Sunday, March 18, 2012

Where have I been and where am I going???

I haven't fallen off the edge of the world but things have been a bit overwhelming for me since the beginning of the year. Where do I begin and where do I go from here….first and foremost, apologies to all for the long-winded/non-stitching related/whining post…..

I was once told when you have troubles a method to ease those troubles was to put pen to paper. There is supposed to be a ‘release’ so to speak of your woes and worries as you let them flow down your arm, through your hand and out onto the paper. In this day of computers, iPads and laptops, writing becomes typing and journals and diaries have transformed into blogs or Facebook. To that end…..this particular post is a venting, a questioning, a pondering of what the heck is going on with me and, hopefully, a path forward.

Just recently, my son’s mother-in-law passed away. Although she had been ill, her poor condition accelerated rapidly in the last six weeks. While we were neither emotionally or geographically close, you still hurt for your child and his family while they are dealing with the immediate and emotional issues and stress when a loved one passes. It also gives you a bit of pause with your own mortality. I need to get my affairs in order. I need to see a lawyer about a will. As I was heading out the door to attend her memorial services and I received a call that my sister-in-law had passed away suddenly. You know that minute when your world stops. Well it happened. How will I tell my husband? She’s younger than me; she recently beat cancer, she was always full of life. How will my husband take the news? Shirley and I were not what you would call best friends but she had a good heart, always accepted me with open arms and was a part of my life for 38 years. We had different political views, different philosophy on child rearing, different tastes, different wants and goals, but we were family.

As I have tried to ponder the events of the last several weeks, something seems to come up universally……take time for the ones you love…family or friends….just do it. In this world of texting and Facebook (and while they both have their place and usefulness) we sometimes forgot to reach out and manage to pacify ourselves that we have done it via a text or email. With my sister-in-law, Shirley, touching base with her in a few days became a week, became a few weeks and ultimately became months. I kept telling myself I was going to head out early some Saturday morning, take the 3 hour drive to visit her but there was always something else to do. So while I ‘liked’ and ‘commented’ to different posts on Facebook, I never took the time to take that drive and now I never can.

Families have issues. All families do. One of the nicest compliments I ever received was that no matter what, my brother, my sister and I, we are always there for each other. Talk about goals, hobbies, interests that differ but it matters not….we are family. We have a history. While I have always longed for the Norman Rockwell life, my husband’s side is more like a scene in Parenthood where Crosby and his brother break out in fisticuffs in the living room. We have never had physical fistfights; there have been the verbal ones that put a wedge between family members. Maybe these recent events are meant to serve as a wakeup call.

In my life I have had people who have hurt me. People I have trusted, people I have shared my dreams and my secrets, people who I have invested my heart with to be blindsided by the reality that our whole friendship was a lie to the point that it rattles your foundation. What you thought you knew as true, wasn't and you no longer trust your instincts. You build a wall to protect yourself from the pain people might cause you. I long ago came to the realization that I am the support person. I need to be needed. I have a lot to offer in the way of help, in the way of a shoulder, etc. and I keep on giving even when it is not reciprocated. There were events that become so catastrophic in my life that I have shut that side of me off out of the fear of being hurt. Is it self-protection? Definitely. So what have I done to fill the void? Throw myself into my volunteer work and hobbies as a way to avoid dealing with the personal connection?

Weeks before Dee and Shirley passed, I have found myself in a funk of sorts. No direction. No energy. No drive. Post holiday recovery I was telling myself. I am finding that I don’t do things halfway. Because I decided it was important to exercise every morning, I sacrificed my daily morning stitching time. Years ago when I wasn’t such a stitching fiend, the morning workout worked for me. This is no longer true. Who really wants to be out the door four out of five days at 6 a.m. and not get home again until 6 or 6:30 p.m.? Maybe others do it, and maybe I could have done it 20 years ago, but not now. These "others" don't have any other interests. So my stitching therapy has been ripped away from me. It is amazing how our stitching centers us or at least it does me. It is amazing how not doing this one simple thing every morning has left me adrift in this sea of confusion. You non-stitchers will just not get it. Stitching is a part of me. Take it away and you might at well have taken away my right arm. The void is that great.

Another incredible thief of my time lately has been Facebook! It is one thing to keep track, send a quick comment but I have gotten sucked into the vortex of the games. I don’t want to tell you the number of mindless hours I have let slip through my fingers playing games and remaining completely impersonally, justifying there is no cost involved, I was not bothering a soul, I needed 'mindless' diversion, but really……what does it matter? I mean really, it is the stereotypical mentality….”do you have the Tea House yet?” is not that dissimilar than “What color/brand is that nail polish? No disrespect to anyone intended. Nail polish is important to some but I have other interests. I do enjoy the games and like the search and find puzzles but I need to get this in perspective. I feel myself being sucked into this time draining vortex of mouse clicks as my way of not dealing with what I need to. For someone that started this year with over 25 WIP's I don't recognize this person I have become that can only devote time to one thing. I have started to tell myself how unproductive and that every hour I spend search for clues is an hour I could spend outside in the yard or sewing in my sewing room. My struggling to strike that good balance is a battle I want to win. There are only so many hours in a day and I need to straighten up and fly right and stop wasting them! Life is too short.

I did finish a baby quilt last week and here you go again…..this is for someone I do not know, never have met and probably never will. Why? I convinced myself it would be good practice. It is for the new baby for the son and daughter-in-law, who I do not know, of a friend. Yet, I cut and sewed for this person but didn’t take the time for make quilts for my two newest nephews. Why….it is that family wedge thing again? It is that so much time and energy in different directions has passed and we can’t find our way back? Is it keeping up appearances for others and being more worried about what outsiders think? Is it being afraid to let someone in again in case they might hurt me later? Whatever it is, I have vowed I will be making two little boy baby quilts that I will deliver to my family members.

The couple does not know the sex but wanted a monkey theme. The colors don't show well in the bright sunlight.

I just love the backing fabric.

I already have fabric in mind for my two nephews baby quilts -- trucks and bulldozers!

As for cross stitch, I really hope to move this to the finished column this week. Should only take me one pre-work morning of stitching and then I can be off to the framer's with it.

Where do I go from here? I hope this is just a blip in my life and I rebound shortly. I plan to follow my six steps for a better life.

I always find solace in picking up my daily mediation book and reading the verse of the day. So for Step One, that is what I will do.

Step Two, I hope I will keep those promises I have made to myself to reach out to family and old friends and stop convincing myself I can't with the ‘busy’ barricade. I will stop fearing hurt as a way of avoiding family and friends.

Step Three, I will pick up pen and paper and return a letter to a friend, I will write the thank you note that is needed, I will pick up the phone and make that call.

Step Four, I will try to find that balance between exercising and crafting and other things in my life. I may need the exercise physically but I need the crafting emotionally and for my well-being more. It is as much a part of me as having blue eyes!

Step Five, I will stop being so hard on myself. From the outside we think everyone else has it together and only we do not. Not true.....I will stop finding it so hard to give myself a break.

Step Six, I will take better care of myself, the right amount of sleep and take my vitamins.

Thanks for letting me bear my soul and vent. I think I feel better already. I do feel like I have released some stress and have a direction forward.


Catherine said...


Mindi said...

I'm so sorry for the losses you and your family members have suffered recently, but I'm glad you took the time to reflect on what's important to you and what your priorities need to be. your part about those mindless Facebook games really struck home with me. What starts out as a quick 5 minutes every day slowly evolves into hours. Hours we could be spending with family and friends, or exercising, or crafting. Good luck in finding some balance, and know I'll be cheering for you.

Susan said...

Robin, I had been wondering how you are. So sorry to hear about the losses in your life. I've had a similar experience lately with the husband of a friend and the mother-in-law of a co-worker being diagnosed with cancer. These people are not too much older than I and it has certainly made me pause to think about my future and what I really want to do with the rest of my life. Hopefully, you have turned a corner and will start to feel better. I probably won't see you until retreat (only 6 weeks away!) but I'll be thinking of you.

Dirty Martini Queen said...

Stupid blogger wouldn't let me post my comment earlier so here goes again.
Wow! I swear you must be channeling me because that's exactly how I've been feeling for the last couple of years. We should be each others shrinks and help each other thru this rough time. I always think everyone else has thier crap together and I'm the only one that is stumbling thru life so thank you from the bottom of my little, ole heart. I hope we can both learn to accept ourselves and learn to make our lives joyful again.

Chris said...

Wishing peace and balance for you.
hugs :)

SparkCrafted said...

Love ya, momma!!!!

Jodie said...

I'm so sorry for your losses, Robin!

This post couldn't have come at a better time to "speak" to me. I, like you, am a constant giver and even when the other person isn't giving back, I just keep on going out of my way to do everything in the world to help others because it's who I am. A certain friend and roommate of mine, a narssist of sorts has been walking all over me for months, and our entire friendship was nothing more than her using me for what she needed at any given time and when she didn't need it anymore, she didn't need me anymore either. It's been a hard adjustment ridding my life of her but it's better for me. And when she left, I was able to start stitching again and it's been great...I feel so much more centred in life. I totally get what you're saying.

Anonymous said...


I've just read your post.

I am sorry to hear of your losses. I agree with you that texting or e-mail is how most people connect these days. However, I don't enjoy doing either of these things, I would rather chat to someone face to face. There doesn't seem time for that anymore.

Also I feel exactly the same as you about ny stitching. It soothes me and helps me cope with problems I face everyday. No-one in my family is the least bit crafty so they don't understand it's importance.

I do hope that with the changes you want to make you will be feeling better in not ime.

Happy stitching.