Insidious Insecurity

So today, I want to talk about insecurities. We all have them.  Some are probably so ingrained, we don’t even know that we have them.

Last weekend was amazing, by the way. For many reasons, but chiefly…

I learned how to sew.

Ok, so my grandmother taught me the basics of how to sew when I was five, Mom taught me how to mend my clothes at seven, and I’ve probably absorbed a bit with a lifetime spent around amazing seamstresses. Gram’s quilts are an art form, and my sister is just disgustingly talented. Me? Up until a couple of years ago, I was vehemently not in that club.

My sister is 15 months older. This meant that everything was a competition to me (she did not feel the same), and she had that automatic 15-month advantage. She also had insane fine motor control, even as a toddler. Gram started teaching her how to sew at about four years old.

Everyone told me that in a year or two, it would be my turn to learn, but I saw how much praise she received, and how amazing all the adults were and knew I wouldn’t get the same reactions. So I decided it wasn’t my thing and went outside to teach myself how to swing without anyone to push me.

There is a very fine distinction here that I want to make clear: my sister’s talent did not intimidate me (even at that age, I could beat her up, so she never intimidated me), it was how everyone else reacted to it. In that way, I could not compete, so I took myself out of the running.

But sewing is a skill I should have. It’s one I very much want to learn from my grandmother. Her Christmas present to me was a sewing machine and the sewing basket her grandmother had given to her as a girl. Last weekend, I finally used them.

After a lifetime of saying, “It’s not my thing,” turning around and saying, “It can be my thing,” isn’t so easy. I wasn’t doing anything complicated, but I wanted to swear, scream, cry. I wanted to rip everything apart because I couldn’t do it, it was pointless, I was ruining it, I would break the machine, I was wasting everyone’s time, I could be doing something else — something I knew was my thing.

I don’t think I’d felt like that since high school.

Insecurity is a bitch. Especially when it’s an insecurity you have internalized for decades and come to believe as fact, rather than fear.

And I got through it. I did a damn good job. The second project was a breeze. While I wouldn’t say I’ve fully conquered my insecurity, I’ve made a fairly good start.

In case you haven’t figured it out by now, I like to take the things I’m afraid of and run at them, screaming and flailing. Yet again, it has proven to work. I can’t recommend it enough.

Unless you’re afraid of something like a big angry bear…

4 thoughts on “Insidious Insecurity

  1. Love this! You and your sister are amazingly talented at so many things in your own ways. I’m so glad you are letting your Gram give you the gift of teaching you how to sew. That is something you will be able to take with you for the rest of your life and memories you will cherish forever.

    1. Thank you! After Dad died, I realized it was one of those things I would always regret if I didn’t learn from her. So now, three years later, we’re finally getting around to fixing that!

  2. Actually to be a brat, Gram first gave me a needle, thread, and scraps of fabric when I was two. ;P At least you have the gross motor skills down to a fine art-I trip over my own feet on a regular basis and your fine motor skills are excellent too. And don’t forget your amazing language skills! You’ll always be my dear sweet lovable little pipsqueak…even though you’re taller and beat me up easily. I’m looking forward to being able to collaborate on a project some day!

    1. … And if I’d said two, you would have been a brat and said three. 😛 As I said, everything was a constant competition to me (blame that on a combination of our family and younger-sib-syndrom), so it took me a long, long time to be ok with being different — not better or worse, just different. But I got there. And, yeah, being able to beat you up helped. ♥

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