thank you for the lovely comments on my previous post! really interesting to hear some thoughts from others on blogging past the early days of sobriety. and am also relieved to hear that I am by no means the only one with a superabundance of cook books!

so what am I looking for, with my bookshelf groaning under the weight of hefty tomes like Nigella Lawson’s Kitchen (which weighs in at a hefty 2 pounds and 4 ounces), rather like a keyboard groaning under some musical puffins? go on, have a look. puffins play jazz – LOVE.

well, I’m looking for inspiration, I think. from the Oxford Dictionary:

inspiration – noun. 

  1. the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative. 
  2. a sudden brilliant or timely idea.
  3. the drawing in of breath; inhalation.

and cook books is not the only area where I show this behaviour. several years ago I took up quilting. I did an evening class to teach me the basics, which was great fun and very social, as at the time I was very much house bound with young children. (and even then it was a Big Deal to not drink that evening so I could go out for a class at 7.30pm. sigh.) and after that I made a couple of quilts but then I got sucked into the whole online quilting underworld.

you don’t know such a place exists, perhaps?! well, it does. must-make quilt patterns flashing round the world like wildfire. new fabric collections coming out and being lusted after, and here is the triggery thing, for me…. collected. some quilters collect vast amounts of fabric in every possible colour and pattern. even talk about their ‘stash’ and joke about being addicted to fabric. no joke really when precious household money is being spent on items which never see the light of day, but instead are hoarded and pored over, taking up physical space… shudder.

and YES there are more harmful addictions as I am all too aware than mere bits of cloth. but it’s the behaviour that worries me. the compulsive seeking out, the never being satisfied with what you have… with quilting I got to the point where I had enough fabric collected for maybe five specific quilts…. but, and here’s the crucial bit – I wasn’t quilting because ‘I didn’t have time’. but I did have time to surf the internet looking for just the right shade and pattern of red for an all red and white triangles quilt….

and then I read something somewhere about a quilter who stopped buying fabric because she realised that for her, the shopping was the instant gratification part of the process. and that shopping had replaced quilting as the hobby. so I stopped fabric shopping, just like that, cold turkey. I’ve made one quilt since, with fabric I already had. and I hope to make more one day, maybe next winter. that last quilt was my first sober quilt. and let me tell you, my seam matching has vastly improved 🙂

so that was a specific example where a lightbulb moment removed the compulsion to carry out the behaviour. but what is at the root of this behaviour, for me?

looking back at that definition of inpiration, I’m so interested by the aspect of inhalation. when I’m behaving like this, it’s as if I’m frantically gulping in air, desperate for oxygen or energy or something to provide a spark, a change. and I keep gulping and gulping, and then – hey presto – I am a puffer fish. 

and I have immobilised myself, defensively perhaps? and I float, inert, bloated with all the ‘inspiration’, unable to actually carry any of it out….

but that gulping… why am I doing it? something that has occurred to me is that perhaps it is to do with what I was blogging about in my post last week on impostor syndrome.

perhaps it is to do with being unable to internalise my achievements? because if I am not obtaining the natural gratification from, for example, enjoying the process of quilting itself, or seeing a quilt finished and in use, then I seek out the instant gratification of the idea of a quilt, or of a meal, or of any other creative project…

working on both ends of the process, here:

inhale, then exhale. repeat.

have a smashing weekend, sober compadres! Prim xx