Before Christmas 2020, I would have never said I was a “crafts” person.
Give me a piece of paper and a pen and I will create all the beautiful, mesmerizing images you need. The written word has always been my niche, my thing, my realm… and if you wanted me to make you something outside of that, well sorry, bud, but I wasn’t your girl. Straight lines scared me; neither tracing nor painting was my forte. Hot glue guns, glitter, scissors, and tape: these items were the stuff of my nightmares, friends.
And yet, this past Christmas, I got the urge to create.
“Should I like… make something?” I thought to myself one Saturday morning while sipping hot coffee, accented with peppermint mocha creamer.
“Well, maybe. I think so? What should I make?” The voice challenged.
Immediately, my mind went to reaching out to my three younger sisters. They are all equally talented with the DIY-gene, and I knew that we could very easily slip into our normal routine: I suggest a vision and they make it happen, with me brainstorming and safeguarding any potential mishaps.
But… they were gone. Either at work or on a trip, I was sisterless for the day. Dare I try it…solo?
“Well, it wouldn’t hurt to look on Pinterest.” I decided.
Forgetting my college librarian’s suggestion to not overwhelm a keyword search, I hastily threw out search words that seemed to fit the essence of what I wanted to create. “Easy,” “cheap,” “Christmas,” “gift,” “DIY” all made the cut.
Sounded like a hit!
Scrolling through the Pinterest boards, I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of variety my multitude of key terms showed. There were a ton of options, all to varying degrees, for simple presents I could make… myself!
My previously hot coffee, neglected, quickly turned cold. Finally, I settled on a simplistic concept: mason jars filled with either mini Coca Cola cans or mini Starbucks canned expressos. Tying twine along the lid, I would attach a small miniature bottle of corresponding liquor. We had a winner- and how cute it was! I was getting excited!
Let me tell you, friends. The next couple of hours were a thrill. I was able to go to the liquor store and local grocery market and pick up the necessary supplies, and then I went home and laid everything in front of me. On my kitchen table, there were perfect rows of the “mixers,” which were right beside very straight lines of the “liquors.” A ball of rustic twine and scissors were at my right hand and, for added decor, I picked up some glitter to add the bottom of the mug; its placement was to my left. Wow!
An organizational dream, my preconceived notion about the “messiness” of crafting was left null and void. As it was ten days before Christmas, I put on fitting music: the Elf soundtrack. Crooning along to Zooey Deschanel, I listened to holiday music for the first time that season and crafted solo for the first time in my entire life.
After completing each gift, I placed them in my pantry and tidied up the minimal mess that my crafting process brought. After everything was away, the gleeful feeling remained. Days later, I sent my presents to friends and reveled in the ball of pride that filled my belly.
Friends, I know this is a really, really silly example.
And, I’ve allowed the silliness of the experience to change me in a way.
I spent the better part of my life so far writing off something that I found so fun, as something I couldn’t do. Underneath the umbrella title of “Taylor’s Life,” “crafter” was not a role I held. I would idolize those that expertly tied ribbons and hot glued fabrics together, their nimble fingers Picassos of design. Their familiarity with their craft bred confidence in their creation. In the face of their confidence, I was uncertain. The entire time, just thinking to myself: “I can’t do that!”
Now, I’m not saying that DIY-ing is going to be my new niche or that I will even do anything like this ever again; I might not! But, sure as hell, there is some power in knowing I can, if I chose to! I gave myself a “first time experience” so that the uncertainty and lack of confidence were separated from the idea of “crafting” entirely. Instead of standing back, observing, I allowed myself a space of non-judgment, where I could just be. My familiarity with coffee liquors may have given me an extra ante, but other than that, friends, I was flying blindly.
And, I stuck the landing.
What else could I do?
What other roles could I embody?
Who else could I be?
You may never in your life want to do any types of craftsy, cutesy things like that. And that is perfectly okay! That is awesome, even! What I would, gently, ask of you, though, is this: what else might you want to try?
Might you want to try to be the girl who lunches by herself on Sunday afternoons, lazily sipping her tea and confidently smiling at those around her? Try it!
Love the idea of starting a podcast on later-aged sex positivity? I’d want to listen!
What about experimenting with fermenting your homemade blackberry wine? Do it… and share!
Sure, it might feel wonky and wobbly at first (warning: even a bit smelly if you chose the latter option), but perfection is an unrealistic goal and I wouldn’t wish it on you.
Just for fun, I brainstormed a list of things that I thought I could never “do”. In the list, I found both silly and somewhat serious ideas. Riding a motorcycle was one. Being a mother, another. Learning to sew, wearing cowboy boots, doing a photoshoot, owning a dog, taking my coffee black: these are all people I never thought I could be. And, I still don’t think I want to try out being a dog-owning cross-stitcher; however, looking at this list, I might could be The Girl Who Does a Photoshoot? (Aside: as you can see from my blog, I did become this girl).
Ultimately, the thing doesn’t matter. Friends, we are creatures of habit. I’ve learned that about myself from a very early age; when I was a young child I caught on, quickly, that I liked routine and process, boxes, and organization. Somewhere along the way, though, I boxed my understanding of myself away.
With my self-perception hinging on a couple of key values and attributes (both positive and negative), I became comfortable in seeing myself as a hard-working, Type A personality, cat-lovin’ lady. A non-maternal, non-crafter, I was too “smart” to do anything “risky”. I was content to be alone because…. “I could take care of my damn self.”
Hey, some of that is true. And will perfectly stay within my self-perception, my foundational core of being forever and ever, amen.
And, there’s some widening of perspective I’d like to do with that list, as well.
Although tackling my self-preserving, emotionally unhinged need to be alone may take a little work, I don’t have to do it all at one time. Here’s the crazy thing, though: I firmly believe that the second I started chipping down the “easier” assumptions about myself (I’m not a crafts person, for example), the “bigger,” “scarier,” assumptions about myself start to work away, too. When we challenge one assumption about ourselves, the rest begin to fall, as well.
A year ago, I would have never dreamed of making Christmas presents. Or meditating in the morning. I’d never write for pleasure as an adult, or drink hot tea at night. It didn’t fit into the person I believe myself to be. Then, I brewed tea. I wrote, and I closed my eyes and breathed. I DIY-ed. Very, very easily I took the baby steps.
Then, I started creating boundaries. Having honest conversations with men about what I wanted out of life. Graciously allowed others to help me. I bought a domain name and hired a photographer. The hard stuff.
Maybe changing the world isn’t hinged on some twine and Mason jars.
Maybe your personal growth isn’t tied up in do-it-yourself projects or wrapping bows around presents.
Maybe it isn’t glitter and Christmas music while you let your hands create that breaks away the own prison of a box you’ve put around yourself.
And then again, maybe it is.
Tell me below: What assumption about yourself are you ready to break today?