Tuesday, March 18, 2008

On The Therapeutic Powers Of Quilting

Sometimes, in the on-going battle of the sexes, you need a member of the opposition on your side. And so it was that I went to see my therapist last week.

I’m a simple, uncomplicated person with simple, uncomplicated needs. One of which is to be accepted "as is." The Logic boat, alas, left the dock long ago, without me. Ditto for HMS Rational Thought and HMS Emotional Equilibrium. Their absence, however, is amply compensated for by my wit and charm. Not to mention my humility. These are not new revelations. We need to get over them already, and move along. Sometimes we do, but occasionally we stumble.

My brain, whose workings seem perfectly normal to me, operates in ways mysterious and exasperating to the above-average male.

He wants the short answer.
He is not interested in the ramifications of THIS point of view, or in a treatise on why THAT course of action MIGHT be better.
He wants to cut to the chase.
He wants to dispense with the bullshit.

He wants brevity, above all, it being the soul of wit.

I, unfortunately, don’t do brevity.

He wants the “yes,”
Or the “no.”
Without the preamble.
And I am unable to deliver.

And so the sparks fly.

Which brings us back to my therapist, who is quite famous. Perhaps you’ve heard of him? Dr. Bernina? He has coaxed women all over the world in off the ledge, again, and again, and again.

And since he operates the Central Florida branch of his practice out of my sewing room, he can usually fit me in at ten seconds notice. Where else could you find such convenience?

In addition to my male-induced stress levels, our quilt guild’s challenge was due on Thursday. This year’s theme was Black and White with a touch of one other colour.

We’d had three months warning, and I had amassed a variety of suitable fat quarters, but because of my procrastination superpowers and life's pesky habit of interfering with quilting time, I had not started anything. All was not lost however. I still had twenty four hours.

Quilting is a lot like writing. If you’re feeling uninspired you just have to start writing down words, and moving them around until they start making sense. Likewise with a quilting challenge. Thinking is good, but action is better. You have to dive into your stash and start moving fabrics around, and see how they work together, and hope that the juxtaposition of one with an unlikely other will start pistons firing in your brain. Then all you have to do is make sure your fingers are nimble enough to keep up.

And keep the coffee coming……

So, early Wednesday morning, fortified with coffee and oatmeal, I slipped into Dr. Bernina’s office. The gentle, hypnotic hum of his voice had the desired effect. I started with only a hazy idea. But by noon we were smokin’!

Lunch------never occurred to me.
Supper……a cup of tea.
At midnight we were still huddled. The good doctor shared his insights.
Something coherent was taking shape.

Creative juices were flowing. I was even feeling benign towards persons male.
At 6 a.m. as the sun came up, we were into the final furlong, the doc and I.
At 7 a.m. I put the last stitch in my quilt and emerged triumphant from his office. Time to hit the shower, me and the sandpaper that lined my eyelids.

My entry was not brilliant. At best it was cute. But at least I had done what I had, belatedly, set out to do.

An impressive number of guild members had spent time with their therapists too, with satisfying and creative results.

Various ribbons were handed out, one even finding its way onto my little offering. But before you go slapping me too hard on the back you should know that it was for third place in its category, which had four entries in all!

Best of Show went to an exquisite wall hanging, designed and appliquéd by one of our most talented and artistic members. Her appliqué is amazing, and if you zoom in close you’ll see the beautiful beadwork on the flowers.

Never underestimate the therapeutic powers of making a quilt! I expect to be pleasant company for the next few weeks, thanks to Dr. Bernina. I will even try to be brief, pithy, and as succinct as it is possible for a person to be who chewed a big chunk off the Blarney Stone.

Men everywhere should just accept that women are never going to have thought processes exactly like theirs and love us JUST THE WAY WE ARE.

Of course there's always the danger they’ll expect us to reciprocate.
I’m not sure I’m ready to give up trying to get them to think as we do, which, as any sane woman knows, is infinitely the better way!


Stomper Girl said...

Well done on your ribbon and your therapy. Your quilt is great. And the best in show quilt was fabulous.

Ali Honey said...

Oh Molly - You don't do things by halves do you? How the devil did you stay awake? Glad you got a ribbon for your efforts. I love black and white and red.

Yes and no alone are so boring; be yourself...who wants to think like a bloke?

riseoutofme said...

And which one is yours? I'm presuming its the first photo? If it is ... you were robbed.

velcro said...

which one was yours? But well done in winning a ribbon. The one that won was beautiful but the one with the little girl on was my favourite

sMC said...

well done Molly, please confirm which one is yours. There is a Dr Pfaff residing in my neighbourhood.
Oh men why can't they think like us. Logically.

thailandchani said...

Oh, wow! They are really pretty! They really are!

Wow! I can definitely see where it would be so calming and peaceful to make these.

Thimbleanna said...

Yes, Molly, which one is yours? Inquiring minds want to know. They're all lovely -- I'm thinking perhaps the first one was just picture of a black and white with red quilt but not an entry, since it's much bigger and more intricate than the others? I'm also thinking that in regard to that last hope of changing the way men think, you might be fighting a losing battle??? ;-)

Kapuananiokalaniakea said...

Love this! Love that your therapist lives in your sewing room, ready to provide therapy on your schedule. Am over the top impressed with your quilting abilities. I have never quite possessed the patience that quilting requires and could not understand its therapeutic qualities until you explained it "Quilting is a lot like writing. If you’re feeling uninspired you just have to start writing down words, and moving them around until they start making sense." Oh!!! Like that! Thank you for the light bulb!
Love the way you wrote about this. I was flying with your fingers as you worked with the kind doctor.
Laughed out loud when explained the difference between the sexes.
Thank you for a beautiful start to my day.

Kacey said...

I have your therapist's brother living in my utility room. He is Dr. Bernina Artista and sometimes I think he is driving me crazy. My back up therapist is Dr. Pfaff and though I love him dearly, he went to live at my daughter's house rather than go without any patients. I finally have learned how to use Dr. Bernina Artista for embroidery and banged out an adorable baby quilt, but have not quilted it yet. I love your big black and white ----fantastic piecing skills! The third prize winner is a really cute piece of work --- the muse was upon you! I will say that the disease of quilting is definitely contagious --- I gave it to my daughter and she is very prolific. I told her that if I died, she should come grab my stash and all the sewing stuff, so "My Honey" never knows what sort of a hog he is married to.

Tanya Brown said...

You say the logic boat left the dock long ago, yet the thought processes you described seem quite logical and reasonable to me.

Alas, this is a fairly common conflict between married couples, coworkers, et cetera. There are those who think things out while discussing them, and those who only discuss matters after having thoroughly internally digested them.

Anyhow, I'm glad Dr. Bernina was helpful. Your work is beautiful and needs no self-deprecation.

meggie said...

Congratulations! Once for winning a prize, & once for writing a brilliant post.
I love that applique of the winner, just stunning. Did she design it herself?

eastcoastdweller said...

The way that a Woman thinks is not a problem to be fixed or a deficiency to be rectified.

I call a certain tasty tuber a potato. In Sweden, they like to call them a word that translates to "earth-pears." Conjures up a whole new set of imagery to me. It is a different way of thinking, and certainly not an inferior one.

Likewise, the way that Woman thinks is a beautiful thing, and a blessed contribution to our world, a different facet of the human diamond.

To paraphrase one of my favorite lyrics from an old Stevie Nicks song, man is leather, Woman is lace and both are blessed when they give the gift of themselves, to each other.

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