Hi guys! Welcome back! The kids are back in school and I can get my head together just enough to sit down and compose this blog post. Wahoo!
Today I want to talk about a good friend of mine. We’ve known each other now for a long time and this is how our friendship began. On our very first coffee get-together, she told a story on herself that I will never forget. She said that she had recently had a morning that she woke up full of confidence. She looked in the mirror and decided that she was having a “cute day”. You know what she means—it’s one of those rare days when you look good and you know it. So she put on her special vintage swimsuit and took her kids to the pool. While she was there, she noticed a young couple who were looking at her. And she thought, “Yep, I knew it. I AM having a cute day. Even the twenty-somethings are looking at me.” She had one of the best days at the pool ever. It was only after she got home that she realized that her tampon string was hanging out of her bathing suit.
I knew right then that we were going to be very very good friends. For me, there is no better quality to possess than the ability to laugh at yourself. It’s a trait that a number of my friends have, which is no surprise, because I find it so endearing and attractive. I wish I could say I’m drawn to people like my friend because I’m like that too. But the truth is I’m attracted to people who don’t mind embarrassment because I’m the exact opposite. I mind it A LOT.
I have been actively working on cultivating the ability to laugh at myself for years and my thoughts on the subject kind of clicked into place this summer when our family was on vacation. The kids decided they wanted to try water-skiing. Before they went out, my mom and I both tried to tell them that it takes a lot of practice to get up on water skis and it may not happen on your first time out. The oldest of my nephews brushed it off. He’s a natural athlete and wasn’t worried. But when he came back, he announced decisively that he would NEVER water ski ever again. Oh man, this child is so much like me.
I worked so hard without much success to convince him to try again. I told him the story of how I learned to get up on skis. My grandfather wanted to give us some practice before we got out on the lake. So my sister and I put on our skis in the swimming pool and he got out the ski rope. Then he ran poolside holding the ski rope and pulled us on top of the water, which worked fine until we let go of the rope. At that moment, he would go careening face first into the lawn. And we would all crack up laughing. His willingness to risk not only embarrassment but life and limb to teach us to ski will always make me smile.
The truth is that most creative pursuits (or athletic or academic ones) will eventually lead you out of your comfort zone. And if you are so worried about embarrassing yourself that you stay in safe territory, you will end up cutting yourself off from a multitude of opportunities and experiences that can really open up your world. I speak from experience. It’s too bad that I wasn’t wiser when I was young. It’s only after many years of practicing tolerance of embarrassment that I learned to do things that have become deeply satisfying to me.
Creating this blog is surely an example of this. When I started to build my website, I called tech support often. As I listened to the recording “This may be recorded for quality assurance purposes”, I’d think, “Yeah, you may just want to record this to play for your friends so you can share a good laugh!” But hey, I got through it with my ego only slightly bruised. I’m more proud that I stuck with it than I am worried about how the tech support guy must have found my lack of knowledge hilarious. There’s some personal growth for you!
And just to really drive the point home, I’ll tell you another story. That same friend who is impervious to embarrassment mentioned to me that I had a chin hair that I may want to pluck. Good God, y’all!! This thing had gotten so long, I swear it curled like a pig’s tail! There! See?? It’s just like my mom says, “I’m living proof that you can’t die of embarrassment.”
Fabric, Organic Cotton Jersey in Peacock
Details, Featherstitching in Button Craft Thread in Dogwood
Photography by Tracey Hogan and Santiago Vanegas
Video by Santiago Vanegas
Location, Inspire Health
Okay, time for some details about my top. The panel tank is part of Alabama Chanin’s Build a Wardrobe 2018. I stitched the seams to the outside, opened up the seam allowances, and then featherstitched on top. (About time I showed some featherstitiching on Featherstitch Avenue!) I used the stitching template from The Geometry of Sewing to get my stitching nice and uniform.
In keeping with the theme of this post, I had to overcome a little embarrassment to pull off this photo shoot. The best Pilates studio in Atlanta, Inspire Health very generously allowed Santiago and I to use one of their workout rooms. We both work out there. Our photo concept required me to ham it up in front of Inspire’s big mirror while snapping the photos myself with a cable release button. That’s what I’m holding in my hand in case you didn’t know. So, here I am, acting like a goofball in front of the mirror while the other clients are walking by, giving me very strange looks. These are people that I see regularly, so I can’t even console myself by saying that I’ll never see these people again.
And lastly, given how I put myself out there, Santiago decided he would too. What you have here is his debut as a composer and performer!! The music score of the video is a Santiago original. And just so you know, you can see more of Santiago’s videos on his You Tube Channel. Please check it out!