“Well I stepped back from the doubts overtaking me,
they were breaking me, so I know what you’ve been through.
Don’t you run away or stray away from the good that I know you do,
I saved myself, and I can save you too.
Do you feel you’re not enough, or impossible to love?
Or like if you spoke your mind, all the words…they would be too much?”
-“Castaway”, The Ready Set
Even though it may have been a quiet summer for me on the blogosphere, life has definitely been lived out loud.
I found myself really lost after my trip back to Texas, and I was frustrated. I took a detour to Salt Lake City on my way back home and had the time of my life with Karlee Porter, exchanging tips and best practices, talking about our quilty passions, and just genuinely enjoying each other. My friend Beth and her husband moved to SLC a few years ago, and many of you remember Beth giving tattoos out of my shop in Austin on her tattoo tour. I convinced Karlee to do some graffiti quilting on my arm and had Beth tattoo me. Toured the beautiful LDS temple, and just had a great time.
On the drive home, I remember being really upset at myself. Why, I thought, do I feel so sad when I’ve been having so much fun? What’s wrong with me?
I’ve been in and out of funks before. If there’s anyone that knows about funks, call me George Clinton’s intern. I’ve felt this way before, and I knew that if I held on tight and rode the wave, eventually I would start feeling better and things would get back to normal.
And they didn’t and it was really frustrating.
I woke up in the morning feeling like I had slept in a cathode ray television- colors were grey. I didn’t feel like eating anything, ever- food just didn’t taste good. Nothing felt good and I was trying and still nothing.
When I have felt unsteady, or even when life really was chaotic, running is that constant in my life that exists for the sole purpose of making me happy and healthy. I hit the trail almost every day this summer.
Last week when I was on the running trail, I stumbled and fell really hard. I brushed myself off and finished the run, but afterwards, the pain in my left knee was persistent and unavoidably bad. Even though I get really anxious and cranky when I can’t run, I knew I had to take some time off to let my knee heal.
I see this entire summer like the incident on the trail. I haven’t wanted to dwell on it, but for the past few years I’ve felt like a massive failure. That feeling of persistent failure carried itself into my personal and professional life. Everything I touched, I sabotaged. I never let up on myself. I needed some time off.
I felt so crappy. For the past few years, since starting the shop, I’ve all but dedicated most of my waking life to quilting. Worked my butt off, got where I wanted to get, and then cracked. Because I was so fearful and just not well, I delayed the production of my fabric collection. I couldn’t hide or make excuses anymore so I finally told the truth. It’s hard to admit when I’m struggling, but it’s especially difficult when it’s because of my mental or emotional difficulties. I’ve spent a long time feeling ashamed or thinking that I’m being judged.
One thing I like to do when I feel like a massive failure is look up other people that have failed pretty badly but brushed themselves off and moved forward. The 21 Most Indistinguishable Qualities of a Leader by John C Maxwell has a chapter about Thomas Edison. He shares a story about Thomas Edison’s laboratory exploding and burning to the ground. Over 1,000 inventions and works in progress were lost in the fire. Instead of breaking down, he ran down the road and retrieved his wife. “Mary,” he’s said to exclaim, “come quick- you’ll never see a fire more magnificent than this!”
I watched this great clip of Justin Bieber crying his eyes out after this year’s MTV VMA performance. When he asked why he cried, he said pretty much the same thing- that he went through a lot of public struggle; and in front of his peers on that very same stage, he was booed before. He was feeling judged. He just wanted to do a good job. He just wanted people to like him. Beebs. I totally get it.
On the complete opposite side of the spectrum is my friend Mr. Kanye West:
“Because it’s really about motivating the doers. And if anyone wants to sit around and talk shit, they’re taking too much time talking shit about it instead of getting up off their ass and following their dreams. That’s the main thing people are controlled by- their thoughts of themselves! They’re slowed down by their perception of themselves.”
Tonight is the first lecture I’ve done since my workshop in June for Houston Modern Quilt Guild. I’m not nervous, but I’m nervous. I have so much passion and love to share. The heart always shines through.
Today is World Suicide Prevention Day. This morning I walked into my closet, past the cheerful floral box that sits on top of an antique wool doily. Inside the box is the ashes of my friend’s daughter. She was a year older than me in school. We never got the chance to be friends, because Annie died two years before I met her mom. From what her mom tells me, Annie and I had a lot in common. I feel a responsibility to the girl that lives inside this box to take good care of myself and to help others take care of themselves too.
If you’re in the Bay Area tonight, come by and say hi. Would love to see you. xo