The goal of my life has been to fall in love as much as possible. I used to laughingly say that when I was dating (but I meant it) and even now that I’m very-happily married (is there anything nicer?), I still say it because it’s still true.
I fall in love ALL the time. I fall in love with individuals (as friends, as crushes, as mentors). I fall in love with groups (my new mastermind writers’ group, IMPACT self-defense). I fall in love with people I see waiting at bus stops and sitting in cafes. And obviously, I fall in love with all of my characters. Those last, actually, are usually a slower burn, now that I think about it. Normally I write most of a first draft before I can see them clearly. I’m irritated with them until that moment, and then bam, I’m in mad-delirious love, even with the problem characters.
I fall in love with activities, too: square-foot gardening! Bread baking! Straw-bale gardening! Minimizing! Spinning! Running! Ukulele! Accordion!
I have two brand new loves, and they couldn’t be more different. One is physical and loud, one is introspective and quiet. Both are beautiful.
Kajukenbo is a Hawaiian hybrid mixed-martial art, made up of a mishmash of KArate, JUjitso, KENpo, and BOxing. It’s pretty high contact (meaning: hitting! kicking!) and very high intensity. It’s gorgeous, a blend of dancing and fighting, and the Oakland kwoon (school) is just as incredible: a mix of races, genders, and sexual orientations. It feels safe that way. It’s okay to have a girl tummy (big and squooshy and sexy) and fight, too.
The thing is: I’m bad at it. I love things that I’m automatically and quickly good at. The arts tend to come quickly to me. Anything physical is harder, and this is SO physical. Last Thursday night, I wanted to run away. My beginning class was with a substitute, and I wasn’t following her language as well as I did our normal teacher, and it was a millionty degrees in the room, and I just kept thinking, “I could leave. I know no one here. No one but Twitter knows I’m trying to do this. I won’t tell them I left! No one has to know!”
But I want to be someone who says, “I’m a martial artist,” instead of someone who says, “I’d love to be a martial artist.” So I stayed. And I’ll keep going. I’m stubborn, thankfully.
And I love the way I feel afterward. I have yoga-eyes when I get out, if that makes sense to you. All floppy and happy, top down on the car on the way home and even more in love with the overhead moon than I was before.
(I just remembered — I don’t know where it came from but when I was little, I had a serious phobia of substitute teachers. My first act of the school day was always to find the yard-monitor teacher and tug on her dress to ask her if my teacher was there that day. If she said no or that she wasn’t sure, I usually threw up. This is true. Apparently I still get nervous around substitutes. Luckily, I didn’t vomit, but it was touch and go there for a minute.)
I know I’m the last to this party, but PEOPLE. I’m in LOVE.
Clothes, made by hand (every little bit, every stitch), to fit, in jersey (because we all live in jersey, or want to). I went to hear Natalie Chanin speak at A Verb for Keeping Warm last week, and I tried on the clothes in the trunk show. Completely unembellished, those clothes fit me better and looked better than anything ever has. I felt like I’d finally found my true style. When your aforementioned soft belly feels like it’s wearing PJs but you know you could go from the office to the garden and then to a party and look great at all the places? Hello. Come to me, darling.
I was a bit worried, getting started. The only crafting thing I hate to do is sew by hand, so I’m not sure why I was so sure I’d love the reverse appliqué method. But I was pretty dang sure I would. Then I started, and I remembered that I’ve always loved embroidery, and that’s all this is. You’re using embroidery methods to hold fabric together. How cool is that?
This is the stencil I cut from felt (using the Blooomers stencil in her first book).
I’m making a 4-gore skirt from thrifted XXXL T-shirts. I cut the eight pieces (two layers) and painted the top layer with fabric paint:
This is an afternoon of Gilmore Girls, more than half a gore’s worth of stitching accomplished.
Eventually, I’ll cut out the middles, like in this swatch:
Ain’t she stunning?
Next week I expect I’ll be obsessed with deep-sea crabbing or ice surfing or something. (Never fear, I’m still in love with writing and knitting. Those remain constant. Hey, in case you missed it, A Life in Stitches* is currently $1.99 in most e-versions! Grab it while you can, if you haven’t read my memoir. Plenty of falling in love there, too. Send one to a friend! Cheaper than buying her a cup of coffee!)
What are you in love with right now?