I thought, when I finished work, that I might be bored. I didn’t choose to finish; I was made redundant. Nasty word, that, redundant. “unnecessary, not required, inessential, unessential, needless, unneeded,uncalled for, dispensable, disposable, expendable, unwanted, useless;” Not a good feeling. So I wrote an eleven page report asking the Senior Management Team who would do all those inessential things that my job consisted of and, with a few changes, they reinstated the job and offered it to me. Unfortunately, by the time they did this I had been offered a good financial package and decided to retire early. More to the point, I had realised that I could not work for a management that was so shortsighted that it thought they could run the place without someone doing what I did (Not me personally, my role was important, not me.) and so dim that they had had to read an eleven page report before they became aware of what it was they had been employing me to do for years. So I turned them down and, apparently, they were surprised. They thought I’d written the report to save my own skin and would therefore be grateful. Which tells you what they thought of me and therefore influenced what I thought of them.
Grateful is not what I was.
Lost is what I was. Over twenty five years I had devoted more and more time and attention to the work, taken on more and more responsibility and, for the most part, drawn enormous satisfaction from it. Redundancy was like an amputation.
Momentary change of subject:
During my childhood we weren’t well off but we weren’t poor either. My mother made most of her own and my clothes and later I did the same for my children. (I get the impression they weren’t always thrilled with what I made but at least they were never cold and naked.) My mum was a maker of many things. she knitted, sewed, cooked and made cross stitch pictures. (You can see some of them in the Stitch Gallery on this blog. ) We learned to crochet together when I was about twenty. So I too have always made things. One of the the crafts I took up after the children grew up was card making and this has been enormous fun. I go to a class most weeks and we work in a companionable burble of conversation as we try new techniques and tools.
But I always wanted to create things of my own. My knitting rarely stuck to the pattern, sometimes with entertaining results, more often with hours of unpicking and re-knitting to be done. My stitching often starts from a chart. I rarely finish them. If I design my own, they stand a better chance of completion. And I can write reasonably well. Not Shakespeare, you understand but I can get my point across. But I always wanted to be an artist. And I’m not. There are five year olds with better draughtsmanship skills than mine. So all those ideas stay inside my head because my hands can’t reproduce them. This has not ruined my life, by the way, it’s just niggled at me on and off for years.
Until, in my fear that I might be bored when I finished full time work, I had a look on Pinterest and found by accident, some drawings that were Zentangles. Well, that was me hooked. And that was a year ago today. In that year I have tried to learn the skills involved with varying degrees of success but I have kept on trying because there is something there that was special. I make fun of the gospel according to Zentangle but it is respectful fun, grateful fun. In that year I have become resigned to being a retired person and have learned rather more about myself than I might have wanted to but I have also found the hidden artist in me. Not with every piece of work I try, but with some things I nearly get there, wherever”there” might be. She’s still hidden but I know she’s in there. And Zentangle has helped me to make a bit more sense of things, by relaxing instead of fulminating; by focusing on the here and now and by being mindful of what I am doing. I haven’t got it yet but I’m making progress.
Getting a bit heavy so I’m stopping before I go all contemplative and return for ever to the me of 1969.
So here’s the Diva Challenge for this week – to use a tangle called X- did, so I did.