Once upon a time when I was around 21 or so I thought I had a lot of things figured out (but not everything). A real job was something I didn't want...meaning corporate- the idea of self-employment was very inviting, or working for a mom and pop. My dorkiest days surely had to be behind me, now that I was pierced and tattooed and had adopted a sense of style and learned when not to make a MST3K reference out loud. POS cars were something you're supposed to not have again after you settle down and start building a life with someone. I would never live near my hometown after I was 25. The things I enjoyed as a kid were just part of what made me who I am, but not necessarily something I would still find interesting. Once you're in a real relationship and have kids, your insecurities about the way you look and your own personal weirdness are supposed to go away because your partner should take that away merely by their love for you. The list goes on.
Then I became a grown up. While a lot of this is still true for me, the meaning behind most of it has changed a little. I still don't like working for big companies as I like the idea of being completely responsible for each project and deadline and creative decision. Unfortunately, my dorkiest days were NOWHERE NEAR behind me...if anything it's gotten worse. I still drive a POS car and live near my hometown, but not because I've "given up" so much as I'm being practical with money right now. And no matter how much my husband loves me for who I am, it's not a bandaid for all the insecurities I have because love doesn't cure fat days, being yelled at by a boss, or making a bad spice decision and destroying a potentially delicious dish. And of course I still have a sense of style, but it's been put on hold, since I rarely have the opportunity to put on mascara, much less coordinate an outfit and accessories. Comfy clothes and little to no makeup have become my uniform, which is something I would have been appalled at when I was younger...I didn't even consider leaving the house without makeup back in the day. However, being with my husband has made me realize that some of the things I was so self-conscious about were ridiculous and that I needed to get over it and be the person I really am. Enter the dork. Yes, I watch scifi shows and jeopardy, I make up my own words to popular music and insert said songs into play with my kids (I'm bringin' paci back...nuh nuh nuh). Puns roll off my tongue with ease these days. So many things I said I'd never do, yet here I am.
Never did it cross my mind that I'd be a stay at home mom with two little girls and a cat, owning meal times- sorry man, but I'm proud of my cooking, figuring out how to rig a broken toy to work temporarily, feeling more feminist with age (seems ironic, huh?), and excited to go somewhere like Home Depot. Yet in six short years I've managed to almost do a complete flip in my lifestyle. I didn't even notice for a long time that I've slowly been reverting back to my childhood interests, like getting crafty. In fact, I didn't notice until Christmas time, 2011.
When I was a kid, crafts was something you did at camp or just to pass the time. Most crafts back then seemed to have no practical use and just took up space once completed. And most of the materials seemed horribly cheap looking and actual books were needed to learn how to do a lot of it, and most of them seemed outdated. Then you had to meet up with old ladies to learn first-hand how to do most of it (including old lady-looking embellishments on everything). I've always loved the arts, but have no personal talent for anything like drawing or painting, so crafting was what I did to be "productive" and get my visual creativity out- I say visual because I've also always written and for a long time played clarinet. Although the idea of having a vision, setting a goal, and completing it was very inviting to me, I always found crafting to be unsatisfying no matter what kind I tried. There was cross-stitching, sewing, handpainting any number of decorative things, jewelry, making containers of various sorts, you name it (besides knitting, still haven't learned that one). The access to quality materials, tools, and information just irritated me, so I moved on to other things, like my obsession with music and movies.
Well, recently, going back to Christmas, I was confronted with the problem of trying to decorate a baby-friendly tree- nothing that could break or needed hooks. I didn't have time to embark on the journey of intricate homemade decorations and wanted to include Honeybunch in the making of said ornaments. There isn't a lot that a 3 year old can handle safely and neatly, so I went generic. Posterboard, construction paper, markers, glue sticks, hole punch, ribbon. I let her make the decorations and I assembled them. I never knew that I could have so much fun doing something I hadn't done since childhood and the bug started to bite. During a period of deliberation I thought about cake decorating and knitting but still wasn't sure what I could do to really satisfy my own type of creativity. Then it occurred to me, maybe I should try card making...requires practically no drawing or painting, but does necessitate an ability to make something comprised of high attention to detail and placing geometric shapes in an order that looks attractive. Being me, I decided to do some research. When I use that word around my husband he cringes because that means lots of hours spent online looking at several articles and cross-referencing to find the common denominators, etc. and then sharing what I found. Yeah, it probably bores him, but my mind is like a sponge for things I read and see- some have postulated a partially photographic memory? Who knows- so when I verbalize the information I take in it seems to help my brain organize it. So I started looking around and I'm not too proud to admit that I've been absolutely overwhelmed! When I was researching I found that there are a zillion sites dedicated to examples, templates, tutorials, and supply sites and started to feel like I was drowning. If you don't have someone that's been doing it for a while to talk you through it, how are you supposed to know where to start?
The world of crafting has changed drastically from when I was a kid (think 90s)! It's actually become a huge market, full of people of all ages, not just old ladies and little kids. I knew that the scrapbooking thing was huge, but I had no idea that there was such a large group of people willing to share so many resources and with their own "language" for items and such. Even though the internet was around back then, it was nothing like it is now, and I'm glad to have so much information at my disposal. So now I'm plotting exactly what materials I'm going to go with, just to dunk my toe in the water. I'm too practical to go spending a wad of cash on a bunch of stuff for a hobby I may not even like or be good at. Crafting is a hobby that I never thought I would even consider having an interest in again, but seeing how many projects there are that can yield useful items that serve a purpose, I'm starting to think that it's high time I get over my fear of dorkdom and just do it. Hopefully card making is something I'm good enough at that I'll want to stick with it become proficient in.
Here's to getting a hobby, after many years of being too busy to have one!