One Giant Leap
Tomorrow is my first Guild Lecture. I get to stand in front of a room full of strangers and talk about my love and passion for Quilting. I get to share with them my strategies on breaking down even the biggest quilting projects to manageable sizes for a more efficient use of our limited time. I even get to share some of my own quilts that I’ve poured my time, love and attention into creating. All of this that I get to do tomorrow… scares the ever-living crap out of me.
“Because limits, like fears, are often just an illusion.” Michael Jordan
I am not a public speaker. Over the last 3 years I have taught many classes on various quilting techniques from the very basics of learning how to quilt to the multiple applications of applique, curved piecing, free motion quilting, how to bind a quilt, the list goes on. To be honest, teaching has never truly scared me. I go into each classroom ready to share my knowledge and inspire others on their creative journeys.
I think that’s it. Teaching for me is about my students. It’s not about me. My focus is on them and their creations and their inspiration and their imaginations. I am merely another tool to help guide them. Adversely, the Guild Lecture tomorrow is literally all about me and I’m not comfortable with that.
Standing out in the Crowd
“Why do we fall, sir? So that we can learn to pick ourselves up.” Batman Begins 2016
Ever since I was a kid, I’ve hated being the center of attention. In grade school I had an amazing teacher, Mrs. Aboubakr. As my choir and piano teacher, she was such an inspiration to me. I can still hear her voice at the piano walking me through a new routine. ‘Slow down and focus on your rhythm’.
In sixth grade the entire choir put on a concert in front of our parents. It was my turn to sing the solo (2 full verses) and Mrs. Aboubakr motioned me to step forward to stand near her at the piano. Alone. Normally, this would not have been such a big deal, however this particular spot put me staring my mother directly in the face. You see, should would be the one to sit in the very front row.
This was in the 1980’s so as I scanned the crowd (trying to look anywhere BUT my mother) all I could see in the back were a rash of parents holding up their gigantic video cameras all aimed directly at me. And then it happened. I started to laugh. Not a gentle ‘under your breath’ chuckle of nervousness. Oh no. This was a full bodied, uncontrollable belly laugh that I couldn’t control. I literally laughed through the entire first verse of the song.
The looks of sympathy, empathy and panic from around the room still linger in the back of my mind. It was a disaster. The only saving grace is I somehow managed to pull myself together enough to actually sing the second verse then quickly retreat to the comfort of (hopefully) getting lost among the hundred or so other faces on the stage. It was a thing of nightmares that still haunts me to this day.
The good news is my mother will not be present at tomorrow’s meeting. However, on some level, maybe that is a bad thing. I won’t have a safety net. It will be just myself, alone, standing in the front of the room with my entire life’s purpose on display for judgement.
What are You Afraid of?
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.” Marianne Williamson
Am I afraid of rejection? Am I afraid of acceptance? Am I afraid that the last 4 years have all been for nothing? Or is it that I’m afraid this is the step that makes everything real?
Until now I’ve been basically a voice behind the screen. Whether it be social media, pattern sales, the website or even this blog, there’s always been a certain level of anonymity. I could hide behind the screen and pretend somehow that ‘even if this doesn’t take off, no harm, no foul, right?’ But, tomorrow I plant my feet firmly in reality and say to the world, “I’m making my stand.”
After tomorrow there’s no going back. There’s no more hiding in the computer, pretending to be just a face among the crowd. I know that my road ahead will not be perfect. I know that I will make some stumbles here and there and learn with every misstep. After all, it is when we fall that we truly learn how to get back up. But I am ready for the fall. And, more importantly, I am ready to soar. See you tomorrow Spartanburg, SC!!
“I am gonna show you how great I am!” Muhammed Ali
As always, Hoppy Quilting!