Beginnings are something at which I excel. I mean really. I come into new projects like a lion/whirling dervish of creative and motivational fury, intent on the next big thing being conceived and born on this very day. And yet …
Above is a picture of my craft cabinet. Paint, canvas, a spiral binding device. Yarn. All the necessary tools for yarn. Decorative papers. Gold leaf stuff. All manners of glue. Some monkscloth shoved in one of the lower bins (I can’t be sure which one, but I know it is there, judging me.) Binders full of stories and poems that I had intended to bind into little artisan volumes. Feathers for fascinators. Beads. Glitter. Oh, the motherfucking glitter.
If were to look at my bookshelves two years ago, you would have seen at least twenty different manuals on cooking and crafts and entrepreneurship. Woodworking, bookbinding, sushi rolling, manuscript formatting, et cetera. A year and a half of neither my husband nor I making a steady income led us to sell about 3/4 of our books, so most of those manuals no longer shame me with their textual guilts of accomplishments not made. Also, now all of our books fit on the bookshelves we own, so that’s a bonus too.
So obviously, my problem with beginnings, is I rarely make it through to the ends. I’ve really only seen a handful of middles, actually. I begin … and when the romance of newness fades, I bail. Onto brighter, shinier, bigger ideas. It’s gotten so that I don’t want to begin things for the fear of never completing them. I don’t really fear failure or success so much as my own inability to see something to its conclusion.
Am I being unfair to myself here? Oh totally. I obviously have completed some stuff, here and there. I coauthored a book. I performed for a year with a group of amazing women (our grant period was for one year, now we’re all taking a break to figure out what we want to do to next). I’m doing a pretty decent job of raising a kid. I have been married pretty joyfully for 13 years. I don’t cut and run on everything. I don’t, ultimately, suck as a human being. Or as one who can work together with a group to finish things.
I do, however, suck at activities that are solely mine. I try not to drop the ball with other people, but I will sure as shit drop it when it is just me. Usually on my foot, breaking a toe or two, either metaphorically (often) or literally (only two or three times have I dropped something on my foot and broken toes). I’ve been trying to figure out why I’m willing to let myself down, when I would rather chew off my own foot (the one with the good toes, too, so you know I’m serious) than let someone else down.
And … I don’t have the answer. Not yet at least. I’m trying to make a documentary, so I really need to figure it out so that I actually, you know, make the damn thing. The past couple of months, I’ve tried to give myself some symbolic victories. Finishing gloves that have been on the needles for years, giving away the project supplies and ideas that I know I will never use, and setting teeny measurable goals for already tiny projects. NaBloPoMo is one of those goals, those significantly less tiny than some.
I’ll figure it out, and one day, I will stop being afraid of beginnings, because one day, I’ll finish more projects than I abandon.