Monday, April 9, 2012

I'm Cured

My quilt retreat was amazing.  The teacher, Sue Nickels, was probably the best quilt teacher I've ever had.  She kept up a brisk pace and I learned so much.  Every minute was a joy.

I managed to almost finish my quilt top for the class project.  It's probably the best work I've ever done.  I worked some mornings from 6AM and stayed to laugh and work and chatter with the other women until 11PM.  I picked colors that sang to me.  I got so much out of it in return.  People showered me with compliments that made me feel so good.  People told me I inspired them.  People told me they were proud of me.  Strangers asked to take pictures of me holding my quilt.  It was the greatest week in my creative life.  I was really proud of myself and what I was able to accomplish.

Then I got home.  Nobody bothered to greet me when I walked in.  I tried to pull out my finished piece to show my girls.  Drama Girl took a quick glance and said.

"I guess the people at that place would like it."

I cried.

I have been deluding myself for so long that what I found joy in would have any interest to my family.  There is nothing that would make them proud of me.  Even after I told my husband about how I thought it was my best work he wasn't curious enough to ask to see it.

I try to support all of them wholeheartedly in every thing they do.  I guess I was expecting some support in return.

For the first time, it made me ashamed of my efforts.  I have clearly been wasting my time doing something silly with all of this handiwork.  I'm going to leave the sewing machine packed up and not work on quilts or needlework or anything else any more. 

I've taken my stupid quilts off the walls and couches and packed them away.  I'm cured of my stupid hobbies now.

20 people stopped folding laundry to write:

Joanna said...

Here's something to think about. Do you do your hobbies for your family and get no enjoyment out of it? If so, yes, you should stop if they don't notice or appreciate your efforts.

However, if you do your hobbies because you enjoy doing it and it makes you happy, then don't you dare stop. Everyone needs something that they love to do. When your kids are out of the house, you are going to need a personal identity that goes beyond caring for others.

Do your hobbies for you.

Goddess in Progress said...

Totally, completely, 100% agree with Joanna's comment above.

I mean, yes. I absolutely sympathize. You had this ENORMOUS experience, and then came home to a massive letdown and family members that need a lesson in respect for you and caring about the things that you do. That is BAD NEWS. But THEY are the ones who need to make a change, not you. Just because I'm not a video gamer like my husband doesn't mean I can't ask about or express interest in what he's doing. Just because he's not a quilter doesn't mean he shouldn't take notice of what I make (and shower me with compliments, OF COURSE).

Even if your family members never develop an independent interest in fabric or sewing, the lesson they really need to learn is a respectful appreciation for someone else's interests and talents. SOMEONE THEY LOVE, SOMEONE WHO IS IMPORTANT TO THEM.

I'm sorry that was so hurtful. It really sucks. But don't pull down your quilts, and don't feel dejected. Don't get passive.

Get aggressive. Sit everyone down and have a real talk about how showing interest in each other's interests is a way of caring for and about one another. You can talk about how gymnastics (or whatever) was never something you had your own interest in, but you have learned about it and gained an appreciation because it was something THEY loved. They don't have to learn to sew or love fabric. But they can express caring for YOU by acknowledging that this hobby is something that is important to YOU.

OK, now I'm really just ranting. But I mean it. Keep sewing, because it's something YOU love to do, and it's part of who YOU are. And use this as a teachable moment about how we respect and care for other members of our family.

Cheryl said...

I agree with the ladies above too. I know how it is to come home from a quilt retreat all excited and full of enthusiasm only to find those at home don't share in my passion for my hobby.....but I love quilting so much and it is my hobby, so that's ok. I think when you go to retreat there is so much support and excitement all around you on a day to day basis that you kind of expect that when you come home. But the good news....you have all your bloggy friends who are more than excited to see all your wonderful projects and see what you made at retreat. So please, please show us what you worked on. You know we are all going to be so excited. And unpack that sewing machine and put those quilts back out...you love them and that counts for a whole lot, and please know we are all here waiting to support and encourage you. (((((((hugs))))))))

Tami said...

I think every wife/mom who has tried to express herself in any form has had that same feeling. Kids who snub your work (or refuse to use/wear anything you made). Husbands who read your short-story efforts and remain silent. But I don't sew or write to make them happy. I sew and write because we are created in God's image and, since He's a creator, so are we!

If quilting and sewing is how you express creativity, keep it up! Share your work with other quilters who will love it and appreciate the effort and talent you put into them.

As for the family - put no effort into creating meals, clean laundry or car pools!

Alison said...

oh! This post made me teary on your behalf... and rage-ey at your family, on your behalf.

I've been a reader for a couple of years, and have loved watching your quilting online, and have shared some of what you do with my Mom, whose a begining quilter.

I'm sorry your family doesn't get it, but someday they will, and they will appreciate the heirlooms that your creating, and that they will have to pass along for many years to come.

I hope that you don't stop, but I understand the urge to just shove it all away.

I hope your kids and husband-person come to realize that they've hurt your feelings, and are able to rectify things.

owlfan said...

I agree with all the above posters. You have every right to feel mad and disappointed in your family's reaction, but didn't your DH suggest your going off to quilt camp? He must know deep down that it is something important to you. And I know I've seen pictures of your kids snuggled up in your quilts. Your family needs to read this post and take some attitude adjustments from it.

I'd love to see what you created this past week! I'm going to a low key quilt retreat with my guild next week and I'm in need of some inspiration. Lately, the quilting/sewing has been taking a backseat to all sorts of other things (including computer games) and I would like to restore some balance.

Laura said...

Ack! Don't stop quilting and sewing! I love reading your blog and seeing your projects and am super excited to see what you got to work on at the retreat! Even though I don't know you other than through your blog (from the Christmas boards a few years ago) your work always inspires me to be a better quilter. So keep quilting and posting! (please!)

Krissy H said...

I AGREE WITH ALL THAT THE BEAUTIFUL LADIES SAID ABOVE!!! And of course I'm extremely disappointed in the family - that said - that's their problem and all of what you got from the various people at the retreat - strangers is the TRUTH. I myself have told you how you could make a fortune off of your work - you are extraordinarily gifted and you must NEVER stop creating. You are an artist to the core and they are the ones missing out. To stop creating is to rob yourself and others (like me!) the chance to see and experience your gifts. I cried reading this because I know it took the wind out of your sails but I say keep doing what you are passionate about for you and you alone. That is the greatest gift and you are so lucky that you are so talented please don't stop because of their actions (or should I say inaction!). Love you so much - you inspire me and so many others - do not pack in the thread - I repeat - do not pack in the thread!!!! xoxo

Carol said...

Hello my friend Cheryl told me about your blog. Seems to me if strangers were stopping you and asking to take a picture of you and your quilt you must be an amazing quilter. Being a quilter myself I couldn't imagine a better compliment. I'm pretty sure your husband knows how much you love quilting because he wanted you to have a week of quilting at a quilting retreat because he knew it would make you happy. Don't know much about your husband but most husbands who love their wives are happy if the wife is happy. Take in consideration that teenagers don't like much of anything unless it benefits them in some way. I think your kids love you and want you to do what makes you happy but don't really know how to show it. Please don't go to the extreme of taking your lovely quilts off the walls. Do what you love and do it for you. I personally would love to see pictures of what you made at your quilt retreat.

Anonymous said...

You'll feel better in the morning... life with teenagers (and men!), pretty typical. Honestly they probably can't appreciate what they're seeing anyway (through no fault of their own!). Unless they've made a quilt--start to finish--themselves, they don't really "get" the amount of effort it takes to make one by hand when there are so many amazing things coming out of factories all the time.

Melissa said...

I am so very, very, very sorry!! And I feel your pain - I've had similar experiences often...I don't try to show Tim my photography anymore because it was too painful for me. I share my poetry with others who are interested and when I make something for the home, I just put it out there with no notice to the family.

I know how hurt and bruised you must feel. I read that other women have been there too. If it is a passion - please don't stop - we are hear to read, look, enjoy, listen, and compliment.

Melissa said...

we are here - even when we can't keep our homonyms straight.

Elise SansSouci said...

Please say it isn't so!

Your family doesn't understand but that doesn't mean your work doesn't have value. I have never met you, but I think of you as a friend. I am very sad for you today.

Could this be a late April Fool's joke?

Courage!

WidneyWoman said...

Oh, Lit, I'm so sorry this happened to you. This is huge. This is one of the times in your life that you will never forget the hurt, rejection and disappointment you felt upon returning from one of the biggest highs in your life. Because of this, I wholeheartedly agree with the above suggestion to sit the famiy down and use this as a learning opportunity for your family.

Please know that I want to see the work you did on your working vacation. And I am quite jealous of the people who have photos of you with your work. It's been four years and I still don't know what you look like. ;-)

Rosemary said...

I feel so sad for you. I know you are feeling hurt. You are one of the most supportive mothers I know and to have your kids just dismiss your achievements as unimportant hurts a great deal. Teenagers are so self centred most of the time. I doubt they are aware of the hurt they've caused you. Show them your blog entry to let them know how you feel.

Don't give up your hobbies. They give you joy and that should be reason enough to continue with them. You don't need your husband's or children's validation to keep doing what you enjoy doing.

So many of your blog readers also enjoy keeping up with your project achievements and seeing the finished products. I know I for one am often inspired by your work.

I'm sending you lots of gentle hugs.

What A Card said...

Oh no, it's so disappointing when our loved ones let us down. I hope you don't stop quilting. It's something for YOU, and your good at it, and it seems like something you love.

You're incredibly talented--I don't quilt, I'm not especially crafty, and I'm still interested in seeing your quilts and other craft projects.

It sounds like this is more about being rightfully hurt by your family. I'm sure they were just being involved in their own lives, as well all tend to get at times, that they neglected you. Hang in there! Sending lots of hugs...

Interesting Facts said...

I agree with the ladies above too. I'm sending you lots of best wishes.

Wendy said...

No, please, please don't quit. WE are proud of you and have interest in what you make. OK, so we're not your family, but there are people out here that care.

I know how you feel. I can spend weeks making a quilt and show my husband and I get the same response as I get if I show him a granny square I took 10 minutes to crochet "very nice" accompanied by a quick glance. But you know what? They're the ones in the wrong. It's rude, just rude.

Coloradolady said...

Oh. This made me cry. I feel the same way. I don't feel like anyone is proud of me for any thing I do. I really don't. It is not a good feeling.

I think I would have been greeted in the same fashion myself. Maybe things become the norm and no one pays attention. I don't know.

Then yesterday, I got an email from a total stranger saying the quilt I am working on was not correct and I should have researched it more before wasting my time. Good grief. Where do people think they have the right to say such nasty things to people. I closed the sewing room door yesterday and walk away. Frustrated. Mad. Hurt.

Bottom line is I love what I do. Maybe I don't do it well, but I love it. It fills up the spaces in my heart that need filling. Lots of folks don't get that. But that is ok. I know it is something I need to do.

Hang in there....sending hugs your way.....I like to blame things on the weather..maybe that is it!! :)

Brown Dirt Cottage said...

I am teary eyed girlfriend. I don't think anyone really understands how much of ourselves we put into these quilts we obsess over, especially all the warm fuzzy thoughts we have of that particular person we are making it for at the time.
I have had my feelings hurt numerous times over "quilting'. No one I know outside of blogland in my area makes quilts.
We have a group of friends we meet with occasionally and once I was saying something about my blog and my quilty buddies in blogland and I saw one of the gals roll her eyes. To this day I never say or mention anything about my projects or quilting when I am around them and they never ask. I was just devastated when I saw her do that. I thought these were my friends and to suddenly realize maybe we weren't really friends at all and they were just bored by my quilt talk. Needless to say, we don't meet with that group very much anymore.
So, I feel your pain and I know how you feel. Sometimes I ask myself why I continue to make these quilts, but I know that I enjoy it and maybe one of these days I will feel that others do too.
You know I am green with envy over your retreat, but I still like you anyway and I promise not to ever roll my eyes when you talk quilting!

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