Do I Choose the Crazy or Does It Choose Me?

It Does Not Do To Dwell On Dreams Dumbledore Quote Harry Potter

So, life went kerfflewwy there for awhile. A few weeks ago I found myself suddenly buried in work deadlines and hardly had time to come up for air. The little time I had away from work was, of course, consumed with family, and the puny leftovers went to other general unavoidable commitments of daily grownup life.  Oh, and did I mention that we’re moving in just a few short weeks? So, there’s that.

At first, I obsessively worried about this little blog, scheming about how I would squeeze in time to write some posts, sort through photos. I scribbled ideas (I have piles of these awesome blog planners filled with ideas for future post. Did I mention I’m a list-maker?), and filed them away, mentally and physically, where they grew tentacles of anxiety that threatened to bring my productivity to a screeching halt if I didn’t get a handle on it. And then I was struck by how quickly, over just a few short months, the blog had morphed being from a creative outlet and source of pleasure and to a pressing obligation, a source of stress and worry, another item on the endless mental to-do list.

Ugh. How on earth did this happen? To some degree, it grew from love. I dipped my toe in the blogorama and wasn’t sure how it would feel. But it was indeed love at first sight, and the blog became important to me. I was so annoyed with myself for feeling pressure about something that had been voluntary, pleasurable, and satisfying. A choice, in other words: the furthest thing from an obligation.

So I made another choice. I chose to stop worrying. I let it go, let it fly right out of my brain. Out of the tensed muscles in my neck and the spinning wheel of stress in my brain. Out the window, gone, gone, gone.

What a relief! I am frequently amazed by how I can transform choice into a requirement. I can sometimes feel locked into “have to’s” that I have entirely created in my mind. It seems to me that a lot of our modern-day obligations are just self-created illusions, and when we step out of the dance and get clarity, it’s shockingly obvious that we’re feeling bound up by our own perceptions. In reality, we don’t “have to” do so many of the things we think we do. We want to. Or maybe we don’t. Either way, we have a say in the matter. Not always, but way more often than it seems. This is not a new revelation for me, but it’s easy to lose sight of when you’re in the day-to-day of it all. I occasionally need to give myself a reminder slap to the forehead.

So I had to let go of the need to keep all those balls in the air, and I prioritized my focus. I had to remind myself that the blog would be here when I returned, and if I let go of the “have to,” it would still be a source of pleasure, as intended, and not the self-imposed cherry on top of my typical modern stressful life.

That’s just a really long-winded way of saying that I will be back with more posts, when I get around to it. Hopefully that will be soon. But if it’s not, I’m not going to beat myself up about it.

What about you? Do you have any tricks to keep your eyes on the prize? Or do you get weighed down by the “have to’s” also?

Do Men Have Mental To Do Lists Too?

Or, Things I Ponder As I Vacuum Cat-Hair Tumbleweeds At 3 AM

Because sometimes I wonder how many of my brain cells are used up with remembering how to properly load the dishwasher so it won’t stop halfway through its cycle again, that the field trip permission slip is due tomorrow, that the electric bill should be paid if we don’t want to live in a historically accurate 17th-century theme park, that we need to get a present for that wedding on Saturday… And will I ever get those brain cells back? If my husband carried an equal share of our collective family mental to-do list, would I regain enough brain cells and mental energy to be a rocket scientist, or Beyoncé? Because, as I near as I can tell, I am the sole repository for the shared history, future plans, and current logistical and practical needs of The Family. And pretty much every mom I know is the same. It’s a never-ending ticker tape of strategic planning and mobilization, obligations, worries, speculations, and dreams. There’s a roadmap to crazy in there, and I can’t always turn it off. It just runs in a loop in the background while I go about my life, like Muzak for the (hmm, nearly, almost, can-see-it-from-here) middle-aged mom.

So basically what I’m saying is, my brain looks like this:

Mental To Do List Infographic

Now, don’t get me wrong. I know the guys worry too. They worry A LOT about money and jobs and such. It’s not really the worry I’m talking about. That’s universal, I think. It’s the ongoing playlist of who needs to be where and when and what do they need to bring and what needs to happen first to make that work and DEAR GOD HOW DO I MAKE ALL THE PIECES FIT INTO MY PUZZLE!? That really, as near as I can tell, seems to be a mom thing. Guys I know just seem to assume all those logistical details will fall into place somehow. And I guess they do. Does that make me an enabler? Ah well, I can’t be resentful, since my own dear spouse regularly works 70-hour weeks at his incredibly stressful yet also often mind-numbingly boring job, and never, ever takes a sick day, and still manages to coach basketball and T-ball and go to scout meetings and engage in epic video-game battles and get down on the floor to build Lego masterpieces with his kid.

As for me and my ticker tape of crazy, I make lists. Then more lists, and lists of lists. And because I’m old school like that, I put actual pen to actual paper. I’ve tried lots of online listy things and it just doesn’t quite scratch the itch for me.

If it so happens that you are a crazy list-maker/worrier/planner like me, here’s a free printable (blank!) version of my daily planner sheet to download. Hopefully it will help you stuff all your crazy life pieces into your own too-small puzzle.

Sewthegirl Daily Planner

Next Up, My Autobiography in Shoes, with Interpretive Dance Accompaniment

For the past week or so, I’ve been on deadline for work, and I’m afraid I’ve been neglecting, my new love, this here blog, in favor of the old ball and chain. Gotta pay the bills. You know how it is.

In the meantime, I offer this:

My Life in Shirts: AKA a Shirt History of Nearly Everything

Smile, it’s Tuesday! Or, alternately, grumble sardonically into your coffee. Either way, we’re good.

There’s Hope for My Dark, Indolent Soul Yet

Some days look like this:

Burnt Cake

Hopefully, they’re outnumbered by days that look like this:

Cyclamen

So, yesterday? Burnt cake. Metaphorical cake, but still. My printer broke.  Both my computers seemed to be taking a personal day, because they certainly weren’t working. My phone was in a funk, and even my camera had the vapors. I got almost nothing checked off my mental (and actual) to-do lists, and for much of the day I felt like I was spinning my increasingly frustrated wheels. But in the midst of this technological black hole of death, there’s this:

Gandhi's Top 10 Fundamentals for Changing the World

Source: Gandhi typography poster via idea obscura.

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I just need to smack myself upside the head with truth, perspective, and kick-ass typography art. Hit the reset button, I’m ready to go!

[Click here to download a free PDF of this amazingly cool attitude readjuster for your very own self.]

The Wedding Invitation That Will Shame All Other Invitations Into Despair At Their Sheer Inadequacy

Seriously the coolest, sweetest wedding invitation ever. And I didn’t even know wedding invitations could be cool. Kinda makes me wish I knew these people, but then again, that is a lot of cool to live up to. Most likely, they could only disappoint. Hopefully they are living happily ever after. If not, I don’t even want to know.

Once More, Into the Breach!

Boy Stuff

I was up until 1:30 am last night, then back at it at 6:00 this morning, feverishly sewing a Roman centurion costume for a school performance I only found out about 2 days ago. It’s a familiar story for most parents of school-age children, right? The cupcakes for the bake sale you’re told about at 7 am the day they’re due, the week-late forms found crumpled in the bottom of the backpack, coated in sticky remnants of snacks gone by. But you know what? It was so much fun! For once, we managed to get everything done on time, no one was crabby or overly critical or demanding. We scrounged up the components from stuff we already had around the house—a never-used, never-will-be-because-it’s-way-too-ugly-ugh-what-was-she-thinking-when-she-bought-me-that? belt; the handle from an old broom for the sword, with cardboard sword tip painted silver; sword’s sheath sewn with leather scraps leftover from a deconstructed coat.

As much as I love the precision of sewing, constructing an item with care and time, as much satisfaction as I get from (the rare instance of) sewing a perfect quarter-inch seam, nothing—I mean, nothing—comes close to the satisfaction of using my skills to make a slap-dash, better-than-it-should-have-been costume in a few hectic hours, sending the kid off to school with a hug and a grin, knowing that his unreasonable confidence that “My Mom can make that!” is, at least this time, true.

Stitch 1, Take 2

Desktop SurferOften in life there’s no way to it but through it. Let it be said: A first blog post is paralyzing. The white void of the blank page, the cursor blinking impatiently. Come on then, just do it! it says. And so I am.

Hello, Interwebs! Welcome to Sewthegirl. I’m just hanging out here on the corner of Responsibility and Creativity, doing a little sewing, a little crafting, and whatever else strikes my fancy, while trying to raise kids, take care of my family, juggle a day job, and maintain my sanity, one stitch at a time. So, what’s the next move? And did anybody bring a map?