June 5, 2016

Another Step Outside the Comfort Zone

After more than three years of living in a town where I have yet to make any real friends (or much art, for that matter), I knew I had reached a point where I had to actually DO something to break out of this rut.  I found a little garden shop in a neighboring town that offers crafty classes.  Some of the classes are for the type of project I wouldn't normally be attracted to make, but I remembered an article by Julie Fei-Fan Balzer where she wrote about the value of taking a class like this, breaking out of the same old mold and pattern of redundant creativity. 

Making the call to sign up for the class and actually going was much more nerve-wracking than I expected.  Even after all these years, I still think back to the horribly critical art instructor I had in one of my first college classes, the beast who grabbed my sketch pad from my hands on the first day of class and wrote a big, fat red "F" on it.  Then there was the "beginner" classes I took with an established local artist, only to find that some of the others taking the class had REAL studios and shows...huh?  Not beginning, but very intimidating.  The day before I was to attend the first session, I really clobbered my foot and did some serious damage to a toe enough that I couldn't put on a shoe for a couple of days.  I was relieved that I had an excuse to put off attending for another week.  What a chicken!

This week, I butched up, packed up the supplies I thought I might need for this weekly one-hour beading class and marched right in.  What a wonderful, pleasant afternoon!  The class topic is "Beading Basics."  The course description included instruction in stringing, wire wrapping, crimping and other basic beading skills.  If nothing else, I'd learn how to repair a lot of broken jewelry.  After a little chatting, I learned that the instructor as well as another class instructor live in the city that I live in but, unlike my experience meeting residents so far, were warm, wonderful and welcoming.  I had a great time meeting these ladies, completely losing track of time.  Not that my verbosity distracted anyone from the clock, nope, nope, nope!  We worked until almost 2:30, an hour and a half longer than anticipated.  At the end of it, I had a fine beaded bracelet that I was proud to have finished.  Better yet, I feel like I've met some people with whom I could become friends.  After this class, I'm eager to try another, maybe the art quilts and fiber arts class.  Finally, like-minded souls in my neighborhood! 

Stepping out of my comfort zone and taking this class might seem like a small task for some, but my fear of failure and ridicule have held me back for so very long.  This was a big deal for me and I'm happy I made the move, eagerly anticipating the next gathering.  Thank you, Beth and Libby and classmate Crystal for renewing my faith in friendship.