Lessons from Tim Gunn

I admire Tim Gunn so much. I think he’s brave. I think he’s thoughtful. I think he’s present. I think he’s kind. I think he’s a good mentor and compassionate and authentic and dapper. I would like to hang at his place for apps and drinks at the kitchen island and end up staying too long because he was imparting wisdom to me.

He’s known for the phrase “Make It Work”, which has so much appeal.

We love work. We love making things. We love making it work. It’s really the ultimate American statement of encouragement and challenge and grit and character, and it’s what John Wayne did.

On the surface.

Tim Gunn is known for being the mentor on Project Runway and throwing down the “Make It Work” challenge when a designer is lost or stuck making something horrible but time is running too short to completely start over unless you really have it together in the sewing and construction department. I relate, because I went to design school and we did that a lot – your design is really bad until you are up against the clock and you have to pull it together and produce something by the time class starts. Sometimes you get really efficient and focused. Sometimes your ideas come together and you produce something worthwhile. Make It Work is the way forward in those situations – take what you have, no matter how bad or messy and make something out of it.

Really though, sometimes you can’t make it work. And I think that’s where you have to dive a bit into the statement. What isn’t said? What else is in those three short words?

Make It Work For You.

And if it isn’t, then get your hands on something that does. The fabric was a terrible choice? Maybe there is another one available if you look around for it. The design was horrible and unflattering? Conjure up a different design. Your collection isn’t cohesive? Scrap some things and get real with yourself about what does work and else you need to complete the picture.

It wasn’t just an admonition to make the best you could of the bad situation and being stuck with the bad situation, it was evaluating whether the situation was even working for you, and if not, scrapping it in favor of something that did.

It was and is really good advice. Thanks, Tim! You mentored me too.

I’m Still Uncomfortable

I have been busting my ass at work on several challenging projects, and don’t have resolution on any of them yet. I am waiting on responses, waiting on meetings or not yet able to get to the work due to the slew of things on my plate right now. It’s a lot of uncertainty, and it feels like a lot is on the line.

I have a lot of uncertainty with my company right now because job openings keep coming through my email and I’m just not sure that it’s not better to quit what I’m doing and get paid to show up. Right now I show up and don’t always get paid (there’s a lot of boundary setting to do that hasn’t been done the last two years and I am just now able to see and acknowledge that).

I have a lot of uncertainty with relationships right now. I might have to take a break from therapy (thanks, insurance), my family is still sorting ourselves out after a lot of illness and injury and my experience living with PTSD continues to be challenging and limiting. What I want and what I have to work with aren’t matching up right now, and I haven’t managed to break through the barrier and constraints yet.

100 Days of Healing – Day 95

I finished keto three days ago, I’ve been eating carbs, and – shocker – I haven’t gained weight.

I am much more conscious about what I eat, how much I eat and why I eat. I’m still watching the calories and not eating large meals. I’m still not eating or drinking much sugar. I still have 30 lbs to go.

I’m still a bit paranoid about binge eating and blowing my progress.

I’m generally paranoid/have severe anxiety about at least one aspect of my life, so I can probably assign paranoia about sabotaging my progress to some persistently fearful corner of my brain that has thus far been resistant to healing. It’s hard, because the more anxiety I have about eating, the more I want to eat, the more of a challenge it is not to eat, the more…

PTSD is hard. But I am going to get through it, one little bit of healing at a time.

100 Days of Healing – Day 61

I’m back in neutral. It’s such a tenuous place, and I expect to be thrown out of it at any moment. Not exactly being present or living in the moment, but it’s going to take a lot of practice for me to be able to be comfortable with not freaking out. That may sound ridiculous, but the constant scan for threats to my perceived safety and security is beyond hard to turn off.

I’m noticing that I’m starting to be able to find some balance. It’s been nearly manic activity or hiding in bed for so long, and now, even if initially I find a task to be challenging, I can usually calmly consider it and get to a place that I can tackle it. If I don’t want to do something I think about it until I can calmly approach it. I even considered doing something that I then decided would be too stressful and told myself no.

Creativity is slowly starting to unfurl in my brain. I get little bits and pieces, glimpses of ideas and a hint of the motivation to pursue it. I’ve been in survival mode, then get standing mode, for so long that it feels like a new game to begin to get close to moving forward. And I’m kind of looking forward to it, and starting to believe I can.

100 Days of Healing – Day 57

I lost 5.4 lbs on my juice cleanse last week. No surprise there. I gained a little more than half of it back the next day after a bean and cheese burrito, a handful of chips with salsa and a small piece of cake. Figures.

I immediately started thinking up my next crash diet. Keto! I’ll do keto for a month and get my weight down. And not because I really believe in fad diets or think this is a sustainable lifestyle, but because it’s important for me to see right now that I can. Did the weight come back immediately? Yes. But more to the point, I did it. And I can keep doing it. I am starting to believe I can make the changes I need to long term for a healthier lifestyle.

I’ve been walking this week and tracking my calories, or at least close enough to it. And I’ve lost nearly 2 lbs since the post-juice weight jump. I’m 3 lbs down total, and I’m pretty pleased with that, because that wasn’t crash diet, that’s real, and the juice was the kickstart I was hoping it would be. I needed to see that I could do it so that I could have the confidence to continue through what will be a longer and greater challenge.

100 Days of Healing – Day 35

I’m working, I’m focused, I’m doing yoga without issue other than that it’s challenging for my body, I’m ignoring things that aren’t important right now, I’m connecting, I’m planning ahead, I’m not pushing myself to do things “just because” or out of some unhealthy sense of obligation, I’m eating for fuel and nutrition and not to cope, I’m sleeping, I’m learning and I am so, so grateful for today <3.

100 Days of Healing – Day 7

I’ve noticed the last two nights my heart rate has been about 25 beats per minute higher than it should be. No wonder I’ve had a hard time going to sleep. I’m laying in bed, trying to get everything to slow down for sleep time, and my body is ready to flee in terror. I’ve tried breathing, but for me it’s a small and very temporary fix any time I try it. Thinking about something else is hard to do because I’m mentally responding to my body’s flight preparations. Maybe I don’t like the dreaming and processing on a subconscious level?

Last night’s dream seemed to be about setting boundaries, something I will need to do a lot of work to get better at doing. There were a bunch of animals in a setting with people and I finally had enough and started hauling them over to their pens to get them and their disruptive behavior out of the way of the people. Once they were through the gate, I didn’t care what happened so long as they stayed on their side. Other people noticed and expressed concern, but I had done my part and gotten them out of my way.

Curious to see if setting boundaries is any easier for me now or if it still presents the same challenge and I still just avoid it.