August 10, 2010

Who are You when you are Not Yourself?

Sorry for the absence.  Been in a blue fog of depression and thinking alot about who you are when you are not yourself.  We build these carefully constructed faces to show to the world - everything about us tells the world who we think we are or who we want to be perceived as - what we wear, what we drive, where we live, what hobbies we pursue, etc.  Especially the terms we use to describe ourselves - artist, night person, quirky.  But what happens when one of those carefully constructed pieces falls away and it is out of your control.  If you are me, you start to slowly sink into the blue fog of depression which allows you lots of time to think and sleep.  Okay, mostly sleep. 

[I imagine it is similar to what happens to athletes who have trained all their life to win the olympics but spend no time at all imagining their life after.  They go a little crazy.  Lance Armstrong is at his best when training for races but take the races away and he kind of loses it.  Just like Michael Phelps after all those olympic wins.  I'm already a little bit crazy so I just sink into the blue fog.] 

I have been thinking a lot lately about my right thumb - one of the joints on my thumb is cracked and crushed.  It cannot be fixed and it will not get better.  It aches some of the time.  I have had to limit my use of it solely to work which will likely eventually destroy it if not permanently impair it (I know, same difference).  As a result, I have had to scale back most of my studio activities which have revolved for the last 14 years around making dolls and other fiber arts.  My first love was and continues to be fabric - all the other stuff that came later was as a result of this love - sewing clothes, quilts, making costumes, dolls; beading, fabric dyeing, and on and on.  All of these activities require use of my hands and particularly my thumb.  I have been in despair because I am not sure that I can continue to do these activities.  My right thumb just can't handle it and my left thumb (and left hand) is so uneducated and untrained that it takes FOREVER for me to do anything with it. 

But I just am not ready to give up this part of me.  So what do I do?

Last night, I was talking to a friend at work and she asked why I couldn't just sew on my sewing machine and my quick answer as that eventually it would involve some hand sewing.  However, I could not stop thinking about it - what if I could find a way to use my sewing machine to take over more of the hand sewing - my left hand, slow as it is, could do limited hand sewing.  Of course, no where near the quality of the right hand, but what a tantalizing idea.  I've always been a neat freak about my sewing - can i change that?  Can I left my neat freak go clean house while I create messy art?  Is it possible that I am not going to have to throw out my carefully constructed fiber artist personality?  

I don't know but I am willing to find out.  I would rather keep this as part of who I am and have to change everything about how I do it than to give it up.   


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