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.

100 Days of Healing – Day 83

So…that weight loss? It’s a trigger for me.

I’m one that unconsciously gained weight to insulate me from trauma. I also insulate myself at home a lot now, but at the time I had to be out and about all the time, so I gained weight as a protective measure.

Brains are funny things. Trauma does weird stuff to your brain. Like this.

Now that I’m losing weight (I’ve cleared 10 lbs!), I’m losing my protective layer, and that – that is what’s behind my recent relapse with severe anxiety.

Wow.

The body does indeed keep score.

But now that I know I can address it and keep moving forward!

100 Days of Healing – Day 81

Screw leg day, don’t skip therapy day.

Still struggling through a relapse and I think I might be triggering myself, but I am still taking small, manageable steps forward in the meantime. I’ve had some bad waves of anxiety and a little bit of flashback, which I very rarely have, and this feels more like what I experienced pre-therapy. Medication is starting to look like a good option.

But.

I know how far I’ve come, and I am still going forward.

100 Days of Healing – Day 51

I’m one green juice away from being able to eat again. I cannot wait.

My business divorce was finalized this morning, and I now own my own company outright. I can’t even get to a place of satisfaction about it because it’s been a hard week getting it done and signed off on. And there is so much uncertainty. Do I want to re-brand, do I want to do something else for a while, what clients do I want to pursue?

While not nearly as difficult as divorcing a spouse, there has been the death of a dream, of a plan and of a partnership, and there are still a few hard feelings toward my business partner for not pulling his weight. But it’s done, I can let it sit over the weekend, and on Monday start picking up the pieces so I can move forward.

100 Days of Healing – Day 29

I picked up my kettlebell yesterday. And swung it 30 times, just to be clear that I did more than pick it up.

There is so much trauma associated with fitness and strength for me. Not because it needs to be, but because it got filed in my brain that way. It took two years of therapy for me to figure out why I am so adverse to exercise of any kind, and why, on some level, I like being fat.

I often forget that’s the case, because it’s one of the hidden effects of PTSD for me. It rarely comes to mind and leaves me puzzled a lot until I can remember just how loaded with trauma “exercise” and “being fit” are. It has a lot to do with timing, and nothing to do with exercise or being fit in and of themselves.

So kettlebell was a big step forward for me. Exercising – even small efforts – this week in the middle of a lot of drama and struggle has been a big step forward for me. I kind of want to just say “Oh ok I took a step forward! Look at that! Done now, I took a step, don’t need any more!” But that isn’t going to get me far, so more stepping it is.