Yesterday, after I did a photo shoot, a mind map and a title for my usual Saturday afternoon post, the fingers were poised over the keyboard to bang out several hundred words.
They stayed poised.
If a mirror had been hanging on my bulletin board it would have reflected the wrinkled brow of someone who sensed there was a better idea out there than the one she had planned to write about. More mulling needed to be done.
See, readers, I was going to talk about how I’d finally gotten the traction to take the leopard-collar jacket off my sewing to-do list (where it had been since at least 2002) and put it on my “done” list. I followed these steps and, bada-bing, bada-boom–finished.
Okay, there was a little more to the story than that. I was going to talk about the value of committing to the process.
I had thought the main problem was that I just didn’t want to cut into my beautiful and hard-to-replace fabrics and that I also didn’t want to go through the hours of drudgery doing a muslin and wearable test. Hours and hours–and hours! Interminable!
Really? Longer than the 11 years I’d been entertaining this sewing dream? Hmm.
I was going to show you the progression, from the muslin,
to the wearable test,
to the finished jacket.
And I was going to say that although I had never defined what would be so difficult, time-consuming and frustrating, obviously I believed the story I’d told myself a thousand times. Much suffering would occur, I was sure of it, to attain this goal.
I was going to say that once I got disengaged from my story and engaged in the nuts-and-bolts cutting and sewing I dealt with garden-variety problems with ordinary solutions.
I was also going to say I’d added structure and momentum to my project by signing up for the coat-making class at Treadle Yard Goods and getting all the technical and moral support I could want from my teacher and classmates.
I was also going to say that the technical lessons I learned moving through the phases of this project would serve me well in all my future projects. Whatever effort that went into doing the job right was an investment in all my future sewing
I was also going to say that I was pleasantly surprised that the wearable test really was wearable–and that the final jacket is much more versatile than I had realized.
I was going to mention a few changes I made in the final design. I took out the back vent, and added belt carriers.
I was going to reference that quote about a goal being a dream with a deadline.
Everything I was going to say was undeniably accurate. Still, as I looked over my points, I thought, “This is incomplete. What’s missing?” That’s why the fingers remained motionless over the keyboard yesterday afternoon.
This morning I returned to my conundrum. And I realized something: I had been writing only about the “what” and the “how.”
But the “what” and the “how”–the technical and logistical knowledge–were not the real story.
The real story lay in the self-knowledge: the “who” and the “why.”
Now I recognized why I hadn’t made the jacket up to this point. I could–and did–imagine wearing it, many times. I saw myself wearing it to restaurants and theaters and museums. (Never to the grocery store–why not?) But somehow, until recently, I wasn’t seeing myself…inhabiting that jacket is the best way I can put it.
I reached some kind of tipping point where now I see this jacket not as a costume but as a real part of my wardrobe; not as something I imposed on myself but as something that expresses me. Little shifts here and there put me on a new trajectory.
Wish I could be clearer, but I guess I just have to mull some more.
What I do know is that getting things sewn requires knowing my own “what,” “how,” “who” and “why”--all four–if I want move from only a dream–to a dream with a deadline.