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.

Next Steps: Oh…Actually…I Don’t Know

I went through a process of being intentional about healing for 100 Days straight. It was transformative. I’m not wealthy, popular or traveling the world and living my best life with an Instagram account gaining 100+ followers daily, but I am wiggling out of the cocoon I wrapped myself in following my PTSD diagnosis. I’m fully engaged in work for the first time in a couple of years, and I’m starting to put myself out there. I was just notified that a conference proposal I submitted was accepted. A piece of legislation I wrote will be filed and sponsored. A report I wrote is generating real questions about accountability.

And yet I’m still crashing into bed by 9:30pm, not bothering to brush my teeth or get dressed unless I have to be somewhere, not exercising regularly and not able to put a grocery list together.

I’m listening to audio books to learn more about what I don’t know – how to successfully navigate relationships, my healing brain and being an entrepreneur. I’m reading more about what I don’t know for work – methodologies, law and best practices (and throwing out some of it because my experience tells me it’s not a very sound way to do things, then realizing I have the confidence now to make those calls).

I’m finding myself more attractive.

No really! When I look in the mirror now it’s a much more positive response. I’ve lost 12 lbs but let that stall out for the last couple of weeks before I go back to focusing on where I want to go next.

So the next thing, really, is to decide what’s next. But based on what is best for me, what brings me joy and what makes me excited to get out of bed most mornings, not based on obligations, responsibilities and the belief that I’m not enough. I am. Time to act like it.

100 Days of Healing – Day 27

Yesterday I completed the yoga session I had to stop in the middle because it was activating me. I’ve lost 2.5 lbs in 2 days. My resting heart rate is almost back down where I want it. I’m eating mindfully and not to cope. I’m drinking my water goals. I’m focusing on work deliverables and getting them out on a timeline I’m satisfied with. I’m saying no.

And this is in the middle of an emotionally challenging and physically tiring week. I’m taking a hard look at what I want and where I want to be and how I get there and who I get there with – and without.

I’m sitting and working on my laptop for long hours, I was in a three hour meeting last night and since I got back from the desert I’ve had very little time for things like cutting my nails and dealing with all of the sand that seems to be clogging my pores and cooking healthy meals. I’ve done those things anyway. I feel like I just have no time right now, which usually sends anxiety skyrocketing for me and freezes me. I’m still moving through my day, doing what I need to and doing things that take care of me, including sleeping and staying calm and reasoned instead of engaging with the thoughts that send anxiety skyrocketing out of control.

I quit drinking for now. It wasn’t a big decision, it just came up last night when I declined an offered drink because I decided I didn’t need that.

Understanding that alcohol is a social lubricant for a lot of people made me realize I don’t have that need, and the benefit to me of not drinking is enough right now to make me lose interest. Practicing mindfulness is really starting to pay off.

I Might Have Been Who I Was Meant To Be

I’ve been feeling change the last month or so, like it’s time to move into a new phase of recovery. Once upon a time I think I might have been who I was meant to be. I’m starting to feel like I’m there again. This there is different from that there, but I’m there, and I don’t want to be stuck in a place of not-fully-realized me.

Convoluted, much?

I’m working out what it is that I want, what I can live with, what I can live for, how much capacity I really have and just how much I’m willing to let go.

If I ignore much of what my therapist says about how to put myself first, if I go my own way about this, if I stop fighting, if I move to a state of free – flow giving… What happens?

If I open my hands and let go, if I let what returns to me stay, if I don’t hold on but hold out a hand… What happens?

If I stopped worrying about how you feel or don’t feel about me and be who I am regardless, what happens?

If I stop worrying about whether I have enough to give and just give what’s there, what happens?

I don’t want to hold the negativity that surrounds me. I’d rather let it flow in and back out because it doesn’t have a place with me. I’d rather have so much outflow that it can’t flow in. I’d rather trust that God provides and that’s enough, one less thing to concern myself with and one more thing to observe with gratitude.