Monday, February 6, 2012

Forward and Back… to Basics

I know, I know, I have been gone for a long time.  I had been blogging so consistently— nearly halfway through my planned 100 days of making stuff.  And then I stopped cold in my tracks. What was that about?

I began to feel the "making" project was too chaotic and arbitrary.  It was definitely providing me with something to show for my days.  But it wasn’t moving me toward whatever is next for me. I needed some time to take stock.

Toward the end of my time at my last job, I was trying to figure out what I could bear to do next.  I was miserable working on personal property tax for a Fortune 500 company.  I felt like my only value was my neurotic tendencies toward OCD, but not really anything that made use of the talents and skills I value in myself.

As things were falling apart and I could barely even drag myself in to work, I discovered that there was something that did still provide delight and enjoyment in my life.  It was fabric shopping. On days when I couldn’t bear to look at another tax bill at work, I could still find the energy during my lunch break to check out new fabric shops on line.  

One Saturday, I was so determined to get to a particular sale that I ended up taking 3 forms of transportation and walking a total of about 7 miles to get to and from my fabric shopping target.  The chance for a great fabric score is one of the few things I can think of that would get me to walk 7 miles. 

As a product of my “100 days of making” experiment, I learned that I generate an awful lot of ideas for projects, but even with all the time in the world, I don’t manage to make much of a dent in the pile.  I see fabric and am inspired to make a project. So I impulsively add it to my project list.  I am now on a fabric- buying moratorium (no matter what inspiration I have) until the pile goes down measurably.  I am also trying to think about prioritizing the projects rather than doing them haphazardly as the spirit moves me.

While I intend to keep making stuff, I want to re-focus this blog.  My time away made me realize that no matter how much stuff I might make for an Etsy shop, there is no way I could make enough money to turn it into my “day job.”  I was kind of putting myself to work in my own personal sweatshop.  So I quit. (And my boss was ok with that.)

I am working on a couple of other ideas now, which I will share when I have a better handle on them.  In my profile, I describe myself as “Diva, Spinsta, Provocateur.”  I think those words do describe qualities that are pretty central to my identity.  So what can I do that exploits those tendencies?

More importantly, as accurate as that description is, it doesn't account for my passion for making things better.  I don’t know what the word for that would be.  (Fixer-upper? Do-gooder? Bossy Big Sister?)  I do know I am compelled to do it by habit, preference, values, talent and temperament.    

I used to do a lot of care-taking with no sense of boundaries and then wondered why I felt resentful and martyrous.  I have gained some insight, maturity and experience that should allow me to make conscious choices in care-taking that won’t deplete my energy, but multiply it.  It will be good for me to practice boundaried care-taking.  Surely that will allow me to enjoy the process and outcome rather than spinning around in bitter resentment about giving more than I get.

As an appropriately boundaried helper, I want to get back to some of my original thoughts about being a spinsta, particularly one “at large.” My friend Carla and I set up a Facebook group called “Spinster Studies” where we post and discuss articles on the topic of single life in America.

The articles reflect a culture permeated with messages that demean single people in so many ways.  It makes not finding “The One” and being childless the equivalent of social leprosy.   I think I have done enough spinster-studying in the last couple of years to start adding to the discourse through this blog.

I intend to bring my iconoclastic voice, visibility and viability to other folks who live alone, (with or without cats.)  Spinstahood can sneak up on a person and be quite a shock when it finally dawns that it isn’t going away any time soon.   I want to help people who are feeling isolated and less-than as I did.  I can show them how to claim their own space and identity in the face of the culture's attempt to marginalize spinstas of all ages, genders and orientations.

There is  much more to be said.  As a Diva-Spinsta-Provocateur-Make-Betterer I have decided I am just the person to do it.  

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