For years I've felt creative pressure. A pressure to turn every drop of inspiration into something tangible. To achieve. To accomplish. To complete.
It doesn't help to read blogs written by people who give birth to five babies and make a dozen king-sized quilts and then write a book about it, all before I've had my morning coffee.
My recent journey to love sewing again meant learning how to set a goal and then completely release my attachment to how (and how quickly) it was achieved. Learning to be proud of action - any action - no matter how small and seamingly (get it) insignificant. (Ooh, there's the title of the book I'm going to write right after I give birth. Seamingly Insignificant: A Tale of Needles and Neuroses.)
The reality is that there is no such thing as not enough time to sew or quilt or scrapbook or collect rare moths. Sewing is five minutes today. And three minutes tomorrow. And thirty minutes the day after that.
It's those moments that you look at the sewing machine and the pattern and the four yards of fabric like it's Everest base camp. (Like hell I'm climbing up there. I'm exhausted from unloading the dishes.) But then you decide to put the fabric in the washer and pour in the detergent and turn the machine on. You might leave it in there overnight and then forget about it and end up washing it again because now it smells like a college dorm room, but at least you did something.
The other night I came home tired from work. Mush for brains. I thought about my sewing project and how much I had left. And as much as my body resisted, I forced myself to take a step towards my sewing table. And simply clear it off. Nothing more. Just remove the newspapers I had laid for painting. And put up the paint brushes. And organize the sewing tools. It was something, but it felt like nothing. And if it's just "nothing" then it's not so hard, is it.
Sometimes I like to put myself in the shoes of my 70 year-old self and wonder why I was in such a hurry. And who I was really doing it all for. In this age of Instagram. When everything is a trophy and a reason to celebrate and you're not doing anything unless it's worthy of posting. I dated a man who wouldn't eat until he had photographed our dinner and planned out how he was going to caption it on Facebook. And he was 50 years old.
Do we really sew for ourselves? After I closed CityCraft, it took me close to a year to regain my creativity and my passion for sewing. Everything before had been so calculated, so planned. There was a purpose behind every garment, every quilt. I didn't know how to sew for myself.
Don't get me wrong. I still post the hell out of every project when I'm done, but not without a modicum of guilt about why I was in such a hurry to finish it and photograph it.
Which brings me back to the point. (I knew it left it around here somewhere...)
Who are we in a race to finish these projects for anyway? Does it really matter how long it takes me to finish the quilt that I started a year and a half ago? No. It doesn't. No one on their death bed said, "I wish I had finished one more sewing project." (Then again, she who dies with the most fabric does win...)
So this year I've decided I'm going to be proud of whatever action I take towards a goal, no matter how small. Because you can't finish a quilt without sewing the binding. And you can't sew the binding without making the sandwich. And you can't finish the sandwich until you piece it together. And you can't piece it together until you cut the pieces. And you can't cut the pieces until you clear off your cutting table.
So, go. GO. Go clear off the cutting table. And be proud.