Too Thrifty Chicks

Think.Thrift.Create


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“SCARY SCARY SCARY. Everything is so goddamn scary!”

The title of this post is taken from Elizabeth Gilbert’s book, Big Magic. It resonated with me; so much so that I stopped reading so that I could write about it. The book is about living a creative life, and this line appears after a laundry list of fears that keep people from pursuing creativity for the sake of creativity. I shook my head in agreement with several of them. I thought about how “adulting” often excludes carving out space and time for creating or trying new things.

“SCARY SCARY SCARY. Everything is so Goddamn Scary!”

…except it hasn’t always been. I don’t mean that in the you must be “fearless” in order to accomplish things kind of way. I mean it in the “curiosity can trump perceptions and fear” way. When I was younger, I’d read to anyone who would listen, including cows. Especially cows. I’d drag a chair in the middle of the dirt road. My teacher chair. I’d read to them. Teach them. Point at them to answer a question. Chastise them when they weren’t paying attention. Sometimes my younger sister played along, but I don’t think she fancied cows as much as I did. I also simulated funerals for bugs sometimes (creepy, I know). When I was a fourth grader, I asked for a sewing machine. My first project was a two piece pattered short set. My grandma taught me how to sew in between fussing and my tears. In high school, I ripped up hand-me-down jeans to make them cooler. I wrote really awful poetry full of teenage angst. And then…

“SCARY SCARY SCARY. Everything is so Goddamn Scary!”

…somewhere between being ambitious, figuring out life, and navigating very real structural constraints, I began to see creativity as something separate, something bonus or extra, apart from my “real” work.  Let’s look at blogging, for example. When we created this blog, it brought so much joy to our lives. But then we started to think about ways to make it more “legitimate,” and as soon as we crossed into that territory, blogging became more stressful and less about creating for the sake of creating. As I moved closer to my career goals, I worried that I wouldn’t be considered a “serious” scholar because of my blogging. Creating for the sake of creating became less important. Let’s take photography as another example. I love photography, so I took it up as a hobby. I’m pretty good at it. I started thinking about a photography business to “legitimize” my art. I stopped photography for a while. Somewhere I had internalized that doing for the sake of doing somehow conflicted with my career and life goals. So, I tried to validate my creativity…

“SCARY SCARY SCARY. Everything is so Goddamn Scary!”

…but we have a shit ton of work we have to do, don’t we? Our creative pursuits are part of that work, but in a different way. They sustain us. Keep us curious. Push back against the voices of perfectionism that tell us we shouldn’t do something if we aren’t the very best at it.  A couple years ago, I decided I wanted to learn how to rollerblade. My friend Bridget gifted a pair of rollerblades to me. I rolled around the basement for several hours. Finally, I said fuck it. I’m going out to skate. While my buddy Keila rode her bike, I skated, weaving in and out of people.  I had a blast. Even though I didn’t know how to use the brake. When I needed to stop, I’d roll into the grass or railing. I busted my ass a few times. I laughed a lot. I tried. I still don’t know how to break, but I’m no longer afraid to skate.

“SCARY SCARY SCARY. Everything is so Goddamn Scary.”

…until we try. Until we accept that sometimes, we just need to create or try things just because. No validation needed.

-Reese


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Hello, World. Are You (Still) There?

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Selfie Nation, Stand UP!

I’m not going to lie, I’m afraid to write this post.

I’m afraid that I might be posting at a time when I am super enthusiastic about a lot of things — my job, my newly adopted city, life changes, re-connecting with old friends.

But I am also afraid that I will start and then stop. Afraid that I will lose steam, lose momentum. Give false hope. Let people (myself) down in some way.

I am afraid that I might be writing to escape. I don’t think I am, but I’m not prepared to say that I am not. Even less prepared to say that things will be like they were before. Today, I make no promises.

Saying goodbye to Reese and DCA.

Saying goodbye to Reese and DCA.

I might be back. I might not. Reese might be back. She might not.

Whew.

Now that I have sufficiently lowered your expectations and shared my current truth, did you miss me/we/us? I/we (maybe) (actually) missed you.

Returning to regular blogging is something we talk about, often, but haven’t quite acted on together.

Reese is deep in dissertation land. (Body roll for seeing the light at the end of the dissertation tunnel.)

I will leave it to her to tell you what she wants to tell you about her life, now. When she gets ready, in her own time, if ever at all.

Me? Last month, I wrote two whole blog posts that I haven’t posted yet. Why? Because I was feeling a bit shy. Truth be told I felt/feel rusty.

My "this weather sucks" face.

My “this weather sucks” face.

My voice doesn’t sound the same in my head when I’m writing. It’s my voice, but different. My voice, but wiser? More cautious? It’s complicated, I guess.

But the thoughts, the ideas — they keep arriving in my head when I least expect them. Uninvited. OK, occasionally invited.

The things I want to blog about keep flooding my brain. Case-in-point: It is 1:30 in the morning and I have an assignment at city hall in about eight and a half hours.

I. can’t. sleep. because. I. want. to. BLOG! Wanting to blog feels great. Wanting to blog feels terrible. (I’m sleepy, and I SHOULD) go to bed.

Instead, I write. And I wrote this post for you, and you and definitely you. But also for me. And for Reese.

Definitely for me.

I’m not back.

But I am (we are) still here.

– Ricks