The Free Motion Quilting Project: I am not enough

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

I am not enough

It's an obvious thing to say that every action has a consequence, but recently I'm realizing another truth: focus on a specific task might bring unintended clarity to an entirely different task.

That's a clunky way of saying - if you choose to go down a road, don't be surprised when you pass crap along the way.

This year I set out with the intention of to express my love to my family, and by that extension, to the entire world. As I set out on this goal, I had only the happy open minded intention to be more peaceful, to smile more, to play with James more freely, to take life more lightly.

But somewhere along the way I began to realize that expressing my love to my family has more to do with expressing it to myself. In order to say "I love you." and smile with an open heart, I have to first be able to say those words to myself and smile at myself too.

Of course, I know all this already! Wasn't "I am enough." the very first words I wrote on the quilt? Haven't I spent 3 years sorting out self love and digging through the various sinkholes that prevented me from feeling this freely?

It seems that this road, this focus, has gotten a bit twisty. In my attempt to express love to my family, I ran across The Happiness Project, which has solidly taught me what actions make me happy, which make my soul punishingly miserable, and how much all of this has to do with how I feel about myself. I love this quote:

In order to forget yourself, you must focus on yourself.

So focus I have and in reading the books Focus and Quiet, I came to even further realizations and revelations about my quiet, extremely introverted nature. I find myself over and over asking "Why have I denied this part of me for so long? Why do I make decisions that are not in my interest or fit my personality? Why can't I say no when someone wants me to do something?"

It seems the current question of the day is - why can I just be who I am?

And the instantaneous answer that arises is I am not enough.

I thought I was through all this crap! I thought I had myself all figured out. I thought my cutting out my abusive mother and sisters 3 years ago I would have found peace and tranquility by now!

Why can't I kick this?! What further hurdles do I have to jump? What mountains of effort must I climb until I find the simple ability to accept me exactly as me?!

The problem is, in all this digging, I'm finding that finding the real "me" is a hell of a lot harder than it should be. I have worn a mask of survival for so very long I can appear very extroverted in almost any situation. I can deny my need for quiet for weeks and months on end. I can force myself through events and jobs that will never, ever be fun or enjoyable or even pleasant for me, all for the simple reason that I said I would do it.

Why do I keep agreeing to do shit I don't really want to do? Why can't I say no? Why can't I know myself well enough to anticipate how unhappy, overwhelmed, and under appreciated I will feel?

The simple answer: I do not believe I am enough on my own. My soul is unsatisfied and seeks more, more, more, but what I know I eventually will get is burned out, sick, and perpetually angry.

Yesterday I told Josh all I want to do right now is go downstairs to work on Duchess Reigns, shut the door, and quilt like there's no tomorrow. He asked me why I didn't. I explained that Duchess Reigns has no point. I'm not planning on showing her now. She means too much to me and I can't risk anything happening to her in transit to a show.

So logically Josh asked why I can't make her for me, make her for my wall simply to enjoy. My instant reaction, which brought tears of shame and anger straight to my face was this: I'm not enough for her.

What I meant to say was this: she is beautiful and amazing and even though I designed every motif and stitch that is on the surface, it seems like far too big a project to make for just me. I'm not worth it. I don't deserve this.

And then I stopped and realized how insanely stupid that sounded. I gained the skill, I have the knowledge, I designed the damn thing, so why can't I make her only for me?

That's when I hear my mother's voice, "It sounds to me like you're being selfish."

Is this selfish? To make something just for you, just because you can, just because it's beautiful? Does everything I do have to have to be some great step in a grand plan of my life and business? Does everything have to be about making money or expanding my brand or name recognition? Can I just make her for me?

I'm so tired of weighing everything. I'm so tired of questioning. I just want to point myself in a direction and go and trust that it will support me. I'm terrified so often now that my world will come crashing down. I realize more and more that this lack of confidence has more to do with my lack of self love than anything else. I do not trust myself.

What is the solution? I must make her for me, and only for me. She will be a testament to exactly what I can do only for me, as selfishly as possible. I believe by being selfish, I will become even more giving because my needs will be met and giving from a place of fulfilled contentment is always going to be more open and free than from a place of resentful uncertainty.

I'm giving you a gift, Leah. Please accept this gift and go quilt.


  1. I really really really needed to read this! Sometimes the universe directs us to things we need in the most peculiar ways... I stumbled upon your youtube channel in search of different methods for executing curves and bam! here I am on the edge of my seat feeling as if my journal was some how leaked to the internet. I know you wrote this years ago but when one is both greatly skilled and self reflective it can be tough.... that combination produces amazing and heartfelt work but also is the breeding ground for insecurity... be strong momma. You have everything you need inside of you.

    1. Oh yes! This was posted possibly in one of the most chaotic, pulled-in-50-directions-at-once times of my life. Thankfully that time has ended and I'm much more careful about what I take on. I'm also very careful about following my inner voice. When it tells me to go work on a quilt, I go work on it! Why question creativity when it's speaking so clearly?

      Thank you for your kindness and yes, you are definitely not alone!


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