Block 568: January 2, 2015

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Couldn’t sleep last night. My mind was racing with all the possibilities.

Date: January 2, 2015

Crane: 568

Days Spent on Project: 683

Location: NW Portland, OR

Person I would have sent it to: Bethany I.

When we first started working on Newsies for its Paper Mill production, Bethany had just started working in their costume shop. She was the first hand, and therefore assisted Rob (the draper) as he created the garments in house. She would also spend a lot of time prepping work for the team of stitchers that worked there.

She came to New York from North Carolina… having gone to the North Carolina School for the Arts. She was really good at her job. She was also the person who introduced me to the word “Twerk.” (This was before Miley Cyrus latched onto that.) Bethany, Rob, and I watched YouTube videos during the slow periods. It’s hard to think we as a human race were ever so ignorant of what twerking was.

At one point, I thought Bethany left Paper Mill to work in her own studio. I believed that happened last year at some point. I reached out to her once to see if she could help me with some work I needed done for Portland, and she volunteered, but then the reason I needed help kinda disappeared. It’s hard to go off on your own in the city. I wish her so much luck!

Although, she may still work for Paper Mill to pay the big bills. I don’t know exactly.

Music I listened to while sewing: Nothing today. I need some new suggestions.

Thoughts/Feelings behind the block: Yesterday, the first day of the new year, was rough.

By 3pm, I was in a bad spot. I was upset and a little angry. I felt, as much as I had tried to keep everything on track in the costume shop, something had broken down along the way. Some kind of communication breakdown had happened. What had I done? What had I not done? What had I forgotten? I had done the research. I had done the drawings. I had colored the drawings. I had given fabric samples to show my thoughts “specifically.” I had asked for feedback.

And then it dawned on me: maybe it’s not that I didn’t do something… that I had done something wrong… that I had failed… that my work was bad… Maybe it’s not ME. Maybe it’s THEM.

When I was offered this job, one of the big concerns raised by people outside the department was a lack of communication. I made– and continue to do so– every attempt to fix what I thought were the problems. And, yes, within the shop, I feel there is a better structure and layout and avenue for communication both WITHIN and GOING OUT.

But, there’s another problem. The information doesn’t come back. It stops. And I realize that now.

When decisions are made and not communicated, it makes no difference how prepared I am or my employees are. If other people fail to bring you in to collaborate or the process, how am I to keep making progress?

So last night, all night long, I kept thinking about this honeymoon period I’m in right now. I’ve been here for almost 6 months. The shiny veneer is wearing off and I’m seeing patterns emerge and how things work and how people act here. And I realized this ISN’T a honeymoon period; that term implies a deep connection- whether emotional or sexual or physical or mental or what-have-you- between two parties… enough of a connection that you enter into an agreement to become “one” or a team or a unit “for better or for worse.” If it keeps working, awesome. If there are bumps in the road, and the connection is deep, you work at that relationship. Or you don’t work at it, and you end it.

This isn’t that.

I realized last night that this is a TRIAL period. And it’s just as much about them seeing if I’m a good fit for their organization as it is about ME seeing if THEY are a good fit. There was no pre-existing, outstanding emotional connection between us before I arrived in Portland. Yes, I wanted this to work. I hoped this would change things. I thought this could be a safe place and a new home and an opportunity for me to grow and foster and find a place within a community of artists.

However, there was no romancing beforehand and there is no romancing now. (Not that I need it.) I’m seeing this opportunity more and more for what it is, and with this freedom from financial stress (barely), I’m able to think:

How good are you for me?

It’s not necessarily about ME or my shop here. The issues aren’t starting with me. The issues aren’t starting with my shop.

What good are you for me?

I know I’m good enough for you.

What good are you for me?

Thank goodness it’s Friday.

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