famine and abundance

When I started this blog I was in a season of creative abundance. Not only did I have the equipment, tools, and supplies for sewing, but I had time and mental resources aplenty to devote to this therapeutic hobby. I could easily spend 10 hours a week sewing; I hardly had to think about when I could sew, because I knew that time was there for me.

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Then I became pregnant, and my physical and mental resources took a hit. I was sick in one form or another for most of the first two trimesters and had minimal physical energy the last few months. I completed a few projects–but compared with what I used to be able to produce, it was small.

Now that I’ve made it through almost six months of having a brand-new human around, I’m finding myself in the midst of a creative famine. Sure I buy enough fabric and patterns to keep up the appearance of creative abundance, but the fabric stays folded in the closet (or, more likely, on the floor of the sewing room), the patterns untraced and untrimmed. I have the ideas, the inspiration, and desire overflowing–but my time and energy remain in wasteland.

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The sewing room has been in a state of severe atrophy for months. For most of this calendar year, the room has been inoperable as a sewing space. When I have done any sewing, it’s been on the kitchen table downstairs rather than in the room specifically designated for this craft. The result is a feeling of displacement, an unwanted transformation into a creative nomad, with no where to create and no mental resources to rally.

My body has adapted to the continuous nights of fragmented sleep, and for the most part I’ve moved on from that new-baby haze of unwashed sweatpants and all-day bedhead. And yet. The prospect of tackling my ground-zero sewing space has been incapacitating. I see the mess and stick my head in the sand, pretending that it’s not that bad, that maybe it’s not even there. And I continue in my famine, which I slowly come to realize is partially self-inflicted.

As soon as I start to examine this creative void in my life, the doubts stream in saying, “Who are you to even contemplate that skirt, when your bathroom tile is coated in toothpaste grime?” “Who are you to trace that button-down pattern you’ve been dying to sew for a year when you can’t keep up with laundry, meals, housekeeping–let alone loving, and nurturing those two little souls in your care?” “How can you even think about sewing when you can’t even do what you’re supposed to do?” those voices say. And they say them over and over and over. And the sewing room atrophies faster.

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Then I faced that room that, in an abundant season, I’d set aside for creating. I started with closets. I pulled out everything and threw away half of it. I took boxes to recycling and gave away stuff I didn’t need. The room–barely less messy– sat untouched for another month. I made plans for revamping the space, making it a space to invigorate and inspire. This past weekend I made the most changes, moving around furniture, putting together new furniture, sorting zippers and machine needles and elastic into trendy IKEA buckets.

And that feeling of famine lessened just a little. The promise of abundance shone a little brighter. My machines still aren’t set up, and I still have a defunct bookcase to move to the garage. But I’m finally able to see what this space can be, and I’m understanding that those lies my mind tells me are just that–lies. Sure, I may have dishes in the sink more often than not, and Josh may have to sometimes dig in the dryer for socks. But undervaluing sewing–especially when it’s a craft that feeds my soul in such vital ways–will do nothing except keep me in famine. And maybe, if I make more room for meditative creating, I’ll find it easier to make time for bathrooms and laundry too.

Seasons of famine are unavoidable. We all have them. Mine come in the form of new motherhood, sleep deprivation, and the remaking of self that accompanies such all-encompassing life changes. But the famine is a season, not a state of permanence. The sooner I realize that, the sooner I can accept it and let the season run its course. Because abundance is waiting–and I’m eager to embrace it.

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3 Comments

  1. Sonia Crawford
    Posted April 18, 2016 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    A beautiful post and a beautiful message and reminder. Thank you.

  2. Andrea Verbanic
    Posted April 23, 2016 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

    Keeping a newborn alive sure does take up a lot of time, doesn’t it? Taking care of your spirit is just as important as cleaning the tile. And with kids it never stays clean anyway!

  3. Posted May 6, 2016 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

    This post really hit home with me – I’m at university and my schoolwork (and the associated stress) really took over this year. I moved into a new apartment in September, but it took me until March to set up my sewing space! The whole year, I just felt like getting started on a project would require more energy and time than I could dedicate to it, so I never even tried. I’m finally starting to ease back into sewing with some alteration (and Me-Made-May is giving me some motivation as well!). I hope you’re able to get back into it as well! Just remember to enjoy it and make the most of the time that you have – that’s what I’m aiming for as well.

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