Tuesday, May 26

the mistakes we make

Every day, every single one of us makes a ton of mistakes. We speak out of turn, we cut a guy off, we forget to be gentle, we leave our travel mugs at home, we do any number of little things that we might wish we'd done differently.

Some of us have an easier time of mistake making than others, I am one of the others. Small mistakes linger in my head, taunting me with their un-do-able-ness, I worry long after the repercussions are past. This is a part of the mental illness that I take medication for (OCD), but it doesn't need to be as powerful as I allow it to be.

I am slowly (and deliberately) learning how to make mistakes with grace, but it feels so counter-intuitive. Somehow I've got it in my head that if I am going to do something, I must do it flawlessly. This backwards thinking paralyzes creativity, because it leads me to believe that there is one "right" answer and many "wrong" ones. It is nearly impossible in creative ventures to know if I've got something "right" until it is completed, so if I consider that the chances of getting it "wrong" far outweigh getting it right and I won't do it unless I know I'll do it flawlessly, you end up here - where I barely do anything.

And when you further consider that I am a very creative person, you can better understand why I've spent so much time unhappy.

That voice of wrong is the main reason I have so many UFOs in my studio, it is also the main reason I have had an empty Etsy shop for as long as Etsy's been in existance (I shit you not), it is also why I feel ineffective as a parent. I fear doing things wrong.

Last night I made a small something for my son, a felt and fleece eye-patch for his wandering eye. I was down to three sticky patches and was tired of the battle to get them on, tired of the daily layers of waxy paper trash they create, and tired just thinking about sourcing the neat-o printed ones he likes in our new city. I did a little research and found a lot of uggo patch styles before finding the style I went with, it was easy, so I styled it up with an embroidered rocket ship and blanket-stich border.

It wasn't perfect, but I remided myself of its purpose (to cover the eye) and that it would be the first of many and decided I'd done well enough. It took me an hour to get to that point of acceptance, but I did!

Today, I sewed my son a skirt from old curtains, at his request. It had been so long I had forgotten how to use my sewing maching (thank Maude for manuals) - and even though I could list every little imperfection, I am doing a decent job of letting them go. He loves it and wore it all day, even to the park!

And tonight I am writing this, it could be full of errors (I have decided not to proofread it because my battery is almost dead) but I am posting it anyways.

Take that, perfectionist mentality!!


Leah said...

Hey, just lurking about in blog world and I thought I'd let you know I enjoyed yours. Hope that didn't come out as creepy :)


To the MAX said...

I'm done stalking you on Facebook and have moved here. I love that you can let yourself find fault in everything too. My lowest moment is letting my eye wander over the counter my hubby painstakingly tiled and grouted and finding crooked little flaws. I'm such a hard bitch.

Arwyn said...

Yay for waving the finger at perfectionism!

(That was probably my most vapid comment ever, for which I blame 103F weather, and for which I would apologize, but I shan't because that would go against the whole point of your post; see, I'm paying attention!)

Kate Harris said...

I love you all and that you took the time to comment over here on my little patch of internets. I've been... absent - your sweet words helped float me through.