I learned something yesterday. Something that I probably should have already known (and may have) but with everything that has been going on in my life, it may have been pushed down somewhere so deep inside that it was nearly forgotten. I am glad to have been reminded of it though, because it is something that is important to my every day well-being and happiness.
It has been a busy time for me. Believe it or not, I am in the middle of my “holiday rush.” As a designer working for several different publications and catalogs, we have to have our projects completed well before the first day of summer. Not to mention keeping our own site current and keeping our retail customers happy with new and timely seasonal designs. It gets to be a bit overwhelming at times.
I have been feeling the crunch lately. My life has pretty much revolved around work these days. This is in no way a complaint, as I do really love what I do and I am so fortunate that what I do for a living is what most people consider a leisure time activity. I certainly consider it a privilege.
One of the projects that I am in the process of creating is a beautiful Christmas box. It will be used on its own as a decoration, but I am also creating a coordinating ornament set for the same publication, which can be stored in the box and made as a set. Overall, I really liked the project, and even though it took me a bit longer than normal to draw and design it, the final design is pretty and elegant and I am very happy with it.
I spent Monday cutting the lid of the box. After starting out with the idea that I would complete the cutting all in one day, I quickly realized that it would take much more time than that. I took my time and cut carefully and slowly, paying strict attention to every point and corner and flowing line. It paid off though, because the piece came out beautiful, and I was truly proud of my work. So much so that I featured it on yesterdays’ blog post here.
I had planned on cutting the remainder of the box yesterday, but an hour or so after I posted my blog I received a personal message from one of my readers on Lumberjocks. (I post my blog on Lumberjocks, my site, Facebook and Google+) He very nicely and gently noted that I had misspelled the word “Divine” on my box lid. My heart stopped.
I immediately went to Wikipedia and much to my horror, the word “Devine” was defined as “a frequent misspelling of the word divine” At least I wasn’t alone in my error. But nonetheless, it really took the winds out of my sails.
Nothing screams “idiot” like spending approximately four hours cutting an incorrectly spelled word into a piece of beautiful wood – and then posting it all over the internet so everyone share in your humility. (Not to mention that it would have went on to the magazine to be published! That would have really been special!)
Keith’s first response is that I should take the picture down. I think it was a reflex response though, because both he and I know that once something is posted, there is no real turning back. That would have meant rewriting the blog and besides – many of you receive it directly in your mail box anyway. So who would I be fooling. The minute I hit the ‘post’ button the jig was up. The deed was done.
At first I felt really humiliated and embarrassed about the whole thing. After all, people look up to me as a designer and you would think that things like that wouldn’t happen. I write here every morning and yes – there are some spelling or grammar errors, but I consider this a rather informal venue and I do just type off the top of my head here first thing in the morning and as the coffee is thawing my brain in the morning, I do realize that errors are made. But you are all used to that and usually if I catch them later on when I reread what I wrote, it is easy to go and correct them. It’s no big deal.
But this time, it was carved in stone (or wood) and I really felt pretty foolish not only because I didn’t even realize the error, but I don’t think I would have ever caught it because I just thought that “divine” was spelled as “devine.” I was doomed from the start.
All at once, everything got to me. I felt frazzled and overwhelmed and foolish all at once. I posted a new status on my Facebook page letting people know that I was aware of my stupidity (somehow owning up to it made me feel better) and I also posted here. I wanted people to know that I “knew better now” and was in the process of correcting things. But I was feeling pretty low about things and quite deflated about ALL the projects in front of me. In the blink of an eye, I went from being proud and confident to feeling silly and unsure. Nothing looked good anymore.
Keith had gone to get some more wood, as we were short of some of our favorite thicknesses of wood we needed for some projects, and I was on my own here with my thoughts of defeat. I was wondering which direction to go in next, and decided to start cutting the ornaments, and leave the box alone for a day or so. In between, I poked around on the computer and Facebook to see what everyone else was up to (AND to avoid going back to face my own work.)
While doing so, something dawned on me. I began reading about the terrible tragedy that occurred in Oklahoma on Monday and it began to bring things into perspective. Most of you know that I don’t even have ‘regular TV.’ We don’t have the time to watch, and we find many of the shows that we do like here on the internet. I receive both the Chicago Tribune and the New York Times in my email box so I am kept current on events of the world, and I also have better control as to how much time I spend taking in news stories. I prefer it that way and it works for me.
But seeing the details of what had happened Monday in Oklahoma really made me think about things. That and the wonderful support that I received from my friends and readers regarding the error I made.
So what that I misspelled it? So what if I have to do it again? When I looked at the photos of the town that took years to build that was completely leveled in places and read the stories of those who lost everything they had and even their lives, I felt pretty petty feeling sorry for myself because of a stupid spelling error. In the big picture of life, this is NOTHING.
I woke up this morning to a message from a friend that I went to grammar school with. I hadn’t seen him probably since I was 13 years old and graduated, but I have once again become friends with him through Facebook. The message said
People like us strive for perfection each day…....THANK GOD WE NEVER ACHIEVE IT!!! Mistakes make us much better at what we do…...And you my dear friend are doin just fine.
Those words, in addition to all the wonderful (and funny!) stories that came my way yesterday really made a huge impact on me. Instead of striving for perfection and being disappointed when I don’t achieve it, I need to try my best each day and let the chips fall where they may. Perfection is like the golden ring on a carousel. It is usually just out of reach, and even if you do reach it, then what?
In reading all the funny stories about others’ similar mistakes, it DID make me feel better. Not that they made them, but that these people whom I admired so much were able to look at them and even laugh at them and learn from that. After all, that is the most important thing, isn’t it?
So I spent the latter part of the day continuing to cut my projects. I love my cutting time because it gives me lots of time to think. I spent the day thinking about how fortunate I am to have such a wonderful life, filled with wonderful people. Keith was especially awesome yesterday because he knew I was down and he was there for support and friendship and proved himself to be a great partner in every way.
I also realized how fortunate I am to have such a vast network of friends and colleagues that I talk to every day. Many times I am asked how I am always so positive in my attitude, and I know it is because I have all of you in my life. You are true friends in every sense of the word.
So it is back to work today and back to cutting. I hope to “dazzle” you all with my new projects. Thank you all for pulling me out of my rut and thank you for being here every day to inspire me and encourage me. You really makee my day and life better.
And that is “divine” no matter how you spell it!
Have a wonderful Wednesday!
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"