Tag Archives | work

You Are So Very Beautiful*

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This week I took time back. And this morning, I officially agreed to a part-time job that will pay half my bills, leaving me time to do craftivism work, because freelancing was scattering my thoughts too much. Pitch a story on literacy, the weaving industry, online dating, and etiquette. Watch your mind unspool in a dozen directions as you watch your bank account dwindle, all while seeing the reality of not doing what you want to do. Realizing all that unspooling was not getting you towards anything, not building anything. That there was no direction, just scattered thoughts. And as I’ve been through a series of interviews, there was a period of time where this path seemed like a huge effing failure.

So I took some time. I hung out with friends, I stitched at home, I made gluten-free zucchini chocolate chip bread and my heart gushed when I took it out of the oven and held it in my own hands, I hung out with Bobbin, I drank coffee on my porch, I took time to truly taste it, sat (just sat) on my sofa, I took time to rein in my mind from months of freaking out about money to the point that most of my joy was sucked out of my life for ages. I helped the same bird who got stuck in screened-in porch twice in one day escape, taking the time to let it hop to freedom instead of feeling like I had to hurry his little heart through the process.

And I thought about the affirmations that I had to write each day as part of the 5-Minute Journal, which I heard about via a recommendation from Lisa Congdon on the While She Naps podcast. I thought about how they sustained me as I typed them, all the thoughts I was not letting sink into myself, lest I turn into someone too proud or vain or righteous or greedy. I was scared typing them would make me a different person, which meant change, which meant changing.

And lo, how they did change me! They pushed me to see I was beautiful, capable, worthy, enough, smart, and other permutations. And in homage to the work of the late artist Susan O’Malley, I envisioned a project where I stitched those sentiments I so needed to hear and then left them for others to find.

Because activism is as much about fighting the bad things in this world as it is fighting the bad things we tell ourselves. We can be better activists if we can better stand up for ourselves. We live in a world where we war with what the media tells us what is in, out, cool, passé. Every day we have to remind ourselves we are these good things. And some days we forget. And those days can drag on into weeks and months. Leaving us soul sucked and dry, a husk of what we were as children and knew we were amazing.

So it’s time to do that in the process of stitching. And it’s time to let that act of stitching go by leaving it somewhere for someone to find who needs to hear those words as much as you do, if not more. And that’s what that photo is up at the top, a prototype of the pieces I’m going to make. Craftivism is about healing ourselves as we stitch, and then healing the world with the product, so this project is about taking a microstep to help other people, to let them know that they are so very many wonderful things. And to remind ourselves that we are so many wonderful things.

xx

*You Are So Very Beautiful is what I’m calling this for right now, because I think that we, no matter what our gender orientation, can have a problem seeing this about ourselves, regarding both our inner and outer beauty. And seeing ourselves as beautiful is a radical act.

Wandering and Wondering. With Pie.

The photo below is of Chester. Chester lives out in a giant pasture in Fearrington, a retirement village not too far away. Hanging out with him the other day and making a new friend was delightful.

And speaking of retirement, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the future. And how the hell I’m going to pay for it. Tonight I walked home with my housemate after Bingo at a local shop, and we ate what was left of the blueberry pie she won on the last game. Fresh blueberries had splattered purplish pink on my arm, and my lips and tongue were stained blue as we walked home in flip-flops, making smacking sounds both on the pavement with our feet and with our mouths full of pie. There was a sweet sense that the summer was beginning as we soon started to itch from mosquito bites and I kept dancing to Kelis’ “Milkshake” which a new friend played for me between Bingo games. Awesome.

But then back home, I’m faced again with the conflict that keeps rising in my life, where I’m transitioning on the career front from that amorphous-sounding “freelance” towards something more sound and less stressful. I want to work out of choice when I’m 80, not work out of necessity. So I’m wading through job listings, my CV, the stories and advice of others and my own self-doubt with thoughts of my future in front of me. I think that life is meant to be lived and that work is something you should feel passion for, as with passion you challenge yourself and others to move forward and improve.

I would like to work in an environment that’s helping others (especially women) develop their own livelihoods in countries without proper infrastructures. With years of research about women, community, war, identity and indie businesses, it just seems like a natural fit. I love exploring the unique power of creativity and the way it can help as it heals. I love asking questions. I love weaving the intricacies of different cultures together and watching how they create a fabric of humanity. So I’m left in my living room, by the window, looking up at the moon, wondering how to best navigate my future.

It was nice to take time out tonight from wondering about 401ks and retirement plans and finding full-time work that is truly fulfilling and to just walk by the light of the moon and eat pie. It didn’t matter that it was dripping on our toes or on the pavement or staining our fingertips, it just mattered that we were happy to be there. And I wonder about those of us who are wondering and struggling and constantly questioning ourselves as to whether we’re doing the right thing. If we’re on the right path and fighting the right fights and where we need to be. We wonder and wonder and wonder what our future will be, knowing that we are the only ones who can craft it.

Maybe it’s daft, naive or just plain sadistic, but I truly believe that we will find the right path, the right people, the right places. We will realize that our transitions are natural progressions instead of failures. And I hope and trust that when I’m 80, I’ll be going home from Bingo in the light of the moon, laughing and lucky enough to live somewhere without worrying about the electric bill. Blueberry stained teeth and pavement, however, are purely optional.

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