life, machine quilting, quilting, Teri Lucas

Giving Quilters Pemission

As I scrolled through my newsfeed the words “Quilt Police” with a familiar red line crossing out the words stopped me. It’s a conversation I have all the time with myself, with students, with other quilters. No Quilt Police. We might have an inner critic who provides great information. Alternately we might have an inner bitch that we need to deal with forthwith. I “met” my inner bitch this morning in a dream. I really need to learn not to eat peanut butter cookies before bed. Really. But my husband made them and they are soooooo good!

The dream encounter with the inner bitch ended with me waking myself up out of a bad dream. Thankfully it wasn’t 3 a.m.! In the dream the IB, as he shall now be called, was in another room quilting on a long arm. I could hear the quilting but, was in the process of cleaning, and clearing out another room. The room that needed cleaning was piled high with boxes of fabric and other stuff that needed my attention and a place to live in my home. All the while I could hear the IB quilting in the other room and the sound coming from there was loud. Annoyingly and frustratingly loud.

Once finished with cleaning the room some friends and I were chatting. I went to close the door to the room where the IB quilted (because of the noise) and said to IB, “I’m tired of hearing this noise.” and closed the door behind me. Well, IB, indignant that I’d closed the door came out into the other room and started berating me, in front of my friends. Whoa! Really? That was wholly unnecessary. So, annoyed with the dream, I woke myself up and that was that.

Clearly that I’m writing this in a blog post says that the dream is still with me. I’m not so bothered by the dream. I get that in dreams each person represents a part of who we are…so why the heck I’m yelling at myself and berating myself isn’t so much beyond me as I see it as very much a part of our self-doubt. Considering too that Doubt, Fear, and Anger are all related to one another it’s no wonder that this crops up every now and again. The Self-Doubt cropped up yesterday for some reason. I’ll muddle through, always have, always will. There were, if I allow myself a little latitude, two conversations that led to this dream. The first included a bit on how a collective “we” views ourselves, and while it’s not true, it’s part of the Self-Doubt. The second included a little on how intense “we” can be. The intensity with which the IB unleashed the words is there. I remember being told once that I’m intense and I need to relax. Um, yeah, not happening. I will always be intense. Even when failing miserably, I’ll be intense. Clearly I’ve embraced this part of who I am…

It is my own personal intensity that makes me a damn good quilter. Yes, I’m owning this. It’s taken me a long time to get here. I’ve got the “Bang Head Here!” moments and memories where I roll my eyes and wonder how I managed to land here in this amazing world of quilting.
The intensity will carry me through to meeting a few more goals. Once I stop listening to the IB on such a regular basis. I see that the intensity of the IB has clear usefulness. If I’m working that hard to shut myself down, perhaps it’s time to listen and honor what the IB is saying and take that information to recognize the hard work I’ve done and am doing. I can see, sometimes really clearly, on the face of a student or customer how their face changes when I give them permission to explore. I see how things have changed in my own quilting world by giving myself that same permission.

We as a quilting community have not even begun to plumb the depths of quilt making. At. All. There is so much more we can do. We have specialists to help us do that from fabric designers to quilters. Specialists who all have their own inner critic that they’ve learned to dance with, to work with, to listen to, but not be ruled by. And we have our creative self.

There are no quilt police. Let’s go easy on ourselves. Let’s take the risks of making the quilts we’ve always wanted to make. Let’s remember we work 6″ from everything we do…so we see the “flaws” – that add character to our quilts. Let’s remember that most people won’t see them and if they do won’t point them out. And if they do, well, go ahead and cry in your hot chocolate for a moment. And then let’s move on. Let’s stop comparing our quilts and quilting to the work of others – remember they have their own IB to deal with.

And most of all

Let’s Quilt!


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