All Sewn Up
Have you ever delayed starting something because you didn’t think you were capable of doing the task?
I had a few sewing projects that I’ve delayed for just that reason – 3 separate tasks that required some stitching to complete:
- Add a Velcro strap to a line cutter I use for SCUBA diving to enable mounting and removal on my harness (this might not mean much if you’re not a diver, but in a tangle emergency underwater quick access to this little piece of equipment would be a live safer).
- Repair a tear in my SCUBA diving hood. A little tear is typically not a problem unless I pull and tug at the hood (which I do to remove it after a long dive).
- Repair a seam in a brand new shirt. Anita and I attended the Beatles tribute concert RAIN. We each purchased a cool shirt to remember (and share) the experience but I’ve never worn mine because my over priced concert shirt had a seam coming apart in the sleeve.
- Repair the pocket for the tension bar of the knee brace I wear exercising. It won’t offer much support if the tension bar on 1 side of the brace is not in the proper position.
I have sewn before so these were not to be my first attempts, but these projects posed some new challenges.
- Sewing REAL clothing! The only sewing I’ve ever done was to repair tears in my SCUBA gear. These repairs never have to look good and are always sealed with neoprene cement to cover any mistakes.
- Difficult fabrics. The knee brace and the line cutter sheath are both made of thick, tough fabric that’s difficult to puncture with a needle (but that needle will easily puncture a misplaced finger).
- Awkward positions. The Velco on the line cutter had to be sewn under the line cutter strap and the seam in my RAIN shirt had to be repaired from the inside. Both repairs were to require discipline and accuracy.
The only way I grow is by trying new things, so I tacked the line cutter first (the one requiring the most new skill – tough fabric and awkward position). To my delight, it was accomplished without rancor, blood or cursing. Then I pulled the RAIN shirt from the closet. It required 2 attempts, but after flipping the shirt right side out it looked GREAT! Now for the knee brace. The fabric was thicker than I anticipated and required the use of a new tool – the thimble! This too was accomplished with ease so I finished by sewing and gluing the tears in my hood.
WOW – I’d done it! I didn’t allow my fear of failure, of trying new things, of living up to others expectations (what would people say if they saw a lame repair on my concert shirt?) , of puncturing my fingers keep me from accomplishing something new, something that I had postponed for many months until I could find someone else to do it right!
How many other things have I yet to start or worse yet haven’t even considered, because of skills or limitation that I perceive to be missing?
I once read that FEAR is False Evidence Appearing Real – inaccurate or incomplete projections of my past performance into the future.
- Sure I’ve never sewn a real piece of clothing, but I have done numerous repairs on my SCUBA gear.
- I’m good with my hands, I’ve got an intelligent mind and I’ve got the most important thing going for me – a reason!!
A reason, a desire, a goal, an intention turned out to be more powerful than all the false evidence I stacked up against myself. I pressed on and through and now can use the experience to reinforce the image of myself as one who can accept and complete new and unique challenges.
Do you think I’m making too much of a little sewing project? I certainly hope not. Big goals can always be broken down into smaller goals. Small goals are often not simple and require the learning of new skills or the application of existing skills in a new area. Meaning I’m able to achieve my big goals by pressing through the completion of the smaller ones, learning and applying new skills, building and reinforcing confidence and self-esteem.
I’ll accept the challenges for what they are – learning opportunities. I’ll risk a few punctured fingers, a comment or two about the seam in my shirt or anything else that i may perceive to be a risk to make progress one-step at a time toward the realization of who I want to be and what I plan to accomplish.
I’ll not allow fear to paralyze me (for long). Fear is a sign that growth is about to occur, provided I press on through the fear to the prize on the other side!
P.S. The tension bar in my knee brace is visible through the threads of my repair. I put two lines of stitches in my repair but it seems I should have used the nylon line I use for the SCUBA repairs vs. the black thread I used for the t-shirt. When I try new things I have to try them again to improve my performance. If the tension bar pops out of its pocket again, I’ll come prepared with tougher thread and a thimble to add four rows of stitches!