My Very Own (Life-Sized) Upcycling Project

If you’ve been following along, then you’ve read about some things I’ve made and why they mattered to me. And if you’ve seen my About page, you also know this blog is about more than crafts. Sure, upcycling is a hot word in the handmade marketplace, and why shouldn’t it be? Buying an old item that’s been transformed by hand is just plain cool. For me, though, upcycling is personal. I’m endlessly fascinated by the process of finding tired things, seeing what they could become, and making them better.

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Photography has become one of my favorite ways to take care of myself, a huge part of my upcycled life. I find it relaxing and empowering at the same time. Like all shots in this post, I took this while on a stroll around my neighborhood.

And guess what, you guys? There’s no getting around the fact that I, too, could benefit from some upcycling. If you wanted to (and if you were on your A game), you just might be able to make the case that the past several years of my life have been one giant upcycling project.

I discovered what it’s like to live with a husband whose sobriety becomes alcohol abuse. I learned to forgive addiction and the man who has this disease. I found ways to accept the world–and especially myself–for not being perfect, either. But I also got divorced and did my part to make damn sure we did it with mutual respect. (He did his part, too, by the way.)

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I’m taking an online photography class, which prompted us to play with scale. Here, I took something small and made it big, the most important player in the scene.

Along with some tenacious colleagues, I completed a high-profile, multi-year work assignment with too few resources. It’s been awhile since I’ve thought about the night the divorce lawyer met me at my office at 8:30–yes, p.m.–after which I kept working. Finally, I wore myself down to the point where anxiety kicked in. Yes, the diagnosable kind.

There was the chaos phase, then the transition. Next came the rebuilding. Slowly, bit by bit, I managed to construct a solid foundation under my feet. At some point I knew it was there, but I didn’t trust it for awhile. In time, I found my peace again.

I picked up new ways to take care of myself. I figured out how to thrive in my job without letting it consume me. (Okay, some days I’m better than others.) I shifted my priorities and learned the value of taking things slowly. After even more time, I found a sweet new love. Yeah, I still get impatient and tired and restless sometimes. Every single day, though, a moment of gratefulness comes for the phase where I’m living now: growth.

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I tromped through some shin-length weeds to get this shot. Balancing the pink with the grass and sky was great fun. Bonus: The bee in flight!

Things are germinating now, no question. And that’s where this blog comes in. It’s my primary way of capturing the seeds. Some are tiny, happy ones. They grow quickly and show their beauty right away. Others are so big they scare me a little, as I don’t know what they’ll become.

I can tell they’ll take longer to establish roots, but I can feel their presence. They’re here, all right. As I encounter these burgeoning things, I hope to do right by them. I hope to notice them, determine what they are, and make sure they get the light and water and kindness they need.

12 thoughts on “My Very Own (Life-Sized) Upcycling Project

  1. I really enjoyed reading your story. We all have transitions in life and hopefully at the end of each we are at a better place than we were before it happened. And I want to say I love, love, love the photo of the pinkish/purplish flower with the green backdrop.

    Like

  2. Things come in their own way and in their own time. I too went through a divorce… sad… but it’s all good now. I have a wonderful new love, new life, new everything. But guess what… ???
    My old me is still there… yuuuppp!
    It’s all good. Hugs to you my friend…. we will chat when we finally meet! :) :) ;) :)

    Like

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