Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Happy to fail

Failure. It's a scary thought, right?

When I told my friends that I was thinking of learning about making clothes, they were supportive, of course, but I remember telling them a throwaway comment about "what if I sucked at it?". Here I am, almost thirty, and most people my age already got careers and family and their lives sorted out. Me? I'm embarking on something totally different from what I envisioned myself being or doing years ago.

And, yeah - what if this wasn't my thing? What if I learn that I have absolutely no talent or skill for sewing? 

That hesitant first press of my foot on that sewing machine pedal was exactly like pressing my foot on the gas pedal of a racing car with no brakes and you didn't know whether you would crash or survive the drive. Like a drunk, I couldn't sew a straight line, broke a needle, and lost my thread at least five times. I even accidentally sewed part of my measuring tape to the fabric I was working on. 

I know it's ugly, but somehow I feel like they are the prettiest stitches I've ever seen in my life.

Thoughts of leaving the class flitted through my mind. The air-conditioning in the room was arctic and I'll work better next time when I bring my cardigan. I've already tried my best today - let's go home now.

But there was also a part of me - the better part of me - that reminded me that nobody expects me to be perfect the first day. I was there to learn and not to prove that I was a genius at sewing. I wasn't.

It made me happy, in a way. Being perfect means that there's nothing else to do. Perfect is easy and boring. Failing and working hard afterwards to succeed is more interesting. Knowing that I have some goal to look forward to is better than whiling away all of your time with fruitless pursuits and empty distractions.

So I might not get it right this moment, but I still have six months to go. And, as I learned today - both in sewing and in life - slow and steady wins the race.


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