Subliminal learning. The beauty of failure.

For the first twelve years of my education I attended the same school system.  Tiny little town, tiny little school, tiny little class sizes.  There wasn’t much mobility in family life back then, so for the most part the class members in Kindergarten went through all 12 years together and graduated high school together. 

Though I was never at the top of the list for good grades, I did okay.  My best subject was a class called Typing.  On modern typewriters of that day.  Non-electric until we hit the big time and got a new electric typewriter.  

And now, in the current times, there is no such class in high school called Typing.  I recently read a headline that said:  “Keyboarding, once taught in high school, is now part of the curriculum for elementary kids.”  Not a separate class, just kind of built in to the curriculum.  For little kids.

Hmmm.  I excelled in a course that no longer even exists.  Little kids do it.

I can sure enough tell you a class I did not excel in during those twelve years of education.  One clue what the name of the class was:

Do you know what this is?  It’s a seam ripper.  It was my continual companion in the class in which I did not excel.  I wore out my seam ripper  and had wounds to show for it.  The class?  Home Ec.

The cooking part of the class was no problem.  Chubby girls can cook.  But the sewing part?  It was my nemesis.  Straight seams?  Not too bad.  Zippers?  Oh my word no way.  I lost count of the number of times I used the seam ripper to tear out a zipper gone wrong.  Kind of surprised I don’t still have scars from stab wounds.  Those things are SHARP!!

Sadly, if you look at my PERMANENT RECORD, you’ll find not an A, B, C, D or F for that class.  You’ll find INCOMPLETE.  Yes, boys and girls.  I couldn’t even finish the class.  Because of seam rippers, zippers, stab wounds, high anxiety.  And probably elevated blood pressure.  The class was almost life threatening to me.  😱 😀😜

Several years ago at a class reunion for my hubby’s class (same school), we did a tour of the high school.  It was fun looking around at all the changes.  Until we came to the old room that housed Home Ec.  I think it’s called Life Skills now or something.  It was the same room and still looked fairly similar to the old Home Ec room.  After we’d been in there a few minutes I kind of sneaked out of the room. Couldn’t take it one more minute.  If ever I were to have a full blown anxiety attack, it was about to happen right then and there.   Visions of seam rippers.  Hands shaking from memories of messed up zippers.  “Failure” screaming in my head.

One might presume that I learned absolutely nothing about sewing from my INCOMPLETE class called Home Ec.

About 15 years ago, some thirty years after graduating high school, I found myself needing curtains for a newly purchased modest little camping trailer.  There weren’t any ready-made curtains the correct size to purchase for these windows.

So.  I decided to sew some curtains.  Yes.  I bought a little basic sewing machine at Walmart.  El Cheapo.

I took it out of the box and sat it on the table.  And plugged it in.  I took the spool of thread and stood there holding it, staring at the sewing machine.  Beads of sweat on my brow, minimal tremors in my hands, fear of failure in my mind.

And then, the most remarkable thing happened.  Without even referring to the instruction manual, I filled the bobber with thread and then promptly threaded the machine.  As if I’d been doing it for years.  I sat down, placed the material in the proper place, lowered the pressure foot, and commenced to sew.  Yes, it was a simple task to the average person, but to me I’d just won a victory over failure.  I didn’t use a seam ripper.  Not once.   And the curtains worked well. 

If you tested me today on all the things I learned in Geometry, Algebra, History, Chemistry…. I probably wouldn’t pass the test.

And the thing I failed at?  Sewing?  Hmmm.

Failure’s not such a bad thing.  You can learn a lot from failure.  Maybe even, dare I say, you can learn more from failure than success?

But oh, how it hurts to fail.

For the record, I don’t really own any clothes that have zippers in them anymore.  Except blue jeans.  Purchased at the local store for chubby girls.  Where I shop at right after I down a dozen cookies I just baked.

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