Guest series :: Crafting is my lifeboat

by contributor on 09/05/2012

in Guest series 2012

Guest series 2012: I asked fellow bloggers, makers and creators to write on their creativity and focus their essay on one of four topics: creativity and health, creativity and business, creativity and parenting or creativity and process. I am very excited to have a wonderful lot of fellow creative folk guest posting here at whipup.net over the next couple of months. Please welcome…

Heidi writes the mostly crafty blog, Speckless, and sells crochet and embroidery patterns in her Etsy shop of the same name. Heidi lives, loves, and makes in Minneapolis, Minnesota with her happy little family: boyfriend Nicky and a little orange cat named Penny.

Crafting is My Lifeboat

Becoming unemployed is devastating in many ways, but most profoundly, it is emotionally damaging. Each day that passes brings more fear, uncertainty, anxiety, and loss of self-worth and confidence. But this isn’t a sob story. This is a story about how creativity helped me weather the storm and how it made me come out the other side a better person.

The first few days after I was laid-off were kind of blurry. I was in shock. I think I slumped on the couch watching-but-not-really-watching daytime TV. Then I decided to get busy . . . busy being creative. Busy making. I can honestly say that craft and creativity helped me stay sane during this very trying time and shaped my outlook on life by giving me a sense of control in the face of uncertainty.

The first thing I had to get control of was my schedule. No more TV after my morning job searches. Instead, I lined up creative projects to accomplish and check off a list – macrame, sewing, paper crafts, jewelry-making, wood-working, crochet . . . you name it, I probably tried it. Crafting helped structure my days, kept me busy, and gave me a sense of normalcy. In turn, this structure lent a sense of purpose. I was occupied, working hard, and learning. At the end of the day, I had something physical to show for my time, and it felt good.

As I’m sure some of you know, being jobless and struggling to find employment can really strike a death-blow to one’s self-esteem. My self-imposed craft adventure not only gave me control of my days, but it also helped keep my self-worth ignited. I was reading every craft book I could get my hands on, scouring blogs, and flexing my creative muscles as hard as I could. Every day I felt mentally stronger – learning, growing, gaining experience, and expanding my skill-set.

Staying focused on creativity was helpful. Having a sense of self-worth was great. Still, there were really bad days – really awful discouraging days. And this is where craft helped the most. Being absorbed in making something – anything – was one thing that really transported my mind elsewhere. Crafting can be a very soothing, almost meditative experience, and this is invaluable for anyone struggling through a hard time.

I don’t want to say that craft saved my life, but it definitely kept me afloat when I felt like everything around me was sinking. Looking back, I see now that this experience shaped my life profoundly for the better. I learned an encyclopedias-worth of craft and creative knowledge, I found my niche in pattern-making, and I started my blog – a life-changer in itself!

Photos are a small sampling of projects I tried during my unemployment:

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kathy Wefel May 9, 2012 at 8:57 am

Heidi, your article is very inspiring. And it’s nice to know someone else has used their creativity to get them through difficult times in their lives. Crafting has helped me keep my sanity for quite some time now.

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2 Heidi May 11, 2012 at 8:07 am

It’s so simple, it almost seems crazy, right? I don’t know what I would have done . . . train for a marathon , maybe. Ugh. ; )

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