Even Cowgirls Get the Blues

I would say, and there are probably a few ex boyfriends out there who would agree with me on this, that I have a tendency to overcompensate for my mistakes. Throw the baby out with the bathwater. Something about my nose to spite my face. I live for hyperbole. But something happened tonight that called my attention to this pattern, and made me think about all the times that I've gone too far to erase a mistake and ended up costing myself more pain and drama than if I'd just kept on trucking.

I dumped him and then moved across the country.  Probably we could have just broken up and maybe I even found a new favorite bar.

I just threw my shit in storage and hopped in the car. I guess the fact that my shit is still in storage 2600 miles from where I live and nearly 3 years after the fact says enough about this situation.

I told her exactly what I thought of her "feedback" and walked out. And then filed for unemployment... and was denied.

I know that drama makes a good story, but it doesn't always make for a good life. It makes things tumultuous, and wears me out. Does the fact that I'd rather keep things on the mellow, and myself as happy as possible than  have an epic tale to tell at the end of the day mean that I'm getting old? Hopefully it just means I'm getting smart.

So this evening, I left work a little early, went by my favorite the only bead store in town, and got home in time to make myself a stiff Cuba Libre and get caught up on Breaking Bad.

I was relaxing and making my way through a beautiful rose quartz mala for a friend, when SNAP. The silk cord I was working with broke at the knot I had just tied to secure the pendant. I was halfway though. I took a deep breath and patiently snipped each bead from the cord and laid them back on the bead board to start again.

Now, it's worth noting that this would be the fourth time I'd tried to make this mala. The first one I'd made had snapped halfway though, and the second (the re-make) I'd ended up giving to a friend on her wedding, which worked out perfectly since it's a love mala, but I still didn't have one for the person I'd started making it for. I sat down to make this one, with a few additional tweaks for recipient, only to have it break halfway though as well. I started in on the next round, and was through the fifth section of gemstones when I looked down to realize that I'd switched the pattern on the last round.

It should have looked like this:


But one of the sections looked like this:


My first thought was "labor of love, my ass" and I had already decided to destroy it in the morning and start over tomorrow night. I was pissed, and also tired and frustrated and sleep depped (though this season of Breaking Bad is on fiyah, just FYI).  This was not a good time to get upset. Or try to tie 108 tiny knots.

I stared at the unfinished necklace, and thought of the friend I was making it for. This mala is all about love, kindness, softness and the strength to carry on. I could solve this without destroying the work I'd done. Surely I could undo the last 2o knots, without breaking the silk cord, and correct my mistake. I could finish this mala tonight if I could just keep it together.

This is where I realized that I needed to change my game. Rather than just going back to the error, fixing it and moving on, the nature of my perfectionism is that I'd rather just start over, even if I wear myself out in the process because I'm obsessed with erasing my mistakes. A mala is an interesting thing - each one takes on something of a life of its own as you make it, and it hurts me to destroy one even if just to start over. This is about to get woo woo, but the energies of the gemstones begin to meld, and as you work with them in such a painstakingly detailed way, you weave your intentions for the mala and the wearer into the necklace. This is so much more than tying knots, it's handpicking the gemstones, researching the healing properties of each and using them in combinations customized for the wearer. This is about pouring love and effort and energy and healing into something that is designed to be strong in design so that it may also be strong in its mission. Destroying all of that is about much more than a sharp pair of scissors. This isn't something that I take lightly, and I want them to be perfect.

But I am not perfect, and the things that I make are sometimes beautiful, but as a reflection of their maker, have their own idiosyncrasies and imperfections.

While I was devastated by my error,  tonight I was only than 20 beads from my mistake. I unworked each bead carefully, switched the ones I had screwed up, and slowly put my work back together. No big deal. I just fixed it, and moved on from where I'd left off, all of my previous work, energy and love intact. And THIS, this is where I think it's important to get over our mistakes, take the time to learn from them and keep moving forward. We can't erase our past, and nor should we want to. Everything we've done, good and bad, has brought us to this moment. If we're happy with where we are, then we should be appreciative of how we got there, missteps and all. Our histories are patchworked and beautiful and uniquely ours. No one's life is perfect, but what you make of your experience can be.

I saved myself so much unnecessary drama, effort and blisters by simply acknowledging my mistake, moving to correct it, and carrying on. No, I didn't get to erase it all together, or start over so that I could have a perfect run, but I made something from a place of love and kindness that's supposed to represent love and kindness to the person I'm making it for. I have a history with this piece now, and there's  a little more of me tied into it, a greater gift (hopefully!) for the lovely friend I made it for. And because I checked my ego and unrealistic expectations, I get to give my present so much sooner since I decided to not go all Edward Scissorhands on the thing. Even in a Tim Burton movie, love wins.

I have to say, things are pretty good for me right now, especially in light of the last few months, but there are still things I wish had gone better. I wish the cute cowboy I met at the music festival was a little more savvy in the whole talking department, like, as in able to use the words good. And maybe that he hadn't smashed my chaco-shod toesies while I was doe-si-doe-ing with Mr. Jim Beam. I wish that the navigation of personalities and expectations in a new job wasn't always so uncomfortable.  I know that every situation has its stuff, and most things settle out with time (and minimal emotional involvement), but I guess it's up to us to build the room in our hearts to let everyone, ourselves included, be less than perfect sometimes - even if just to keep things interesting. This way we make sure we have a chance to let the lesson at hand soak in so that we can grow in a meaningful way (not just around the middle) as we move forward on the path and don't end up just running back and forth between what we already know and what feels good. 

Even when things aren't all puppies and instagrammed sunsets, when I'm feeling a little blue, I'm learning to let that soak in too, try to figure out where it's coming from and keep on moving.

With much love :)




The finished mala! You can check out the rest of my work at http://www.etsy.com/shop/HollaMalas janis4