Bridget stared at the length of white, yet-to-be-touched, silk scarf with a frown that spoke volumes. Was it a 14 x 72 inch demon or wisp of possibility? She circled the fabric, dipped her brush in a puddle of blue dye, and stepped back. She sighed. â€œIâ€™m afraid to start,â€ she said. â€œWhat if I screw it up?â€ Ah, midlife creativity. It comes with baggage, and not the carry-on type.
I hear â€œwhat if I screw this up,â€ a lot when I host a silk scarf Playshop. The good girl in us shows up and demands attention. Instead of embracing the experimental nature of something new and creative, more often than not we fall back on needing to do it right. Whatever that means.
I get it, I really do. I face the same discomfort when trying something new. All those memories of being corrected for coloring outside the lines surface. We werenâ€™t celebrated for our free spirit back in the day. Nope. We were encouraged to conform or else. But here we are in midlife and you know what? We get to rewrite the script.
No matter how often I assure the women that they really canâ€™t mess up their scarf, they look at me in disbelief. But, but, but, what if…???????
â€œWhat ifsâ€ are nasty buggers. So here are five things Iâ€™ve learned by hosting my silk scarf Playshops:
- Itâ€™s something new, which is why you were attracted to the offer to begin with. Right? Midlife opens the gates for creative resurgenceâ€”at least for many of usâ€”and we need to send the fear of trying packing.
- What is the worst thing that can happen if your creation isnâ€™t perfect? A silk scarf encircles our neck with a loving caress of color. It is NOT a report card on artistic ability. It is an expression of playâ€¦something we get too little of in our busy lives.
- Color is not a four-letter word. Some women are attracted to the fuchsia dye that screams I. Am. Here. But they end up picking the more demure ecru. Why? Whoâ€™s guide to age-appropriate dressing are you following, and is it really serving the real, circa 2016, you?
- Some women get upset when they put their brush to the silk and, instead of obedience, the dye spreads where ever the heck it wants to go. I feel this is an excellent metaphor for midlife women. We no longer want to be told what to do either. We go where we want, when we want. It feels good! Spread, baby, spread.
- Despite the doubts, despite the comments such as, â€œMy scarf didnâ€™t turn out at all like I wanted it to,â€ I get follow up emails that say they ended up loving the unexpected beauty of their creation. Once they let go of â€œthe shouldsâ€ the joy of what comes forth takes on an abandon hard to explain.
Someone should write a song called, Let It Go. It might do well.
I am delighted and honored to be the host of silk scarf Playshops. Each event reminds me of the power within a gathering of women. The sharing and support creates a tremendous amount of positive energy, and we need all we can get in this world of ours.