(sewing) needle in the arm

over the past few years i’ve developed a tendency to turn down various social opportunities in favor of staying home.  i do this most often when i’m engrossed in a creative project of some sort–when asked if i’d like to come along for x or y, i weigh my options according to how interesting the project is (have i done this one before or am i on the cusp of a new artistic breakthrough?) and how rare the social opportunity might be (could x or y happen any day of the week, or just this one time?).  how much notice i’m given is also a factor: i’m ten times more likely to agree to meet you tomorrow night than to meet you in an hour, since i can plan to not be up to my elbows in fabric or metal or pixels by the time tomorrow night arrives.

this complicated weeding-out system is both good and bad.  i spend less money, waste less gas, get more done, etc.  but i also alienate people i care about, miss out on a lot of great things, and often regret it when i decide to stay home.  i wasn’t always this way, but lately i forget that going out and having fun isn’t just something that takes me away from making stuff.  it’s one of the best things in life.  no.  it is life.

thinking about this the other day led me to have an epiphany of sorts.  see, i think i’m addicted to sewing.  with this new contract job effectively polarizing my schedule (dreaded work time! precious free time!), i spend my off hours frantically sewing and my office hours lamenting the fact that i’m not sewing.  this can’t be healthy, can it?  not going out with friends because i’m sewing?  it doesn’t even make me any money!  (yet.)

once i realized that i’m addicted to sewing, the rest of the epiphany followed.  i’ve always known i have something of an addictive personality.  alcohol, caffeine, anti-depressants, chocolate–you name the legal substance, i’ve probably been on it at one time or another.  this is one of the three reasons i’ve never really done any drugs: why risk becoming addicted?

(the other two reasons are 1) why take drugs when they could mess up the effectiveness of my anti-depressants, and 2) my sober worldview is bizarre enough to begin with, why make it even more bizarre?  also 3) i’m too old, and nobody i know does any drugs, either, so it’d just make me look ridiculous(er).  and 4) if i ever get arrested again it had better be because i’m involved in a really important protest, like getting arrested development put back on the air.  okay, so there are more than three reasons.)

but i’d never really thought about my own capacity for addiction to things that aren’t substances.  i mean, i always knew that non-substance addictions existed, but i hadn’t realized that i’m as vulnerable to them as i am to the other kind.  and i am!  however minor these little epiphanies are, i always remember exactly where i am when i have them: for this one, i was on the overpass from mo-pac south to 183 south, just before the burnet road exit.  it was my lunch hour, and i was on my way home to eat a sandwich, take the dog out, and stare longingly at my singer.

so here’s an incomplete list of my current and past addictions:
the internet
crossword puzzles
playing pool
going out drinking every night (this one was bad)
making jewelry