Textile art

You can do it!


Dear Tracey,

I read your column and your blog faithfully – I love how you approach life. You’re  so upbeat and active. Could you bottle this because I’d buy the first case!

I have led a pretty restrained life, always trying to do the right and/or proper thing, be a lady. I’ve had some dreams but never realized them. I was afraid to try something different and wasted so many years.

But I watched your recent interview with Indie Authors. Getting to actually hear what you had to say was inspiring. Thank you. It sort of kicked me in the pants. I’m not getting any younger and I’m sick of letting life pass me by.  I’m retired.  and financially comfortable. I’m single and my kids are settled. There’s nothing stopping me but myself. What am I waiting for?

I’d like to go back to school and learn about my passion, textile arts. But the thought of all of those creative kids with their endless talent? I could never compete with them.

How do I get out of this stall?


Dear Reader,

Thank you so much for your praise – you are quite generous. It’s gratifying when people are spurred on by something I’ve said or done.

I am thrilled that you are ready to grab onto your life! I truly believe in “better late than never”!

While it’s challenging, begin by focusing on the positive. You clearly have some understanding of what has determined your choices.You listed a number of old messages as well, like how you should be “right and/or proper” and how you couldn’t compete with younger students. Naturally, all of this negative self-talk results in fear.

Let’s turn this around by focusing on the positive.Typically, when I ask people to do this, they look at me like I’m crazy and tell me that it’s not that easy. I’m here to say they are absolutely right! Changing our thought and behavior patterns is a whole bunch of work. But with the motivation you have (not getting any younger, life is passing you by, etc.) – you are set up for success. I know can do this.

My first suggestion is to re-work the messages you’ve been giving yourself. Toss out thinking you’ve “wasted time” and think something like “now is the time.” Why? Because we tend to act based upon what we think. Remember, every time you think you can’t do something, chances are, you won’t.

Let’s make you your own best detective because with a little sleuthing, your life will begin to improve. Keep a list of your negative thoughts. Nothing fancy, just jot them down. After a few days, review your list and look for any patterns you may see, such as when and why you reacted as you did. Pay attention to what emotions were associated with your self-talk.

Next, note anything from your childhood that may have lead you to believe in what you are telling yourself. Trust me, all of these are valuable “clues” in turning the page on old patterns. By understanding where these messages came from you are better equipped to change them. Consider this more productive message: “I am a mature woman with years of practical experience, not a seven year old getting reprimanded for being less than perfect.” It can change your emotional outlook.

Now, plug in your goal – school. (Sounds like a ton of fun to me!) Where did you learn such a negative message about competition? What has happened in your life that makes you feel those imaginary students have “endless” talent? Re-write these. For example, you assume they are far more talented than you are? Toss out your crystal ball. The reality is, some will have more talent than you and some will have less. It’s the law of averages.

Next, break down this goal into little pieces. Take one class or go to a simple workshop. By giving yourself some positive experiences you will begin to build up credit in the “feel good” column!  This will have a wonderful effect because it will give you positive experiences to replace the old negative ones.

I’ll be waiting for a photo of one of your projects!

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