Opportunity is a funny thing. We like to think of opportunity as always being good. But, I don't think I'm the only one that sees an opportunity in some things for good and an opportunity in others for disaster.

For example, I'm giving a presentation at work tomorrow that is an opportunity for advancement. It's one of those chances that can really boost a career. And, I can see the opportunity for good in it.

But, there are other things where all I see is the opportunity for disaster. And, those are the things I try not to do. With great enthusiasm, I try not to do them.

I remember someone blogging recently about having to spend the weekend with a sister in law and how the visit was fraught with the opportunity for disaster. And, after the weekend, we found out that the blogger was right. Disaster had presented itself and she made the visit tolerable by taking her sewing machine and locking herself away from the SIL.

I know that feeling. That foreboding. That inability to protect myself from the impending disaster.

There are some people, some places and some events that just bring up that sixth sense that warns us that this could be really unpleasant, and that the best thing we could do is to wear our armor and be prepared to fight or flee.

I want to be one of those people who sees the opportunity for good in everything I do. But, to me, that just reeks of naivete. Every situation is not primed for good. Some people are just going to be difficult and if you don't mind screaming at them over and over and over again about the same things, then you can look forward to the opportunity for good after the screaming part is over. But, if you're tired of having the same argument over and over again and you just want all the unpleasantness to stop, and you're tired of being drawn into their web, then all you can see is the opportunity for disaster.

If you want to go to an amusement park and you can see the opportunity for fun, then you look forward to the event. But, if all you can see is kids flying off the most dangerous ride, then you're not going to look forward to it at all.

My shyness is driven by a fear of criticism.Criticism is a hard thing for someone to endure, especially if they've received a lot of it. It's either an opportunity to do good. Or, an opportunity for disaster. As a parent, whose whole life is affected by the amount of criticism I've received, how do I provide a critique, and aim that toward the good instead, and not make my child fearful of disaster?

It's a pickle. And, one I struggle with every day.

So, that's what I have on my mind. Opportunities. And, there are quite a few of them going on for me right now. The opportunities for disaster sometimes outweigh the opportunities for good. I used to start every day hunkered down, waiting for the disaster to strike. Waiting to be criticized. Creating situations to make it happen. Thankfully, that only happens once in a while anymore. But, I have vivid memories of how hard it was to get out of bed and do anything.

Good grief, today's post was supposed to be so up beat. How did it end up so reflective? I promise, I don't spend every waking moment fearing the next disaster. After all, I do quilt sometimes and that's rarely catastrophic anymore and as far as I know, not a single one of my quilts has ever killed anyone. See? There's the good.


P.S. If you're reading for a second time, you might see that some of my rambling has been removed because it did not have anything to do with what I was feeling today. Quilting is respite and I know I am doing good and I know I can do better with more practice. So, I should never speak of quilting as having potential for disaster. l


Coloradolady said...

Lane...I have something to say...and share with you...but I am LATE for an appointment today, I'll be back this afternoon....be ready!!!

oldbatt said...

It takes so long to realize how WE affect our own lives looking for disaster or trying to avoid it. It took me a long time to realize that my sister in law (that was me) was toxic at times and brings me down or tries to. I have had to deal with the same situation with friends and even going so far as to "break up" with them and cut all ties. I need to surround myself with positive people and things and try to give that back. I don't want to waste any more time with so much negativity. And why does it take us so long to figure these things out? I guess it's all part of the process.

Good luck on your presentation! Best, Lisa

Barb H said...

I agree with what Lisa has said. I try to grab each opportunity for good and get as much out of it as I can. Those opportunities for negativity, I ignore and avoid if I can. If not, I try to keep an invisible distance between myself and the other and observe the interaction from a non-involved perspective. This helps somewhat and if I can stay uninvolved, I don't have to argue and fight with anyone. As for showing quilts, each person decides for himself if he wants to do that. Yes, there's opportunity for disappointment but there's greater opportunity for growth and progress in one's personal journey. It depends on how much risk-taking one is comfortable with.

Coloradolady said...

I have gotten where I walk away from opportunities that pose less than happy outcome...and for me, an awful lot of that has to do with family. I have to avoid all contact or very little....when someone is so unhappy with themselves that they prey on those who are...well, it is time to go in my opinion.

I don't know if you remember that quilt show I entered my quilt in.....and if you remember me saying a guy won several big awards. Well, that same guy did not even enter his own quilt. A friend did it for him. He was, like you, afraid of rejection and harsh criticism. And he walked away with several ribbons....how amazing is that.

I think you should take a leap of faith. Your talent is such, I don't think you would find too much harsh criticism. The judges were nice to me...except when it came to the binding...and I was a little disappointed because I thought it was so good...and was not up to their standards....oh, well....so much for thinking the best part of your quilt is indeed not the best part!

Take a chance Lane, you might be so surprised...take what they give you and take the next step. I did not think they were too brutal, but then, this was not a huge show....but I will say this...there is NOTHING like seeing your quilt hang with the rest of them at the show....it is a great feeling.

I think you and I should enter the Sisters show and go next year...that way, I can carry all your awards home for you!!!!!

I am you biggest fan.......we just need to convince YOU how great you are!!!

lw said...

I can't make head or tail out of this post, but I do understand that constant criticism can set a person up for seeking criticism later in life.

I do want to agree with Coloradolady that I would love to see your quilts in a show. You really are very talented-- the orange peel is a real show-stopper, and the drunkard's path is beautiful.

One of my other favorite bloggers (Anita Estes at http://grannyspatches.blogspot.com/) says she doesn't win at the shows (who knows what politics lurk in the hearts of quilt judges,) but I've been very inspired by her work, and seeing how she chooses to do things has taught me a lot. Whether you win or not, you've got a lot to teach other quilters-- and the opportunity to share beauty.

Elizabeth said...

Lane, I totally see where you are coming from. My parents {mostly my dad} were very critical and I am SO much like him. I worry that I'm going to bully my children into behaving, rather that teaching them the right way.

Anyway, about your quilts. Start with something low-pressure, like the county fair. I started entering the county fair at 15 or 16 and as far as I remember I always came out with a ribbon {I think it was a the 'Dutch' system, where everyone who entered placed somewhere}. I even judged fairs for a couple of years after I graduated from high school {in the clothing division}. If someone as inexperienced as I was {thought I thought differently at the time} is judging, you're sure to place well! Once you get a 'taste' for it, you can move on to the more 'serious' competitions. I've entered a few 'real' quilt shows and won a few people's choice ribbons, but never a judge's award. I'm still standing and the experience was really thrilling. Kind of like the amusement park -- I knew it was going to be a roller coaster ride, but I wasn't worried about falling off. I just enjoyed the experience and learned a bit from my mistakes.

I think photographs are much more unforgiving than looking at something with the naked eye. I've only ever seen your work in photographs and it is beautiful. I think you could easily skip the county fairs and go straight for a quilt show and do really well.

xo -E

P.S. Hope your presentation at work went well.