Bee worries. Not all of the time, but she definitely worries. She gets a very worried look on her face and I can tell. Of course I have to ask her if she has to go potty, because being worried and having a full bladder provoke very similar facial expressions. But once we get that sorted I ask her what she is worried about and she inevitably pauses a moment, as if trying to figure it out, and then offers up an answer of monsters or thunder. Neither of these is true, of course, but she doesn’t have the words to explain that she is simply worrying. Bee worries.
Bee is also intensely happy. She can smile so intensely that her cheeks actually close her eyes. She can laugh so hard she falls over. She will leap up into our laps and give one or the other of us 10 kisses just because she loves us so much, because she is just so happy. She is infinitely please to be in charge of the worms in the garden, and just sings to herself in delight if given the chance to sit on a horse. Bee is quite definitely happy.
Bee reminds me a lot of myself. Though, while she can flip back and forth between worried and delighted at a moment’s notice, I seem best suited to be both at once. I love what I am doing, but I worry about where it is going. I fret daily over about things big and small (and sometimes nothing) even as I sing along with The Clash or The Modern Lovers in the studio.
Just as Bee is chock full of contradictions as she tries to make sense of the world and find a way to make it her own, I too struggle with many of the same existential issues as I try to figure out how to make this new career uniquely mine. Bee wants more than to just be IN the world; she wants to understand, make sense of it, and direct it (at least her small bit of it).
That, more than anything else, is what I am trying to figure out how to do here in fabric and quilt land. It is not about being in it; it’s about finding my way within it. It is about finding my path, my way of fulfilling the wide-ranging goals I have. It is about bringing my past as an academic together with my present as in the fabric and quilt worlds to create a future that allows me to perpetually grow, to learn, to make things meaningful, beautiful, and sometimes absurd.
I am a lot like Bee. I continually want more, which is not to say either of us want more things. We both always seem to be moving on to the next problem. Each of us can sit endlessly to puzzle something out, but once done there is always another question, another problem at hand. We are not so much restless as engaged.
For much of this year I felt like I couldn’t figure out what to engage with, what the next set of questions were. This has happened to me before, but rarely, and it is always disconcerting. But over the past month I think I have begun to see a path, and Quilt Market seems to have set a new set of wheels spinning.
I completely understand how Bee can seem so worried even though everything seems just fine. There is so much going on; there are so many parts in play, so many ideas to pull together in order for the world to make sense. While the path I am starting to see is still vague, it feels nice to be out of the weeds, to have the world make at least a bit of sense. The ideas are once more becoming coherent, and for me (as well as Bee) that goes a long way.