Way back at the start of the year I had this idea that maybe one of the glorious and meaningful ways I could participate actively in my own wedding, was to make my dress. I put it out to the world - ie you lot - and the answer came back, a resounding "Hell yeah!". And so I started making plans. Joyously and excitedly, but with room to turn around and change my mind if I found it wasn't working for me.
I also decided at the time to make the small girls flower person frocks (of which there are four as they all thought they could "help" me by being involved), and my small boy shorts and a shirt...... as well as some kind of magnificent getting-married-backdrop. I'm going to fit all that in, right?
I wasn't far into the process before I dipped into my favourite kind of procrastination that is all about perfection, and getting things wrong. I put the dress-making off. Knowing myself as I do, I knew procrastination would be part of the process, so I didn't worry but I definitely avoided it. And I also started avoiding all the other things I wanted to do as I "should" do the wedding dress first - right?
Should isn't a good place to be is it....
The procrastination grew bigger than just the wedding dress. It spread like some kind of insidious alien life force. I started avoiding creative projects in general. Simple knitting yes, but anything more than that.... - well you may have seen my instagram posts have dropped right off as I have been rolling around in my avoidance.
But I really wanted to make the dress. Because getting married after 15 years to someone I really genuinely like being around, is meaningful. And making your wedding dress for such an event is meaningful. Especially as I spend so much of my life making. Making has meaning.
Sewing those stitches I could be thinking about the upcoming event and what it meant. It would be totally lovely. A joy to make.
I think I thought that making the dress meant that I was consciously participating in doing something that took time and attention in the leadup to the wedding. Which felt important, because the whole getting married thing was about consciousness for me. Getting married was a way to consciously choose to celebrate the most important relationship of my life. Getting married, not for convenience, or legality, or families, but simply for the ritual of saying "I have loved you for years and I will love you for years to come". The good stuff in life is worth celebrating.
So it felt/feels big. And the avoidance and procrastination was that I wouldn't be able to create something that said that. Talk about pressure!
So where were we? I was sitting in avoidance and procrastination when things shifted, as they do. I moved through that part of it and finally got to the making.
I had the fabric I purchased way back in March from Tessuti, and finally got brave enough to jump in. Jumping off the diving board into the unknowness of the project. Could I actually make the wedding dress? Would it look like I wanted it to? Would reality match the picture I had in my head?
I got brave, and cut out the muslin. I got brave, and decided that this one evening was the evening I was going to start it. I put the knitting aside, and pulled my sewing machine to the front of my desk.
And then.....I started sewing. I sewed either side of the skirt and either side of the top.... I did a few gathers on the bottom of the bodice....
And I HATED IT!! I hated every moment of it. I didn't like the feel of the fabric, or the pressure I felt, or the way the fabric slid off my desk as I was sewing. I could see that I wasn't going to be able to get the fit right or that to do so was going to require fiddling that was way beyond my patience and tolerance level. I didn't like the fact I had to use pins.
I have no idea if I've ever written about it on the blog before but I practice truth-telling as a lifestyle choice. I won't go into detail about it today, but suffice it to say that the trickiest part about it is actually figuring out what the truth of a situation is. You can't tell the truth unless you are certain of what it is. The truth is often not what we think, and often not what we feel. Because generally those two things, when we really examine them, are not the truth. They can guide us to the truth, but only if we do some searching. Trying to be truthful is not a passive way to live, because often the biggest lies we tell, are to ourselves. And to figure out what the truth actually is, is really hard work.
Anyway, circling back to the wedding dress, I hated it for a good couple of hours before I stood up and got a cup of tea. While staring down at my cup, it occurred to me that maybe I wasn't sitting in my truth. Maybe the truth was that I wasn't going to enjoy making my dress. Maybe the truth was that I didn't want to do it. Maybe the truth was that I wasn't the kind of person who wanted to make my dress, even though I thought I should be.
In this situation, it turns out that I had been making up a whole heap of stories. I felt I should participate in the wedding, in this way, in order to make it meaningful. I thought that this was a way I could convey how special this whole thing was to me. I felt like I should because of my crafty experience and values around making. I thought it would be good for me - help me work through some of my stuff- as it was something I hadn't done before. For god's sake, I run a craft retreat. I talk about the meaning and the joy of craft all the time. It is such a present part of my life, why wouldn't it be part of my wedding. It had to be. I mean it was obvious that I should make it.
But it turns out the truth is, I don't want to. I wasn't going to enjoy it, and I really want to enjoy my wedding, including the leadup.
This post is almost the opposite of the I Wish I Could Surf post. It isn't a thought that I had about myself that was stopping me from doing something, it was a thought that I had about who I thought I should be, that was causing me to do something that I didn't want to do.
As soon as I had made the decision not to make it, with the cup of tea in my hand, I instantly felt totally joyful about the dress. Joyful. Full of light.
And unlike the surfing post where I haven't done anything about it yet, this time I have. I've found the truly lovely Francesca who trained in Milan, had an Italian seamstress mother, and lives in a beautiful spot up in the hills. I'm handing her the fabric this week and my life feels light.
Here's to truth, and freedom of all kinds, but especially freedom from "should"!