Gaining Resilience Through Vulnerability

Gaining Resilience Through Vulnerability

I hear people use the term “vulnerable” a lot these days. They speak of being vulnerable in favorable terms. It’s vogue to say, “I get strength from my vulnerability.”

When I think of vulnerability, I think of the likelihood of being subject to the ridicule, the disappointment, the rejection, the distancing or the undue scrutiny of others.

Being vulnerable seems to be putting yourself in a position where other people can weigh in. Being vulnerable is being dependent on other people. It’s being subject to other people.

Other people can do the following: fault you for your personality, your physicality, your political or religious affiliations, your cognitive function and how you handle situations, your sense of humor, your efforts, the things you say and do, the talents (you think) you have… your possessions (or lack thereof)—the list goes on. At that point they can remove their friendship from you. They can shame you and judge you. They can cut off any resources they were giving to you including encouragement, insight and knowledge.

Vulnerability might also be thought of as just being less physically or financially able as the average person. (And yes, I, too, hate it when celebrities make grandiose proclamations about “Gaining strength from their vulnerability.” (Sorry, you don’t get to call yourself “vulnerable” if you’re not disabled and you have enough money to depend entirely ON YOUR INDIVIDUAL SELF for several life-spans.).

For the rest of though, to develop a sense of strength and mental fortitude, we must stick our necks out the window of life and be courageous. We must try. We must try and become something. We must act and not simply spectate. When you act, other people will inevitably notice and they are going to respond. People are going to either like you more or dislike you more.

Nothing comes for free. Often, it’s these risky, “vulnerable” moves in life that will offer the greatest rewards in the long run. But you must take them. The cost is taking the risk. Agreed, you’ll be the one negatively impacted if the risky move turns bad. You might gain the disapproval and shaming from others. Sometimes, this can result in soul-crushing anxiety and despair. Rejection is one of the worst feelings to live with.

Remember though, it is through our vulnerability that we ultimately develop resilience. Make that be your life’s motto. This tough, persistent “I can take it” attitude is what needs to be developed.

What do you do when you feel rejected or rebuffed…when you feel as though you’re always trying to win the approval of others but often met with either some sort of condescending lip-service or outright disappointment?

One of my recent strategies is to just say aloud “Be resilient. Be resilient. This is going to take some time. You are currently in the moment. Give it a few hours—or maybe 3 days, but by then, you’ll be fine again. Those strong feelings will have passed.

You want to get past those strong torrents of emotion because that is when your behavior and reactions are likely to be unstable. You want to imagine yourself riding through those moments, almost like you’re on a boat in the sea, floating to stable land, but you must get there first.

Reminding myself that I must reestablish my mindset and focus on resilience provides me with an escape from my current feelings.

My $3.99 Night-Table Transformation using my extra scraps!

My $3.99 Night-Table Transformation using my extra scraps!

“A classic model of the stages of creativity roughly translates to 3 modes of focus: orienting—where we search out and immerse ourselves in all kinds of inputs; selective attention on the specific creative challenge and open awareness, when we associate freely to let the solution emerge—then home in on the solution.”

Daniel Goleman, “Focus”

 

The other day my 3-year-old was lamenting the fact that she doesn’t have a bedside table next to her big girl bed. Wouldn’t it be great to have a place to set her milk, books or stuffed animals before she heads to our bedroom to sleep each night?

I thought, why not find a little cheap table at a thrift store and fix it up? So, I found this one.

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Okay, so with this 20% off coupon it wasn’t 4.99 but actually $3.99. What a deal, huh? When you donate to Thrift stores, they kindly give you coupons–EVERY TIME YOU DONATE ANYTHING!

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As you can see, the table was in good condition. It had a very nice, simple structure and made of solid wood. All it needed was a little perking up.

What color? My daughter was set on a soft, powdery, sky blue.

I was reminded of Lowe’s, Home Depot and other hardware stores. They would have tons of colors but I would have to pay for the paint–an added expense to an already cheap table. Not something I wanted to do. The paint, alone, would cost me an additional $5- $10 bucks. But I’m a cheap freak and I like to find ways to use what I already have on hand.

It suddenly dawned on me that, WAIT, I am a (acrylic painting) artist and have TONS of paint in a huge assortment of colors! Not only that, but I knew we had a few half gallons of white paint in the garage from past wall projects. This white paint could be easily mixed with my acrylic artist paint. Why not create my own color(s)?

Also, I found some sand paper amidst everything.  The point? Always search your entire house and garage to find things that can be used before you head to the store! You’ll save time, gas, energy and money.

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Just grab a plastic container from your kitchen storage area (these containers come in handy whether they are take-out containers, lunch meat containers or the containers from microwave dishes)–these are ideal for mixing paint and creating new colors 🙂

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And here I mixed up my (artist acrylic) blue paint with some household/interior white paint.

Once thoroughly sanded and cleaned, I flipped the table over and started painting the tough areas first–bottom and legs.

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I decided I wanted a two-toned blue color scheme.  To achieve the look below, GIVE YOUR TABLE AT LEAST 4 COATS OF PAINT! (1 new coat each day)

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Finally, I decided that it needed some embellishments. I had a couple jars of shiny stones, tiles and other saved objects that I’ve collected from various home décor stores like Michael’s, Pierre 1 Imports etc.

In a previous life (2010) I did a table top mosaic on a cheap, plastic table. Here it is:

 

Use whatever you might have on hand to adorn your table–old earrings, necklace pieces, pieces of Christmas ornaments, beads, stones, chains, shells…the list is infinite.

I’ve found that a glue gun works quite well for sticking tiles to wood. Notice that I practiced on a piece of wood (pictured here) before I attempted on my freshly painted table:

 

Arrange your adornments/tiles on the counter to determine what you’re going for. Once they’re glued down, you won’t be able to get them off.

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Take out your glue gun. Heat it up and unleash your creative mind!

You never know what you’ll think up next. Simplicity is always a good idea.

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And…change it up on the opposite side if you want.

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A fun bedside table to set books and sippy cup–$3.99 plus a little work.

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2 Homemade Easter Dresses, SAME PATTERN. (sewing steps by pictures)

2 Homemade Easter Dresses, SAME PATTERN. (sewing steps by pictures)

I’ve got laundry, a couple messy rooms, a kid screaming bloody murder (as always) and the other one interrupting me every couple of seconds. In between those interruptions, let’s see how fast I can make this post! Excuse the hap-hazard style and grammar mistakes!

I wanted to show *most* of the step-by-step pictures of the previous little girl dress I blogged about here and an Easter dress I created for my 3 year old (USING THE EXACT SAME PATTERN!).

I already posted the finished results on Facebook a few weeks ago, but thought, why not post a few pics of the actual process? That way, I can use these pics as reminders FOR MYSELF when I’m in a sewing state of stupefaction? I’ve found that sometimes just seeing pictures–and NOT VIDEOS--were what made the difference in learning how to sew different things.

Here you’ll find an assortment of pictures that I took while making both dresses. Nothing is better than being able to design your own dress with the wild assortment of frilly and fun things at your local fabric store.

Here are the materials I picked for my First Little Girl Easter Dress. (It was actually my first dress attempt). This Easter fabric was on sale at Joann’s. After I bought all of this material (including pattern, zipper and pink ruffle) it cost me around $12.

The good news? You can use the pattern over and over again and there are always extra fabric remnants for other projects.

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Always make sure to wash, dry and iron all your fabric before working with it!

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Next, you’ll want to cut out every single piece of your pattern according to your child’s dress size. Here is an example of the front bodice of the dress pattern piece placed right next to the fold of the fabric. One of the techniques you’ll encounter very frequently in sewing patterns.

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Here are what the skirt pattern pieces will look like when you cut them out and place them on the fabric you will use (this one’s the green dress). One is on the fold and you will cut it on all the sides, except the fold, of course. The other piece is just situated on the fabric and not necessarily on the fold; this means you will cut 2 pieces and sew those two together).

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When you cut out the front bottom of the dress, it will look like this (this one’s for the Easter dress)

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Now you’ll follow the instructions to make 2 pleats in the back and one in the front. This is an example of the front (single) pleat.

Follow the instructions on your (front dress bottom) pattern piece. Evenly place pins in material as shown above (and according to the pattern directions for the size you are using). Notice how I flipped the pattern piece over to the other side of the skirt to determine the location of the 3rd pin’s placement.

You will bring the (above) 3 yellow headed pins together (one on top of the other) and they will end up looking kinda like this; see picture just below. You’ll notice the pleat beginning to form.

Now you’ll just have to sew a little line right in the middle area of the pins.

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It will look sorta like this when you initially sew the pleat. You get the idea. Don’t worry, this little seam line will not show because you’ll sew your bodice and dress bottom-half together over that seam line. All you’ll see is the neat little pleat. 

I didn’t take a picture, but you’ll next sew the two pleats on the rear side of the dress. Next, you’ll sew the front of the dress to the back of the dress by placing the two pieces right sides together and sewing down the sides. You can do all the hems later.

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Your bodice top pieces (back and front as shown) will look like this.  You can see the seam line in the back bodice piece (which I already sewed together)–sorry, didn’t capture that step.

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Next, you’ll need to work on your sleeves. You can use the setting sleeves in the round method as I blogged about here. OR, you can set your sleeves in the flat, as shown below. This is roughly how you’ll position your sleeves on your top bodice and then pin them in place to do the flat method.

Finally, your top and bottom pieces will be complete. They might look roughly like so:

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Now sew them together and you’ll get a dress kinda like this:

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Extra touches? I added a Peter Pan collar and attached a cute pink, frilly trim on the bottom of the dress.

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And what about that green dress where I used the same pattern/idea but different fabric? Notice that I used the extra pink material from this Easter dress to make my sleeves and some of the collar for the other dress below. Don’t waste any fabric, you’ll find some way to use it. 🙂

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I think she loves it!

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