Today’s Daily Stoic writing prompt: Am I protecting my time and attention?
This is about finding time to cultivate your mind. And it’s a priority for me, especially in the past year. This is one of the side benefits of cultivating my creative side, often working in solitude. The work itself becomes an act of devotion and meditation. Sometimes it’s related to the subject of the work. Sometimes it ranges much wider. When I create a thing, every stitch, every brushstroke, every word becomes a part of a greater thing, which itself a part of an even greater thing. Whether I am working for myself or for someone else, the time and attention is focused into that act of creation, and even should it leave my hands, it will always be part of my life’s work.
When I began to devote time again to embroidery this past summer, what I realized was that although my walls were full of my work, they were not full of that creative spirit I have freely given to others. I saw items made from kits–pleasing and beautiful, but expressing the vision of another. I have long put those creative efforts into making clothing for myself, but without a place, for the time being, to wear this clothing, that light was dimmed. It was in finding passion within–passion that needed an outlet beyond words–that I found I had the tools ready. They just needed the right spark.
If you wonder why I seem to stitch only two things–cats, and Dmitri Shostakovich–well, you know what precisely has gotten me though the past year. There will be more cats. And I suspect more Shostakovich, although the inspiration for the next one has not yet struck me (whereas I have at least three more cat marginalia pieces to work on). I’m sure the universe will tell me. It seems to know the tune.
(But I always take one last look, and I usually find something)
Today is International Women’s Day. I’ve been helping out with the activities planned by the Women’s Initiatives committee at work, specifically a trivia challenge. It does feel a little odd, this first day of a new age, with my old manager now retired. She chaired the committee at one point, and it’s still odd to contemplate her being gone. I guess it’s a little strange that we went this long without substantial changes. Now, there will be no end of them, I expect.
A non-binary friend posted this morning about this day no longer applying to them. I don’t feel the same way. I suppose this highlights some of the many possible variations on the gender spectrum. I’ve mentioned before that I do not feel gender is a concept that applies to me, that my self-identified gender identity is…well, none. I’ve also mentioned that for me, the equipment I was born with doesn’t define me as a particular type of human. However, that “equipment” does come with certain things, such as organs I happen to have, hormones I likely have more of (although having gone through menopause, I probably have less of those than I once did), and the possibility that I could have, at one point, borne a child. Most people who see me and do not know me would call me a woman. I don’t feel that is incorrect, although it’s not correct, either. But the way I look has always defined the way I was treated, and I can’t suddenly lose that. Even if I were to change that look, I have that history. Even if I have always suspected I was different, I can’t go back and change my past. To some extent, I’ve always expressed who I am–I just didn’t know there was a name for it.
That being said, it is an amazing experience to be seen for something beyond outward appearance. Friends who have nodded in comprehension–or gone farther–do make my heart sing in a way it has never sung before. I don’t reveal these things easily. This kind of response to vulnerability is…liberating is not the right word.