Through the looking glass

I have always loved glass art. The play of light; how it is both delicate and strong at the same time. How when you look at glass you not only see the glass itself, but also the reflection of yourself.  To me, glass seems alive. It has its own story but also tells you part of your story. There is a relationship there.

A few weeks ago, I heard about a new Glass Co-op which was offering classes. Now, I have never considered myself an artist. There was a big part of me that said, “you don’t belong in a STUDIO, you aren’t good enough for that”. And, this was one of the activities that “the ex” and I had talked about doing together.  But, in the spirit of doing the things I really want to do and not waiting  for some mythic future, I signed up.  And, showed up at the class. Two very different types of courage.

Now, three classes into the 6-week course, I’m sure you won’t be surprised to hear that it’s been loads of fun.  There are 5 people in the class, 4 guys and me.  And, I can’t help but think that the guys, while all really nice, seem to fit certain stereotypes (or archetypes?). There is the experienced glass worker who normally works with soft glass (we uses boro or hard glass) so he has lots of technical questions that are way above my head. There is the “engineer/scientist” guy who works with spreadsheets all day and talks about the sciency things he wants to make. He added copper to his glass one week trying to make something, despite the fact that he didn’t know what it would do and the place isn’t properly vented to burn copper. There is the older guy, a Doctor, who has his own fancy expensive special glasses and whose work is beautiful and who makes 2 pieces in the time everyone else makes one. And, there is the teenager, who doesn’t follow instructions, preferring to try to run before he has learned how to walk. He gets lots on one-on-one time fixing pieces. Which are wonderfully creative.

And, then, there is me.  So, where do I fit in this mosaic? At first, I thought I might be the “40’ish divorcee” type who is taking up hobbies with her new-found free time and finding herself. But, since I’ve never been married (or divorced), that didn’t seem to fit.  And, then the other day a friend of mine asked me “Do you always take classes? You seem to be always taking some course or another”.   That’s it! I am the woman who is always taking courses! In fact, right now I taking three different courses as well as teaching one!

I kind of like that. Because I do love learning things. And, I haven’t always felt like that was an okay or acceptable part of myself. When I was a kid, I was teased for being the “smart” kid in the class. And, I still hate to feel like I’m stupid. In fact, fear of appearing stupid can stop me from even trying things (put a quarter in the therapy jar for that piece of insight). I have also had people tell me, “you know, men find smart women intimidating”.  Luckily, I have learned that those aren’t the men I’d need to spend time with and there are lots of men who don’t feel that way.

Now,  just before I leave you with the impressions that I am some sort of mensa genius, I am not.  Last year, it took me 6 months to figure out how to get a new garage door opener that worked. And I needed help to do that! What I do think is that I love learning. And, I find ideas, and discussion, and books fascinating. I love to be intellectual stimulated.

But, this new realm of working with my hands is a place of less security (remember: 6 months, one garage remote).  And  so I am letting go of my fears of not being good. Or good enough. I am accepting that I can feel anxious without letting it stop me from showing up.  I am trying to stop comparing myself against the other people.  Accept that my pieces don’t need to be “perfect”.  Learn to not try to control the glass but rather let it shape and find it’s own expression.

That might be the most fun thing of all. That I can release the baggage around my love of learning. That I can feed this passion like the torch feeds oxygen into the flame and transforms rigid glass into swirls of light and beauty. May it do the same to me, so that my story reflects who I am.

Swimming out to see …

There is a well-known feminist slogan, “A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle“.  The suggestion being that a man is not necessary in a woman’s life for her to be happy and fulfilled. At least, that’s how I read it.

And, while I would never say that women don’t need men – because we all need each other in this life regardless of gender – I realize that I have been waiting for a bicycle to come along to make my fishy life go swimmingly.

Last September, my boyfriend made a decision to end our relationship and go back to his ex-wife.  Rest assured, dear reader, that this blog is NOT about that particular drama. But, the journey over the past 8 months has made me realize that subconsciously I have been waiting to meet a partner to do and enjoy all the things that I want to do in this lifetime. It’s not that I was waiting for my knight in shining armour but just that I was waiting for someone to ride along with.

And, because I was doing that, I was missing the joy in riding alone. And, sometimes missing the ride altogether. So, enough of missing the present by waiting for a future that may or may not happen.

Don’t get me wrong – I am not throwing in the towel, giving up hope of meeting someone and settling into a life of eccentric spinsterhood.  Hell, no!! Although, a little eccentricity could be fun. But, I don’t know if I will meet someone or not. I can’t predict the future.

What I can do is figure out what I want to do right now, today. And, have the courage to get out there and do it.

And, because I hope one day to be a very old lady with more adventures forgotten than remembered, I thought I would chronicle the struggles and joys of this single life.

Maybe someday this blog will end with “and so marriage ends my single life” or maybe  “Single woman passes away in a once-in-a-lifetime adventure”.  Who knows?

But, for today, it starts with this fish heading out into the big blue ocean.