Friday, April 22, 2011

Lesson learned…twenty years later…

I spent last weekend with my extended family, including my grandmother. Since my grandfather died in November, she is my last grandparent.

I just wanted to share this story about my grandmother today.

When I was in 8th grade, we all had to take home ec for a quarter. Half our quarter was cooking and the other half was sewing. Growing up, my grandmother was the main person I knew who could sew (my mother’s talents lie elsewhere). She had taught me some basics, so this class was kind of a connection to her.

Each student in the class ordered a kit that came with all the pieces we needed to sew. I chose this god-awful sweatshirt. I can only blame the 80s/early 90s for it. It was black with a pink stripe across the middle that had “Class of 94” printed on it.

I was very careful with this sweatshirt. And if you know me at all, this is highly unlike me, especially in my younger years. I tend to rush through and just get things done rather than go slow and get it exactly right. But this sweatshirt? I went slow. I was almost done without a single mistake, until I got to the final cuff. If you don’t sew, cuffs are quite hard. Even if you do, they’re really not an easy part – it’s tiny and curvy, two really hard things to sew. I sewed a piece of the cuff back onto itself. Just a tiny piece. But it bugged me.

A few weeks later my grandmother was at my house visiting. I brought out my sweatshirt to show her, which she naturally fawned over. Then I pointed out my mistake. Do you know what she told me? She said “No one sees that but you. If you never told anyone, they would never know it was there.”

It has taken me twenty years to learn the truth of that lesson. I see so many flaws in myself. And they’ve held me back in every single thing I’ve ever done. Except the whole time the only thing holding me back is me. I point out what’s wrong when no one else sees it.

So I’m trying to take a new approach. I can’t turn off my inner critic, the one who knows all the crap I’m doing wrong. I always hear that. But I can shut her the hell up. And I can ignore her.