Failure

The dread worm.

The dread worm. Drawing Luke Hockley.

The dread worm. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

I am holding in my left hand, which is thrust deeply into my left pocket, a sense of something. Weighty and foreboding.

I find that I can, occasionally, open my palm and take my hand out of my pocket and do what needs to be done. But this sense of heaviness remains stagnant in my pocket, nonetheless.

Randomly, more often, I take my hand out of my pocket and look at it. I sense the gross, dull life form squirming inside my clutched fingers. But I don’t seem to be able to will myself to unfurl my fingers and look at it directly.

Not yet.

Generally, it appears about 24 hours before I am able to look at it.

And so, for a day or so, I live with it.

For about a day, or a bit longer, or a bit shorter depending on the circumstances.

Uncomfortable and awkward and uncertain and icky.

When the time has passed, I take my hand from my pocket and stare for a moment at my fingers and then, like a dive into cold water, open them and place the thing on the table in front of me.

A grey, fleshy, smooth skinned worm squirms upon the table.

I can still feel the dread that it emanates seep into my now empty palm, into my pocket, through my bowels and up into my chest and back of throat.

It’s the dread worm.

And I don’t like it.

It wriggles benignly on the table and I look at. Eventually I do what I know needs to be done and I reach out and touch it.

In what is always a surprise, which means it should never be one, I’m taken aback by its response.

This time the surface where I touched it changes from its morbid grey into a late day sunlight orange.

As I continue to touch and get to know it a little better it starts to morph and change shape. It becomes playful. Joyful.

This transformation is rapid.

And accelerates, almost without me noticing.

Soon it has transfigured itself into an entirely different animal.

A new one every time.

In this process there are awkward moments, painful ones even, but also funny and light hearted and inspiring ones.

And soon enough it has run off and become a thing in the world that has little to do with me anymore.

Mostly it’s a good experience, mostly.

And then I wonder, as I watch it run away, I wonder…why don’t I remember this feeling of lightness and relief when the worm first appears clutched inside my hand thrust into my pocket?

How come I can only feel the dread at that moment?

What I would like is to be able to feel the dread worm appear and know, inside my bones, that this too will turn out ok, even if some bits of the experience are less than ideal, in the end I’ll probably have a reasonably good time.

That.

Next time.

I’ll work on that.

Love

Luke

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Day 1,332

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Thanks, but no thanks.

Thanks, but no thanks. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Thanks, but no thanks. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

I struggle with saying no.

I am so good at twisting myself into a shape that might just fit this particular situation because I couldn’t possibly just simply look at it and say…

“Hey, that looks really great…for someone else. Thanks, but no thanks.”  

Saying no isn’t always an instant relief. I have ‘no’ regrets.

That is the kind of ‘what if I had of said yes what amazing things might have happened?’ regrets that happen just after saying no.

Funnily enough I don’t spend time imagining all the horrors that I avoided because I didn’t say yes.

Funny that.

Love

Luke

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Day 1,323

Show your support for Dear Self by becoming a monthly supporter of my work or by buying some stamp money. Your support means I can keep doing the things I do to make the world a better place.

Uh-oh.

Uh-oh. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Uh-oh. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

It’s 12:35pm and I haven’t written and published a Dear Self yet.

Uh-oh.

I considered pretending that I’d made the deadline.

I thought about changing the time stamp on the blog post.

So that I didn’t post this late.

But then I thought, who am I lying to? Myself?

Pointless, really.

I wonder what happens now?

Love

Luke

ps: I changed the date and time code on the blog post, because I could.

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Day 1,315

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Mean and funny v’s good and generous.

Mean and funny v’s good and generous. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Mean and funny v’s good and generous. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

I have a reasonably quick wit.

When I was younger it would get me into a bit of trouble at times.

Because, for whatever reason, the ‘immediately funny’ view of a situation can often be the mean view of the situation.

So, I’ve learnt to forgo the laugh in order to remain true to my belief that seeing the good, the possible…the generous view of a situation is the kinder, more productive and more appropriate approach to just about everything.

Occasionally I fail at this. Mean and funny out competes good and generous.

Damn it.

I’m sorry about that. I really am.

Love

Luke

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Day 1,310

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I lack perfection.

I lack perfection. Drawing Luke Hockley.

I lack perfection. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

I lack perfection.

I don’t know why this comes as a surprise to me.

Over and over again.

I’ve always lacked perfection.

It’s never been any different.

Would I even like how perfection felt if I did, miraculously, achieve it?

I don’t think I am actually in pursuit of ‘perfection’.

I hand sew things because I love the imperfection of it…but I do try and sew as perfectly as I can…whilst choosing contrasting fabrics and cotton that highlight any imperfections that exist.

Hmmm.

It’s imperfections in my personality that I find the hardest to manage.

I appreciate how my hand sewn imperfections can be endearing…but my quirks of personality?

I find those much harder to highlight and embrace.

Could I, possibly, highlight and embrace all the things that make me imperfect?

It sounds good in theory, but the reality…

I wonder.

Love

Luke

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Day 1,301

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All the things.

All the things. Drawing Luke Hockley.

All the things. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

I just need to do all the things.

Be here, right here.

Imagine the future and set up the things that need to be set up to make it possible.

Be grateful for the past and all that I have because of the things, good and bad, that I have experienced.

That’s all.

I just need to do all the things.

Love

Luke

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Day 1,299

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Frightened of buttonholes.

Frightened of buttonholes. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Frightened of buttonholes. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

I’m frightened of doing the buttonholes on the shirt I am making.

They are kind of irreversible.

Once the fabric is cut (which you do as you start making them) then there is no going back.

It feels like I could really stuff this up.

What if I get it wrong and all the hours of sewing this shirt are for nothing?

Ah, that’s interesting.

I’m worried about the outcome…which is the opposite of how I approach making a shirt.

When I make a shirt I’m most interested in the process. I encourage myself to let go of the time it takes me to do make it and how the shirt will look in the end…and just do this step, now.

I find making shirts such an interesting metaphor for my life. I avoid getting things wrong, which means I find finishing things I really care about can be difficult. It’s ok to get things wrong.

Ok, it’s time to make the buttonholes. 

If they don’t work, they don’t work.

At least I will be moving forwards.

Love

Luke

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Day 1,281

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Not on my feet.

Not on my feet. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Not on my feet. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

I am not on my feet.

I feel all disoriented, discombobulated.

I don’t understand how all the bits fit together.

I don’t get how to make sense of it all.

I just don’t get it.

Love

Luke

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Day 1,275

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Sometimes it hurts.

Sometimes it hurts. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Sometimes it hurts. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

Sometimes I wonder if I am up for managing the breadth and intensity of the ideas I have for changing the world.

I feel a bit like a ghostbuster who is trying to control one of those big streams of light without crossing the stream with anyone else.

I see what needs to be changed, I have a sense of what that might look like, I imagine a way that could happen, I throw it out into the world…and I try and manage the chaos of that as best I can, doing as little damage to myself and those around me.

But I don’t always succeed.

Sometimes it hurts.

Which makes me feel like pulling back and hiding.

And I don’t know what to do with all that.

Love

Luke  

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Day 1,274

Show your support for Dear Self by becoming a monthly supporter of my work or by buying some stamp money. Your support means I can keep doing the things I do to make the world a better place.

The thing I think I need to look at.

The thing I think I need to look at. Drawing Luke Hockley.

The thing I think I need to look at. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

The thing I think I need to look at is not necessarily the thing I need to look at.

Because sometimes looking very hard at the thing I think I need to look at is just a way for me to get better at worrying about the thing I think I need to look at.

At these times, I’ve learnt, the healthiest thing to do is to look at something else. Almost anything else will do.

Then the thing I think I need to look at can have a bit of time outside the spotlight to sort itself out and work out whether it really, actually, needs to be looked at.

Love

Luke

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Day 1,271

Show your support for Dear Self by becoming a monthly supporter of my work or by buying some stamp money. Your support means I can keep doing the things I do to make the world a better place.