Monday, July 1, 2013

When The Demons Dance

Yes... well... that was certainly an interesting week ... and not a whole lot of fun. I'd forgotten how when we're truly still, our stuff catches up with us and how that's when the demons dance. We all have them. They take the shape of fear and rejection and insecurity. They cause us to doubt our direction, our purpose, and every decision we thought was right. Where they can make trouble, they do and often - in the end - it's good because when the demons dance, we're forced to deal with whatever it is they're dancing on about even though we'd rather not.

The first thing I wanted to work with last Monday was the second hand dress I'd bought from Diane. What I hadn't mentioned previously was that Diane asked for the dress back. She said that she'd been giving it further thought and wasn't quite finished with it and so if I wasn't already too attached, she would like it back. I'd spent the previous night thinking of ways to take it forward from dress to skirt so I said I was attached and would prefer to keep it - and that was fine - but - naturally - the first thing the demons did was tell me that I was mean... and uncooperative... and who did I think I was refashioning Diane's dress... and did I know who she was... and did I know who I wasn't... and... as I said... not fun.




I cut across the dress at the highest point possible with the side opening and then finished the edge with a facing before tucking it to size. In the front, I folded the tucks and held them in place with machine stitching along the edge and embroidery stitching at the fold. Immediately, the demons pointed out how my stitching differed from Diane's and how I had needed to take an extra horizontal tuck between the buttons. Most likely, they said, you cut wrong.




The fabric is linen which stretches with wear so I wanted the garment to fit snuggly. In the back, I folded tucks and machine stitched them in place but left off the embroidery stitching. The skirt fits smoothly over my high hips and into the curve of my waist. It's quite flattering but, as you'd expect, that's not what the demons pointed out. They wanted to know if  - with the waist snuggly fit - had I noticed that my front waist was bigger than my back waist and that my back hips were bigger than my front hips. Did I know I was deformed? Did I know I was fat? Did I really think I'd look good in this skirt?




And then I made more horizontal tucks - to even out the distribution - and the hem - and there they were again. Excuse me... they said... your tucks are not as exuberant as Diane's tucks and really, do you not think that she had it balanced already and now you've "ruined" things.

I persevered.

Last Monday was also an interesting Internet day. My web host had problems that they explained in acronyms which surely meant something to someone but not much to me. All I understood was that service would be intermittent until the acronyms got themselves back together again. That took until Friday which meant emails were periodic and I still don't know if I've received them all. Along with writing the blog only once that week, the loss of emails made me feel incredibly isolated, as if I was dealing with decisions and demons all on my own.

I received numerous compliments when I wore the skirt to several appointments on Thursday and again on Saturday while shopping with a friend. At my favourite boutique, the owner asked what designer I was wearing. I was even stopped on the street to ask where I'd bought my skirt. I replied that a friend and I had made it and the demons tried to chime in not really, that in reality Diane had made it and I had messed it up and who was I to claim friendship with Diane... BUT... I knew better. Together, we made it and it is and will be the ongoing inspiration that I wanted it to be. LOVE the skirt. It makes me feel fabulous.




On Tuesday, I started working on refashioning a sweater. After removing the trim and cutting off the ribbing, the sweater and I basically boxed around each other for a couple of hours until I did something irreparable - cutting up center back - and then immediately regretted it. Instead of the spur on to greater things that I had hoped it would be, it was an abrupt halt. For the rest of the week, I did nothing but walk in and out of the studio and eventually I bagged the sweater and put it away and read... romances... and The Emotionally Healthy Woman and The War of Art.

In an earlier posting I wrote that while listening to Diane and Marcy's talks on the first day of the workshop, I'd received the message only for you and that the words were clear but not the intent. They could mean either that I was to create only for me in the sense that the final product was to be mine or that I was to create only for me in the sense that I was to follow the tickles of my heart and ignore any other issues... like selling... or exhibiting... or pleasing others on any level... or making money or... I knew that create in this case referred to sewing.

Coincidentally, both of the books I was reading - and even the romances - shared the theme of what do you want which was Diane's last question to our group. That's a surprisingly difficult question for many people to answer and I think it's sad to go through your entire life without connecting with the things at your core that make you uniquely you. For me, those things always contain an element of creativity only this week I started thinking about them from a different - more holistic - approach.

Holistic health is your emotional, physical, financial, spiritual, and relational health. I added creative to be even more specific and then started asking myself what do I want less of and what do I want more of in these areas. The answers were not completely surprising although not always pleasant. In the end, I don't have the energy to do what I want to do on my own nor the connections to help me make it happen. Reality is that I can't have what I want no matter how many times I reincarnate that desire. It's time to acknowledge that and pick a new direction.

On Thursday, I was sitting in the waiting room at my hairstylist's salon watching another stylist work and I could see that she was enjoying herself and that she'd known the client for some length of time. They were very comfortable together. It made me think. Hairstyling is creative, it helps people feel good about themselves, it includes components of teaching, it's 1-1 with a variety of interesting conversations, it involves dressing up and getting out of the house, and it pays better than a minimum wage job.

I've been a licensed hairstylist since 1984 although I haven't worked in the industry for over twenty years. When I did, I really enjoyed the work and was good at it. With the life experiences and creative learning I've had in the middle, I think I'd be even better now. Sitting there, it occurred to me that with some upgrading, I could go back to work within a few months and answer several of the what do you want questions with one decision. So I am. At the end of July, I'm taking a color course and if that goes well in terms of my reaction to smells, at the end of August I'll take a classic cutting course and in October a creative cutting course.

I debated a return to hair styling a couple years ago and what held me back was the cost - which is significant - but I'll figure it out somehow because it's time. I need that change in my life. I don't want to continue doing what I've always done and getting what I've always got.

And sewing?
It'll be only for me.
And blogging?
It'll be Monday to Friday as long as I have something to talk about - LOL.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - It's Canada day. I'm thankful to be living in such a wonderful country and to have the opportunities I have.

32 comments:

  1. Congratulations on pursuing the hair stylist career again! Selfishly, I'm glad you're going to blog (most days) again! I really missed you last week.

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    1. I was intrigued by how much I missed writing. It's obviously one of my (necessary) creative outlets.

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  2. Oh wow, I wondered where your train of thought was going to lead, but I wasn't expecting that direction.

    All good wishes for your new future, Myra.

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    1. There's a philosophy that if you just try hard enough, you can have whatever you want and I don't believe that's true. As I often say, if you can't sing, you can't sing. I needed to realize that without help there was no way for me to create what I hoped to create and to be realistic enough to know that I didn't have the kind of help I'd need. It's good.

      Thanks for your well wishes.

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  3. I wasn't expecting that either, but I can see how it makes sense. It may free you up in ways you can't imagine!

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    1. I think you're right, that when we finally put something down it opens up a new flow in our lives that we weren't expecting. It'll be interesting to see where that goes.

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  4. that is a lot ( A LOT ) of wrestling and thinking in one short week! congratulations Myra!

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    1. Thank you. It was. And hard. And good to be on the other side of. I still don't know if I can handle the associated smells but I'm testing that first so I'll know soon.

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  5. Hi and good for you. The world needs more talented hair stylists! It sounds like there's plenty going on to figure out, and there are plenty of people cheering for you! Love what I can see of your skirt. Have a good week!

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    1. LOL - and I'm really picky about my hair so...

      There has been plenty to figure out. And there are people cheering me on that I value even as I say that we need to be our own biggest cheerleader. Thanks. This'll be a fun week. I've got some things planned already that I'm looking forward to.

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  6. Those demons....little devils, aren't they!

    Glad you found a path you can be happy with, and very happy that you've decided to blog every day!

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    1. Yes they are - little devils. I'm nervous about what this new form of working will look like but I'm also old enough to know that I need to start as I mean to go on and shape it to work for me. That's good.

      And... I'm looking forward to blogging more again.

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  7. WOW Myra, I don't know you, but I am giddy with excitement for you. This is an amazing thing happening. Wishing you all the best. Thank you for sharing your journey. Bravo.

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    1. You're welcome. I believe that sharing our journey help us to help each other. It's exciting and it's scary and we'll see where it goes.

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  8. I'm glad you'll be blogging daily again— I missed your voice this past week. Personally, I like having a job to get up for and go to (ok, most days). It keeps me in touch with other people and gets me out of my own head. The sewing and design will evolve in its own time— I bet you made more progress this week than you realize.

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    1. Thanks for missing me. I appreciate hearing that.

      I am looking forward to getting dressed up and going out. I know it won't be perfect but neither was self-employment nor semi-retirement. Everything has pros and cons. And I do need to get out of my own head.

      It'll be interesting to see where sewing and design go but I do like that the focus is me and mine. When I talked to my oldest son at breakfast today, he said you keep making this decision and I said yes, but this time it's different because I've looked carefully at what the missing ingredients are and know that I can't fill that hole. It's a good realization.

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  9. What an exciting change! I will add that I missed your voice as well. It's always interesting to hear about your process and progress. Good for you for going back to school - thanks for sharing your journey, I will (along with many others, I'm sure) be cheering you on!

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    1. Thanks for missing me and for cheering me on. It's much appreciated. I'll be interested to see where my own process and progress goes. How is your summer break going so far?

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  10. Oh I'm so glad you're going back to writing every weekday again - I missed you something fierce last week! LOL

    Congratulations on your decision to go back to hairstyling. It seems to tick a lot of boxes for you, which is great. You mentioned being sensitive to smells - how do they affect you?

    I've not made much progress on my fitting shell - the bodice is done, but I want to attach the skirt as well so I can work out the issues around the high hip area. I had the three day weekend, but it was too nice to be inside, and the hosta bed REALLY needed some TLC, and looks better for it too :-)

    See you tomorrow ;-)

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    1. My sensitivity to smells is why I'm taking the colour course first. Hopefully I can find a way to make that work because - as you noted - hairstyling ticks off a lot of boxes for me and it's something I've really enjoyed in the past.

      It's too hot here to be outside and the heat came on so fast none of us are used to it yet. My garden could use some weeding too.

      Tomorrow - LOL - I've been such a lump that there's not much to say but we'll see.

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  11. Myrna - you are AWESOME! What a decision and I hope you'll be fulfilled. I also missed your postings so am glad that you'll be returning to regular "conversation" with us.

    I read this in a New Yorker book review and thought of you immediately: "Creativity always comes as a surprise to us; therefore we can never count on it and we dare not believe in it until it has happened. In other words, we would not consciously engage upon tasks whose success clearly requires that creativity be forthcoming. Hence, the only way in which we can bring our creative resources fully into play is by misjudging the nature of the task, by presenting it to ourselves as a more routine, simple, undemanding of genuine creativity than it will turn out to be." -----Albert O. Hirschman

    He was talking economic analysis, by the way. I think it applies to our life in textiles, too.

    JoyceP in Wisconsin

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    1. I'll take awesome. I've been feeling battered more than anything.

      This feels like a good decision but more than anything it feels like a decision that needed to be made whether it works out or not - which is in turn dependent on how I deal with the scents involved. The key deciding factor was accepting that I do not have the connections I'd need to achieve those goals. It's still a world where who you know counts and one where the stats show that people who are successful have connections. Reality is, I don't have them.

      Thanks for the quote. It could definitely apply to economics and to textiles, even more generally to life. I think we both over and under estimate the role of creativity. It's engrained in so many of us.

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  12. So sorry to hear about your week of demon-wrestling. Exhausting, especially when compounded by isolation....
    I'm still trying to wrap my mind about the new direction (probably because I was excited by last week's post). I trust that you'll know what's best for you, but especially have confidence that your amazing creativity and determination will lead to a fulfilling direction. Elle

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    1. It does seem like an abrupt shift. I'm sorry. For me, it was a recognition of reality and a realization that I couldn't work that hard again without a high degree of probability of success and without the connections to help make it happen.

      There's a small percentage of the sewing population (actually in most art forms) that wants to study what I want to teach. Because I love it so much, I thought (again) for a few "minutes" that I could somehow beat those odds but with advertising of any kind there are indicators as to the percentage of return you can expect. It's typically 1-2% which - of my readership and current sphere of influence - would not work to attain even related goals never mind connected ones and those need attention, particularly finances. I did not want to borrow money or using household funds to attempt to yet still once again create some kind of successful business without a guarantee that it would work.

      I really appreciate that you were excited about last week's post. That means a lot to me as does your belief in my creativity. Perhaps if I have truly and finally freed myself from this desire, I'll be able to grow substantially in that area as well.

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  13. Earlier this year I realised that I was travelling on the wrong path, or rather that, while I had grown during the journey, I was trying to push beyond my abilities. As you say, Myra, if you can't sing, you can't sing.

    So I am now looking at other areas to venture into, which has sent me back to the advice I was given a few years ago when I was looking at my new life in retirement
    “this is your time to fine tune, perfect, develop, create and live your best life. If you don’t know what your best life looks like – how to describe and attain it – that’s the journey you’re on and the one that I believe deserves your focus”.

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    1. Thanks for understanding. I'd love to know more about how you made that shift. I've found it very difficult to give up a dream I once had and would have liked to realize again. It could be that knowing how wonderful it was makes it even harder to let go.

      Thanks for sharing the advice you were given. Yes. Exactly. Looking at it holistically was really helpful in connecting the dots for me. My best life does include creativity but it doesn't include declining interaction, being home alone so much, a wardrobe and nowhere to wear it, or a lack of finances especially heading into retirement. There were more things but those especially made me realize that I was going in the wrong direction.

      The book The Emotionally Healthy Woman talks about many of these same things from a biblically based perspective. Actually, all the books I've been reading this year have shared that theme and since they wiggle themselves off the shelf and into my basket, it seems this is God's theme for my life this year. I'll be intrigued to see where that goes.

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  14. Myrna,
    You have totally caught me by surprise. Not that you changed your decision for the future...you always can sense that the direction is not for now and go to a better choice. I will enjoy the 2nd cup of coffee even more.
    Praying that your allergies will not stop your decision as a hair stylist. You have mentioned this career several times in the last few years. It has been a re-occurring note in your voice. That alone tells me that this decision is from the heart and the head.
    Keep re-checking your goals and priorities and you will find the way to add the creativity of your studio to your daily routine.
    Karen W. in S.W. Ohio

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    1. Thanks Karen. I'm not too worried about creativity showing up. It's such a key ingredient of who I am that I was more concerned about it disappearing and what that loss might mean. Thanks for your prayers. I would like this to work out.

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  15. I've been away for a few days and am catching up on blog posts. Not all, just my favorites, of which your blog is one. Wrestling with demons is not fun, but can be useful. I'm glad it was so for you. That's a surprise twist at the end - considering hair dressing again.
    My hairdresser in Parksville was sensitive to smells and chemicals, too, and she said she was okay as long as she didn't do any perms. She worked out of her home, so didn't have to worry about others working with those chemicals.

    Contact with other people is so important. I found that out for myself, and really enjoy the days when I'm called in to teach. Yes, I don't get as much done at home, but I come home energized and happy. And I am an introvert - we all need other people in our lives.

    Wishing you the very best of God's good gifts.

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    1. Working from home would be ideal in terms of structuring a business and controlling the environment but not so great in terms of building up a list of clients. I'd need more exposure. From home isn't an option from the condo though - it's against the strata rules.

      LOL - people are first surprised to find out I'm introverted and second to find out how much I like people as if the two can't go together.

      Thanks for the wishes. They are much appreciated.

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  16. OMG, Myrna, here it is the 10th already and I had taken you at your word when you posted on June 24th. I was going to miss checking in on you and "our" struggles with creativity and sewing and just doing it, and for me, finding the time. I'm SO GLAD you are back on almost a daily basis! I love to sew, and even more, sewing with cloth I have woven, but the 9-5 world that I became a part of 5 years ago (after approx. 30 years of private consulting and enjoying flexibility of schedule) has taken its toll. The demons I fight now are in perfection, when practice is lacking.

    Thanks for all your inspiration and putting it on a page for all of us to share. A belated Happy Canada Day (and Independence Day for us too)!

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    1. LOL - I'm sorry. As you can see, I changed my mind... and then again... and then again. Perhaps it was best that you missed all that. I know I could have.

      I really missed blogging. It has - apparently - become an integral part of my process. I seem to be back to writing five days a week.

      Perfection is definitely something to let go of. Easier said than done but a relief when you can find a way.

      Happy independence day. You're welcome to my inspiration. I'm happy I am.

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Thanks for commenting. I appreciate the feedback and the creative conversation.