As I was cleaning my room over the weekend, I gathered into a single location all the random ephemera I’ve compulsively collected with the intention of cataloging it into some kind of scrap book, but have never actually done so. Little bits of interesting paper, ticket stubs, programs, quotes from fliers, art my kids have made, things of that sort that for whatever reason catch my eye or feel important to me.
This habit of collecting began in earnest during my pregnancy with Emet, though I have always been a bit of a sentimental hoarder. I have a shocking number of plastic bins filled with what some my consider random clutter, or even rubbish, but that are absolutely precious to me. I also have an impressive amount of paper crafting supplies, purchased over the years to help me transform the contents of the bins into….something else? Trouble is, I’ve never really gotten past the collecting part, and I think it’s because I’ve not really had a clear vision of what I wanted that something else to be. Well, that, and the Perfectionism that frequently prevents me from taking action.
One of the things I see in my students all of the time is the fear of making a mistake. I am teaching them a brand new skill, sometimes one they’ve never even heard of, and frequently they are unable to try without panicking. I tell them over and over that it takes a lot of practice in order to get good at something, and that “practice” is just another way of saying “repeating.” You repeat something, you do it over and over again, in order to improve. The key words, of course, are: DO SOMETHING.
Nike really hit the nail on the head with Just Do It. Truly, just do it. I hear myself say, “Don’t be afraid to make a mistake! We can always fix it!” to my students multiple times a week. And yet, I have the hardest time taking my own good advice. If you never start, how can you ever expect to get any better?
A big goal of mine this year is to go through every single box and bin in my possession. At the end of January, we finally emptied our storage unit, so everything we own lives at the same address. And since our plan is to stay here through at least the end of next school year, I went in to this calendar year determined to tackle the biggest of projects.
Naturally, I haven’t had a clue where to start.
A few weeks ago, one of the daily tasks I began giving myself was to tend to home projects. Little by little, things have started to take shape – the linen closet, the kitchen, the toys.
It was only a matter of time before my attention would land in my bedroom, where there is nothing left for me to do but begin to address all the things I’ve been avoiding. Over the weekend, I tackled the bulk of the clutter, leaving just the bits that have yet to find a formal place to land. Those were corralled into a little basket, tucked into my workspace.
And there was just something about that basket that sort of did it for me.
A few short clicks later, my curbside pick-up order had been placed and I was on my way to Michael’s and back home again, armored with glue sticks, card stock, adhesive tape, and a paper cutter. Yes, many of those things live in my garage but one thing I know about my creative process is that when inspiration strikes, it is now or never.
The fact that my highly anticipated new planner happened to arrive at our mailbox before I even had time to unpack my new tools was even more fan to my flames. Don’t stop me now, Mr. Fahrenheit!
I dove in as quickly and as deeply as I could and managed to get the framework for half a dozen pages completed of what will become my very first handmade scrap book. I’m keeping the format loose, with no plans other than to fill it up. It will be made of mostly things I already own or have collected, enhanced by the few things I mentioned above. If all goes accordingly, this will become the first of many little bound treasures.
It might not seem like much, punching a few holes and glueing some things together. But for me, it is extremely significant. Like something bubbling to the surface after a long percolation, I plan to ride this wave of inspiration as far as it’ll carry me.