Thursday, November 4, 2010

Crossing the Finish Line

Long is the road from conception to completion. -- Molière (Jean-Baptiste Poquelin)

It's done! It's over! I did it! I did the entire October dress project! I may have taken some liberties with the photos, but I did wear the dress each day...I simply took some fun photos here and there (such as wrapping my girlfriend's dog in it) to make for more interesting archival pictures. I have to say that I am feeling a tremendous sense of pride, and yes, relief, at completing this project. 

I'm a terrific beginner. I love starting new endeavors. If a prize could be given out for enthusiasm on Day 1, I'd be a shoe in for the blue ribbon. When there is any kind of a wait to be allowed into an event, I am first in line. However, when it comes to sticking things out, my spunk and good intentions peter out pretty quickly. I am fickle, get bored easily and have no qualms about walking away from a situation that isn't working for me. I have half finished needle point pillows, terribly lumpy half finished knitted scarves, dozens of blog posts and shorts stories that remain in limbo, and more dinners thrown in the rubbish than I care to count. Some might call me a quitter. I call myself a 'creative finisher'. I like to be engaged in whatever activity I'm undertaking. I also like to know it's going to be fabulous. The October Dress Project was truly an exceptional learning experience for me. Why? Because I made it a point of honor not to quit. 

Some of aspects of the dress were easier than I had anticipated. Putting outfits together was really quite fun and entertaining. In this area, I had expected to be bored out of my mind. Yet, by perusing catalogs, magazines and just reorganizing my closet (Shop Your Closet was a terrific resource) helped me to envision different ways to rethink my simple black empire waist dress. Additionally, I didn't have to think so hard about what to wear. I knew what I was going to wear. The only question that remained was how I would wear it. Also easier was my own self-imposed 'not buying anything new'. I love pretty things. I love looking like a girl. I love shopping. Yet, this Lenten-like fast was much less complicated than I'd believed it would be, simply because I wasn't focused on what was 'new and now', but rather what was 'here and helpful'.

Other areas of the October Dress Project were more difficult. I was given some bad news, from a health stand point, during this month. Not only did this throw my creativity for a loop, but it also threw my life for a loop the size of a planetary orbit. I didn't want to wear the silly dress. I wanted to wear my favorite jeans and my favorite sweater and to call it 'good'. I had a deep desire, being the lifelong quitter that I am, to say "Time out! This isn't convenient for me!".  And yet, I discovered something fascinating: as I was headed from one doctor's office to the next, the dress became a comrade. It felt like a hug. It felt as if I had company along the way. Despite painful and often invasive testing, the dress was there to say "I was here for you yesterday. I am here for you today. I will be here for you tomorrow." My defeatist attitude was somehow strengthened towards the positive by the dress. Where I had anticipated my own self-realization and leanings towards abdication of the project, I found my health crisis to be a reason to keep going. The dress was something I was proud of doing during weeks in which my pride was all but vanquished.

So...will I burn the dress or simply toss it, as I'd promised? No. I'm keeping it. It will hang in a place of honor in my closet. We've been through a lot this past month, my dress and I. Will I wear every day? Unlikely. But, I know it'll be there as my touchstone in months to come.

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