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Posts Tagged ‘friends’

Uh-oh, you’ve been swept up in a riptide. Here’s what to do: swim parallel to the shore. If you try to swim against the riptide straight back to shore you’ll tire yourself out and drown before making any progress at all. Think of the riptide like a treadmill stuck on sprint settings. When you decide, instead, not to fight it head-on is when your efforts matter. Riptides don’t go on forever. If you swim parallel to the shore you’ll swim out of the riptide and be able to get to shore a bit further down the beach. 

 

Good to know, huh? I’m learning to swim parallel in life. My instinct is to fight this overwhelming force called bipolar disorder or despair or self-worth head-on. That’s not working. I’m just exhausted and further from the shore than I’d be if I just gave in. I’m not advocating drowning here, just smarter swimming.

There are likely going to be a lot more riptides for me. If I can learn to be smart about it things will be less traumatic.

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I have great compassion for people who don’t handle stress well. There’s a famous singer now who’s been in and out of rehab as a “cutter”. If you’re hurting inside, sometimes it comes out, too. And, frankly, these are people with very strong emotions who don’t have the coping skills to deal with them. 

 
The good news is: coping skills can be learned. Here are three of mine.
 
I had a very emotional day yesterday. Nothing really happened to make me upset, I’m just down. One of my newly learned coping skills that I have to keep reminding myself to practice is to ask for what I need. When I get circling, and “the idiots” are loud (see previous blog post), the very worst thing for me to do is be alone with my thoughts. So, I reached out to a friend, asking if she needed help with her pattern business. Not today, was the answer. No problem. I called another friend, who said I could come right over. We quilted a bit and ran some errands… but really what I appreciated was the company. 
 
Here’s another coping skill I know works for me. Planning the next fun thing before the first one is over. I had a long-distance relationship as a high school senior. My boyfriend and I found that it was much less painful for me to say goodbye after a weekend together when we knew when the next one was. Those idiots tell me that goodbyes are forever. See you in six weeks is better.
 
The last one I’ll talk about today is asking for what you need. I complained to my husband yesterday that he gets many more foot rubs than I do… and then caught myself. I realized that this isn’t because he won’t love on me. It’s because he asks. I would get more foot rubs if I asked for them, too. Our cat Milo gets the most pets by far out of our four kitties because he’s the one who comes up to us meow-ing. It takes some maturity to end the whining-game and simply ask for what you need. The cutest example I’ve seen recently is shown in this photograph.
 
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As you may know, swim class is scary for most young children. Having sat in on sessions for several families, I can attest that there’s a lot of crying and fear going around. The photo above depicts Katya, swim class veteran, and her brother Alexander who’s new to it this year. His coping skill? Asking his sister for hugs. Lots of hugs. She delights in giving Alexander the support he’s asking for. We could all learn a thing or two from this pair. 

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I’m feeling very overwhelmed by how much people are pulling for me… please forgive me if there are tear stains on this note. Oh yeah, it’s on a computer screen so those wipe off. 🙂 Here’s the story of my new sewing machine’s journey. For privacy’s sake, I’m gonna use numbers instead of names, but you’ll get the general idea.

I’m great at straight-line quilting because that’s the most my machine can handle. It’s a Kenmore, the one I learned on when I was 12 years old. It was my mom’s originally, and my aunt got it after she passed on when I wasn’t interested in sewing anymore. Once my passion for quilting reemerged, my aunt gifted the machine to me. It’s a workhorse and just fine… for straight-line quilting. Trouble is, I’m ready to do things like machine applique and free-motion quilting. Those require, at a minimum, the feed dogs to go down…. an option the Kenmore doesn’t offer. I sew with friends regularly, so they knew what I was looking for. 

Friend #1 took me to a vac’n sew shop to have my Kenmore looked at. Turns out it does need a good cleaning-out, but the feed dogs will never go down. It just isn’t built with that option at all. So even with it serviced, it wouldn’t do what I need to do. #1 lent me one of her machines to use. Unfortunately, I couldn’t figure out how to thread the bobbin, and we’ve been busy and haven’t crossed paths since then so I can learn. 

I helped get auction items ready for our quilt guild’s block auction. One of the other volunteers, friend #2, was testing an old machine donated to the guild. She fixed the tension and it was ready to go. She had remembered that I wanted to free-motion quilt, so she offered the machine to me. Woo! Trouble is, I was going to be out of town for the meeting. Friend #3 offered to bid for me and asked what my max amount was. I set the cap at $40 and left knowing I probably wouldn’t get the machine for that little. When I returned, I had an email from #3 saying it was mine! #3 had increased the bid by a single dollar every time there was a counter-bid. When confronted by the other bidder #3 said she was trying to get it for me. The other bidder (friend #4) gave up so I could have it. 

Impressed yet? There’s more. 

Friend #3 held onto the machine for me until I was back in town. We met at a friend’s house (#5) for a night of pattern stuffing and dinner. When she revealed she had the machine for me, friend #6 asked if it had been serviced recently. When I admitted it had been sitting in storage for a few years, she matter-of-factly said that she’d bring it to her guy. The technician, #7, did a lot of work to it. He cleaned up the gunk which used to be oil which had made things start to seize… fixed the stitches, and even welded a part back in to make everything work properly. After hearing the story of people pulling together to get this machine to me, he decided not to charge for the extra labor. Whoa. 

So I got my new-to-me machine last night. Mine, all mine. Well, sort of. I didn’t feel right opening the box and starting to play with it until I knew just how much I’m underwater for this thing. Borrowing money makes me feel very uncomfortable so with my thank you post to friend #6 (the one who brought it to be serviced) I asked how much I owe. The answer? Nothing. My friends #6 and #5 took care of it for me. 

Long story short, with the help of many, many, kindhearted people… I have a used machine that’s in great shape for $40. A sturdy metal Viking that will last a very long time and will do exactly the things I want to learn. Wow. Just, wow. I am so blessed. 

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