Thursday, August 15, 2013

The life that led me here... Why I am me.

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This is deeply personal.  Just a warning.
For my giveaway I asked that everyone tell me something about themselves.  I did this because I love knowing people.  I don't mean that I love knowing people, but that I love knowing people. It is only by knowing people that I can understand why they are who they are.  And I think knowing why people are who they are is really very important.
In my quest to learn more about people, one person asked me to answer my own question.  So here I am.
I am going to give you the unabridged (well, slightly abridged) version of how I came to love quilting, and what it really means to me.
I love life.  This was not always the case.  I have struggled with depression from about the age of ten.  It got worse and worse through my teenage and earlier adult years.  Being an ugly kid and suffering through a horrible marriage didn't help.  I'm also an introvert to the core (yes, it's true) which has been a struggle as well.
As a kid and teenager I was smart and did well in school.  I basically hibernated in my parents' basement.  I did my homework, read books and stared at the wall.  It was my safe place where no one was there to make fun of me or call me ugly.  Just me and my thoughts and my cat.
The only time I left the basement was to go to school (which I dreaded) and to go to dance practice.  I liked dance practice too.  No one made fun of me there.  At least not to my face.
It was during those years that my love for animals really began to grow.  I began volunteering at a veterinary clinic after school and when the animal shelter had strays that they couldn't care for, my mom agreed to let them come live at our house so we could nurse them back to health.
Animals were always my friend.  They didn't care how ugly I was or how crooked my teeth were, how thin and flat chested I was or how thick the lenses in my glasses were.  They appreciated me, and I loved them with all of my being for not judging me.
By some miracle I made it through high school without offing myself (though I thought about it an awful lot).  I even graduated early - even though most thought I dropped out.  While most of the teasing had stopped by Junior year, I could not wait to get myself away from it all.
I think it was in college that I started the process of becoming the me that I wanted to be.  I was technically an English major, but sciences have always held a special place in my heart.  I took classes that interested me rather than following my curriculum.  I didn't care if it aided my attainment of a degree or not.  I didn't care what I was "supposed" to do.
Soon after college I got married.  One step forward, fifty billion steps back.  Suddenly I was back in that place where nothing I did was good enough.  I wasn't good enough.  I was made to hate myself more than I ever had before.  I was made to distance myself from anyone that could make me believe I was worth anything.
Long story short, after a few years I finally gathered every little bit of courage I could muster and left him.
You'd think that alone would've been enough of an achievement to put me on the path to the "new me".  In many was it was, but I also regressed rather quickly.
You see, I used to try to be deeply religious.  I thought I could make myself believe in a god. I wanted to believe in a god so that I could have faith in something and believe in something when I didn't believe in myself. I went to church every Sunday, went to Bible study, read religious self-help books, etc.  I knew all along that I couldn't force myself to believe something that I just didn't believe.  But I still tried, because that was what I was "supposed" to do.  I was trying to be the me that everyone wanted me to be.  When I left my husband, I also left my religion.
Suddenly I was a Godless, hopeless failure incapable of being loved.  It messed with my head and heart in so many ways.  I slipped further and further down the spiral and became so depressed that I was in the darkest place in my life.  Much darker than it had ever been before.
I wanted to die.  I felt like I was a burden to the people that I loved.  I thought my life was going to continue down that impossibly dark path.  I thought the world would be a better place if I wasn't in it.  I thought that allowing myself to live was selfish.  I really just wanted to make it so that I never existed to begin with.
During the time that I allowed myself to fall deeper and deeper into the pit of darkness that was my life, I had stopped communicating with my family.  I hadn't spoken to my mother in nearly two years.  My family had come to Colorado for Christmas one year and I didn't even know it.
One day in October of 2008, in an act of pure desperation I called my mom.  I didn't tell her that I wanted to die.  I couldn't do that to her.  I did however tell her how incredibly unhappy I was.
"You should try quilting, I think you'd like it."
What kind of suggestion was that?!  While I thought it was ridiculous, I let her words echo through my mind for a while.
November 2, 2008 I saw a quilting machine for the first time.  I dove in head first because honestly I had nothing better to do and nothing to lose.  Over time I realized how much fun I had quilting; I realized it was something that if I worked hard at it, one day I could be good at it.
I got to be a part of peoples' lives in a really intimate way.  I was making people happy, and I realized how that made me happy.  It made me feel good.  Suddenly my life had purpose.  I felt like I had accomplished something.  I kept quilting and day by day I built myself up without even realizing it.  I let my curiosity be free to try new things.  In trying new things I naturally practiced a lot.  In my practice I improved my  skills, and in improving my skills I improved my outlook on life.  I was happy! Quilting changed my life.  I found something I love that gave me a reason to want to live.  Even if I wasn't quite there yet as far as believing in myself, I knew that if I kept going that I would get there one day.
Many of you have asked me to thank my mom for making a silly suggestion that brought me into quilting.  But what I really need to thank her for is saving me life.  For giving me passion.
Why am I sharing this with the world? Because I think it's important for people to understand that no matter what things look like on the surface, everyone is fighting their own battle and has their own demons.
A lot of people think that quilting has come easy for me.  Now you know that it didn't.  I needed it.  I needed quilting to come into my life exactly when it did, and I needed it to be something that I could throw myself into.  I refused to give up.  If I failed, I tried harder.  If "this" didn't work, I tried "that" and "the other".  I've worked really hard to get to where I am.  And I can finally say that I love life.  I'm happy.  And I'm going to be okay.
I still have my days where I go back to "I'm not pretty enough", or "I'm not good enough" or what-have-you.  That's just a part of depression or maybe just a part of life.  But I turn to quilting and it all goes away.
I do not wish for a second that those dark times in my life had never happened.  It is everything that has happened in my life up until this point that has made me who I am at this very second.  Above all, I need to be able to like myself and I'm bold enough to say that I love me.  Even if nobody else will, I am able to love the me that I am.  And that feels really good.
So to say that quilting is my life, is the most true statement that I could ever make.

NOW.  Since I've gotten that out of the way, I thought I'd tell you about a few of my dreams or aspirations or goals or random things about me or whatever.

For the last few years, I've had this rather romantic idea that I wish I could change the world.  This is why I always say that I'm "making the world a more beautiful place one quilt at a time."  Because I believe that to be true.  While it would be great if I could take over an island in a massive humanitarian effort, that's not very realistic, is it? But if I could, I would provide a community where every man, woman, child and animal that needed a helping hand or a word of encouragement could go to finally feel however they need to feel.  Since this is not an option, I suppose I will change peoples' lives in the same way that I changed my own:  through quilting.

I believe that everyone wants to be a good person.  I believe that even "bad" people could be good people, if they only knew that someone believed in them.  It's hard to want to be good when you feel like you have no one to turn to, or that the world has given up on you.  You're tempted to give up on yourself.  And I hate that people out there feel that way.  If you need someone to believe in you, I will be that person.

If I could take away all the hurt in the world, I would.  I see strangers walking down the street and I can see the grief on their face.  It could be simply a bad day, or maybe they just got fired from their job, or lost a loved one.  I wish I could hug them without getting arrested.  So I make it a point to smile at strangers on the street, because again, you never know what battle people are fighting in their lives.  Sometimes, a smile really will make someone's day better, even from a stranger.  Smiles are contagious.  Try it.

While quilting has helped me to change my life, the people I have met through quilting have helped me change it just as much.

I like to go through Starbucks drive-thru and pay for the order of the car behind me.

When I see homeless people on the street, I stop to have a conversation with them before slipping them as much cash as I possibly can.  I'd much rather ask them to lunch, but they might think I'm a weirdo.

I love to give stuff away.  Things are things and I don't need them (but no you cannot have my quilting machine.  I do need that).You can have them if you want them. I only ask that you ask for them rather than take them. Taking things is not nice. 

Never again will I let someone make me feel like I'm not good enough. If I feel that way, it's my own fault. 

If you hurt me, all you have to say is you're sorry.  The tricky part is that you have to mean it and I know it when you don't. 

I want to eventually live happily ever after with someone that loves me, appreciates me and supports me and someone for whom I can do the same. Just not right now. But if that never happens, that's okay too. 

I will cause a scene if I have to when I see someone being mistreated.

I believe in telling people how you feel about them.  I think the world would be a better place if we could just find it in ourselves to tell people how special they are or how much we love them.  That's something that everyone needs to hear.

I believe that kindness and acceptance are the key to happiness.

I find it upsetting that we live in a world where Atheism has somehow become synonymous with immorality.  Think about that for a minute.  Do you really think I'm a "Godless heathen"?

Sometimes the Internet (or more accurately men on the internet) makes me feel horrible about myself. But then I remember that I am more than what I look like.

I love to make people smile.

I love hugs.

I hurt when I see others hurting.

My favorite thing in the whole wide world is to laugh.

I'm also rather fond of kittens.  And all animals.  If I could have one of every furry creature that exists, my life would be complete.

I can find a way to put baby spinach in just about anything.

I love to cook. But much like quilting, you can't talk to me while I'm cooking. I won't hear anything you say. 

If you ever want to see me really determined, tell me I can't do something then watch me do it.  

I think that while telling people you love them is important, showing them is exponentially more important.  Words lack depth and often meaning.  Actions can never be questioned or doubted.

 Sometimes, I know I'm being taken advantage of, but I don't care.  I'm not stupid.  I know what you're doing.  But I want to help you anyway.

If I go too long without listening to music, I get grumpy.

I don't like to touch paper after washing my hands and you can't make me. 

My two front teeth are fake. 

Romantic comedies depress me.

I have pink hair as a celebration of a successful surgery, not "just because".

Tattoos are important to me.  They feed my soul.  The act of actually being tattooed is therapeutic to me.  My tattoos tell stories of my life that I never tell in words.  And I get to wear my art for the rest of my life.

You are not allowed to judge me based on my tattoos or my pink hair.  They are not me.  But they are a large part of me.  You only get to judge me based on who I am.

I love to go for walks in the rain.  No umbrella. But you can stand under my umbrella if you need to.

I spend so much of my life in a hurry (if you've ever seen me trying to get from one place to another at a quilt show, you know this).  When I give myself a chance to breath, I love to marvel at nature.  Birds, butterflies, insects, wildlife, a tree swaying in the wind...it all makes me smile.  It's beautiful.

I don't eat animals.  In my version of the perfect world, no one would eat animals.  Animals are my friends.

I love people.  All of them.  But I like some more than others.

My eyes kind of glow in the dark, but that's mostly due to poor eye health, not because I'm special.  :)

There is someone in my life that is the most amazing human being I have ever met.  He inspires me and makes me want to be a little bit better version of myself every day.

I think that everyone is special in their own way and everyone has a purpose.  Some just haven't found it yet.  If you've found your purpose, I hope you realize how lucky you are.

I feel lucky to know that I get to spend my days doing something that is so deeply important to me.  I don't know what I'll do if that ever changes.

Since I wanted to change the world and provide a place for people in need but can't, I've found a rescue mission that already exists that is sort of in my new neighborhood to volunteer at instead.  I am SO EXCITED.

I believe that if you can't change something, your only choice is to change your attitude about it.

Some people think I'm a whackadoodle.  I think those people are whackadoodles and I'm the normal one.

If I can spend the rest of my life making people realize their potential, overcome their fears and make their dreams come true... - well I have no words for how that would make me feel.

So there you go.  A few things about me. 


83 comments:

  1. so, i've always known that i think you're really awesome and lovely and talented,and i didn't think that you could be any more beautiful than i already thought, but now you are. i'm glad to call you a friend :)

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  2. Absolutely love YOU and everything about YOU! Keep it real, always!! Like I've said a million times (okay like four times) - I believe I started quilting to meet some very amazing people that were to be an important part of my life - or something of the sorts (can't even quote myself) -- but, you are definitely one of them! HUGS my dear friend!!

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  3. I think you are absolutely wonderful...just the way you are dear Lisa! I wish I could hug you. Big love and hugs

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  4. Thank You, Lisa! I first "friended" you on FB because of a quilt you had done, and I wanted to see more of your quilting. Since that time I have been so impressed by your willingness to share yourself w/ your friends and fans. I feel humbled that you allowed yourself to be so vulnerable to all of us in this big nasty world. You are a treasure & I can't wait to meet you in person.

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  5. You can't find a way to come visit me in Minneapolis before I move to the other side of the world. (Gauntlet thrown!)

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  6. P.S. I less than three the living s**t out of you!!!

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  7. This is really beautiful and is a true window to your soul. I guess you don't believe you have a soul since you are an atheist-sorry. I only know you through FB and have admired your creativity, talent and beauty. Now I admire all of you. What a road you have traveled. I wish everyone could find their passion and purpose in life.

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  8. Thank you for sharing your story Lisa. As an atheist quilting introvert and a former FLK (funny looking kid) there is quite a lot I can relate to. I think your attitude to life is awesome and I can't wait to see the amazing things you are sure to do.

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  9. Beautiful, heart felt post. Now can you come to Australia so I can give you a hug?

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  10. Beautiful, heart felt post. Now can you come to Australia so I can give you a hug?

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  11. I love you, L'il Sea Star! I KNEW you were a STAR the first time we met -- and, now, I KNOW just how BIG a STAR you really are! Please don't forget that, ONE DAY, you and I are going to take our dip nets and hit the beach! HUGS! BTW, I have always thought you look GORGEOUS!

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  12. I LOVE THAT YOU LOVE YOU....I'm guessing you are a real special person, when I come over to MQX don't be surprised if I come give you a great big hug...

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  13. I feel so honored to call you my friend. I wish I could reach through this blog and hug you right now! xox

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  14. This makes me want to hug you and hold on for a really long time! The world is a better place for having you in it! You are an amazing person and your friendship is a gift that I will aways cherish! Thank you or sharing your story! I am sending you hugs!

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  15. You are so special. You grow brighter every day. I love your work, your hair and your craziness (that is saneness too). You Keep on brightening until you Light each day.

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  16. OMG Lisa, I love you even more! Thank you for your honestly and being real! You are important in this world and it wouldn't be the same without you or your passion for quilting! You keep rockin' it girl!

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  17. YOU are one FABULOUS woman, and I'm so glad that I stumbled onto your blog. You have helped me, too. xoxo

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  18. Thanks for sharing..life is a journey some of your experiences are very similar to mine..glad that you have embraced all the good while reflecting on the bad and the ugly.Keep smiling and sharing your passion.RESPECT.

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  19. What an inspiration you are. Thank you for sharing your story and your spirit. People like you really DO change the world!

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  20. Lisa you are one of the most beautiful people I have ever had the pleasure of coming into contact with in my life. Your passion and your giving soul made me tear up. Your beautiful quilting is a reflection of who you are. I feel so honoured to even know who you are let alone view your lovely work. You are a blessing to this world! xo

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  21. I'm new to your blog, and this is the first post I've read, but it really resonated with me. I've been to some very dark places a few times in my life, and it wasn't until I found my resonating creative outlets (quilting, drawing, and writing) that I've been able to start coming to peace with who I am.
    There are many similarities in your story to my story and it's nice to know that I am not alone. :) Thank you for taking the courage to write this.

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  22. I don't have pink hair and tattoos, but your story has touched me profoundly as a large part of what you wrote could have been written by me. We have a lot in common, Lisa! The solitary introvert, divorced quilter who only wants to please and make others happy part are the parts that we share. Here's a great big hug and hoping our paths cross one day. You are precious and don't ever change anything!

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  23. Beautiful, soul touching, hit the notes that echoed so well in me.

    Hugs! Omg, another hugger.

    You are such an inspiration to so many. Reading this, and knowing you did it, maybe I too can crawl out of meh and figure out what I want with me, my life.

    To say you rock is too tame. You are so freaking amazing and one day I'll give you a hug and say thanks.

    :D happy introvert dance....yay!

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  24. Thank you for you honesty. The world needs more real, and especially real quilters!

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  25. Out of the darkness comes light, you are a beautiful, bright shiny person.

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  26. First off, I thought you said that you fondle kittens and I was like, woah, now that is personal. Then I got my glasses.

    I really like you. We haven't met and maybe this sounds really weird. However I think you convey yourself well over the Internet. And I'm sick of clarifying and calling people my "Internet friends". Eff that. Friends are friends. You are true to yourself and to me that is a really important thing. I love people who are unapologetically themselves. They are my favorite time of people because we can go and do and debate whatever, but in the end we'd never compromise ourselves but we'd also respect each other as well.

    I'm sorry you went through all that shit. I think we need to go through stuff like that to be able to fully be ourselves. Maslow's hierarchy and all.

    I want to hear the story of how you lost your teeth. I'll ask you when we meet.

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  27. Thank you for sharing yourself and your quilting.

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  28. Loved, artistic, creative, funny and all around wonderful. Yeah, that's you!

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  29. First off, I thought you said that you fondle kittens and I was like, woah, now that is personal. Then I got my glasses.

    I really like you. We haven't met and maybe this sounds really weird. However I think you convey yourself well over the Internet. And I'm sick of clarifying and calling people my "Internet friends". Eff that. Friends are friends. You are true to yourself and to me that is a really important thing. I love people who are unapologetically themselves. They are my favorite time of people because we can go and do and debate whatever, but in the end we'd never compromise ourselves but we'd also respect each other as well.

    I'm sorry you went through all that shit. I think we need to go through stuff like that to be able to fully be ourselves. Maslow's hierarchy and all.

    I want to hear the story of how you lost your teeth. I'll ask you when we meet.

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  30. I can't begin to thank you enough for your gifts to me- ones you probably aren't aware of. Your FB photos and classes have incredibly inspired me and now this post. Wow. You are so right when you say everyone has a story that others are not aware of. And pre judging others,though easy to do,is never the path to take. Folks think I have an easy life- a husband who financially and emotionally supports me. My vacation this year was five days at MQX in Manchester. What isn't seen is that it was my ONLY vacation. I am responsible for helping my 97 year old father, and guardian for my mother who has Alzheimer's and needed to be placed out of their home, after being together for 70 years. I have now started Hospice services. Tired, yes. Some days exhausted. But complaining, no. Like you, all my previous experiences have brought me to this place. I will get through it and be glad to be here. But my emotional fatigue doesn't allow me much creativity so I will follow your quilting joys and triumphs knowing when my time comes, I will start practicing and will be positive I,too,will succeed. Thanks for your post,Lisa. Proud to know you even a little bit.

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  31. Depression can be such a deep hole. I am so glad (for you and for the whole world) that you found your way out. You inspire us all with your smile, your unbelievable talent, and your beautiful pink hair. Keep it up girl. Hugs and smiles to you.

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  32. That was so wow. I know you shared it with everyone but I want to say thank you for sharing such personal things. I think you would "get" me, esp since trauma and I are well acquainted.

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  33. Love your comment about smiling at strangers. Everyone has their own issues and complaints about the way they look - especially women! I try to always point out to someone if i think their hair/makeup/shirt/outfit is really pretty. Some of them look at me like a weirdo but other's just light up at being noticed.

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  34. And don't forget to breathe ... thank you for letting us glimpse the soul of an artist!

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  35. I can relate to a lot in your story. You are so right that it's empowering to spread happiness in any way that you can, and it's sad that a smile or a surprise free cup of coffee from a stranger is so rare. I feel the same way about my own tattoos -- the weird girl power womb lily thing that was supposed to stand for female creative energy (from when I was 19 and just discovering feminism and Georgia O'Keefe) -- and the Eiffel Tower tattoo that I got in Paris a couple years ago because the other silly women in my travel group were buying little plastic Eiffel Tower souvenirs that were stamped "FABRIQUÉ EN CHINE" on the bottom (MADE IN CHINA). After several glasses of Bordeaux, I had this epiphany that I was going to get an Eiffel Tower souvenir that was made in Paris, by a real Parisian... He must have thought I was such a wacko. He asked several times to make sure he wasn't misunderstanding. :-). So that one makes me smile, but is also important because I won that trip from an essay contest that I almost didn't bother entering, so it reminds me that I still have talents, adventures, and possibilities waiting for me in unexpected places, and it reminds me to try things even when I doubt myself.

    The difference is that I'm so introverted and shy that I put my tattoos where most people won't see them, and I'm much more comfortable blending into the crowd than attracting attention. But I admire free spirits with pink and blue hair and hope to be brave enough to wear my personality on the outside someday. It's like that poem that starts, "when i am an old woman I shall wear purple with a red hat that doesn't suit me..." and goes on to describe a life following one's heart no matter what anyone else thinks of your choices.

    Regardless of whether you believe in God or karma or whatever, I hope you realize what a blessing you are to each life that you touch, with your quilting, your honesty, and your generous spirit.

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  36. Well, lame or not, I'll say it: You rock! Thank you for sharing your story so honestly and courageously. You are an inspiration on many levels!

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  37. You are beautiful inside and out and inspire me in SO many ways. Thank you for writing and sharing such a wonderful post.

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  38. That totally made me cry. You're amazing and beautiful, don't let anyone tell you otherwise :)

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  39. This was a great post, we need to talk about this more often so that we can help other people through this. Thank you for being so open. I think your pink hair rocks :)

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  40. Oh sweetie, you are so much more than "enough"!

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  41. What a beautiful and inspirational person you are Lisa!! :)

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  42. Thank you for sharing your SELF with us. And Pat (above me here) is so right - you ARE so, SO MUCH more than "enough"!

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  43. You just changed my life. No other words are needed, I know you understand ! Thank You ! Love & Hugs !

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  44. Your love for the world is written in the beautiful stitches that you dance across the quilts you do! Thank you for sharing the awesome human being that you are. Huge bear hugs!

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  45. Thank you for being so open. I think you and Amanda F. Palmer are slowly allowing me to recognise the real me, and giving me the courage to stand up and be her. So, the words seem inadequate, but thank you!

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  46. Wow! The first part of your life's story is a repeat of mine. I, too, have suffered and still suffer from depression and suicidal thoughts and thinking I will never be good enough. Quilting saved my life. When I am quilting, the rest of the world goes away and I can be the creative hermit I want to be.

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  47. Lisa - I'm so glad you shared this. I really enjoy getting to know YOU! You have summed it up perfectly - quilting really is good therapy.

    I think it brings so many of us together, who otherwise may have nothing else in common.

    You are amazing and we all love you!

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  48. Thank you for this bravery, this honesty, and making my day better. You are wonderful and complicated and perfect. And I'm gonna go sew something right now.

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  49. Thank you for your honesty! It was almost like I was reading my life history in your words!! Sharing your story is a beautiful thing, even if some of the story is dark! We can only grow and evolve for honestly reflecting on ourselves and truly seeing the beauty in life!! I am at a good place now even if the journey was treacherous. I will always have dark moments but I too love life now. Thank you for being a wackadoodle just like me :)

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  50. I know that WHEN I meet you in person (at a quilt show some time, some where), I'll hug the livin' daylights out of you! You are a softie of the first magnitude...

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  51. Thank you. You are brave and beautiful and I am so glad I stumbled upon your blog just in time to read this sharing. (((hug)))

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  52. I wanted you to know that I've read your post. And nodded along at several of the things you brought up.

    I battle depression. I haven't yet found the thing that brings me great joy that I can do on a long term basis. For the short term joyful moments, just hand me a baby and let me rock them for a bit.

    May your hair always be on your head, whatever color it may be.

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  53. Well ever since I found you online I've thought you were beautiful, although I'm sure it's not just the quilting that makes you radiate that, but your beautiful personality too. Thanks for sharing this with us :o)

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  54. Lisa I'll bet you were never ugly, your profile pics show a stunningly beautiful woman. I throw this out to you because you could take your story as a young child/woman & everytime you were made to feel ugly & too thin, I was being told I was ugly & too fat. So if you can't be thin & you can't be round & fat it goes to reason there's most of the world believing a lie. I realized just a few years ago that my body never bothered me until the health issues slowed me. I wasn't insecure at all about my body. I was insecure because I loved people & I was rejected by the people believing a lie. God has always been very close to me but His people very darn near ended any self esteem I had. I began to believe fat was the unforgiveable sin. Anyway, you touched my life very tangibly a yr/half ago by sharing your views on being scared in your quilting. My hopes for mine feel like I'll never see them fulfilled & many times our conversation gives me hope. I think you can say in my life you made a very important contribution. We couldn't be more different in the spectrum of this world, yet for me in one moment we shared a commonality. The beautiful tattooed purple hair young woman & the older (let me stress there are older than me!) fat woman in a scooter chair

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  55. I LOVE your new blog header. So much better a representation of your skills.

    I personally don't find you unattractive, but that's not even the point - the point that I hope I can drive home to my daughter is that IT DOESN'T MATTER. I once was pretty. Now I'm not. My live is better now, because now I have a husband who loves me, a daughter who loves me, a nice home, a fun job and an even funner hobby. I wouldn't consider trading all that for my 20 year old body and face. Life and people are what is important - not a very fickle society's idea of what beauty is.

    Your story is not unique. I know many people with very similar stories. It scares me, knowing my daughter may be in this situation in less than 10 years. I pray for her that she will find her purpose at an early age. Because as your story illustrates, that centers you, and heals you. I pray she never feels like a waste of time.

    I know I can speak for the entire quilting community when I say that we are very glad you found quilting and got stubborn with it! You have raised the bar on the whole craft and inspire us daily.

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  56. I sometimes get really overwhelmed by how little effect one person makes - like the bureaucracy wins all the fucking time. But last week I was in Illinois on vacation and I started thinking about what life would be like if Lincoln never lived. He was just one dude, right? But he made such a difference in the cultural trajectory of the planet. Anyway - we all get the same chance to live some kinda life, and I'm just gonna try to make a positive dent in the world's level of suck. And you rock my stripy socks, chicka!

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  57. AS the true introvert I have written numerous replys, which have all been backspaced out of existance. You do make a difference, and we love you XX

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  58. So much of what you say relates to so many of us. Thanks for putting it so beautifully!

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  59. You have touched my heart. Thank You!

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  60. Thanks for sharing that. It was all something I needed today.

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  61. Good Lord what a group of friends you have..look at all the comments. I believe in sharing...soo healing and so free. BRave you wrote a great post.

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  62. That is said from the heart! I enjoyed reading about you. I'm so glad you took up quilting because you do some amazing stuff and I love to see what you will do next!

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  63. I am so pleased you have got to where you are now. I think it happened because you started to see what others saw reflected in their eyes. You are beautiful and you are wonderful and you are a brilliant quilter!

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  64. You are amazing! And eloquent - thank you!

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  65. The Puritan/Protestant culture we've inherited as Americans tends to give many, if I may so call it, an either/or ultimatum between a "Jonathan Edwards Christianity" and atheism. These are, of course, false alternatives. But in any case there is a paradox in which deciding to reject one's childhood faith might be one's first genuine religious experience. Any decision borne out of a sincere desire for Truth is a manifold of the primordial human desire for the God of Truth. There would simply be no honor in an unbeliever trying to force herself into belief, just as there is no honor in a believer betraying his faith when it happens to be inconvenient.

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  66. p.s. RE: the change of perspective people have based on talent

    Any kind of "dorkiness" one might seem to have seems to dissolve whenever people perceive one has artistic talent. In my own case, growing up, I was "in general" considered more or less irrelevant -- until people started seeing me play guitar. All the sudden I was a "badass", and rumors circulated to that effect among those who didn't know me except by reputation. Something like that happened as recently as the past few weeks even. A friend of my dad's, who used to always bust my balls about one thing or another, saw me perform with a local jazz quartet and now all the sudden he no longer seems to feel compelled to bust my balls anymore. So my point is that talent, especially artistic talent, seems to have this socially lubricating effect, and can thus create a harmony with people one mightn't have known before. Of course, there is always the seduction of power: charisma of any kind can be used as a means of controlling people. But I doubt that's a problem in your case.

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  67. I hope our paths cross sometime....a quilt show or class...and I hope I have the courage to walk up and give you a hug. That was a beautiful post!

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  68. Thanks for sharing this Lisa. I hope to meet you at the quilt show in Portland in October. Just know that you are NOT ALONE. Not in the way you felt about yourself, your self criticism, doubts about God or any of that stuff. The best thing is what you have discovered through quilting.... we are a community of caring, sharing, powerful women, who can make the world a better place through our art and creativity. As a quilter, you will never be alone, anywhere you go you will find other people like you that you can walk up to and talk to/hug/whatever without having to explain yourself. Take Care!

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  69. What a courageous outpouring of yourself. I admire your resolve to respect yourself and your time by putting your quilting passion into perspective. Thank you also for the candid discussion and reflection of your struggle with depression. Mental health carries a lot stigmatism with it and it's refreshing for 'people' to hear that someone can be okay or successful or loving or desperate while coping with mental health illnesses such as depression. I use the word illness because that's what it is....it's not like having a bad day where you can simply 'pull yourself up by your bootstraps and get on with life.' Best wishes on your move and all that comes with with it.

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  70. Wow, for someone who is so young you sure have an amazing soul. Beautiful post. Bless you.

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  71. Thank you for sharing all that you have been through. I could have written parts of that story. The best is yet to come, I always say.

    Amy
    Abf3615@aol

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  72. Damn, Lisa! You are so special! I am so happy to have you even in a little bit of my life! You are amazing!!

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  73. Thanks for sharing. I know all about the dark times you're talking about and it was the quilting and sewing, the coplours and the doing that got me out there.

    All the best wishes, Britta

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  74. Oh wow! I skipped going to church today--again-- and found the best sermon I could have heard had I gone! What a wonderful soul you are!! Glad I stumbled upon you here.

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  75. Wow. Thanks so much for sharing so honestly here. I'm struggling with depression now, and your post moved me. Thank you!

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  76. Lisa, you're incredible. I cannot imagine a world without you, and I hope I never have to. You absolutely make more beauty in the lives of anyone you meet. I'm so very grateful to call you my friend.

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  77. "I love knowing people." I got into quilting after being deep in sewing clothes for people. I sewed for love and for acceptance. I sewed because I was so different and few looked at me for who I am. I was judged on so many levels and came up short (in their eyes) at every turn. It was so dark for me there. Sewing found me and then I stumbled into quilting....and lost the judgments and lost the "give a damn" about what they thought. The pain went away. As I healed, my hands kept sewing and quilting and beautiful just oozed out. I am not always in the best place with this but know that when I feel lost, I need to line my soul up with needle, thread and fabric....abundant color and texture. I love giving to those who never saw it coming....who live lives that resonate healing for me and for others.

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  78. I started quilting after having a serious injury to my neck. It also saved my sanity (or what's left of it). LOL You are an inspiration for all women: young and old a like. I think your awesome. AND I love the word........ whackadoodle!!

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  79. I think you are making a difference...one quilter at a time.

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  80. I think you are making a difference...one quilter at a time.

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