F*king pockets

A few nights ago my husband came home from fight practice and said we had to talk. He said that he was having a crisis of faith and was feeling that he was making no progress at his fighting. “I should be better at this,” he said. We talked for a while and eventually I told him about my problem with pockets.

A while back I got medievally blocked. I didn’t recognize it at the time and I stayed blocked for a long time because I didn’t recognize it. I was stuck on a project but it was a really important project so I couldn’t just throw it in a corner and make it think about what it had done wrong while I moved on to another project. This project was a “have to”. I “have to” finish this project.. I’m not allowed to move on to more fun projects until I finish this “have to” BUT the “have to” had no hard deadline.. and I was absolutely full up with “donwannas”. So I procrastinated. I dragged my feet. I found myself watching TV (which I turn on in the background while I project) a lot more than actually working on the project. I came up with knitting projects to work on (if I was knitting then I wasn’t cheating on the “have to” because the “have to” was a sewing project). This went on for at least six months.. probably closer to a year.

Eventually I started to think that I hated sewing. I started to think that my sewing muse had left me. I started to think that “sewing is no fun”. I was sad about it.. but I didn’t think about why it was happening. I just assumed that was the way things are now.

In January this year my husband asked me a sew a new tunic for him. I whined (no really there was whining) about it. I had a “have to” that had to be done.. I couldn’t just go and sew something else. Even to my ears that sounded dumb so eventually I back-burnered the “have to” and made up a tunic. Tunics are easy, I’ve made hundreds of them. They’re utterly simple.

I caught myself humming while I was making the tunic. All the seratonins were firing. I was enjoying myself. Whoa Whoa Whoa! So okay.. I didn’t suck at this. It wasn’t awful. This literally set me back on my heels and put the “have to” project directly into the spotlight. I didn’t hate sewing. I hated {this project}. So what was it that I hated?

The “have to” project was a pair of pants. I’ve made pants before. They’re not awful. They’re not great. These pants though were going to have pockets.

I’ve never sewn pockets before. I was intimidated by them. I can’t quite grok them in my head. The instructions for adding the pockets were kind of vague (“and then attach the pockets”) and the Intarwebz wasn’t a lot of help (a lot of videos about how to sew in pockets and finish of the edges with a serger). I’d sewn one sample pair of pants where the attachment was awful and wrong and mostly done by hand but even after finishing that sample pair I had no idea how to do the pockets better. I was in the midst of the second set of pants when I stopped to make the tunic and realized I didn’t suck.. pockets do.

So what did I do to get past that?

I sewed three more pairs of pants with pockets. I concentrated on only the pockets until everything else ceased to exist. I stared at what I’d created and made sure it matched up with what I wanted and where it didn’t I identified exactly what I need to do better next time. And then I did it.

My pockets still aren’t great.. but I’ve learned something new with each set I’ve made and they’re getting better.. but even more important.. they’re no longer blocking me.

Just like me with my pocket, my husband had gotten blocked in his fighting. It was a “have to” and he couldn’t just put it aside. He felt that he “should be better at it” but he was struggling.

Last year he lost nearly 200 pounds. He learned to fight a nearly 400 pounds and was feeling frustrated that now at 220 pounds he wasn’t seeing the same successes. After my story he thanked me.. and then said that in thinking about it he was having problems with two specific shots and that he needed to go back to his basics and learn how to deal with just those two shots using his new body mechanics. So it seems that he also is now unblocked.

When you find yourself struggling with the “donwannas” (or a “crisis of faith”) be sure to look for the root cause and not just give up because it’s easiest.

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