Creative Destruction

At some point last year, I came to the epiphany that there was power in destruction. Oh, I said it far more eloquently last year than what I just said, but it went something like this:

My hormones stir up anger and rage in me. And rather than destroy relationships by being thoughtless and saying things I don’t even really mean, just because I feel a neeeeeeeeed to destroy something, I would be far better served by redirecting that destructive urge.

That’s also when I discovered that refashioning, that is, the act of taking something, in my case, a piece of clothing, that already exists and doing something to it that alters it…ostensibly destroying it for its original purpose, does something in my heart to alleviate that need to destroy. My philosopher husband calls this, according to its Freudian name, “sublimation“.

I can’t say that it works 100% of the time, but so far, it has served me well.

Since February, my hormones have been all over the place. I know that this is the name of the game in this season of life, but I do not enjoy feeling like the dog being wagged by its tail. Back in some cobwebby corner of my mind, I remembered the refashioning hack, and how it had been helpful in the past.

The problem was, I had nothing left in my stash to refashion. I needed to get talked down off the ledge, because I knew my hormones were making me nuts, but I also had no raw material to make it better.

I got in touch with my friend Deana, who lives in Montana (and who is the LiElla, the podcast’s Wicked Stepsister’s real sister…I know. It can get confusing! I guess that makes her my other wicked stepsister? Huh. We’ll have to figure that out) and asked her, because she is a crafty lady, if she would want to try doing some refashioning stuff in March. Make it March, we would call it.

She patiently listened to me set myself some rules, gave myself a budget to take to the thrift store, with a color parameters for what I was looking for etc etc.

She, meanwhile, picked out a few things she wanted to work on, too, and even did a little bit of project Mise en Place. (We are more alike than we are different, Deana and I!!!)

So, here is project #1:

That Red-Violet T-Shirt

A little snip-snip here…

It’s in the taking of something perfectly serviceable…something fabulous, even….it’s in the the little adrenaline rush I get from cutting into it and not knowing if it’s going to work…That is first part of the hormone-calming effect.

So, whatever the original hormone issue was, it starts to get flushed out by adrenaline.

Then, there is the next phase, the “and what if I tried that thing I saw on Pinterest” phase, during which I attempt to recreate technique which seemed pretty easy but also pretty cool.

In this case, it is to create a little bit of a ruching effect on the back of the t-shirt (the Pinterest one called it “corseting” which, well, ok, why not, but that isn’t what I thought it looked like…)

So here we have the back of the tee, we fold it in half down the center back, then, fold it again to where we want the ruching to go. We cut small slashes in the fold (through all layers.)

Then, we pull each loop through the one just below it, which creates this kind of “braided” look.

Here is a little video showing how it is done. No, the quality isn’t great, and yes, that is an audiobook my boys are listening to in the background. It’s a good one, too. Public School SuperHero by James Patterson.

There is something that just feels good as I try a new technique. Some kind of feel-good chemical that gets released. And while I may not love the end result of the project, I do love how the process has made me feel. I feel powerful.

Here is my completely unscientific formula:
Adrenaline (excitement) + cortisol (stress) + oxytocin (feelgood) = POWER

And, I am going to humbly suggest that if we can concoct our own power-renewing cocktail, and in this case, it is a kind of “self-medicating activity”, and the only cost is a 2€ thrift store t-shirt, then we might be onto something.

Now, refashioning is my self-medicating cocktail. But I would really really really encourage you to be on the lookout for yours. What low-cost, low environmental-impact activity can you find that will get you excited, give you a small, manageable amount of stress, and release a goodly quantity of feelgood chemicals?

Having something to look forward to–putting something on the calendar that you want to do…that’s the first part. Second part is it has to be something with a little bit of risk–manageable risk, obviously. Not life and death risk. But, just the right dose of risk to get you feeling something. And lastly, there has to be an element of success that will release those feel good chemicals.

Try this. Think about this.

Episode 47: Dressing for Your Ideal Life Sing With Your Feet

Talking Points: Heartspace and Headspace; the recursive shapes of our life; Mise en Place and decisions.  When we know what we want for our life, it makes all of our decisions easier–including what we wear.  Thank you to Seven Productions in Mulhouse France for the use of the song "La Joie" as the intro and outtro of the show, to Matt Kugler who sang it and Claude Ekwe who wrote it.
  1. Episode 47: Dressing for Your Ideal Life
  2. Episode 46: Closet Inventory
  3. Episode 45: Wardrobe Therapy
  4. Episode 44: Facing Disappointment
  5. Episode 43: Where Are You Going?

Published by Lily Fields

I am passionate about contentment. This is a challenge, because I am equally passionate about progress. I get up at 4:00AM to chip away at a solution to this monolithic problem: how to make progress on my contentment. Born and raised in the USA, I married a French philosophy teacher in 1999. We have lived in France since 2007. We stayed young and carefree until life threw us two curveballs in the form of little humans one after another in 2015 and 2017 respectively. Now I am a slightly older, slightly more exhausted version of myself, but with mystery stains on my walls and a never-ending pile of laundry.

9 thoughts on “Creative Destruction

  1. That’s why I whack my hair off. Something I can destroy, that is not permanent, and socially acceptable. Well, my Mama, and my husband don’t like it, but they have to deal. It’s better than jail!! But, I have a new plan. Buy cheap cheap stuffies, and eviscerate them.

    Liked by 1 person

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