I am working towards some goals to become the person I want to be. The best description of this is that I am a life-long learner. A less generous description is that I am unfocused and undisciplined. I am a little flabbergasted that at 41 I still am making lists of who I want to be and how to get there. When this behavior started when I was in high school, I would have thought I would have it all figured out by now.
And so there are some things I still want to be… bilingual, competent home cooker of french food, a ballet dancer, a docent…
I have realized though that I can’t work on too many things at one time. I became a competent quilter because it was my total focus (after work and those I love). I dedicated lots of time to piecing and quilting and binding. And there were lots of setbacks. Lots. I worked beyond my skill – which can be lonely, defeating, frustrating. And then all of a sudden the thing I was doing wasn’t beyond my skill level, so I pushed on to the next thing.
I understand the sentiment when people say “I just am not crafty – I couldn’t do that” when people look at things I have made. But my limited ability to sew is not some gift I was imbued with – it took hours and days and weeks and months of work to get where I am. I choose that these skills were worth having.
The last two years have taught me that the most worthwhile things can be those things that don’t come easily. That time, repetition, patience, passion result in improvement. And that my pace is ok. I still have so much to improve in my sewing skills. And I know I’ll get there, if I keep at it.
Which brings me to my other pursuits. I sucketh at cooking and drawing and painting. I set weekly goals to make progress on both and I had some real setbacks in the past week.
I want to cook something and have my husband and stepkids swoon. I am soo far from that. I am bad at timing, prepping, knowing when to add or remove heat. I am miserable in the kitchen – even with complete focus it is not fun and I am not successful. And what I make is middling at best – often burnt and with weird flavors. But I know I want to get better. But I also know it is too much for me to take on right now. I can only focus on one thing at a time. Because of time, but mostly because of mental energy. Being bad at things makes me sad.
And I am sad because I am bad at drawing and painting. I am pursuing the Fine Arts Certificate at Kansas City Art Institute because I want to understand and be able to speak about art better. I think it would be a great resume item for when I officially apply to be a docent. And I really want to be a docent. It seems like the most dope volunteer work ever. This semester I have taken two courses – Principles of Design and Color Theory. And the instructor has this crazy idea of teaching us about art through making art. Grrrr.
I get so frustrated with the wet paint. And my inability to draw what I see. And I become very jealous of how much better at everything everybody else is. And they are soooo much better. My instinct says “run”. But my better self reminds me that this is the path to where I want to be. This weekend I will hunker down and get better at painting – even if it is slow, lonely, frustrating. The only way through it is through it.
Because I made this (My Small World pattern by Jen Kingwell) – and not many people can make something like this. This took 6 weekends, new skills, patience, a kick-ass ability to choose fabrics and colors. And it has lots of imperfections and I am lots of proud of it.
And I am going to wait on taking up French Cooking. One challenge at a time.
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