Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Reminding Myself

I have to remind myself to be vulnerable.  To let myself see people and experience how they look at me when I walk through the store or go into a building.  To place my thoughts "out there" and see how they respond.  To apply for jobs I dream about and not worry whether I get them.  To go into interviews and not be nervous.

I watched Brene Brown's TED talk about vulnerability this morning.  When she said, "Vulnerability is the birthplace of joy, passion and creativity," I broke down crying.

Because here's the hard truth:  I've lived my life doing things for other people--doing things that I thought would make other people proud of me--doing things that if I did them well and good enough would make people take notice and love me just a little more than they used to.  But I was not doing them for ME...because they made me happy and proud and satisfied and love myself more.  In fact, I would say increasingly over the past few years I've made myself miserable because I couldn't do the things I wanted to.  Or if I did them it was only as an "extra thing" and not "worthy" of my full life and attention even though that's what I needed to do to be truly happy with myself.

When I stepped off of that 10 mile high platform a month ago I didn't realize that I'd be bouncing back up onto a 20 mile high platform and have to jump without a safety net.

The fear I'm experiencing makes me want to climb down all those miles of ladders to gain safe ground, but you know what...that ground wasn't safe because it was me living my life for other people.  So, I have to buck-up, step to the edge and do it.

I'll keep you posted when my wings are holding me up!

Today's picture:

Some napkins I wove 5 years ago and have been using almost daily since. I  love these napkins and am amazed that they are 5 years old this week.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014


I'm struggling with a lot of fear right now.  I know that's probably normal, but I don't like being scared and it's really not something that I've realized about myself--that I've done things to protect myself from getting in situations where I might be scared.

For instance:

I dislike really crowded spaces and they make me feel kind of panicky.  So, while in London, I would choose my Underground route by leaving or returning at a certain time or by using a different train than the one that might be the most direct.  It helped me get from point A to point B but it didn't help me understand my fear and how to address the real cause of what creates such an uncomfortable feeling for me in crowds.

I've never had a full-blown panic attack, but I've felt them lurking in the shadows these last 2 weeks.  And last night I woke up three times with that adrenaline feeling in my legs--bad dreams I suppose, but why?  What's so fearful about being in the bed that I'd slept in for years in my home where I've lived for 13 years?

All the uncertainty and change and turmoil going on in my life, that's what. I'm also working through some issues with my therapist and I assume that's bound to bring out some negative feelings at first--like popping a pimple is kind of ugly but it does the job.

So, while I learn the job of taking care of myself and being independent, I'm also facing a lot of fears.  And in the meantime I'm creating lovely things.  Today I will weave and crochet on my blanket (the Imperfect Beauty got even more imperfect when I stitched one row to the next and didn't match up the squares quite right...I DID fix that this morning because it would have caused problems in the end).  I want to open up an Etsy shop and sell some of my creations.  I also want to start designing patterns, so need to figure out how one goes about doing that...but first, I apply for jobs because I must also figure out hot to pay my bills--that whole being independent things also means financial.  Tough stuff getting through these days, I'll tell you.

Today's picture is of Zora being sweet to me.  It doesn't happen often so when it does it's really special.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Imperfect Beauty

One of the things I discovered on my 2 weeks of self exploration before the bomb dropped is that I have to find beauty in all things.  It's amazing that 2 weeks AFTER the bomb dropped I'm able to start seeing the beauty again.  I honestly worried there for a little while that my ability to see beauty in the world had been stripped away from me.

Today I feel somewhat healthier in mind.  I have not only survived the past 2 weeks, but I have been able to enjoy a few moments of it, I have found a pathway to making myself emotionally healthy (that won't be easy but I can do it), I've had 2 job interviews, another today and another promised at some point this week.

I have faith that things will work out someway.  I don't know what that way is, but I have plans if my dream plans don't work out and so I can settle the awful nervous feeling in my stomach and begin my path to independence.

The project that I've been working on this week is my crochet afghan.  I made the Groovyghan out of all the Noro Silk Garden Sock Yarn that I had in my stash.  I realized after attempting to start a sock with it that it is simply too thick to make a sock that I would wear, and the fact that it's so loosely spun and so "thick/thin" I realized that it would be a "wear around the house" sock...and to be honest we just don't have that much need for a wear around the house sock in Mississippi.  But I love cuddling with blankets and who cares about gauge in blankets.  It can go back and forth and still be gorgeous and Groovyghan was born.

That said, I had a LOT of yarn leftover from all those skeins (I have a little bit of obsession for Noro yarn, more on that in a minute) so realized I could make another blanket, so I started going through the 250+ blanket squares crochet book that I bought and made one of each square I came to until I ran out of yarn. I have 36 squares and will be putting them together in a 6x6 grid.  Here's what I have so far:

I'm doing a half double crochet edge on each square then joining them with a single crochet join (that faces to the back).  I haven't yet decided what the border will look like...I'll get there when I'm finished joining all the squares and get a sense of what the blanket will need. I'm using a Noro Silk Garden Sock Yarn in neutrals for the border and joining strips.

SO...the title of this entry:  Imperfect Beauty.  Noro is one fine example of an imperfect beauty.  Perfect yarn is spun so that it is a consistent size throughout the entire skein.  Every single skein of Noro yarn that I've ever worked with goes from very thin to (depending on the overall thickness of it) very thick.  It has puffy spots and really thin spots, and the process of spinning the yarn apparently leads to breaks because there are frequently knots tying the yarn together.

Noro also changes color--all of that color work in those squares (except for a very few occasions where I used 2 balls) is the simple color change within one ball of yarn.  The gradations of color are lovely as you follow along--it'll be all blue, then flecks of pink will start coming in and then it'll be half and half and then it'll be pink with flecks of blue and then all blue.  It's gorgeous how the color changes happen...but sometimes those knots I mentioned?  They'll just simply knot the yarn when it's time to do so to make the skein and sometimes rather than getting a gradual change in color you'll have a knot and it'll go from tan to neon green.

The beauty in Noro for me is the unpredictability of it.  You don't know exactly what you'll get but you just trust the yarn to do what you're asking it to and in the end you step back and you have something gorgeous and people are always amazed at the results.

It's like life, really, when you think about it.  Nature or whatever you want to look at.  But humans especially are not perfect.  Ever.  We have flaws outwardly and inwardly.  We make mistakes and sometimes they're big ones.  Sometimes our "color changes" are abruptly interupted and we have a knot tying the two paths of our lives together and there wasn't much of an intention of matching colors when that knot was made.

That's where I think I am...I've tied my turquoise yarn to my new red yarn and I'm about to take off on whatever this new adventure looks like.  Sure it's an abrupt change and sure it's going to be obvious when one looks at the details of my life this very minute.  But years from now when we've all gained a little perspective we'll say "see...we saw that coming all along...that area where things got kind of thin...the spinning machine was moving faster than you could handle, so you then dumped more fiber in and that's why it got all thick and puffy but you overwhelmed the system and it stopped...and you got red yarn as a result.  And look what beauty you made out of it."

That's honestly where I think I am today.  I, too, am an imperfect beauty.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Seeing the sunshine

Every now and then (pretty often) I take a big huge deep breath and tell myself that I've got this.  I'm smart.  I'll figure this out.

I'm applying for jobs.  I'm not even trying to be deliberate about it. If something looks like it might be interesting, I'm applying for it.  Some of these involve a multi-thousand-mile move.  That scares the heck out of me, and I have no idea 1) how I'll afford such a move and 2) how I'll get there with all my stuff and 3) what "stuff" is necessary to take and what I can leave behind.  On 3 I'm thinking the yarn must go with me, the quilts, my clothes...can I start over with all new furniture when I get there?  What about my loom?  I love my living room furniture...Maybe I can just sleep on the couch for a while and have a bedroom full of crafting stuff.

It's so hard to picture...but I'll figure it out when I need to.

Contingency plan:  I've been admitted to the Fashion Merchandising Program at the local university.  I will do that this fall if nothing else works out.

Dream plan:  Working in a yarn store WHEREVER that may be.

In the meantime:  I'm trying to look at opportunities, not ignore anything and get myself healthy again.  This morning I walked into my living room and saw the sunlight flooding the place and knew that it would all be ok somehow someday someway.  I just need to have faith and press on.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Being vulnerable

Boy, being vulnerable is really hard.  Have you tried it lately?  Because I haven't.  I've been going through so much grief and sadness, loss and change, stress and fear that I've avoided allowing my defenses to be down and be vulnerable.

But you know what?  I was vulnerable anyway.  And in trying to protect myself from being hurt I ended up getting hurt worse than I thought I ever could.  Man, it's a crazy world out there.

I've been reading The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown.  In it, she talks about how important, in fact necessary, it is to be vulnerable.  To let ourselves be exposed because it's only by exposing ourselves that we can make connections to others.

David always talked about the fact that I had this blog and shared personal stories here, not just my creating.  I remember telling him, personal is part of the creating for me.  I create because of and in response to the things that are going on in my life.  The connections are too deep for me to ignore them or to pretend they aren't significant.  If you were to buy anything from me, you would be buying that tiny little piece of my soul that was present when I was making it.  For me, to be open is to create...

...and that should have been clue number 1 that I was closing myself up recently...for probably over a year in fact.  My creative urges had just about dried up.  I was too tired, too stressed, too whatever to get in the studio and make something.  I'd sit on the couch and knit or crochet or look through books, but I wasn't being creative.

And I was hugely productive, don't get me wrong...but Leslie on a good day?  I could blow all that out of the water and make so much more.

Last week I couldn't create.  I was so stunned and shocked and scared and all the other bad emotions that creating wasn't going to happen.  I was also shaking.  Physically shaking.  And if you're a knitter or crocheter you know that you can't have shaky hands and get much done.

The shaking has diminished as part of my all-the-time feeling, but it comes in waves.  In fact, yesteday when I made myself sit down and start to crochet, I shook all over.  My hands were shaking so badly I could barely see the yarn I was working with.  I thought "this can't do...I'm never going to be able to make things again and I can't not make things.  I can't not create.  I MUST make this next stitch and the next one and the next one" and before long, my fingers were in control, and my shaking subsided and the end of the day I had these:

Aren't they pretty?  They are the sum total of my creative energies yesterday but look at that...3 squares.

Just to let you dear readers know, I am practicing vulnerability.  I will express my feelings and share my journey as I find a pathway to forgiveness, creativity and my Self (whatever that may be).  Creating is personal.  Art comes from the soul.  It speaks from the artists and reaches out to others in a language that doesn't share words but somehow communicates.

And in being vulnerable I will somehow magically open myself up to possibilities and thoughts and ideas and people that I never knew were available to me.  It will be transformative and wonderful and I invite you along on my journey because I think it's going to be exciting once all this icky stuff is out of the way.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Just say it it goes...

My husband came home on Monday last week and told me he wanted to get a divorce.

There,'s as bad as that.  I'm trying to figure out how to accept this and move on, but there's a lot of things to uncover, both about what went wrong in our relationship, how I was so completely blind to it, and how I can figure out how to support myself in the midst of just quitting my job.

One of the things I'd learned in my 2 weeks of self-exploration after we'd separated in London and then I was home by myself was that my journey involves finding beauty in the world.  Art for me is about finding and amplifying that beauty and making our lives around us places that we like because they appeal to some sense of what is beautiful to us.

So, what looks like a giant pile of shit right now has something beautiful in it and I'm going to have to dig in and figure out what that is.

The gritty details if you're interested:

  • he moved out of the house this weekend and I went to see our daughters while he did so
  • I will be staying in the house for the time being...until I figure out what I'm going to do, where I'm going to work, and how I'm going to pay for everything.
  • we are talking--it's weird but we are talking and I think positively
  • when you get to the bottom of it there aren't a lot of assets to divide up so this shouldn't get messy
I am determined not to let negativity poison my journey that I started, so I'm refusing to succumb to the anger and fear.  I'm angry, don't get me wrong, and I'm hurt, don't get me wrong, and I'm just about as scared as I've ever been in my life, don't get me wrong...but I will not let it control my decisions or how quickly and the manner in which I process all of this and move forward.


Ironically, I finished this blanket for the "new me" the weekend before the bomb dropped.  The pattern is Groovyghan and the yarn I used is Noro Silk Garden Sock.  I'm actually crocheting up another blanket from the leftovers of this project...I am on my way to work on it as soon as I post this.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


Y'all...i just experienced another major life altering event.  I'm out of commission for a week or so until I get everything straight.  Please don't run away on me...and keep me in your thoughts.  I kind of need them right now.

Friday, July 11, 2014

I'm back!

Well...I've been back for several days, but you wouldn't believe what happened...when I got home all exhausted and tired and so jet lagged I couldn't sleep, I decided to get on line and e-mail David and maybe play a game of bingo or two...only to discover that the internet was down.

It was July 3rd.

They couldn't come out to fix it until yesterday.

That means that for one entire week I didn't have WiFi, Internet, or anything.  I could check my e-mail on my phone, but how I hate communicating on that tiny little thing.  I need buttons to push, a screen to enlarge, text big enough to see.

In the meantime I've been crocheting an afghan for the new me, coloring some pretty awesome sheets from the My Secret Garden coloring book I picked up, shopping, and CLEANING HOUSE.  I've gone through closets, thrown away clothes, and done some serious deep cleaning.  I'm surprised at how little dust there was and how much cat hair was all over the house.

David comes home on Monday.  I'm looking forward to that.

Until Monday, though, I'm going to leave you with this adorable picture of my lap mate:

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Fashion, high rise, and quiet I think I met my noise limit.  I went to the Fashion and Textile Museum and saw some gorgeous rebozos (and fun pix of Frida Khalo) and then, because it was right next door, I rode the  elevator to the top of The Shard for a wonderful view and fun.  I saw a couple get engaged...the girl was was sweet.  

Then after it was all over I realized I didn't want to bump into one more person or hear one more car or feel one more train, so I came back to my room where I've been totally low key all afternoon, and. Ow evening.  

Tomorrow is a second visit to Kew Garden...and then this lovely vacation will be in the history books, and I get to start living my dream of being a textile artist!