Yesterday I was digging around in my spare bedroom where I imprison piles of thrift store clothes and vintage linens that swallowed my story about some day glorifying them into the stars of my upcycled etsy shop. Some of them have been waiting for years. Each time I go in there I hear flea-thin voices shrieking, "Pick me! Pick me! I'd make a great ruffle."
In the corner is a stack of opaque plastic tubs with lids. I haven't looked in them for eight years. Just because they were next to the fabric pile I was digging in, I took off the lids and looked.
And was thrown into an archeological dig uncovering long-dead hobbies. Stencils for wall borders that went out of style 20 years ago. Craft scissors that cut fancy edges in paper. Rubber stamps of juvenile images I outgrew long ago. I began buying all this stuff in the '90s every time there was a coupon for the craft store. Like every hoarder-crafter, I hadn't paused to think if I'd ever find the time to use the stuff, and the tubs had turned into a time capsule. These were my artsy aspirations in my 30s. Unfulfilled.
At least I learned this about myself: I was a maker earlier than I gave myself credit for. I tend to trace my maker urges only back to the turn of the millennium, when I made my first Halloween costume and took first place in the staff competition. It took two decades to recognize myself as a creative being shepherded by an analytical brain rather than a logical mind with sudden, unpredictable urges to make something.
These days my soul identity as a creative (apparently the truly creative leave off the noun and use the adjective solo) feels so solid that it's practically my religion. I fellowship with artists. I worship with my needle and thread. My service to humanity takes the form of each new thing I shape with my hands. Thinking this way redefines my creating from "me time" to respectable work time. The only thing missing is a regular paycheck, but to extend the church analogy, I get whatever change is tossed in the collection basket.