responsibility for the common good:
Pippa, In Search of Her Tail (it’s a video, click to play/stop)
Ever wanted to learn to do shibori, the Japanese art of tie-dye all-grown-up? Here’s a step-by-step tutorial by Erica of honestlywtf.com, a site that also wins in the Best Blog Name semi-finalist category.
Even otters need to learn to put their toys away at the end of the day.
For all you parents and geeky kids-at-heart: Geek Parenting: 60 Books for Geeky Kids Before They Are 10
Above: Baby ladybugs hatching.
And one final cutie to inspire us…We have to learn to be a peaceful people, a compassionate people, so that we can take care of small ones like this:
Namasté–although I doubt that that is what Wet Kitty is thinking right now.