Happy Me Made May!
I am writing this on the afternoon of Sunday, May 1, 2022 because it is the first day of Me Made May* and that deadline was what it took to propel me into action. I have had a different draft post waiting for me to make the time to select photos and do final edits for a couple of months now – and that post is about a project that had already been going on for 6 months before I started writing about it! Just sharing this as examples of how un-prompt I have been with this project.
Cashmerette Montrose Top
This is the Montrose Top by Cashmerette. It’s actually from a kit they sold that included the printed pattern and the fabric. I love the quality of the fabric, it’s lightweight and comfortable to wear. The print is vibrant and I love the colors. They were really generous with the fabric included, so I have been able to get a lot of extra accessories out of the yardage that was included.
The Montrose has been a favorite pattern. It’s a very simple and straightforward shirt design that is easy to wear and looks good in a variety of fabrics. I made this one a while ago so I don’t remember the modification details.
The rest of the outfit is not me-made. The shirt jacket is from Flax. I love the affirmation in the tag, which reads “I am whole, full, complete in me”. The pants are from Universal Standard. The shoes are from Dr. Scholls.
Losing and Finding my Religion
This morning I participated in the “Writing as a Spiritual Practice” group at the Unitarian Universalist church that I started attending last Fall. I am new to the church and the religion. I was raised in a United Methodist church and my grandparents were very involved with the Methodist Federation for Social Action. I have fond memories of helping staff their booth at the annual conferences in summers in Redlands. I was an acolyte and sang in the youth and regular choirs – I do love to be involved. In my teenage years, I started the confirmation process, but ultimately decided not to complete it and left the religion. I began to identify as atheist and developed a deep distrust for organized religion over the next years..
I still had a strong moral center and felt it was important to have and live by a set of personal values. Part of my distrust for organized religion was the idea that I would need an outside motivating factor for being “good”. The golden rule of “do unto others as you would have done unto you” always seemed more logical and whole to me. I didn’t know Unitarian Universalism existed in my teens and twenties. I’m not sure I would have been emotionally available for it then anyway. But I am glad to have found it now. I feel like I have been UU the whole time; I just didn’t realize anyone else was doing it.
In the writing group, we join together once a month to set aside a meditative time to write freely and reflect with one another. There are prompts available to respond to if you need some inspiration, but using them is optional. After some time writing alone, the group facilitator will check in to make sure everyone is at a good stopping point, then we will go around and read what we wrote aloud (if we feel like sharing) and reflect together about what was written. There is often an interesting connection between what we write, even though we haven’t pre-discussed a topic.
Today I took one prompt from the box, which was a Maya Angelou quote (see below). Then I grabbed another handful and read through them, looking for connections. Earlier I had already been thinking about my procrastination and the difficulty I have with motivation for self-initiated projects. I was inspired by the idea of needing some prodding and responded like this:
If I am not good to myself, how can I expect anyone else to be good to me?— Maya Angelou
What we’re seeing here is how the layers of self-hate keep us from experiencing our intrinsic, inherent enlightenment. It’s simply a matter of realizing what already is. It’s not necessary for us to DO anything. What we’re seeking is available to us when we stop DOING everything else.— Cheri Huber
Everyone must know that within them burns a candle and no one’s candle is identical with the candle of another. It is our obligation to work hard to reveal the light of our candle, and make of it a great torch to enlighten the whole world.— Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook
Responding to external prompts, reacting, fixing; expecting to be prompted, expecting chaos, needs of others, situations and problems to solve; working backwards; reflex instead of reflects?
What would it take to start reflecting? To let my light shine fully? To be a flame that burns from an internal source. Is that even an option? Do I require fuel to spark my flame?
I guess it’s a false dichotomy. The reflection can mean to exist in the world reflecting my values. The drive to create and the desire to be of service, to fix and solve problems, are not mutually exclusive.
Concluding each day by asking how the day’s actions have combined to reflect the world I want to live in. Shifting each day, even just a little, brings us closer to inhabiting that truth.
Here I need a quote about a mirror – a reflective surface, maybe a gown of sequins? Maybe I am thinking of the Michael Jackson song “Man in the Mirror” (I love when pianist Wells Lang is playing that randomly before a service begins, as congregants are finding their seats).
I’m starting with the man in the mirror— Lyrics from Man in the Mirror
I’m asking him to change his ways
And no message could’ve been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself and then make a change
songwriters: Glen Ballard / Siedah Garrett
As we enter Me Made May, I will enjoy the prompt asking me to be more mindful of how I clothe myself. To celebrate having the skills, resources, and freedom to adorn myself in ways that reflect me wholly.
Stopping to ask “who made this garment” for ready to wear clothes, and stopping to ask “who made this textile” for the clothes that I’ve sewn myself. I hope to manifest gratitude each day by recognizing what a gift it is to be able to express a reflection of my inner self with the way that I adorn my body. Taking this stance answers back to the opening quote from Maya Angelou – by treating my body with love, I am able to expect others to return that love.
This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine
While turning this over in my mind, pictures of reflective surfaces have been dancing through my head. As I’ve been coming out of a depression, I have had strong urges to wear sequins and other flamboyant clothes. I made a few outfits with metallic fabric recently, and have turned the remnants into a mask and other accessories. I think these literally reflective pieces are reflective of my desire to access and spread joy. Delighting in small wonders — the glint of glitter, pops of vibrant color, a unique texture — these are the details that erase banality and make life worth living for me. Expect to see some of that from me this Me Made May. I’m looking forward to seeing everyone else’s makes as well!
*Me Made May: If you’ve never heard of it, it is a month long challenge to show off what you’ve made. Read more about it in this article from Sew Daily. I love the reminder to put what I’ve made into use and be mindful of what is taking up space in my closet!