Feeling Overwhelmed

I am feeling overwhelmed. I know it has something to do with me being under the weather this last week, but still…

Right now I have all of these projects I want to do, but don’t know where to start. And I’m questioning this whole artist thing.

I’ve been a writer for my whole life. When I was a child, I spent hot summers in our cool basement reading books from the library and writing stories. One was about a boy named Jacques. (Back then I had this fascination with French men.) The gist of the story was that our whole relationship was started, developed, and maintained through long-distance letter writing. That’s about all I remember. I loved writing stories. I wonder where these stories are now. No, I’m not going to go look for them and take me off into another direction!

With writing I just put the pen to paper or in this case, the keys to the keyboard and just let the words drip out of my fingertips. Writing has always come somewhat easy to me – well, usually. That’s not to say I write or have written flawless pieces with one pass or ever. No, I usually write and rewrite and rewrite and rewrite, even with this blog. I do tend to agonize over every word.

But let’s get back to the artist thing. I’m a newbie as far as seeing myself as an artist. However, I say that, but I do believe writers are artists drawing us in with their words. This is not unlike a fiber artist who draws us in with her design, textures, colors, etc.

So what is my problem today? Well, as I mentioned I’ve been under the weather and have not been able to do anything creative. It’s not like I don’t have the time. I am fortunate that at this stage of my life I have free time, and for that I am so thankful.  I’ve just not had any energy to sew or paint or dye.

Today I’ve been finally feeling almost like myself, so while I’m washing clothes I thought I’d start one of the projects on that creative list I started a week or so ago. But I can’t find that list. It has to be on this desk, but I don’t see it.

One thing I like about the laundry is that when the basket is empty I feel I’ve accomplished something. Just like weeding in the garden, I like the satisfaction of completing the project. Even though the clothes will again pile up and the weeds will return, I still have that feeling of accomplishment.

With art, I’m not sure I feel that way. When I finish something, let’s say some dyed fabric, I look at it and evaluate it. I look at it and say, “That’s nice, but next time I want to tweak it and add more blue, etc.” I never say that about the laundry.

So today I had a great day with nothing on my schedule except the laundry. No gardening. No cooking. No anything but finding that list and starting.

Wow! I just found it. The day is half over and I just found the freaking list! Now which one should I start? I look at this list and I’m already tired. The project I started this morning (I did start on something today) is not even on the list! It’s also something new and outside of my comfort zone.

Beginning of a new project
Beginning of a new project

So to make myself feel good today, I hung a couple of completed projects (Yes, self, I do complete things) on the walls in my studio. This piece, Mayo’s Garden, was in the exhibit at one of the local libraries for the past two months.

Mayo's Garden hung in front of my computer
Mayo’s Garden hung in front of my computer

I named this piece after my grandma, Mayo. This was one of my first ice dyed pieces and still one of my favorites. It will be nice to have it here close to me.

Okay, so now I have this list and a couple more hours until dinner, can I at least get started on one or two of these projects? My first response is no. It’s too close to dinner. Maybe I should reorganize my sock drawer, or look through all of that stuff in the garage again.

There are so many projects I want to do, but I can’t seem to get out of the starting gate. Straightening up the living room takes higher priority than this list. And checking on Facebook is also a real important diversion activity.

Well, thanks for letting me vent my frustration at being overwhelmed today. I sure hope I”m not alone. If you ever feel overwhelmed, what do you do?

It’s funny. I just did what helps me – I wrote about it. I really feel better already. I’m signing off to see what I can get started in these last few hours this afternoon. Thanks for listening and although writing about it has helped me, I’d love to hear from you how you get past being overwhelmed.