I have to admit, in the past it always annoyed me to see post after post about how great XYZ sewing trip was.
“It was like totally amazing”, etc etc.
Let’s be real, annoyance is really jealousy in disguise.
Well, insert foot in mouth, Sew South was like totally amazing! No, really. Like life changing amazing for me.
How can a sewing conference be life changing?
For starters, Sew South is not a conference. It is a retreat.
A pamper you, energize you, relax you retreat where you are surrounded by like-minded people and doing what you love (sewing!) without dealing with the every day of being at home.
Jennifer organized not only a place for us to sew but a place infused with southern charm and attention to detail that made us never want to leave. It was just the right amount of people that we could really get to know one another but also have a wide variety of diversity to keep it interesting.
If you were a fly on the wall at the closing session of the retreat you would see that it was life changing for others too. Pretty much everyone choked up when it was their turn to speak about what the best part of the weekend was. And for most of us, it was not about the sewing!
I’m glad there’s a computer screen between us so that if I start to ugly cry again, you can’t see me!
I am so thankful for the weekend because it pushed me outside of my current comfort zone and back in to the comfort zone I had before becoming a mother. I was reminded of who Lindsey is. Just Lindsey, not mama.
Being a mom is ultimately my calling and I am so grateful for the opportunity to stay at home and raise and love on my kids.
But. In the 7 years and 4 months that I have done so I have gradually lost sight of who I am outside of being a mother. Being a mother is hard!
I am raising a child with Autism, another who has a life-threating peanut allergy, all while battling an autoimmune disease myself that occasionally leaves me unable to get out of the bed.
As the years have gone by, I found myself living in yoga pants, sometimes not leaving the house for 2 days except to drop off and pick up the kids from school and rarely having a really meaningful adult conversation. What started out as living in survival mode during some very trying times became my routine. Even after things got better.
Nothing against my husband, because he is AMAZING and supportive, but he is tired too from working hard and doing more then his fair share sometimes to keep our house running.
This was my first weekend away in SEVEN YEARS. What the heck!?
What I realized this weekend is that we need to connect with other ladies who understand the goals we are working towards, who cheer us on, who aren’t competing with us. Ladies to celebrate our victories and cry for our losses. Ladies who understand how difficult being a wife and mother can be with the added bonus of a shared love of creating.
I found 50 of those kind of people this weekend. And I’m encouraged to work harder at allowing the people in my personal life to know me better. To not worry if they see the ugly and the messy that life can sometimes be. To invest in those around me and open up and allow others to invest in me.
This weekend I regained confidence in myself. I would say, gosh I used to be funny, I used to love chatting with new people and now I’m afraid of those things. I’m afraid I won’t be liked or understood.
I threw myself into a weekend and was unabashedly Lindsey. God has given me a love for people, I love caring for and helping others and my tank was filled by having the opportunity to teach in front of 50 amazing women and to get to know them. To find similarities with ladies I had never met and to talk about our lives all while making something pretty.
I solidified my love of teaching and encouraging others to sew. And though my class was difficult (another post, lol) we powered through it and literally cheered each other on as one by one our bags were completed. It took a village to make a duffle bag! And we made a mountain of them!
I have been reminded this week of how important it is to get away from the computer screen and to get face to face. The convenience of texting should never completely wipe out talking to another, or getting together in person. We need to be hugged, sometimes we need someone to hold our hand and we can’t do that from behind a phone or computer screen.
Most of these ladies live no more then six hours away, which means that not getting together more often is unacceptable!
I want to erase my old routine and make a new one. Starting now.
I have much more I want to share. My class, what I made, swapping, swag bags and even the hotel staff. Sew South rocked my face off!
And I can tell you that the next conference you go to can rock your face off too. What made this one different from others I have attended is this:
- Get up and meet new people, don’t sit at your table and never talk to anyone else
- Don’t judge someone else because they don’t like the same things as you. As Ginny said, “We all speak one language and that is fabric and thread”. You like batiks, I like polka dots. Guess what, both are fabric. I like artichokes, you hate them, who cares!?
- If you came with a group of friends, don’t be a clique. Look for someone who came by themselves and pull them into the group. You may miss out on a long lost soul friend just because you’re being a snob.
- Mix it up, don’t eat dinner with the same people every night.
- Truly get to know the others, even those you think you have nothing in common with. I guarantee you’ll find something!
- Smile, belly laugh, be silly, give of yourself and your resources and have FUN!
Seriously big hugs, Lindsey