New perspective

This quilt is called "Sparkle Plenty" by Charity Banks.

By Kristen Banks

I had a bit of an overwhelming week last week. And I just couldn’t quite figure out why.

It’s not that I had anymore to do than any other week, and nothing went terribly wrong. My weeks are typically pretty busy these days between rushing around planning classes, to finishing up customer work before Christmas, or just day to day tasks like getting the store organized, and this week was typically standard.

I finally had a chance to sit down and catch my breath on Sunday, and try and figure out just what it was about last week that tried to tip me over the edge. I figured it out, and the answer might amuse you.

A couple of years ago I started feeling that I might need glasses. I made an appointment with the eye doctor, and it turned out I did in fact need glasses. And not just for sometimes, like I had hoped, turns out I needed them all the time. I remember thinking, “I really didn’t sign up for ALL THE TIME.” Apparently they don’t let you choose and really don’t care how you feel about it, they go by stuff like science and medicine, go figure.

This was a little bit of a life change, since I had never worn glasses, not even as a kid. The doctor gave me the option of contacts, but I decided to give glasses a whirl before moving on to contacts. I was still coming to terms with the fact that I NEEDED them at all.

The first couple of days were really weird, because my depth perception was a little off and I had to generally get used to something hanging off of my face all of the time. I was, however, impressed with how clear my vision was with my glasses on. It was sort of shocking, because I didn’t realize just how much I wasn’t seeing. It made me wish I’d gotten them sooner. I think those things kind of have a way of gradually sneaking up on you, and for me it sure did.

Anyway, I decided to make the best of my situation, and got pretty comfortable with my glasses as an everyday accessory. Since my friends had told me how amazing contacts were and I’d finally become an old pro at wearing spectacles, I decided it might be time to try contacts out and see which vision improvement device I liked best. I had a birthday coming up and decided to treat myself. I made my eye appointment a couple of weeks in advance and waited with anticipation.

The morning of my appointment I woke up with sinus pressure and allergy eyes, this was already not going good. I was sure to tell the doctor about it, in case it should hinder my exam in any way, and she agreed my eyes were irritated. She prescribed some prescription allergy eye drops, and said I could still go forward with getting the contacts that day. Great!

The exam was pretty routine, and I asked a few questions. Then the doctor sent me over to a technician to teach me how to put in my new contacts. No problem. I was just sure that I was going to pop those babies in my eyes, see perfectly, and go home feeling pretty amazing and on top of the world. That is not what happened.

The technician explained everything to me, she even put the contacts in my eye for me for the first time, then she had me take them out and do it. The problem was, I couldn’t do it. Even though I’m 38 years old, am not scared of touching my eye, perfectly understand the concept of how to put contacts in my eye, and all my friends can do it without any problems, I could not.

I was shocked, and felt kind of stupid. I kept trying over and over, as she would give me tips, and it’s like my eye was just spitting them out and rejecting them. I was embarrased and kept apologizing and apologizing for taking so much of her time, and she kept saying it was fine, but I couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t just DO IT already.

I finally got them in, after what seemed like 67 million years of trying, and stumbled out of the office with bleary, itchy, irritated eyes, and I felt like I was looking through a fish bowl. This was not the amazing experience that I had expected and planned for.

I told my friends, family, and customers about my experience the next day. They were all very encouraging and assured me I’d “get it next time”. But I didn’t get it the next time, or the even the time after that, the whole rest of the week was a comedy of errors with me gouging my eyes, losing a contact, waiting for days on prescription eye drops to come in to help with the irritation, getting one contact in and not the other, etc. etc.

I had just about had enough of my amazing new contacts, and was ready to throw in the towel. I decided to put my glasses back on for a couple of days and give my irritated eyes and my weary soul a rest. After a bit of time resting and reflecting, I decided to not give up just yet. I decided to believe my friends, family, customers, and doctor that contacts really could work for me.

I read a few tips, and watched a video on putting them in and decided to tackle the task at hand with new resolve. I decided I was going to keep working on it until I got it right, no matter how long it took. And a funny thing happened, I finally started to get it. I managed to get them both in, within a reasonable amount of tries, wear them most of the day, and get them out again without gouging my eyes out.

And I was even able to do it again the next day. Maybe I’m not as smooth at it yet as most people I know, but I’ll get there eventually. The important thing is that I didn’t give up.

I see a lot of quilters panic when trying some new technique. Usually it’s something they have been really excited about learning, and are sure they’ll do it right the first time. They understand it in concept, and all their friends can do it. But when they try it, it does not go smoothly. They become frustrated and embarrased, and think there is something wrong with them.

They are sure that they won’t be able to ever get it, and it just won’t work for them. The sad thing is a lot of times they just give up. If they can’t get it right the first time, they don’t want to do it at all. Then they end up missing out on something pretty amazing, that they otherwise would have enjoyed.

The thing is, it’d be nice to believe that we will always do things right the first time, but sometimes we don’t. And that’s OK, what’s important is that you persevere and stick with it. Because, with resolve and a positive attitude, you are sure to succeed eventually. Besides that you will probably learn a lot in the process.

You should never feel embarrased if you don’t get it right the first time, because we’ve all been there. Things can look pretty bleak and overwhelming when your vision is off and clouded with doubts and emotions, but given a little time and perserverance it will clear up and you’ll be able to see perfectly what you need to do. And the next time you stumble on the first step, just keep in mind, you’re in great company!


  1. Carrie Gannon says:

    Once again sweet girl you nailed it!!

  2. Kristen says:

    : )

  3. Brenda Schomer says:

    great words of inspiration. I’ll think of you and persevering when work on this next quilt that need to get loaded and finished today


  4. Lilly newkirk says:

    Hope you are saving all these words to put in a book. I really do enjoy reading them.

  5. Rose says:

    Very true, thanks for sharing

  6. Kristen says:

    Thank you all, I appreciate your encouragement, and I’m glad that people enjoy reading the article.