When quitting is getting ahead.

I had a total sewing fail this week – wonky dress pattern with at least one wrong-sized piece from the manufacturer – and a plaid I didn’t have enough of to match up properly so the dress bodice came out looking strange. I never bothered to get beyond the initial stages to find out if it was going to come together in the end because after trying on the bodice I decided I didn’t like the plaid well enough to wear it anyway.

I was proud of myself though because rather than sweating over it, cursing myself and my lack of knowledge, or stressing out about the wasted fabric (which was a cheap piece from Value Village) – I just let it go as soon as I decided it wasn’t working. Which is something I am only now learning to do.

Sadly, I’ve never been particularly good at letting things go and moving on. Not that I am a holder of grudges, but I will stay in things until the bitter end even if that thing is causing me all sorts of misery. I was raised to believe that it’s dedication to practice that makes us worthy and competent – competence being the highest-valued attribute in my family – and thus find myself often stuck between wanting to abandon things and feeling obligated to keep on. While this makes sense in some spheres, there is absolutely no logic in it when the sphere is supposed to be fun – like a sewing hobby. And I’ve realized recently – on this steep learning curve of sewing and crochet – that if I bully myself into finishing unfulfilling work too often I will destroy any desire for it. Which becomes one more thing that I’m not good at, which becomes the reason I am “no good at anything.” And on. And on.

So I’m learning to let go of projects that are not working which allows me to focus on projects that could potentially work, and clears the deck of a lot of misery. This weekend, I additionally threw out three or four crochet projects abandoned over the summer that are never going to get fixed or finished – and I am feeling a lot better about the one I am currently working on as a result. Funny how that works.

The fabric from today’s failed dress is now in my scrap bin waiting to be turned into scarves and other scrappy projects – and I’ve started a green wool jacket for fall which is already coming together nicely.

This insight quite obviously works in other areas of my life at the moment – most notably my shift away from my union leadership path to becoming a grad student. As miserable as the one road was making me, I am still trying to reconcile dropping my plans and moving onto another thing entirely. I’m hoping that grad school will be the green wool jacket and that once I am immersed my doubts about leaving the other will subside. We really can only move forward when we cast some things behind us, but in between is the decision about which is worth pursing.

One Comment on “When quitting is getting ahead.

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