To a certain extent, I think I have always punched above my figurative weight when making presumptions about what I am capable of. Too many times, my husband has received texts from me asking things like, “Do we have a sledgehammer?” or “Where do you keep the extra blades for the box cutter?”
To be fair, he has also received a lot of breathless calls from me saying things like, “I slipped and fell in the checkout line and slammed my forearm against the counter and I am in so much pain that I am dry-heaving in the parking lot at Stop N Shop and I think I need to go to the hospital. But don’t worry, I got the tenderloin for the pulled pork.” OR “I just felt something pop out of one of my old incision scars when I was trying to thread my laptop cord up through that little hole in my desk, but I stuck it back in with my finger and I already spoke to Shieva (my beloved doc & friend) and she gave me the name of a surgeon.”
Both true stories and sadly only the tip of the Urgent Care iceberg for this accident-prone, Murphy’s-Law-embodying, ambitious DIYer.
Perhaps not the “Recovery Kit” that would be helpful in the above situations but it couldn’t hurt, right?
It is equal parts my stubbornness and my pride that make me see a project I find interesting and think, “I can do that!” It is my curiosity which compels me to research the what and how of it all, and my impetuous nature which prompts me to jump in with both feet under the often greatly inflated (and usually mistaken) assumption of my current skill set at the time.
Have some of my projects been successful? Absolutely! There was the time I realized that I needed to figure out how to keep my then two and three year children both occupied and supervised while I was in the kitchen so I piled them into the car and went to the local craft store for supplies. By the time Scott got home from work, I had covered our double-doored pantry with chalkboard paint and left a plastic Halloween basket filled with chalk on the lowest shelf.
There was also the time when I put together all 254 pieces of a kitchen island from scratch. It took me seven hours (three times as long as the sadistic comedians who wrote the instructions approximated it should take) and I only installed a single shelf upside down (and backwards).
Apparently, the chalkboard paint-coated pantry also made for an awesome Hide-N-Seek spot for this chubby-cheeked three year old.
But then I started sewing. And all of my misplaced/overinflated beliefs regarding my capabilities suddenly began to materialize into things that were real, practical, successful projects.
Sew on a button that popped off of Scott’s shirt or mend the worn out knee of my son’t pants? Sure. Not super impressive, but certainly helpful. My daughter wants to try out the whole cropped hoodie look but can’t find one with arms long enough for the fit she prefers? No problem! I have some extra fabric from another project I can use to make that for you! Friend bought a new house six months into the pandemic when there wasn’t enough cold hard cash to pay me to go into a store? I will order a bunch of cotton ticking stripe fabric and sew her a gift of dishcloths and napkins.
It felt good and made me feel helpful and useful. And then I got a little more adventurous…
That espadrille kit by A Happy Stitch looks cool… Can I do that? Oh, I can do that!?
Okay, but those leather sneakers look much harder than the espadrilles… Should I even try to make those?
Hey! I guess I can do that too!
All of the guitar straps I’ve seen online for the bass I am buying Scott for his birthday are either super expensive or pretty ugly… Wait, I’m sure there’s a tutorial for how to make one online and I can make one for him.
Hell yeah, I can!
I really want to start practicing restorative yoga again, but there is so much stuff I need for it and all I have right now is a mat. I really don’t want to buy the bolster, and the ten-pound weighted bag, and the eye pillows, and the strap in case I don’t stick with it… But wait! I can probably make all of that myself! I can stuff the bolster with the scraps I’ve been saving and put rice into the weighted bag, and and and…
I can’t believe I made all of this stuff from just the fabric in my stash and $2.58 worth of rice!! Namaste, motherfuckers! (A well-placed F-bomb is an integral part of my particular brand of zen.)
And this realization is much less about the act of creating or the craft of sewing than it is about what those two things have given me while participating in the act of living and the craft of being human. I now have confidence in my competence.
And while the “adequate but not exceptional” definition of competent may set a pretty low bar, I am finding that it is exactly those small victories that taste the sweetest. When you try something different “just because”. It doesn’t even need to be as valiant as completing the Sunday Times’ crossword puzzle to feel a sense of satisfaction in a job well-done. Sometimes it can be found simply in finishing a page in that animal-themed Word Search book (you discovered after you tripped over it) in your eleven year-old son’s room.
And lest I tempt fate, I am always #grateful when tripping over something like the aforementioned Word Search does not necessitate medical attention.
*I did not receive any compensation for the content of this post. All links are purely products I love!