Ever After
  • Archives
  • February4th


    Posted in: Lori

    I’m not sure if you’ve heard the news, but I suffer from a debilitating, paralytic condition that has been particularly acute the last several months.

    It’s not brought on by the cold weather, although we’ve had plenty of that.

    It doesn’t seem to flare up when I eat too much ice cream.  In fact, I’ve been depriving myself of my favorite treat as I try to stop the spread of my lower hemisphere. (Doesn’t seem to be working too well, though).

    I could blame it on childbirth, and I think that it may be related to some kind of postpartum fog that I still find myself in even two plus years later, but I get the sense that there’s more to it than that.

    Honestly, I think that the big, bad WHATIF MONSTER is to blame.  He attacks my confidence; he burdens me with doubt; he torments my resolve.

    As I sit and stare at a blank screen or a think of my many craft projects or gaze at my camera with my glorious 24/70 lens just waiting to be used, my heart starts to race as the WHATIF MONSTER approaches.

    What if I write something and I dangle a preposition or split an infinitive?  Or what if I write something and someone reads it and it makes them feel bad?  Or what if I start to write something and I get interrupted and then I get really angry and then I feel bad and then I realize that I really am a bad mom?

    What if I cut into the silky fabrics and I mess it up?  And what if I use my beautiful fabric on this project and then I decide later on that it would have been better to use it on another project and then it is too late and I can’t get anymore?  And what if I knit up this skein of wool yarn and the gauge is all wrong?  And what if I work on a craft project and the husband comes home and looks at the messy house and thinks (but never says) “wife, what have you done all day?”

    And what if I took a picture and the exposure was wrong or the shutter speed too slow or the f-stop too high or the angle unflattering?

    And the longer I think of the what if’s, the bigger the monster becomes.

    I read a Shel Silverstein poem many years ago that I’m afraid may be read at my funeral.

    “Almost perfect . . . but not quite.”
    Those were the words of Mary Hume
    At her seventh birthday party,
    Looking ’round the ribboned room.
    “This tablecloth is pink not white–
    Almost perfect . . . but not quite.”

    “Almost perfect . . . but not quite.”
    Those were the words of grown-up Mary
    Talking about her handsome beau,
    The one she wasn’t gonna marry.
    “Squeezes me a bit too tight–
    Almost perfect . . . but not quite.”

    “Almost perfect . . . but not quite.”
    Those were the words of ol’ Miss Hume
    Teaching in the seventh grade,
    Grading papers in the gloom
    Late at night up in her room.
    “They never cross their t’s just right–
    Almost perfect . . . but not quite.”

    Ninety-eight the day she died
    Complainin’ ’bout the spotless floor.
    People shook their heads and sighed,
    “Guess that she’ll like heaven more.”
    Up went her soul on feathered wings,
    Out the door, up out of sight.
    Another voice from heaven came–
    “Almost perfect . . . but not quite.”

    And so here I am, one of the least productive people you will ever meet because I’m too afraid to try . . . A coward who worries that the outcome will be “almost perfect . . . but not quite.”

    I envy people who bravely start on projects even when they can’t see the end from the beginning. I marvel at the boldness with which they work, shrugging their shoulders at setbacks and moving forward despite mistakes.

    And so I resolve to slay WHATIF and replace him with a soft, cuddly, lovable SOWHAT.

    It’s okay to read books on slipcovering furniture (I own at least three of them) and to pour over countless articles about it on the Internet and to attend a class (can’t wait for next Friday). But then it’s time to put the books down and get to work. And yes, my couch may end up looking like it’s wearing an ill-fitting “mu-mu” and not the tailored Pottery Barn style “suit” that I’m hoping for.  So what?  I won’t know until I try.

    And even though my blog posts may be overrun with run-on’s and my pictures fuzzy and under-saturated, so what?  Someday I’ll be grateful that I captured the moments of my kids’ fast-fleeting childhood.

    So what if I make more mistakes . . . TONS of them.

    I want to be a “doer” and not just a “thinker.”