On Intentional Living…


                                                    Adelina meeting Luna the horse. They were fast friends.

While I haven’t written much here, the path my life has taken since October 2014 and January of this year has been a remarkable one. I lost my only sister to addiction (she is alive, but no one knows where or in what condition, and it’s not for lack of searching), I struggled through the hardest and darkest period of depression I have ever known, and I have my current doctor to thank for giving me the light at the end of a tunnel I had convinced myself I was destined – and doomed – to inhabit forever. The stigma of mental illness is strong, and it’s tiring. It’s wearying to continue to talk about it, especially when you’re in an upswing. Just surviving it is enough, much less trying to cope with what you’ve been through while you’re not currently going through it. I have a few friends with whom I’ve shared my journey, along with my other half, but beyond that I try not to talk about it. It’s a “downer”, after all, for people to listen to the desperate feelings whilst not having to experience them firsthand. I know this. Which is why I do my best not to center my conversations around that, just as I do my best to not talk about my kid constantly (okay I don’t accomplish that goal very well, obviously.)

But one thing that has emerged from the darkness is this yearning to live in the most authentic way possible. Oh, I know that is everyone’s favorite Instagram tagline: live your authentic life! Live authentically! Be true to yourself! and the feeds are filled with artistically arranged feathers, shots of the California coastline, slim and pretty hands with bright polish encasing white cups filled with dreamy coffee or clutching a vintage handbag. Retro styled skirts in the most modern fabrics, white legs poking out and feet sheathed in honey color leather Mary Jane wedge heels. Artfully arranged peonies and ranunculus on a jewel-toned, expensive textile or farmhouse table with the tag #authentic #modernliving #livethelifeyoulove. I could go on and on. And I subscribe to many of those feeds! Why wouldn’t I? They’re gorgeous, modern, simple, and they offer a glimpse into someone’s world where you stop a moment and say “that’s the world I want to live in.” In a small, high def, square picture, you get to see a world where messy floors and dirty dishes and paralyzing fear of the ever-low bank account and mountains of laundry don’t exist. Instead, you find calm and beauty and serenity and the idea that YOU TOO can live this way, if you procure the same things or move to the same place that these pictures encompass. I think by now you have a pretty good glimpse into my obsession with Instagram. It’s a lovely world of makers, inspirational people, and the beauty of life. And it’s much more. It’s design inspiration, recipe inspiration, comedy, drama, trends, tutorials, and camaraderie. I find myself gravitating there because it’s a happy space. Sometimes I come across an account that brings the “real world” crashing back in, but those always make me feel uncomfortable and sad. It doesn’t belong in this simple and gorgeous world I’ve created with hearts and “follows.” We have enough to deal with right now, what with the nightmare that is our current Presidential race, the powers and terrorists of the world committing unspeakable acts, and the ever-present re- and o- pression of minorities of every caliber. Instagram is an escape. And while I recognize that, most of the time, the pictures that people post are a carefully curated collection of how they want to be represented in the world, it has also made me stop and be more aware of the things around me. I am lucky enough to live in one of the most beautiful natural areas in the country (if I do say so myself!!) and Instagram played this funny trick on me. Now, when I see my enormous Rhodie in amazing and wonderous bloom, I just stop for a moment because I am staring at the “perfect” IG picture. In. Real. Life. And I take note of how the sky looks through the frame of my kitchen window when it’s raining and gray out. Because that’s something that might get 3,000 likes on Instagram, but I am experiencing it in the present, and not via the amazing handheld device that I am never without. And I try hard to commit that little square picture to memory, because someday I will be old, and maybe blind or maybe deaf or maybe senile, and I won’t be able to stop and watch the sky. So I damned well better have something locked away in my brain to remind me of the beauty of the world.


                                                                       I have dubbed thee thy epiphany rhodie 

Whew. That was a very long way to get around to what I’m trying to say: The journey of the last 18 months has opened my eyes to the importance of being present. The importance of being intent. The importance of every moment passing, never to be repeated again. I think this renewed zeal for being present in every moment can be directly traced back to feeling like I’ve been living in a void for the last couple years. I feel like I have this duty to make up my absence from life to my family, mostly my daughter. And there’s still laundry, and dirty dishes, and the bank account that somehow always stretches enough to pay the bills, put food on the table, and buy me a few new pieces of fabric (but damned if it’s not a question every single time, ha) but there’s also the giant Rhodie and the rainy skies, or my kid in a too-short dress from last year, band aids on her knees because she got her grace from me, dirty rain boots on her feet, running wild through the backyard with whatever stuffie is the current love of her life. There’s the 12 year old dog staring at me with eyes that are slowly degenerating and half a mouth of teeth so his lip sticks out funny, asking for lazy pets in the early spring sunshine. There’s the power of staring in my partner’s eyes and seeing the foundation we’ve built (with intent) and the questions we still have and the fatigue we both feel from living and knowing that we have each other’s back in this. The way a line in a song can give me goosebumps, even if I’ve heard it 100 times already (“mom, are we listening to this guy AGAIN…”)

Intent. You don’t even know that it’s missing until you realize that everything is better once you start paying attention. Putting in the work. DOING. Being present. Really listening. Coming out of this depression has been more like waking up from a long and dark and lonely sleep than anything else I’ve ever experienced. I’m not all the way there yet. My soul is healing, but it’s done a number on its physical vessel. My body is heavy, unwieldy, sore, and broken. My physical presence does not match my soul, my heart, and my thoughts. I am still in discord, but the difference is that now I care. I don’t know what the next year will bring, but whatever happens, I will be present for it and I will appreciate it. I am finally reclaiming my journey, and for the first time in maybe forever, that doesn’t scare me. Because if there’s anything that Instagram has taught me, it’s that everyone’s journey is worth documenting. Just as long as it’s yours. Finding the best square pictures of you that you possibly can. Committing the memories of your life to your mind and not to a page in the ever-elusive cloud. Intent. 


And lest anyone accuse me of taking myself too seriously, here’s the picture I sent to the other half when he accused me of not wearing my glasses during the day (I don’t. I should. I know.)

I keep saying I’m going to bring it back to the creativity. And I am. But I think I have some other stuff to get out before I get there. I’m working on great things, beautiful things, and real things. The most important of those things, I think, learning who I am. After 33 years of life, maybe I’m finally getting there. As with everything else in my life, I seem to be a little late for that. Better late than never, though. Or at least I keep telling myself that🙂 xo 

A Blog Update and the Future of my Writings

Well, it’s been nearly a year since I last updated my blog. I started this blog with the idea that I would find some like-minded people with which to share my newly discovered passion for the fiber arts. The second being that I’d have a place to share my thoughts about the world and my place in it. And my last post on this little space was about the passing of one of my crochet inspirations, who lost her battle to depression and committed suicide. I guess I’ll offer a quick recap of what I’ve been up to and then we’ll get back to it a bit, I think.

Shortly after I wrote my last blog post, things came to a head with some members of my family that I’d been at odds with for a long time. Some very cruel and hurtful words were spoken and as I sat sobbing in the Costco gas station parking lot with my child sitting quietly in the backseat with her tiny hand on my shoulder, trying to give me her stuffie for comfort and reading the barrage of texts that were being sent to me, I had a lightbulb moment: if I continued to allow these people presence in my life, someday it would be my daughter enduring these texts from the same people, crying as she read hurtful words designed to shame and slice, perhaps wondering why people who claimed to love her would say such awful things and then later try to pretend that it never happened. So I drove home and cried on my partner’s shoulder in the driveway and spoke the words that ultimately started me on my path to healing: “I don’t ever want them in my house again. And it will be over my dead body that they are ever allowed to speak to our daughter that way.”

And that was it. I think that was in the days right after July 4th, and save a few texts sent in their direction to inform them of my intent, I have not spoken to either of them since. The female half of that equation has sent an endless barrage of texts, emails, phone calls, Facebook messages (once she convinced someone on my friends list to link her my profile because I have it set private…); even going so far as to invite our mutual friends to dinner, only to then try to convince them that she’s in the right and I’m in the wrong and so on, blah blah blah. Even now, almost a year later, it’s still going on, albeit much less frequently. But I’ve held strong and communication has not resumed. It was a damaging and draining relationship, and one I am not sorry to have ended. My mind and heart are happier for it.

The other major thing I had to pass through was a crippling bout of depression and unceasing anxiety and paranoia. Mental illness is strong, stronger than the brain and stronger than the heart. And I was so deep in its trenches that I had lost sight of how bad it had become. It was my new normal, the crying and constant shaking, the inability to make a decision or care if I did anything at all that day. Not a good place to be when you’re trying to be a good mommy and take care of a household!! So finally in November I was able to see a new doctor and she has started me on a road to recovery that I previously didn’t even know existed. And about Christmas time, I woke up and realized that the darkness had been beaten back. In its place was a calm that I haven’t felt in years, and an optimism that I assumed was long dead.

Whew. All this to say the real thing, to say what I’ve been trying to say for weeks: I’m back. Er, more accurately, I’m here. And I’m better. And hopefully in a much better configuration of awesome! And along the way, I’ve discovered that I not only love crochet, but I also love sewing, quilting, applique, and embroidery. I’ve diversified my skills to a huge degree, including doll making and beginning patternmaking!! The name of my blog is not quite apt anymore, so I’m looking into changing that. I might redirect this one to an entirely new site, or I might try to continue to build this space (which is what I’d prefer. Roots and all that.)

So expect more in this space in the coming months. I have a renewed vigor for life, for creativity, for my daughter and family, and for myself. I’m beginning the process of finally moving on from everything that happened at the end of 2014 and all the way through 2015 and I’m determined to make 2016 a year of personal wellness, growth, and  – dare I say it – happiness. I have a lot of work to do, but I’m finally feeling strong enough for the challenge, and I hope that I will be able to take this blog along for the ride!!

So that’s that. There is so much more, but I’ve rambled on enough for one post so I stop now. If you’ve read this, thank you. I promise this space won’t be centered around the serious all the time. But I wanted to get it out there as the foundation for moving forward, for all the fun stuff to come!!

Take care,

Meg

You Are Worth the Space Your Body Occupies

I hate to come back after so long with sad news, but I felt the need to say a few words about someone who inspired me in this craft I’ve come to love so much.

They say those who smile the brightest, are often the saddest. I only recently re-learned to crochet, and it instantly became a passion for me. It’s calming, fun, and insanely gratifying to “turn string into things.” As is my MO, when I become obsessed with something, I seek out a ton of different things related to my obsession, and one of those happened to be Wink from A Creative Being. She was so funny, sweet, and inspiring in her writings, and I have a ton of her pages and patterns saved. I am heartbroken about her sister’s post, and as someone who walks the line, fights the battle, and knows the darkness quite well, I can’t help but be frustrated and angry that depression took another one. She’s at peace now, but her spirit lives on in her work, and I am inspired to take up a project of her creation in memoriam of someone who has brought me more than one smile and “Oooh, I gotta make that” moment. Rest in peace, Wink.

I would love it if my tiny reader base would head to her blog and spend a few moments there. Wink was loved by a lot of people, and her kind spirit will be missed by so many. And I cannot end a post about taking one’s own life without encouraging anyone who may have the same thoughts to seek help. Even if you call the National Suicide Hotline (in the US: (800) 273-8255) and say “if I don’t talk to you, I may kill myself tonight.”, they won’t judge and they won’t ask any questions, they will just talk to you. So don’t suffer alone. Reach out, people who care are out there.

I Haven’t Disappeared!

I’m not gone! I’ve been pursuing a couple projects that will hopefully end up generating income from my writing, so that has been taking up the majority of my time. My poor, newling blog is suffering and it makes me so sad, but as soon as I can finish these initial projects, I will hopefully be dividing my time between further monetary writing and this little space here. I still have so many things I want to write about.

Just a quick update so my poor page doesn’t look so abandoned. Stay tuned – I’ll hopefully have some new posts up next week!

Meg

Pattern Roundup – Flowers! (and a life update)

Hey, I’m back!! We had the Memorial Day holiday here in the states, so it was a loooooong (and gray!!) weekend for us. We didn’t really do anything too out of the ordinary, but it was nice to have the mister home with us for 3 whole days. He worked really hard last week to finish his homework by Thursday night so he could have 3 uninterrupted days with us to spend as a family, which is super rare and was really nice. We sort of vegged out on Friday night, and then Saturday morning we got up early and ushered ourselves out of the house to a local cycling shop so I could test-ride some bikes!! We’ve been talking about getting bikes for a while now, but it had been around 16 years since I had set butt in bike seat, so I was suuuper nervous and unsure of what style bike I would like. Turns out, grown-up-lady bikes are wayyyyy different from Huffy Puppy Love kids’ bikes – whodathunkit, right??? Anyway, I subjected the bored (and I’m sure tired/hungover/still slightly stoned/any combo of those things) employee that was unfortunate enough to greet us with a billion and one questions and then tested a grand total of TWO bikes. Really, I’m not the most fit person in the world, I have a bad knee (the cartilege in my right knee is nearly gone from a lifetime of stress and injuries… I’m 32… yay, my knee future should be AMAZING!!), and I know next to nothing about cycling or cycling culture, so it’s not like I was out to try the hardest-core mountain bikes or anything that cost 9 bajillion dollars (they had bikes there that cost more than my FIRST CAR…srsbzns, people.) Really, he was very nice and patient and while we didn’t buy anything Saturday morning, we spent the rest of the day looking at the bike I liked best online, comparing prices, and checking it out on resale sites to see if we could find a used one. The overall impression we came away with was that the bike priced competitively at the shop we visited, it holds its resale value VERY well – always a good thing – and it comes in a cheeky coral color that is much cuter than the black one I rode at the shop. I was not set on any one color, being more concerned with the way the bike performed and the value for our money, but knowing I could get an adorable color was really just cake. So we ended up trekking back out there on Sunday morning to order the coral (they didn’t have it on hand and it will take ten days…TEN DAYS, to arrive and be assembled) and pick out a helmet. He gave us 50% off on the helmet – I’m not sure whether that’s standard practice, but I asked and he said yes, so we went with it. I am so beyond excited to be getting a bike (and a trailer to pull the kiddo!) so I can be more active during the week, but let me tell you: I feel like a total doofus in that helmet. I always felt goofy wearing a helmet when I was a kid, and things have not changed. I feel so dang goofy. But. I am aware of the need to be safe, and I definitely want to set a good example for the kid, so she can’t call me a hypocrite when I tell her to wear hers someday. So I will wear it and the whole time I will be cringing.

Beyond that, it was a rather lazy weekend, which are always nice to have sometimes. So that’s my news of the day. Crochet-wise, I’m still working on the little project I picked up middle of last week, but that’s only because I haven’t been doing much crochet at all. The finishing touches are the only thing left, and the pattern I planned for didn’t work the way I wanted it to, so I had to look around. I need a few little crochet flowers, and I had a Teri Crews pattern from Craftsy in mind, but I found it was too much trouble for the yarn and hook I’m using. I could not get the center down, and once I did, the petals didn’t come out the way I wanted. So it was back to the drawing board to look around for some new ones. And in the looking around, I came across many more patterns than I would ever need for my dinky project, so I decided to do a pattern roundup here, to share all the wonderful flower motifs I came across!! Here are my faves!!  Continue reading