20 July 2014

the #beabadassquilt, so far.

i originally started brainstorming this project as a sister quilt to my ToBeHonest quilt. i wasn't quite sure the statement i wanted to make, yet; but i knew it would be slightly more subtle than the first. 

if you follow me on Instagram, you know that one of the hashtags i use often on my selfies is "#pixieisastateofmind". on the inside and outside, i embrace my own pixie-ness; which Urban Dictionary defines as: a beautiful, sexy, ebullient, graceful, captivating, petite woman with short hair (...Though she was the smallest of the group of women, her beauty and style made her the most noticeable. A true pixie.). 

and despite being "a true pixie," i also have also acquired a very bad-ass side. 

i find that my bad-ass-ness has very much come from my friends and role-models, all unique and distinctly themselves in their own ways, and very much unafraid of who they are. to me, thats the definition of being a badass. unapologetic. cool. tough. very much whatever, hence being sisters with the #TBHquilt.

my number one bad-ass role model is hands down hayley williams. anyone who knows me even remotely well knows this to be true. this quilt took on a whole new life when i met her a month ago. 

things that have always been important to me about her, aside from her voice and bad-ass music, is that she always comes across as tough and dainty at the same time. she holds her faith close and doesn't make a secret of it but its subtle, woven into lyrics and her tattoos. she dresses the way she wants to - bouncing back and forth between girly and edgy punk effortlessly. she does what she wants with her hair, she's no kardashian. for ladies like me who always feel just outside of the current trends and don't have the body shape for a lot of styles, its so comforting to see that ripped jeans and leather jackets can be sexy. 

my mom describes hayley as my "kindred spirit", and upon meeting her i knew that to be true. she was approachable, told ME that I was adorable (what?!), and commented on my "awesome skirt". i could barely get two words out but that seemed so crazy to me - my fashion idol commenting on an outfit that took me days to choose, and when i look back at it now i think what the hell i have wayyyy cooler clothes in my closet. i don't remember a lot of the few minutes i spent getting that photo taken, because honestly it was so fast and i was still so surprised that it was even happening (i didn't know i'd be doing this until just beforehand - thanks Kyle!).. but i remember looking at her glittery eyeshadow and thinking that i'd just hit the life jackpot. she was down to earth, and i think in the entertainment industry its very bad-ass to be able to stay that way.

i'd been through some crappy emotional stuff in the previous month or two, a lot of it self-made but some of it just circumstantial. life is all over the place here these days, as you can imagine. but, a friend of mine made the comment that it was just "movement", and it put it into perspective for me really quickly - all of the shitty dumb stuff that i'd felt up until that very second was bringing me to one of the most important and comforting moments of my entire life thus far. and strangely, just a few months before embarking on a huge life change. 

i had originally planned to make the skull orange, and the background black & red somehow.  but once i started to see her hair transition from bright orange to turquoise, i knew that i had to use those colors. the quilt had suddenly changed from a typical skull quilt to a secret emotional hommage, much like a lot of my other projects.

and so, the quilt went from being a plain old punk skull to being a BAD-ASS reminder for me: that i'll always have that moment to take with me regardless of where i go. 

...and that being a pixie bad-ass is pretty much the best thing. i can't imagine myself being any other way. somedays its harder than others to be confident and strong - but i think a lot of times, for me, bad-ass-ness is on the inside. sometimes i don't show it on the outside. its a work in progress. much like this quilt, which is now only half done.
so, secretly this quilt means a lot to me as a person & artist - but i think when its finished it will be very much like its sister - a bold quilt with a lot to say. i'm not quite sure of all the words yet, but i'm sure there will be some.

if you want to see what makes me feel bad-ass and inspires me, check out my current favorite Pinterest board that i've been adding to regularly.

14 July 2014

on the not-so-fun parts of a plan like this.

when i first started planning my cross-country move, i knew there were going to be things that would be not-so-fun that i would eventually have to do and figure out. for the past six months, i've been able to avoid those things. but, the time has come to deal with what needs to be dealt with. these not-so-fun things range from things as mundane as doctor's appointments (which ended up being not very mundane and actually very frustrating) to things that really kind of suck the life out of you (like bringing my cat to the shelter).
My last morning with Rockie.
when i first started planning my cross-country move, i knew there were going to be these things - and i decided that this would be a perfect time for me to try to get over my anxiety. anxiety about decision making, about not having control over things, about no being able to plan things into the ground RIGHT NOW. i struggle with this kind of stuff and it bogs me down in ways that i absolutely can't stand, but previously i've felt like i wasn't necessarily tough enough to handle it. in the past few years, i've started to show myself that i indeed can handle more than i think i can. i've grown a lot in dealing with things like a breakup after six years, living in a one room apartment, having to give up one sick cat (and now my second), numerous stupid heart-related relationship/non-relationship bullshit... 

 i am tougher than i always thought. and braver, and more awesome. but i'm still human, and i have to remind myself to be kind to myself. to be gentle with myself. these are not easy decisions that i'm making. these are decisions that are taking me 3,000 miles away from everything i have ever known, straight into the arms of a lot of things and people that i don't know very well at all. that takes a whole other level of strength and courage than i have ever had to use before. 

so, sometimes i cry and freak out and call my mom to sob for a half hour. sometimes i text my friends for a bitch session, or post to social media about the frustrations. but i am trying to remind myself that for every crappy thing that happens, there are several good things happening simultaneously. just because i can't see the future clearly doesn't mean that i won't be able to very soon. 

spending the past two months trying to plan a procedure at my doctor's office that i found out today i can't actually have done because of a problem between a pharmaceutical company and my doctor's office (even though my insurance covers it 100%), is frustrating and TOTALLY OUT OF MY CONTROL. so, i complained about it for a little while and now i have to get over it and move onto the next plan (which hopefully won't take two more months).

there have been one or two people who have not agreed with the way that i've progressed on with my plan. and i've had to learn that i am the only person i need to answer to at the end of the day.  i have had to realize that these people are not friends, no matter how long i have known them. anyone who is going to give you unsolicited inflammatory advice without the facts or even flat out asking me for my side first, is not a friend. i don't expect anyone to support me, but i certainly expect them to go about their own business if they don't. luckily, 99% of my friends & family are behind me all the way.

i'm learning slowly how to let go. of a lot of things. control, friends and people i thought were my friends, possessions, things i thought i loved, things i know i loved, things that have kept me company for a long time. 

Arizona, 2013.

the crazy thing about all of this is that in the process is that once i get to where i'm going  i'm going to have to do the same thing - just let things happen as they will - while at the same time taking total control of my life to try to find a job and make things work. can i do all of this with a mimosa in my hand?!, because i'm gonna need that...

but until then, these not-so-fun things are starting to happen, with a few more of them on the horizon that have yet to come about. my goal is to focus on the good, to be happy while i'm still in maine, and to not let the little/big things get me down.  i've noticed that i'm changing already, little by little - the old me would have had the driving route planned long ago and would have already (like, months ago) started to look into motels along the way. i haven't even started that yet, but just dug out the maps and AAA books today to put that towards the top of the to-do list. 

the reality of it all has hit, the shitty stuff is starting, i've already lost a friend or two (you really do learn who your true friends are when you do something like this), and its no longer this romantic idea in my head to travel off into the distance with the wind at my back that i think about before i go to sleep at night. so... here's to not worrying, saying WHATEVER, letting it all happen, and checking things off the to-do list. this is my chance to be who i want to be. so if you see me and i look like i'm freaking out and you ask me how i'm doing and i say "i'm okay," you don't really have to believe me but please pretend like you believe me anyway. 

because, i'm okay. mostly.

09 July 2014

...i got this. (in the details.)

as many (most) of you know, i'm moving clear across the country - Maine to Arizona to LA - 3,000 miles, in two and a half months. 79 days from today, but who's counting. 

in the past couple of weeks i have given my landlord and my boss notice of my moving and quitting dates. SHIT IS GETTING REAL.

a decision like this comes with up's and down's - like anything else in life. but holy heck, soooo many up's and down's. when i first made the decision, i was worried about what people would think, what my family would say, how i would say goodbye to everyone, what would i bring with me, what would i do with my cat, where would i live, how would i find a job, how would i meet people, what would the drive be like, would i go alone, would i fit in...would i be making a huge mistake... how would i know how to do any of this?!
"fool me twice".
 one by one, i'm crossing things off of my to-do list, and answering a lot of those questions. i realized i couldn't worry about what anyone else thought and had to go with my gut and my heart, true friends & family would follow suit. i can fit 7 big plastic bins and one suitcase into my car, so everything i can take with me has to fit - everything else has been sold, given away, or stored with my parents and brother. 

i made plans today that my cat is going to the shelter this weekend. so far, this has been the most emotional part for me. i'm sure there will be more as it gets closer, but having given up my other cat just a year ago because of her medical problems still doesn't make me a pro at this part. keeping my eye on the big picture and knowing that this is necessary doesn't make it any easier. she's been with me for 7 years, through good and bad. she's a tough one, not very nice, can't be with other animals or kids. but she loves to sleep with me at night. 
i have a short term place to live in AZ, and a temp living arrangement with the possibility of permanence in LA if necessary. if i decide to go back to AZ after my two month stint in LA, i can go back to my short term place until i can find an apartment. i'm lucky to have friends with space for me. i have a sewing job to hold me over until i decide where to stay and can find a regular day job - and i'm not going to be limiting myself in what kinds of jobs i'll look for. as for meeting people, my friends have friends. facebook has been slightly helpful, both in meeting people and also in networking. the drive will be likely four days of 10 hours of driving each, with my brother and i taking turns and sleeping in cheap motels along the way.  i'll fit in, somewhere - anywhere.

i'm not making a huge mistake. I HOPE. and i don't know how to do any of this, but i'm just going one day at a time. i'm asking for help where i need it, and am finding myself humbled by the help that my friends and family have been able to give me. my parents are letting me live rent-free for my last month here (september) to help save some cash. friends old and new have been buying up some of my stuff, both to help with my savings account and also so that they could keep a little piece of me behind - i've sold fabrics, books, trinkets, decor pieces, curtains, and hand sewn goodies. even at the very last minute of needing something random, people have been able to help. 

my heart is so full, i don't know how i possibly can leave here without taking that with me. and i have a couple of months to gather up even more of it.

and still, not really knowing what to expect, nothing feels like i thought it would. i'm excited, more than i can tell you. and i'm scared, more than i can tell you. the cast of characters is ever changing - people that i thought would be really involved are nowhere to be found, and people who i had no idea cared so much have been front & center. a couple of my california lady-friends (we met via instagram and have turned into texting friends who seem like we've known each other forever) have been so helpful in keeping me sane and less nervous. my LA quilting guy friend who will be putting me up during my stay has been helpful in more ways than i can mention, and our email exchanges never fail to make me a) laugh, and b) figure something out (out of pure train of thought usually). my friends at work give me the sounding board i need, daily. aghh, its nice to have SO MANY people behind me, cheering me on.

some faces from years ago have popped up recently, in good & bad ways. with everything going on and so many things to get done (like, when on earth can i sit down to work at my sewing machine?!), i'm trying to be slightly selective with who i give my time to. i don't want to burn too many bridges, because i have no idea when i might need to come back home. but certainly, i have changed in the past, oh i don't know, ten years. two years, if i'm being honest. 
part of the reason i feel like i have no idea how to do any of this is because sometimes i feel like i have no idea who i am right now - its like i woke up one day with this crazy idea and NOW I'M DOING IT. and look at all the weird shit i've got to leave behind.
as soon as i walked away from hugging him goodbye, i thought to myself, "i should have hugged him harder. longer. better. more." i hugged him like i was in a hurry, even though i was so scared to leave; the tears in my eyes came as soon as he was barely out of sight... but i think i knew, even then, that i was hugging the thought of him. i was scared that i was always going to be left with just a memory. i knew it then - and still it surprises me now, as i say goodbye in my own way all over again.
before i move, i still have two or three dog/house sitting jobs to do, furniture to sell, a friend's wedding to help coordinate, some custom sewing to do, and a goodbye party to plan. but what i really want to do is SEW. after the TBHquilt project, i ended up with a little list of sister projects. i (very silly-ly) started one, regardless of the lack of time i have to work on it.

the BE A BADASS quilt...

 it doesn't have quite the social statement, but its definitely in the MAKE WHAT YOU WANT & LOVE category, that i'm totally obsessed with currently.

other things i'm obsessed with: 

the fact that after seven years of listening/living to their music,
i can't even explain that right now, (it was epic) so i'll save it for its own post later on...

the fact that i recently managed to finish two quilts for myself,
so that while i'm bouncing from state to state, i'll have a piece of home.
there's just so much to say. so many details to put into place. so much to do, but i can only do a little bit at a time. so, if you see me and i look like i'm screaming on the inside but smiling on the outside, just high-five me and tell me YOU GOT THIS. because, i totally do. i got this. i'm not worried anymore, just going through the motions. (currently dog/house sitting for two weeks without my sewing machine, and substituting OCD sewing with binge tv watching and bad cable, and hours on Pinterest. .....whatever works!)

a friend mentioned to me that she hopes i write a book someday.. but before that happens, i hope to keep updating here with everything as it gets closer and starts to happen more quickly and awkwardly and awesomely. right now, its all in the details. but soon, it will be all in the EVERYTHING.