I think I can’t…I know I CAN!

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It’s great when you’re good at something; when you can just sort of wave your hand and things turn out magically wonderful. There is probably a degree of satisfaction in that, in being… well, good.  It’s freaking AMAZING when you’re no good at something but you keep doing it anyway. When you just keep smashing your head bloody-mindedly against your lack of skill, persevering, swearing, starting over and just doing it anyway.

Until. Until somehow, suddenly, unbelievably, you can. You can actually do the thing you couldn’t. What was impossible, frustratingly impossible is actually possible. And eventually, easy. Or at least do-able.

When that happens, it’s a different kind of pride. It’s a different sort of satisfaction than when you do something that’s no big deal. It feels good, it feels GREAT to do something you never dreamed you could actually do.

I’ve been working in my jewellery studio (also known as the spare bedroom where things with no home go to die). I’ve been working on new techniques; soldering, working with my torch and solder paste, sheet solder, bits and pieces and angles and fire and smoke and butane and mapp gas (I hope my insurance guy isn’t reading this…).

And I love it. I even love that I can’t remember a damn thing I learned 22 years ago when I took a silver smithing course. I am literally teaching myself as I go, with the occasional help of YouTube and the kind folks out there who share their wisdom.

I love doing. I love learning and doing. It’s a powerful rush for me to accomplish something, even something small. I do measure my days by jobs done & tasks accomplished. A day like today when I have actually accomplished something difficult, something new, something that makes me proud…that’s a very very good day.

And actually, I think the swearing helps the process. Really!

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Fake it ’til ya Make it

ImageI swear to you I don’t know how to do at least half of what I do. No, I’m not kidding. Seriously I fake most everything (not THAT!!!) I am a tryer. I am a googler.   I, as a mother, am a mother of invention. That translates to all those awesome sayings like Fake it ’til ya make it, grind it ’til ya find it and so on.

I remember being a new Mom; it was my daughter’s 2nd birthday and my first ever cupcake effort. I had no IDEA how much batter to put in the cupcake tin… fill it up? Fill it halfway? I didn’t live anywhere near my family so I did what fakers everywhere do…I called in reinforcements. Actually, I called my friend; a much more experienced mother of 3 kids under 5. She set me straight.

That’s pretty much how I’ve rolled ever since.  Sew cloth diapers? Sure… I can do that. Shaped, formed, with snaps to adjust the sizes and velcro tabs and an absorbent liner? Sure… no problem.  Cater for my husband’s office party? No worries; I got this. Write a press release… BAM. They don’t call it ACTING like an adult for nothing you know!

Now you’ve gotta have balls to barrel through life like this and I guess I’ve grown a pair… yeah, I googled that for instructions.  I’m not saying I don’t do what I do WELL, ’cause I do. I’m good at a lot of things. I didn’t START good at them mind you, and nobody taught me how to do most of them. It turns out a little chutzpah, a bit of confidence and some kick-ass research skills are pretty good in a pinch.

My Gramma was a powerhouse; did it all. I’ve kind of channeled her as I’ve grown into myself. She, like me, had to find her own way, far from her own support network and family. And she was a tough cookie; not fearless, but brave. I am trying (success or lack of will be determined in a few decades) to impart that same adaptability to my kids. It’s what makes you bounce… makes you resilient. 

My favourite quote from Pablo Picasso is “I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it”.  That’s a pretty empowering way of approaching life, I think. It’s been my mantra since my first move away from home. I think I’ll have it tattooed on something. As soon as I learn how to do that…