The Art of Liking Yourself

Last post, I mentioned I was going to Perth to do a 2 day sewing workshop with sewing blogger and all round fabulous vintage starlet Gertie Hirsch. I purchased her book ‘Gertie’s Ultimate Dress Book’ about a year ago, and had been following her on Instagram ever since. When I heard she was coming to Australia to teach various dressmaking courses, I jumped at the chance before I could give myself time to think it through. My thoughts after I’d paid my deposit were along the lines of… ‘you can’t sew’, ‘who do you think you are?’, ‘you are too old to be doing this,’ blah, blah, blah. Plus, the only course which hadn’t sold out when I went to enrol, was in Western Australia, Perth. It’s bloody half a continent away from little old South Australia, and I don’t like flying!

God I get sick of that voice inside my head, that’s been there for EVER, telling me I’m not good enough, or can’t do stuff, or I’m going to be sitting next to someone on the plane who has the plague. When I got back from Perth, I realised what a fantastic experience I’d had, how well the dress I’d sewn on the course had turned out, and what a privilege it had been to sew with Gertie. Yet, the whole course had been tainted with the background voice in my head banging on and on about not being good enough.

Each year, for the last few years, I’ve set myself a theme for the year. I had The Year of Reading Instructions, The Year of Saying It’s All In The Timing, but next year is going to be The Year of Speaking Well About Myself. That means inside and outside. It’s going to be a challenge, but I’ve often wondered what would happen if you lost your memory, woke up, and decided your life was amazing, and then just got on with it!

I’m going to do my best to see what that looks like…

In the meantime, I’m going to put my new dress on, get out there into the world and start telling myself that I’m okay. Let’s see what happens!

 

 

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The Art of Denial

I’m really tempted to just gloss over the fact I haven’t posted since May. How. Did. That. Happen. Really. How can it be November next week. I’m not even going to put a question mark to that. How the hell can it be November.

Well Jane, I hear you ask, you’d better have a good story to tell us since you’ve been off the airways.

As it turns out, I do!! I got a new job, in a new field, and have left nursing (yaaaaaaay!!!!) I’m working in a pastoral care role with people who have disabilities, and I’m LOVING it. I can’t tell you how happy that makes me.

I’ve started my new novel (yaaaay!!!)

I’ve finished sewing two dresses recently. One quite bad and one a bit better. And, I’m off to do a sewing weekend with Gertie Hirsch tomorrow in Perth (pictured above and below, no that’s not me), and have found a fabulous teacher here in Adelaide to help me learn my craft (yaaaay!!!)

I got the lighting system working in my dollhouse, and it’s now finished after three years of blood, sweat and tears. I’ve also bought two new miniature projects to be tackled over Christmas (yaaaay!!!)

I’ve gone back to pole dancing lessons (yaaaay!!!)

I’ve magically lost 20kgs without dieting. Well, that might be a lie, but everything else is true. Plus, my muse has discovered his inner Jamie Oliver, so I’m not having to cook every night.

Whew! It’s been intense.

So tomorrow, I’m off to Perth to do a two day workshop with the sewing blogger Gertie Hirsch. My muse has reminded me that I’ll be the oldest, and probably the chubbiest person there, but that’s par for the course, so I’m not going to dwell on that. The weird thing is, I moved to Perth from New Zealand 30 years ago, and I haven’t been back since. It’s going to be a bit of a journey…

On that note, big apologies for my slackness. It’s been a busy few months, and I’m feeling back on track, ready to get back into writing and ready to get back into life, instead of bouncing from one event to the next, while feeling completely out of control.

Yaaaaay!!!

And hopefully I’ll come back from Perth looking more like this.

Goodbye 2016

Yeah, don’t let the door slam on your arse on the way out 2016. What a shitty year. I’m not the only one that feels this way, and I’m so looking forward to 2017. In the meantime, I hear you asking ‘Jane, what have you been doing?’

Well, I’ve decided to give sewing a go. I purchased a wonderful 1970s Singer sewing machine and I’m reading a great book on how to sew. One of my main concerns has been getting things to fit. Once you hit anything past 35 years of age, chances are your figure isn’t going to be standard. Deciding not to be defeated by this fact, I got my friend to come around and help me make my very own dress form after seeing it done on Youtube. What this entails, is putting on a tee shirt then getting your very patient friend to wrap you up in duct tape. Yup, you end up feeling like a storm trooper, but once you are wrapped and ready to go, your friend cuts you out and you stuff the duct tape shape with wadding, and et voila!! You have your very own custom-made dress dummy.

My advice is, don’t do it on a hot day. It’s quite full one being strapped into your tee shirt in duct tape. I lost a fair bit of hair at the back of my neck when it got caught in the tape, and it’s almost impossible to move once it’s all been taped onto you. I laid on the floor so my friend could cut it off, but getting down there was quite the journey.

dressmaking

As 2016 departs, I like to think I’ve learnt some new things about life. Mainly that kale smoothies and kombucha tea are not miracle workers.┬áThat learning anything new (sewing, crochet, writing a book) is going to take time to master. You have to brace yourself for failure and slow improvements as you make your way. And lastly, that finding happiness in the things around you will make you healthier on every level, and is far more effective than a sauerkraut infused, fair trade, organic, vegan, raw-before-four salad any day in my books. I hope you all have a wonderful New Year’s Eve, and a fabulous 2017.

Learning from your mistakes

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As the year draws to a close, I’ve been reflecting on the art of learning, because I’ve tried a few new things. This year I’ve learnt how to crochet, begun how to learn the art of sitting with people and listening (pastoral care), and am re-learning how to sew. I haven’t touched a sewing machine in 30 years… Someone summed it up beautifully when they pointed out, when you begin to learn anything new, you will have the vision of where you want to be (sewing a ballgown for the MET gala) versus where you actually are (a polar fleece pillow for the ferrets’ cage).

I’ve learnt you have to accept that you are undergoing an apprenticeship in doing it wrong, until you know how to get it right. After a meltdown at my sewing machine this afternoon (the bloody threads kept breaking!), I’ve really taken on this process. I’m going to get it wrong for a long time before I get it right. I remember the first real dish I tried to cook. It ended up being a disgusting vegetarian dish of basically raw potatoes in horrible sauce. Nearly 30 years on, I can cook almost anything. Ahh, the journey. I think that’s what makes a lot of people old. Being too scared to learn new things. It’s really humbling to sit at the bottom of the mountain, but without that vision of what you want to be able to do, you won’t have any journey to take. So, I think the coming year is going to be very interesting in terms of ‘learning’.

I really want to learn how to sew and make my own clothes (goodbye mass consumerism), I want to continue learning french (hello nearly 300 days straight on Duolingo. I could probably order a beer in french now), and I want to learn how to light up my miniature dollhouse. Middle age is typically represented by women going crazy for craft. But you know what, going crazy for new learning is pretty fucking fabulous!

Not to mention writing my next book!!! So on that note, I hope you all have a happy run up to Christmas. It’s not the happiest time of the year in my personal history, and I know there are many others out there that feel the same. I guess that’s what I like about learning new things. It makes me feel alive, when things like Christmas just make you feel … sad. So, get out there and find your new thing you are going to learn next year. It will make you feel fabulous.