Mistakes

Fix the damn thing.

Fix the damn thing. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Fix the damn thing. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

Technology is totally amazing until it is totally shite.

Thing is, it has seduced me, you know.

It’s taken years…but inch by inch I have given over my autonomy to it.

So now, if it suddenly fails me, without explanation warning…well I’m totally stuffed.

And everything is set up now, so you buy it and pay every month for it…and there is literally no one on the other side of that transaction to help you sort out what the hell just happened.

No one.

At all.

How did we get here?

Shouldn’t someone be there to fix the damn thing when it stops working?

I mean, please!

Low level grumble about small, but significant inconvenience, over.

Love

Luke

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Day 1,352

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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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Looking at now.

Looking at now. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Looking at now. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

When things don't work out the way I had imagined it is easy to know what I should have done but not so easy to imagine what I should do next.

I think it is profoundly unhelpful to churn over all the pieces for the sake of churning over all the pieces…but what to do with all that stuff?

Is looking forward even helpful?

Maybe it’s about looking at now?

Maybe that’s all I can do with all that I have done?

Love

Luke

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Day 1,282

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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

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The Rebel and the CEO.

The Rebel and the CEO. Drawing Luke Hockley

The Rebel and the CEO. Drawing Luke Hockley

Dear Self,

I am both a Rebel and a CEO.

I’ve got these two contradictory characteristics that can take me by surprise and, if not well managed, can derail me and the thing I’m working on.

The Rebel in me does not like being told what to do, or rather doesn't really like following someone else’s vision for how things might be done. I dig my heels in and find ways to resist the simplest request or most obvious instruction.

When I hit the CEO mode hard…well I become like an immovable object. I want this thing done and I want it done now. I might be prepared to negotiate how it’s done…but only for a very short amount of time, then I just want it done my way.

At my best these two-character flaws don't really get much air time. Up until now I haven’t had a name for them, but I’ve known them, or have been getting to know them. I’ve learnt how to set things up so that I feel heard and safe, I’ve learnt to make really clear choices about whether I am in a leader of a follower role and that seems to help keep me on the straight and narrow.

But when I’m tired, or hurt, or sad, or out of sorts for whatever reason…that's when things can get messy.

There are two extra, interesting things I have just realised.

My Rebel and my CEO are actually the same qualities in me acting out in different situations. My CEO is me when I am in charge, stressed and trying to get things done the way “I know” they need to be done, my Rebel is exactly the same thing…only I’m not in charge – I’m in a position of supporting someone else or there is grey around who exactly is in charge.

Also, I have realised that the Rebel and the CEO are reflections of excellent qualities that I have…at the wrong volume for the situation that I am in. They are both examples of my ability to see problems for what they are and imagine solutions that will cut through and get a result.

I really like that I’m able to do that. I really, really like it. Sometimes I’m doing it at the expense of myself and the people around me.

I like that a lot less.

A lot less.

I’m learning how to lead with kindness and how to trust the leader I’ve chosen to follow so that I can respond in a more balanced way.

The Rebel and the CEO are both outstanding characters…I just need to get better and calling on them at the right time and place.

That's all.

Love

Luke

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Day 1,247

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How do I succeed?

How do I succeed? Drawing Luke Hockley

How do I succeed? Drawing Luke Hockley

Dear Self,

How do I succeed?

What are the ways I behave, the responses I have, when I am successful?

What do I even mean by successful?

That’s probably a better place to start!

I am successful when I am able to realise some vision I have had whilst being well in myself, growing my ability to be a good human, being kind and supporting those I am working with to do and have the same experiences.

Well, that kind of answers it. My behaviours and responses are all in there. How I succeed is as important as the thing I succeed at.

Ok, I should have seen that coming. That is pretty obvious to me now.

Not so easy to remember when I am in the throes of trying to get something done.

Also, though, quite simple.

Be kind, take care of myself and the people around me, always look for the opportunity to be a good human.

Righto, I can do that.

Love

Luke

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Day 1,245

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The anatomy of a shirt.

The anatomy of a shirt. Drawing Luke Hockley.

The anatomy of a shirt. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

I am dissecting one of my favourite shirts.

I would have mended it…but it tore in several places. The fabric has become too thin from frequent washing and wearing…so I decided to sacrifice the shirt, pull it apart and use it to make a pattern for a new shirt.

I’m grateful to this unknown person, in China, whose impressive and underpaid skill created this favourite object of mine.

In the process of gently undoing every stitch that made the shirt I’m getting to know the hands that made it.

I’m finding small decisions about hidden stitches, uncovering the order that the shirt was constructed in…wondering why, why were these things done in this way?

Some of the decisions are obvious, some are not.

In the end the effect is that of a shirt, all the bits sit where they should, and I look at it and think – shirt.

I’m enjoying getting to know this shirt that I have loved, piece by piece.

It reminds me of the process of getting to know myself.

Examining the different ways I am constructed, learning about why something about me is put together the way it is.

These processes are similar, but not the same.

Getting to know myself is a much more confronting process than getting to know the anatomy of a shirt.

More vulnerable.

Confronting.

Worthwhile, though.

I hope.

Love

Luke

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Day 1,224

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Don’t throw the buttonhole out.

Don’t throw the buttonhole out. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Don’t throw the buttonhole out. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

I’m learning how to sew a buttonhole.

Or, rather, I’m learning a new way to sew a buttonhole.

Originally, I kind of made it up…I did a hand version of what I had seen a sewing machine do.

It was ok…but clumsy, or I thought there must be a better way or something like that. So, I found some instructions in a needle craft book of Mum’s on how to sew a button hole.

So far it is incredibly clumsy, and I don’t like it at all.

But I think I need to persist a bit longer.

I feel like a bit of repetition will help me see if I don’t like it because I’m not familiar and skilled enough or because it is actually awkward.

Let’s not throw the buttonhole out before it’s had a chance.

Love

Luke

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Day 1,219

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.