Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Dealing with the Downside
I've been thinking a lot lately about disappointment. A lot of it had to do with the fact that my son didn't get back on his old baseball team this year. Of course, his coach tried to get him, but at his age the kids all have to go into the draft and my son did great at tryouts.....so, he got picked early. Since his coach had to take two kids with his assistant coach, (brothers), he lost his first pick, and by the time his chance came around again, not only was my son gone, but a lot of his teammates as well.
When I got the call from his "new" coach's wife I was so disappointed. My son is 13 and was in one of those, "everyone hates me, nothing goes right for me, everything is horrible" moods. I was so worried that when I gave him this bit of news he'd whine even more than usual, and I just didn't want to hear it!
Well, he was upset, but accepting. We knew all along it was a long shot, so by the time we saw his coach at basketball practice that night we were in the mood to give him a hard time, in a good natured way. His coach was upset, but sent my son's disappointment into pride when he told him he'd been picked in the first round. I think that meant more to him than anything, and we're all proud of him for handling the disappointment as well as he did.
I know that we all deal with disappointment on a regular basis. Things just don't always go the way we hoped and/or planned and we find ourselves fighting against fate. I know my first thought when I got the call was to try to find a way to make things the way I wanted them to be, even though I knew that wasn't possible. When I called my husband to give him the bad news, his mind automatically went in the same direction. The only one's who didn't was my son's. He expressed his disappointment, and then started asking me about his new coaches and who else was on his team. He moved on so much more quickly than we did.
What is it about us that makes us challenge the disappointments in our lives? I know that in some cases it's because we have a fantasy about how things should be, and when things don't live up to our expectations we get disappointed. Sometimes, I get mad at myself because I can see clearly that it was a decision that I made that led to that disappointment. But most of the time, life just takes a different turn and we have to deal with it; usually it's not anyone's fault, we just have to learn how to accept.
In the case of the baseball team something happened that very night at basketball practice that made me realize that I'd just escaped from a situation that was dangerous for me. As a menopausal woman I can get very upset and although I handle it pretty well, if I'm pushed, I'm not always sure about how well I'll deal with it. Suffice it to say I realized that there was a parent that was going to be on my son's old team that I've had run-ins with before. When I found out her son was going to be on the team, I realized that my son's move to the "Angels" was a good thing. I don't want to fight with this person, but she's one of those people who pushes my buttons and I'm so glad I won't have to deal with her on a regular basis. Hallelujah!
Once my mind turned in that direction I realized that avoiding this person wasn't the only benefit. Since we don't know anyone on our team it's an opportunity to make new friends, for my husband and myself, and for my son as well. Also, since no one knows me, no one knows that my husband is a great photographer and I'm a graphic designer who knows how to make team DVDs. That means I won't feel obliged to do it, and that will give me more time to devote to my business venture, and my blogs! It also means that my husband and I can sit together at the games now since he won't be walking the sidelines taking photos.
I went from picturing myself feeling lonely and uninvolved, to kind of liking the opportunity to enjoy baseball afternoons with my husband and our dog; just hanging out at the ballpark enjoying the game and not worrying about anything else. What a blessing that will be!
As to how this applies to quilting, well, who hasn't been disappointed in the quilt you just finished, or in not winning any ribbons in a show, or in not getting an enthusiastic response to your new quilt at a guild meeting? It's hard to deal with disappointment, but in my experience there is usually some kind of silver lining. A quilt that didn't turned out as you planned is a learning experience of what "not" to do. Not winning any ribbons in a show is tough, but look at your competition. If you want to win ribbons you may have to step it up a notch or two, or enter a different kind of show where your style will shine. Besides, more people left disappointed than not, you can't win every time! Most importantly, if you don't get an enthusiastic response to your quilt at your guild meeting there are a few things to consider. First of all, does it deserve a great response? Sometimes what we think is fab in the comfort of our studio doesn't show as well outside of it. Secondly, are you showing a Civil War quilt to an "art quilt" type guild or vice versa? Knowing your audience is key. I think the most important thing to learn from this is whether or not you're in the right guild. Maybe the people are too self centered to be generous, or too structured to be accepting, or just downright mean. Any of those reasons would be enough for me to look elsewhere.
I can't promise to post more than a few times a week or every other week for a while. Once things settle down into a more regular rhythm I'll be able to write more often. In the meantime, please check in when you can, and know that if you love what you're doing, it's always worth it!