Mrs. Thor

brilliant and neat

Month: May, 2011

inspiration, part two (or, other people’s stuff)

While I was still processing my Oprah-tastic insights, I stumbled upon something in my google reader lineup that made me stop in my tracks. I almost skimmed right over it because of the post’s title (“pleasing dishtowels and good for them“), but i caught a glimpse of the dishtowel fabric and i really liked it.

The blog, is, to oversimplify, a sewing and craft blog. I love the tone, the inspiring fabrics, the tutorials, the title, and the coolness. This is exactly the kind of blog that spurs me to want to create. Which means that in the end I usually just do nothing and feel guilty and inferior to pretty much every crafter I have ever known or seen.

But this post gets at how we should kind of stop doing that. And that is what stopped me in my tracks. She presents this idea: rather than examining the achievements of others and possibly comparing them to your own achievements…maybe just letting it go. To say “good for them” and move along.

When the film Garden State came out, it crushed every dream I had ever had of making a movie. I had a very Garden State-ish phase in my late teens and early 20’s, and I had sort of fictionalized it and cleaned it up and made it into a movie in my mind. And then I saw Garden State. And then, I called my friend Stephanie on the phone, and I said, “Zach Braff made my movie.” And I cried. Hard.

Which leads me to the other earth shattering, yet completely common-sense point that Amy Karol brought to light in her blog: There is enough.

Saying to myself “good for them” also reminds me what I have believed for a long time now—that there is enough. Enough creativity, success, achievement, accolades, attention, for everyone. The achievement of any one person doesn’t take away the potential or realized achievements of anyone else. There is enough for all. By saying “good for them” I take myself out of the comparison—it has no bearing on what I do. Or what I choose not to do.

I chose to quote her directly because there is no better way to say it. I can’t stress enough how important it was to see these concepts in print. Creative people are sensitive, and also critical of other creative people. And also, themselves.

In the end, everything I do is about me. It’s not about other people, it’s not about expectations, it’s not about disappointment, and it’s not about making stuff that is better than other people’s stuff.

It’s about, “what is in me that I am willing to move to the outside of me as a work to share with the world?” It should be that simple.

Saying to myself “good for them” also reminds me what I have believed for a long time now—that there is enough. Enough creativity, success, achievement, accolades, attention, for everyone. The achievement of any one person doesn’t take away the potential or realized achievements of anyone else. There is enough for all. By saying “good for them” I take myself out of the comparison—it has no bearing on what I do. Or what I choose not to do.

inspiration, part one (or, the inside work)

Yesterday, one of my facebook friends posted a link to the transcript from Oprah Winfrey’s last show. I have never been a huge follower of Oprah, but I have definitely admired her for her accomplishments.

OK. I would be a serious liar if I said that I never watched one (or maybe several) of her shows and just bawled like a little baby.

Oprah said that the episode was her love letter to her followers. She said some lovely things about her time on the air. I have always been amazed by the level of grace with which this woman seems to operate. Even on her final show, the words she chose conveyed such a level of grace and wisdom.

What struck me the most as I read through the transcript of the last show was the sense Oprah gave of passing the torch. She basically said, “Thank you for doing for me what you claim I have done for you. Now go, and do unto others.” She spoke of our circle of influence and how we can have an impact on even a small number of people.

This really resonates with me. I have always wanted to be a person who can make a difference, somehow. I don’t care if I ever cure a disease or end hunger or suffering (although, who wouldn’t want that if it were within the powers of one person?).

Honestly, more than anything, I just want to get to the end of it all and realize that I did the best I could with what I was given – the best I could to show love, patience, kindness. The best I could to make people feel welcome and not alone. The best I could to listen, understand, and “be there.”

The only problem that I see with this grand mission of mine is… well, me. I am tired. I am unfulfilled. I am lonely. I have needs. I am creatively stagnant (and that is an understatement).

It takes all I can muster, once I am done with the commuting and the working, to do things like: go to the grocery store, pack lunches, go to the library, and stop eating ice cream. I have a ridiculously short attention span. I have a ridiculously low level of follow-through.

Some days, I can’t even find my pants.

So. Oprah. Dear Oprah. How does a mildly ambitious (when I am paying attention), bleeding heart, compulsive eating, lucky-to-even-be-wearing-pants kind of person even begin? Where is the love letter for that?

freedom (or, the $17,000 iPod)

On my lunch break today, I decided to check on something to see if I could FINALLY share my jubilation with the world.

I can.

For probably the first time since I was 17 or 18 years old, I have no credit card debt.

This doesn’t count the brief few months when I took a personal loan from my mom to get out from under my debt, and then… opened up more credit cards. To “rebuild my credit.” Except I bought things. Many things. Things I couldn’t afford, when you added them all up. 

Let me tell you. You might pay now, or you might pay later. But trust me, you will pay.

Make it easy on yourself and pay now. Don’t buy things that you can’t afford. Save up and pay cash when it makes sense.

It might be too much information, but I’m going to tell it: by the time I sought help through a credit counseling agency, my credit debt was over $13,000. I could not keep up with the monthly payments due to being laid off, moving, and subsequently being under-employed.

I have paid almost $17,000 in the past 25 months. I have sent in bonuses and windfalls. I have sent in $400 extra per month. I grew to loathe my monthly statement and viewed it as my personal enemy. Cash was the only weapon against it.

So, right now, I can say with pride – I defeated my monthly statement. It has been reduced to a giant line of zeros down the side of the page.

I am credit card debt-free.

The sad thing about all of that spending is that I have nothing to show for it that I remember buying. Except my iPod. I wanted a pink one when they first came out with the Nano, and, truth be told, that was the reason that I signed up for that first credit card (of NINE) in 2006.

The $17,000 iPod. Not quite worth it.

do you ever get that feeling…

…that things are about to start busting loose? and it might be bad, but it might be wonderful too, even life-changing? and that now, more than ever, is the time to listen to that still small voice that nudges you toward scary things?

Yeah. Me neither.

You know there will be days when you’re so tired that you can’t take another step,
The night will have no stars and you’ll think you’ve gone as far as you will ever get

But you and me walk on
Cause you can’t go back now
And yeah, yeah, go where you want to go
Be what you want to be,
If you ever turn around, you’ll see me.

I can’t really say why everybody wishes they were somewhere else
But in the end, the only steps that matter are the ones you take all by yourself.

the weepies, can’t go back now

monday, part three.

I hate weeks like this.

Musique!

Just… do this one thing for me.

Click on over here. Then click play.

Then come back over here and tell me if my best friend didn’t just write a super-fresh song.

I love it!