July was a Very Long Month

In the last little while I observed a shift in my weaving focus, the word "mediocre" floated in and out of my consciousness. It didn't demand examination or reflection, just insisted on letting its presence known to me.

Like many, when I started to weave, I wanted to be a great weaver. Or exquisite or expert or "The Best". I don't remember how I defined these words, how I would verify becoming one, but validation was to come from without; sale, prices, accolade, and the like. Then I started to worry more about pleasing myself and I sought greatness within each piece.

The more I wove, I've come to see my cloths more objectively and I suppose critically, which was a rude realization as I had imagined I would weave better and therefore would love my work more passionately. My sloppy technique is at the core of the problem, of course, but I noticed something else. 

Though my life is good, it turned out quite different to how I imagined. My everyday life in Nelson is like a holiday, but it is hard for us to go on a "real" holiday and I miss big cities. I always wanted to live in a tidy, stylish house, (and garden if I had one,) but it tuns out I don't have a good eye for design nor energy to make our place nice, and moreover, I'd rather weave. We could save money if we studied power/telco/insurance/bank options, but I can't be bothered. And our greedy right wing government keeps ruining this lovely country.

But it is what it is. If I kept thinking about injustices/inconveniences, if I keep trying to be well-informed, I won't have any life left. I am not built for a multi-faceted broad life. Growing up for me has meant discarding the unnecessary, concentrating on what I do best, and living a small but manageable life. Even if my best is mediocre.

What surprised me was how this understanding/acceptance/resignation became part of my psyche without a fanfare. Such a seemingly monumental revelation, I seem to recall, would have entailed drama in the past, but maybe I'm discarding some of that, too. Which, I guess, is nice in a way as I can do without emotional upheavals, but also sad as I feel the colors of my life are fading. 

As if I needed to revise, I had an abridged reminder. Early this week, between sleep and being awake, I had a thought: there are lives spent flying on helicopters extinguishing forest fires, or travelling around the world photographing art and architecture, but my life is spent in a cold, dark basement. 
The tone was not a regretful, "If I had chosen a different life, I could have..." variety, but most decidedly the "It is what it is" kind. And when I was awake, I had to remember step by step that I like what I do, that it was the best among all practicable choices, and there was even a certain inevitability to how I got here. It was cut and dry, no sadness, no regrets, but also not the usual enthusiasm, either.

While I threaded this warp, (which I finished at long last,) I listened to the Discworld story in which Sam Vimes realizes he is no longer a night watchman but has become a mere "manager" and feels his physical aging, then is sent back 20 years to train, as John Keel, his younger self. I'm not finished so I don't know what happens, but coincidentally Hiroshima Day coming up marks 20 years since I first threw a shuttle. (Well, it was a stick shuttle in a rigid heddle so I gingerly passed it.)

July was a long month. We had some rain, I got out some days, then we had a cold spell and wet ground. While I didn't want August to arrive, because that's the end of our winter, I kept wondering if August 1 had arrived for the last ten days. It was a strange month, this July. 


Cate Rose said...

Speaking of understanding/accepting ourselves...I was awake all night delving into some pretty deep stuff about myself and how I've conducted myself in my life until not long ago. I'm definitely at the acceptance part these days (i.e. not beating myself up, which just obfuscates the process of actually seeing reality) and setting about to make amends.
We're in much the same places ~ discarding the unnecessary, living a small but manageable life. We're way ahead of the game, in relation to much of the rest of the world, the over-developed world that is.
Hope you have a good weekend. xo

Laura Fry said...

I think the older we get, the more introspective. Priorities change. I'm tired of the 'drama' and a little boring is welcome. As Allen Fannin used to say, 'Boring means nothing is going wrong".

Carol said...

Gosh, Meg, you always make me think, and I'm not sure I really want to. I spend many sleepless nights considering my life as it is now, and how it/I have changed since I came to live with family and the wonderful small children. I love the daily interaction with the family but in the seven years I've been here my creativity has come to a complete halt. I'm not making books, marbling, drawing, painting... and while I keep thinking I will start 'today' it just doesn't happen. I need a kick start, or perhaps that old creative life is over. I hope not...

Meg said...

Connie, I've always been a few steps behind you, particularly in the decluttering department. I still have loads of stuff, and re. art supplies, I still want to keep them in case I want to use something. However, I would like to get to a peace-of-mind state and yet still feel the passion/enthusiasm for what I do. Balancing is difficult.

Laura, my family has a type of performance anxiety. We were told as kids that if we can't be interesting, don't stay in the living room. Really. So, getting rid of this feeling of having to entertain is a hard one to discard. Though I am most definitely moving in that direction.

Carol, my mom is 84, Dad died 27 months ago, and she's been living in a nice tidy condo for 18 months. (She's constantly complaining it's so small but it's nearly twice the size of where Ben and I lived for the first give years of our lives together. Though she's always talking about projects, she's always too hot/cold/tired/sick/busy, and she's woven one piece since dad's died. We keep talking all the time that in the end it's her choice, whether she want to weave or she wants to be the social butterfly and meet up with various friends all the time. I know body starts to fail; mine has started, too. She's never been a contemplative solo-worker but ever the gregarious jock. So I take it she doesn't miss the making as much as I would if I stopped weaving.

If I may be so bold, perhaps you need to decide what you prefer to do, and if making remains high on your list, then tell your grandkids Carol needs alone time, or do it while they are in school? Because your girls are old enough and they are not stupid girls so they'll comply, don't you think? But if enriching the grandkids' lives is higher on the list, there is really nothing wrong with that, either.

Unknown said...

What Laura said... and balancing IS difficult. Long ago I was all over the place in my weaving world, until I discovered my weaving "home." Now I can't imagine doing anything else, and sometimes I don't do anything else, like housework, yard work, etc. But I am also distractible, and frequently have to regain focus by asking myself, "What's the best use of your time?" On the other hand, I know I need to get out and be with friends and others more. Again--balancing is difficult.

Meg said...

Goodness, it so is. I'm so tired of balancing. I think it's time I went home.