20 January 2014

While I was watching Downton Abbey . . .

Barnyard Christmas
Prairie Schooler
JCS Ornament Issue 2001
I got my first finish for the year. And I love it.
This was one of the first ornaments that I really loved out of the first JCS Ornament issue I bought.  But, somehow, I've never actually stitched it. I have been going through boxes again, and found that issue, and, along with a couple others, this one really jumped out at me. It took me a little over a week to do, but last week was a little busy around here.
I ran for Town Council. A vacancy came up, and I was tired of complaining and doing NOTHING to fix it. A supervisor once told me that anyone can complain, a real leader steps up and fixes the issue, so I wanted to see if I could be a leader. It was scary. I know it doesn't come across like that in this blog, but in real life, I don't have a lot to say. Or I think that whatever I have to say, no one wants to hear. I had a lot of bravado when I took my application and letter of interest up, but it faded in the ensuing month. That little voice of doubt crept in, that one that says, "You haven't held a leadership position since 4-H. You majored in theatre, what do you know about making rules for other people? You are nothing."  And, then, by Wednesday night, I told my husband I didn't want to go talk to the town council, that it was stupid and no one would vote for me. And, Left-brain, being who he is, got me back on track, helped me pick out an outfit that said, "I'm young but not too young, you don't know me, but you might want to. Give me a chance." And I went.  Scared to death, but more scared not to, because, so many times, I have passed up doing things because I was scared I wouldn't succeed, and what example does that set for my daughter? Or, heck, even myself? Sara Bareilles' song "Brave" came on in the car on the way over, and I took it to heart.
There were 4 of us there: one of my more vocal neighbors, another guy who ran for the council last year and barely lost, another guy who goes to the meetings, and me. The vocal neighbor had great qualifications, the other two guys were long-time town residents, and there was me, with my letter of interest, written by hand on a piece of notebook paper torn out of the notebook I use for work because I don't have a printer, with my hair in a ponytail, asking for the chance to help make our town a place my daughter will be proud to be from.
I didn't win. But I got a vote. And considering no one knew who I was, that was pretty cool. The vocal guy, who IS a really nice guy, got read the riot act by the town council because he called them names, got none. The second-place guy got none. And every one of those council members urged me to come back--they said they might have voted for me, but they didn't know who I was, and wanted someone who was actively involved. And the thing is, I don't feel like I lost. Because, having lived in a small town the majority of my life and knowing the delicate dance of the outsider and the local, I know it's not easy for someone who isn't "from" somewhere to get approval, and I got 5 people to tell me they wanted someone like me. And that feels awesome. More than that, I saw a goal through. I didn't let the fear of failure keep me back. And I know, in the broad scheme of life in general, this is nothing: one person, standing up in small town America and losing the election, but, for me, it's a significant thing. 
So, that's that. I'm going to become politically active.  I promised Katie I would do everything I could to make her world and her childhood, wonderful, and it's a promise I intend to keep.
I am also resolving to start getting things finished all the way when I finish them. I'm taking this ornament to the finisher this weekend. Still have to figure out a fabric to back it with, but I'm getting a little annoyed at all the pretty things I have in the bin I keep done things in, that deserve to be seen, but aren't, because I just don't have the skill to finish them right, so I resolve to start getting things done, even if I have to pay to have them finished. It's going to be a bit of an expense, but I've spent more money on dumber things than ornament finishing.
Now back to my afghan.


Robin said...

Good for you, Rachel! Hope you will return at the next opportunity to run for town council.

Robin in Virginia

Annie said...

That is such a pretty ornament design. I didn't start getting those issues til later years. They really had some nice ones in the early days.

And congrats on your bravery! I'm sure I would have chickened out at the last minute. If you stay active, I bet you could win next time after they get to know you. And if you never try again, at least you can cross it off your bucket list!

Stitchinowl said...

Very pretty ornament! There are so many nice ones in the JCS mags over the years.
Congrats on running for Town Council. I bet you will win next time, if you start going to the meetings and become active.

Meari said...

The outcome of the town council meeting is awesome. You should feel proud of yourself. :)

I do my thing and you do yours. I am not in this world to live up to your expectations, and you are not in this world to live up to mine. You are you and I am I, and if by chance we find each other, then it is beautiful. If not, it can’t be helped--Frederick Perls