It took a 2,400 mile trip back home this weekend, sitting in the bedroom where I once spun hopeful, cotton candy plans for my future, to make me see that I have spent the better part of my adulthood chasing a dream that was never meant be.
It hasn’t been easy this past year or so to recognize that the pattern I cut for my life never did quite fit — much like the blue jean overalls misfire from my Home Economics class.
I was 14 then and like most girls in my junior high school I took a “HomeEc” class that included learning to sew. The final class project would involve a fashion show where the class of girls (no boy would be caught dead in a HomeEc class) would model their creations. I worked for a semester on those blue jean overalls. The item was all the rage and I wanted so badly to have a pair hanging in my closet. I was determined to get it right. I combed through bolts of fabric to pick out the denim material. I scrutinized the complex sewing pattern to make sure I knew how to get from raw material to finished product. Ever so carefully I measured and cut the tissue pattern. After I pinned the tissue I held my breath and began to cut. I engaged in what felt like epic battles with the sewing machine. Sometimes it won, and I had remove the thread to start the bib or the leg all over again to get the seams straight.
Finally I stitched the last stitch. I triumphantly carried my new outfit home. As I went upstairs to my room to try the overalls on for the first time my mind filled with thoughts about how I’d look in the fashion show.
Only the images in my mind didn’t align with what stared back at me from the mirror. I had grown at least two inches since the class had begun on my way to six feet tall. My blue jean overalls turned out to look like the worst fashion faux pas of junior high school. I was wearing flood pants. I gutted it through the fashion show and never wore the overalls again. I never attempted sewing again either.
A few days ago as I drove through the neighborhood where I once walked to school, maneuvered a cart through the aisles of the grocery store where my mother once shopped each Thursday, and checked out the back of the bedroom door where I once measured and marked my ever-changing height I slowly came to see that I had to let go of the carefully constructed plans I once laid for a part of my life that wasn’t meant to be.
Instead I have to wear what does fit.
Epiphanies don’t come every day but when they do they feel so obvious, don’t they? Tell me about one of your “ah ha” moments.
In the meantime I have some closets to clean out.
P.S. For more on trying to reconcile the past with the present to figure out the future, one of my favorite Canadians has more on this subject on her blog: A Woman My Age.
October 14, 2008 2:44 pm
Wow, such a beautiful and honest story. And such a great allegory… I feel like you felt on the fashion show right now…
October 14, 2008 3:27 pm
Wow… what a beautiful description of what I’m going through in my own life… you truly have a gift with words.
I am learning how to lay my desires for a child down… it is so hard….
October 14, 2008 6:41 pm
Funny, I just had a post called Epiphany on Friday. I’m still struggling to reconcile the life I dreamed of and the one that I have now.
October 14, 2008 7:06 pm
What an awesome Epiphany! I feel the same way in my life. The dreams I have had since childhood to be a mother are now are so different. We are currently in the adoption process, but my path to motherhood was not how I imagined it.
I am trying to accept that.
October 14, 2008 7:33 pm
I am in awe. Your willingness to grow and be stretched and release is inspiring.
October 14, 2008 10:43 pm
I hope you will forgive me for chuckling when I got to the part about the jeans being too short. Isn’t that just life sometimes? You plan, work, poor your heart into and then through no fault of your own it gets all f’ed up.
October 15, 2008 12:13 am
Depper meaning of this post aside, you just gave me a horrid flashback to my own brief dalliance with sewing in high-school.
Oh, MY the rubbish I made, and proudly wore about town. Can you say pale blue wide-legged monstrosities so very wide legged that they looked like a skirt? With a zip that never quite worked?
October 15, 2008 12:34 am
I’m so glad to have you back to blogging. I sure did miss you while you were on sabbatical! I read your post this morning and thought about it all day. And even still it took me quite a bit longer than normal to churn out this post post in response: http://individualevolution.blogspot.com/2008/10/on-marriage.html.
Thanks for asking hard questions.
October 15, 2008 12:39 am
My mother is visiting, & I’ve had very little time online, but i couldn’t resist quickly checking in when I saw you had a new post up! I can’t think of an “aha” moment offhand, but your words (as always) ring very true. (I never did have a lot of patience for sewing…!)
October 15, 2008 3:46 am
My husband and I live in a beautiful apartment with 3 bedrooms … a master bedroom, a fabulous home office, and a third room. When we bought this place, that room was supposed to be for you know who. So now what?
I guess my “ah ha” moment occurred when I realized I could knock down the wall and get rid of that room altogether. I don’t want to pretend that the room wasn’t supposed to be what it was supposed to be. And, I absolutely love the rest of our home …..
So demolition here I come!
October 15, 2008 2:54 pm
Such a good post. I can’t pinpoint an a-ha moment, but I love yours.
October 16, 2008 12:03 am
Love your blog… great post, too. Why is it that sometimes feeling all of those insecure, infertility feelings can take you back to your most insecure days of all: childhood?
October 16, 2008 9:15 am
First of all, someone should totally have given you a heads-up about growth spurts. Secondly, I bet you looked fab without those jean-things in the end. I hope you do again.
October 16, 2008 4:40 pm
Thanks you so much for providing such a fabulously fun and enjoyable blog. It is so refreshing to hear the positives about life even through this experience of infertility. I too hope to encourage others through my blog/website as well. Thanks!
October 16, 2008 11:24 pm
This post reminds me exactly why I sew pillows, curtains, and purses instead of clothes 🙂
As far as “Ah-ha” moments … I’ve been having a ton of them over here recently. I have many moments of sadness over our childless state … but I am welcoming the more frequent moments of joy over our childfree state as well. Life is crazy, unpredictable, and as beautiful as you’ll let it be. That doesn’t mean it’s easy. I just want to be happy — I guess that’s my Ah-ha moment: Happiness comes in many forms.
October 17, 2008 3:32 pm
You are so correct. Just letting yourself be happy is not super easy. But letting go and just being happy was indeed an ah ha moment for me.
October 17, 2008 1:48 pm
What a neat way to look at these epiphanies.
October 31, 2008 7:05 pm
This was very good. I’m tall too and went through a similar moment, but I was in my twenties – earlier would have been better.
One of my friends is one of the best adjusted people I know. Her height is what did it – she is over 6’6 (closer to 6’7, but she rounds down to make it less intimidating). When you are taller than most men at 12, you either retreat or do something. She knows nothing will fit, but her a ha is realizing that people are just people and kids think she is special. Here is her blog http://www.6footsix.com/