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 63

Two days into keto, and I’m down 3.8 pounds. I apparently hit ketosis fast – woohoo!

It feels really good to practice discipline in what I eat, something I have struggled with for so long. I attribute it to the hard work I’ve done in PTSD recovery, to working through shame issues, anxiety, realizing how much I’ve been numbing, learning what I use to cope and seeing that I have other options – options that take work and practice, but that are improving my life so much.

I think I may have stopped numbing. I’m stopping work when it’s at a stopping point and I can reasonably be done for the day – and I don’t feel bad about being done and I don’t feel like I didn’t do enough. I’m not eating to ignore my feelings, and I’m conscious of what I eat. Work and food have been my go-tos to ignore my feelings and my problems for years. This feels pretty good.

I had a lot of creativity last night and was able to think through some ideas I’ve been stalled out on for several months. That felt great too! The other side is that now I’m feeling, I’m also feeling hurt. The emotions I’ve been blocking and ignoring for a long time are still there and still have to be dealt with, and I understand that…and am slowly accepting it. But that also leaves from for happy and a lot of other good things, so here’s to exploring that.

 

Some If, Then… of Trying to Manage Severe Anxiety

I’ve lately been thinking a hospital visit or heavy medication would be a good idea. As I go through constant rounds of severe anxiety, my energy is wearing down, and the last two nights of driving over an hour in heavy mist and fog have just about done me in. I’m super stressed about work, even though it’s something I can and normally would handle just fine, and the thought of going back to my grandma’s house tonight for four days to care for her is just about more than I can stand right now.

So I had this thought last week and it continues to this weekend that the hospital is kind of an appealing option, and feels close to necessary. Right down to the hospital gown, the bed, the bracelet, the people checking on me, the relative isolation…whatever.

Because if I am experiencing anxiety this bad, I might need a medical intervention. If I am experiencing anxiety this bad, and my family will not hear me, I might need something that they would view more credibly, like a doctor and a hospital. If I cannot manage to come off of this going-on-two-weeks spike in PTSD symptoms, I may need something to help me do that. What I am doing is not working, so I need something else. What I am doing is not helping, so I may need to try a different tactic. If I keep going with my current responsibilities, I might go into crisis that I cannot manage.

As I mentally sorted through my options after I got home last night (after driving through some of the thickest fog I have ever seen), as I said to myself, “Ok, if I do this, what am I trying to accomplish from that? And if I take that option, what will it solve?” I realized that it wasn’t really about going to the hospital, it’s that if I check myself in, my family will maybe have to acknowledge the severity of my condition in a way that they presently will not. Then I might not have to struggle under so many burdens. Then I might get a break. Then maybe I will be accommodated. Maybe.

Other option is to hang in there for two and a half more weeks, try to do my job the best I can, try to stay calm and sane at Grandma’s, do the things on my calendar, sleep more on the weekends, then go on strike when my mom’s job finishes and she is more available to help with Grandma. I’ve been at this for two months, I can make is another two weeks, right?

If I do, then…

If I don’t, then…

If this keeps up, then…

Anxiety is the worst, y’all.