Today I want to celebrate the fact that I Did A Thing.
I’ve been wanting to learn more about embroidery for a very long time, but I always felt too overwhelmed to get started on some of the kits that I bought. I knew that I would probably need another person to show me how to do it before I felt confident enough to do it on my own. (I have a thing about making sure I’m Doing Things Correctly. Because heaven forbid I learn how to do something in a way that works but isn’t 100% Martha Stewart-approved.)
So I finally found an embroidery class that I could attend. It was about thirty minutes away, which seemed like a long drive for something technically unnecessary, but I decided it was worth it. I signed up and paid my fees, which cemented my commitment to actually go to this class. I would have felt way too guilty if I put our money to waste.
The next task was to gather the supplies. Thanks to my wonderful mother, I already had most of the basic sewing supplies, but now I had to actually get them out and remember how to use them. Because this class was also going to incorporate a sewing machine, I had to relearn how to thread needles and wind bobbins and all of that good stuff which my mom taught me but which I had been too overwhelmed to go back and try again. But you know what? I got out my user manual, and between that and YouTube, I figured it out. And it felt amazing.
I also had to gather the actual fabric and thread for the project, which meant I had to confront one of my biggest fears: figuring out how to get fabric cut at a craft store. I mean, I knew that you just bring up the smaller bolts of fabric, but what about those big ones on the wooden rolls? And what about batting? Answer: You just bring those up, too, but I had to ask someone, which can also sometimes be one of my biggest fears.
I should mention here that all of this happened during my second trip to the store, with Dave coming along as moral support. The first time, I couldn’t find the right fabric. After leaving the store briefly to brace myself, I finally asked someone, but she determined that it was out of stock. The class didn’t require this specific fabric, but I couldn’t figure out which fabric to replace it with. Eventually, I felt so overwhelmed by picking out a different one in the limited time I had left that I just left for my next errand. I felt a little silly about it -- now I would have to make another trip, wasting gas and time -- but I was also proud of myself for acknowledging that the cost was worth it to preserve my sanity. And, bonus, the fabric was back in stock that second time.
Then I had to actually go to the class, which forced me to face my fear of Doing Something When I Don’t Know Exactly How It’s Going to Work. I felt like a huge poser as I walked around with all of my stuff to the back of the store. And then it turned out that I was going to be the only student in the class. I know most people would be happy to have all of the individual attention, but I was a little freaked out about it, because this meant that all of my mistakes would be front and center. I also didn’t exactly gel with the instructor, mostly because she didn’t sandwich her necessary corrections with excessive amounts of positive reinforcement.
I felt clumsy and awkward as I constantly re-threaded my needle and got my thread tangled up in knots. I felt pretty dumb as I forgot basic steps that I know I had learned before, like how to knot off the end of the thread and that thimbles go on your middle finger, not your thumb. (Yes, I forgot that. In my defense, “thumb” and “thimble” both start with “th.”) I felt like I probably made no sense to my instructor because I forgot about things like that while also talking about how I had done more machine sewing (which is true, but always with my mom around). I felt embarrassed as my instructor pegged me in an instant when she said she would focus on her own work since watching me was making me nervous. I felt over-prepared for the class, since I spent the whole time working on the embroidery stitches and didn’t even get to the sewing machine part, so I didn’t even need to bring it. I felt under-prepared for not reviewing basic hand-sewing skills in addition to my sewing machine ones. I felt all the shame of my non-crafty past and lack of grace when it comes to hands-on activities.
But you know what? I freaking did it.
I learned three embroidery stitches, and because I retaught myself my sewing machine basics, I know I can finish the rest of the project. I have the tools to work toward a lifelong hobby, and that makes me feel awesome. And, I did it despite the truckload of anxiety it took to get there.
Because depression and anxiety is the worst, I couldn’t just leave it at those happy feelings. I also had to fight off self-loathing thoughts of “Why couldn’t you do this six months ago? See what happens when you just suck it up and do it?” That’s not the point, and it’s a load of crap. I don’t always win against the anxiety like I did this time. But that doesn’t mean I’m a loser on the days I fail or that I can’t celebrate the days I succeed.
So celebrate I will by making you read a whole post about it. Huzzah!