Thursday, November 8, 2012

What Sewing's Done For Me

[I thought for a long time about whether I wanted to share this, but in the spirit of unnecessarily pouring one's heart out to teh interwebs, I'll go ahead.]

It's a little less than a month until my birthday, which means it time for some oof-I'm-getting-older-again omphaloskepsis. And since this is a (mostly) sewing blog, some of the following thoughts might even be sewing related! Somewhat. But no actual sewing happens, so if that's all you're looking for, move along.

Now that I've put up the disclaimer, can I just say, how perfect is it that the Colette Patterns blog just threw out the weighty question, "Has sewing helped you to dress the body you have rather than the body you wished you had?" I feel like this last year has been huge for my growth as a person, and sewing has been an integral part of it.

When I first started dabbling in this hobby, I can't say that I ever expected to confront my body image issues, or learn just how quirky my sense of style is, or even meet people from all over the world. And while Sarai was really asking more about the relationship with one's physical body, I want to say that I feel ever so grateful to sewing for helping me accept the inner person I actually am, rather than the person I sometimes wish I was. See, besides wasting time wishing my legs were skinny like other Asian girls, I've also wasted a fair amount of time wishing I was more of a "normal girl."

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I've always had a hard time making friends and making sense of social situations (I'm terrible at reading body language and facial expressions, or telling what actions or types of statements are socially appropriate). It took me many years of observing my very typical female friends who were socially apt before I figured out how to mimic normal social interaction. Even now, I'm not great at it; I have mental scripts for how to behave when meeting new people, but if the situation deviates too much or goes on too long I get panicky and start detaching. I'm incredibly clumsy, get lost in imaginary worlds quite often, and once I've focused in on a task it's almost impossible for me to leave it alone (mentally, at least, since sometimes physically moving on is necessary) until I've completed it. I've always had obsessive interests and voraciously gathered information about those topics, to the bewilderment of others. It wasn't until I went to college and learned about autism spectrum disorders, though, that I realized that I wasn't just some horrible misfit. When I first learned about adults with Asperger's, it was a huge relief to know that I wasn't alone, that other women had the same experiences. I don't know if I would go so far as to self-diagnose myself as an aspie, but gosh, it's nice to just have an idea about what might be wrong with me sometimes! At the very least, I feel slightly more okay with not being as emotionally and socially adept as women are typically supposed to be.

But only with cats. 

Anyway, all this to say, this whole sewing-my-own-clothes is just the most recent (and incidentally, the most long-lasting) of my obsessive interests. Unlike dinosaurs and Arctic exploration, though, sewing's actually brought me out of my shell, rather than burying me deeper inside my own brain and my books. I cannot express enough how grateful I am for the whole sewing community -- for you other bloggers I follow, who post so honestly about what you're doing and thinking (whether sewing-related or not!), for those of you who take the time to read and comment on my blog, and for those sewlebrities that post detailed tutorials on sewing techniques (because the learning and fact-gathering must continue for my brain to feel alive) -- it's so hard for me to make connections with people in real life sometimes, that I've been beyond thrilled at how quickly I feel like I've made friends with other sewasauruses out there. And if that feeling only goes one way, by all means, please don't tell me and burst my bubble.

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I was telling my friends Shayna and Elaine, who are both lovely, kind, patient ladies who have done so much for my emotional development (and been so encouraging when it comes to sewing with bedsheets and dressing up for events), that what I find so safe about the sewing blogger community is that 1) we already have an eccentricity in common (not that I'm saying sewing is weird...just not mainstream!), so I don't need to be afraid of rejection for being so obsessed with sewing, and 2) it's online! I don't have to wonder about whether I'm supposed to hug to say hello, or if a handshake will do, I don't need to make awkward eye contact and small talk about the weather while wishing I could just run away and hide and squeeze Walnut...I can engage on my own terms, or not, and when I'm overwhelmed I can step away for a bit without looking unspeakably rude. Because interaction's not happening in real time, I can think carefully about what I want to say so I don't put my foot in my mouth (at least not most of the time).


You know how Anne of Green Gables talks about how rare and special it is to meet people who are of the race of Joseph, i.e. dreamers and kindred spirits like her? I feel like in the last year or so, I've "met" more lovely people who happen to be sewasauruses, who I feel understand me and that I connect with, than I have in my whole life previously. Okay, maybe that's an exaggeration (but only a little bit!), but it's really so rare for me to feel like I want to actually get to know someone better (beyond a discussion about the weather, or maybe cats, if they're amenable), or that someone might *gasp* even want to know me better, or read what I have to say! I've moved so many times in the past few years, and every move has been a source of anxiety because I knew I would have to make a new set of friends. Sewing has brought me the kind of delightfully geeky community that I always wanted, but didn't know I wanted, and didn't even know was possible, and it doesn't matter where I move to because you all live inside my computer, right? So for all of that, I'm forever grateful.

I've seriously never felt so comfortable in my own skin, so free to be myself and not have to pretend to be someone else or apologize (unless actually necessary) for who I am. And because of that, I finally feel somewhat comfortable with saying I want to purposely put myself into a large social gathering throw myself a birthday party this year. I know this might not seem like a big deal to some people, but it's kind of huge for me. I mean, it's not going to be a birthday month celebration culminating in a prom with people sewing fancy dresses around the world (I love that Oona did that, btw!) or anything, but doing anything for my birthday besides having dinner with Mr. Cation and Walnut would have been unthinkable for me a couple of years ago. Despite the anxiety I still have about asking people to come celebrate me (gosh, how self-centered does that sound? what if nobody wants to come? what if they do come and it's a super awkward party and everyone has a miserable time?), I've decided that gosh darn it, I'm going to have the Tolkien-themed party that I always wanted. Yes, it's incredibly geeky, and most of my IRL friends probably don't have elven cloaks lying around for dressing up in, but there's no reason not to, right?


TL;DR: Sewing has put me in touch with other fantastic ladies around the world whose virtual friendship I'm incredibly grateful for, and somehow that's made me feel empowered enough to have a birthday party? Oh, and if you've met me IRL before, or meet me at some time in the future, thank Shayna and Elaine for teaching me how to not be as unwittingly obnoxious and clueless as Sheldon Cooper or BBC's Sherlock.


146 comments:

  1. I feel just exactly the same way. I am slow to befriend in meatspace life, and struggle with social anxiety and general weirdness. It is so lovely and relieving to have found so many easy, stress-free connections in the crafting blog world. It's helped me be more confident in myself, given me the knowledge that I am not an outcast, just a bit off the usual path. That sounds dramatic, but it's true. Plus, I have made some treasured friends.

    Specifically, can I just say how glad I was to find your blog, combining sewing and HARD CORE NERDOM! I think I gasped with joy when I saw your star wars dress. The Geek in me salutes the Geek in you. :)

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    1. Ahahaha meatspace :) I've never heard that before, but it's so appropriate! Yes, I do love how the connections online are so stress-free, and it's not dramatic at all! I feel the same way! Knowing that others out there obsess about non-mainstream hobbies is really freeing. Thanks for the salute, and I salute you back!

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  2. You are so inspiring. I read this blog and wish I had the resources to learn to sew - alas, impossible at the moment. But even more than that, I read your honest analysis of yourself and begin to look at myself. One of your posts, several month ago, about confronting body issues in the course of sewing your own clothes made me feel safer about confronting my own body issues. You look freakin' amazing, but I understand that we're our harshest critics and it's not always easy to be nice to ourselves. I have begun to disapprove of my body less and to encourage and nourish it more, and I notice that some of what I didn't like about my body is changing. I feel better in general, I have noticed a gradual weight loss (which is a need in my case), and I am learning to focus on those parts of myself that I really like: my eyes and mouth, my fingernails (how specific!), my feet and calves, and my badonkadonk - which my husband is a huge fan of. Thank you for risking yourself here; you unknowingly encourage others.

    As far as knowing how to behave in social situations, I think "mainstream expectations" are too harsh and specific. I would love to chat geeky things with you! But I am so glad for you that you've found a comfortable place from which to approach those situations, and that you're feeling more confident. I hope that continues. And to those people who look askance at geeks: I pity them for not having an interest to be obsessed with; they would be much more interesting if they did.

    Congrats on your upcoming birthday. I expect your party will be a huge success and I can't wait to read all about it. BTW: I don't have an elven cloak, but I do have a dark purple corduroy cloak I made in high school for a Star Trek themed halloween costume, and the elven leaf clasp/broach from LOTR. I'm sure I could pass muster. ;) I look forward to your posts about preparing for this party.

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    1. Jessica, thank you for sharing so honestly...I'm so touched to read that my posts have played a small part in your own body image journey. I think it comes back down to being healthy, and appealing to the husbands doesn't hurt either!

      Have you seen that quote by Simon Pegg? “Being a geek is all about being honest about what you enjoy and not being afraid to demonstrate that affection. It means never having to play it cool about how much you like something. It’s basically a license to proudly emote on a somewhat childish level rather than behave like a supposed adult. Being a geek is extremely liberating.” I feel like that's one of the best things about meeting other geeks, even if it's not your particular geekdom -- you know they understand what it's like to be so into something.

      I wish I could have you at my birthday party! Your cloak would be totally welcome :)

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  3. I love this post and I can relate. :) I get social anxiety all the time and I find myself playing a part in order to deal with it. You're so brave to come out and talk about it. And if I were in your town I would totally come to your birthday party and have an awesome time!

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    1. If you ever come over to LA, we can get together and talk and compare notes on coping. Not quite a Tolkien birthday party, but you take what you can get! :) I totally know what you mean about feeling like you're playing a part -- the scariest thing is when people venture into a play you didn't learn the lines for and you have to improvise...

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  4. Thank you so much for sharing! Your blog has been one of my favorites for a while now because of your strong, fun personality (and okay, the cute clothes.) (and also Walnut, he's gorgeous!). I was surprised to read all this because you come off as very confident and proud in who you are, with the costumes and the geekiness and all. Anyway, as a fellow geek woman and a social late bloomer, I feel you. The internet is a wonderful place for us, it's true. I hope you'll continue to make friends in the sewingsphere and elsewhere. :)

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    1. I really appreciate all of the people who accept and encourage my geekiness and quirky makes -- you guys are the reason I feel like I can be more confident! But confidence online when I can write to a specific audience, proofread, and think before I hit "publish" is very different from confidence in person, when I'm not sure how I'll be received. I'm definitely proud to be geeky, though! And yes, the internet is a wonderful place for people like us!

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  5. teehee. Kindred spirit here - my life is totally defined by awkward moments. Go you - and enjoy that party!! I'll have a glass on champers for you in my timezone :)

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    1. Thanks -- I would never have guessed that you had awkward moments! You seem like such a classy, polished lady on your blog. And I will definitely be thinking of all my blog friends when I have my birthday champagne!

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  6. I hope you have a truly fabulous birthday party and rock it Middle Earth style (and have you some elevenses)! I can empathise with how sewing blogging can help you settle into your own skin and am glad to hear this year has rocked that out for you :D Now I want to make another cloak... Super inspired!

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    1. Oh you can bet I'll be having elevenses and second breakfast and everything else! You should totally make that cloak, too :)

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  7. Oh my dear! You are a lovely talented lady and your quirky style sense is the icing in the cake! I enjoy coming here and viewing your latest creation/critique. The internet has also opened up the sewing community to me as well, and I am repeatedly amazed at detailed FREE tutorials posted by talented seamstresses throughout the world! All best wishes for a fantastic birthday, embrace every milestone!!

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    1. I know, isn't it incredible what a wealth of information is freely shared in this community? I would never have been able to make it to where I am without all of the fantastic other sewing bloggers out there. Thank you for your kind comment and well wishes!

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  8. What a heartfelt and honest post. I think its so cool that you sew with bedsheets. You've certainly inspired me. I look at bedsheets in thrift stores all the time! And I buy the really retro looking ones...I wish I knew more people IRL who sew. I love that I sew and I credit the online community with my sticking to it and perservering even when I am so sick of a garment I want to burn it!

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    1. Haha so glad to hear that you are inspired to sew with bedsheets! I feel like they are a totally undervalued yardage sourse. And yes, this online community is pretty awesome! If only sewing could become mainstream again so that we could talk about it all the time IRL too!

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  9. This is so great! This post resonated with me soo much. Thanks and Happy Birthday!! I hope you have an awesome birthday. :)

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    1. Thank you for the early birthday wishes and for reading my long rambly post! It's so nice to know that there are others out there who feel similarly!

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  10. what a delicious post. that might sound weird but i ate it up, and i only eat tasty things.

    i LOVED meeting you and only wished we could've hung out more. i know exactly what you mean about having a gameplan for a conversation--i used to rehearse whatever i wanted to say in a group setting (while in a group, not like, sitting at home) over and over in my head until i felt like i could say it out loud. by which time, conversation had changed, and i just looked even more awkward than i already felt.

    which is to say, years ago if you had told me i'd be having a prom birthday with 35 strangers i met on the internet i would've directed you to the nearest mental institution. it was a blast. would've been even moreso if we'd had the awesomess of your company. GO TOLKIEN PARTY. and if your friends don't have elven capes... they've got you & michael levine's loft, don't they? do i hear an internet celebration? i would SO make a cape for a virtual par-tay.

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    1. Oh man, THE oona also made conversation gameplans?! There is hope for me yet! I still make plans for what to say and how exactly to phrase things, but overpractice can also lead to things coming out jumbled...

      Please consider yourself invited to my virtual party...I only wish I could've been at yours!!

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  11. this is such a brave post. from the outside, i would never look at you and think you had body issues or confidence issues. but that's on eo f the things you learn in life - you look at other people and think they much be happy with themselves as they are taller/ shorter/ richer/ thinner than you, but in reality everyone has confidence issues and things they would like to change. a healthy dose of self-acceptance would be pretty useful for just about all of us!

    have a fantastic birthday - i never have a party or do anything more than a meal out with hubby and daughter for the same reasons as you - what if no one comes or they hate it. i know you will have a fantastic time and maybe inspire me to do something for mine (it's in June so i have a while to work up to it!)

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    1. I think we could all use some more self-acceptance...that's one of the things I try really hard to instill in my students, but sometimes (especially knowing our culture) it seems like a losing battle. But I guess in the meantime, we can remember that everyone else is too busy fighting their own battles to be concerned with yours!

      We'll see if anyone ends up coming to my party or if they hate it...and then you can learn from my mistakes and plan your birthday accordingly ;)

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  12. I always love reading your posts, but especially today. Thanks for your bravery and honesty, and for letting us all get to know the "real you" a little better. I think a lot of us have a similar experience with the online sewing community - I know I do.

    I hope you have an absolutely fantastic birthday and that your party is exactly what you want it to be!

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    1. Thank you, Gail...I hope it is too :)

      I always get a little nervous when I share about things that are not explicitly sewing related, especially personal stuff, so it's nice to see how accepting everyone else is in this community!

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  13. I too feel very similarly. I've always felt & acted awkwardly in social situations. When I try to blend in, it fails. And even when I don't try to pretend sometimes people will call me out on my weirdness, telling me I talk strangely, am arrogant, or am the most individual person they know. A you can see, sometimes this is & isn't meant to be a compliment.

    A few summers ago I had my personality typed & learned that roughly 1% of people have my type of personality & it's fairly rare for women to have it. What a relief! Like you, it felt so very reassuring just to know that there are other people like me. :) I had actually already started writing a post about this in a more detached way, but your courage to write so openly about this is making me think I should inject a little emotion into mine.

    After college almost all of my friends moved away & most recently people I cared about started dying. It's been very depressing & lonely to lose all these people I loved & who loved me for the quirky person I am. The online sewing community & the sewing pals I've made there have been invaluable in making me feel better & connected to people. It's even encouraged me to go out & join some sewing guilds (terrifying meeting dozens of new people & knowing I'm the youngest by a couple of decades), which I hope is a good first step to getting out in the world again.

    So brava for throwing yourself a birthday party. It's not self-centered at all. Maybe you can sew up some ears &/or capes for those who don't have any? I hope you have a marvelous time. And thank you for writing so openly & honestly about this.

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    1. Thanks for reading and responding so honestly, Mari! I've had similar experiences with friends who said that when they first met me, they though I acted aloofly and seemed really distant and strange...it was only when they got to know me better that they realized that those traits were just the outward manifestations of my social awkwardness. Out of curiosity, are you talking about the Myers-Briggs personality test? If so, I'm an INTJ, which is apparently quite rare for women. That test really helped me understand myself better and feel less like there was something wrong with me, and it also helped me make sense of a lot of social interactions that I observed. I look forward to reading your post about this issue -- it's something that needs to be talked about more!

      Btw, I'm part of an English Country Dance group that's almost primarily people over 55, so I know what you mean about being the youngest by a couple decades!

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    2. Oh my gosh I would LOVE to be part of an English Country Dance group. And I sure was talking about Myers-Briggs! It really helped me too. I'm an INTP. Worst time ever was being stuck with a lab partner I think was the exact opposite of me. *shudders*

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  14. you're such a sweet and talented gal, i always enjoy getting to read your posts. i can completely sympathize with feeling social anxiety and/or awkwardness. i've always been very quiet and so rarely feel as though i actually fit in anywhere! i've moved a lot in my adult life which has made it very hard to put down roots. i hope you have a fantastic birthday party, i'm sure it will be spectacular!!!

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    1. Moving around a lot as an adult is so difficult sometimes! I feel like in elementary school, at least everyone kind of has the expectation that you'll make new friends every year. That's certainly less true for adults. Thank you for your comment!

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  15. I see a lot of myself in what you wrote—especially the mimicking-socially-apt people part! I still do that—I end up trying to listen in on all the chatter and gossip in any new environment just so I can figure out what's going on and what the social norms are. I've gotten better at faking not-awkward but, yeah, I'm still so awkward. Your party sounds 100% awesome though and I love reading your blog. :)

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    1. I'm so glad to know other people are social mimickers! Sometimes I feel like a particularly slow myna bird when I can't figure out what's normal :) I wish you could come to my party -- we could mimic each other!

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  16. What a wonderful and brave post, Cation. I have social anxiety, too, so I can relate to much of what you say. I met you in person only once, but was immediately smitten by your sweet quirkiness and individuality. Never give up, never surrender!

    Happy happy birthday!! If I were going to a Tolkein party and had time to make a costume, I think I'd have to be a hobbit. ;)

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    1. Let's all dress up as hobbits for the next sewing blogger meetup at Canada college ;) Haha but no, I would never have guessed from meeting you either that you had any kind of social anxiety...I guess we all learn coping mechanisms!

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  17. Than you so much for sharing Cindy! I loved reading this post and it is lovely to get some more insight into who you are (besides the rad, nerdy, smart and creative sewist I already know you to be). I share a lot of your sentiments about the community and what sewing has done for me in the past year, and I'm so happy the interweb helps us form these kinds of connections with each other. I hope you have an amazing birthday party - you totally fucking deserve it.

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    1. I credit all of you other sewists for helping me feel safe to share more about myself! I, too, love this little internet community -- I mean, hey, it introduced me to you! :)

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  18. You've said it so well! As many others, I can really relate to what you say - for me this is on ongoing process, I've made progress, but I'm not ready to throw a party yet!
    thanks for sharing this..

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    1. Thank you for relating :) And when you're ready to throw a party, I will toast you from here!

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  19. i'm with oona - if there is a virtual LOTR party happening, which means i have an excuse to make a cape and to celebrate one of my favorite "friends", i am SO THERE.

    this is beautiful and brave and i think something that a lot of us in the online community can relate to - and i particularly respond to your saying that since all of us already share an eccentricity, our obsession with sewing, how weird could it possibly be to share our other interests? even if it is sailor moon and cats (in my case).

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    1. Virtual LOTR party...I like it! Thank you for for sharing in my eccentricities!

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  20. What can I say? Finding friends who love you just the way you are is one of the biggest blessings in life! I am the queen of awkward situations and just accept that during the course of my being out in public I will do something stupid, like drop my ice cream on the ground or fall backwards off a picnic bench while wearing a poofy skirt.
    Joining the sewing, blogging community has been amazing for me! You had me hooked when I saw your Belle costume! Favoritest EVER!! I love your voice here and eagerly look forward to your posts!
    Your birthday plans sound AMAZING! If your relax and have a good time I am sure everyone else will too! Thanks for sharing your heart!

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    1. Thank you for such a kind and accepting response! I had no idea what to expect when I posted this, it being a departure from my normal sewing posts and all, but I'm glad I did now as it showed me that a lot of us have the same struggles with awkwardness!

      Also, the ice cream thing is what made me petrified of getting cones instead of cups for the longest time...

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  21. Like many others on the comments, this post resonates with me. Another consideration to ponder re Autistic Spectrum disorders (why disorders when it is "normal" for them?) is that if you look at characteristics of highly intelligent people there is a huge overlap. I have 3 kids with ADD, one of whom we initially thought was an Aspberger (was seen by an expert and said NO) and I have a nephew with definite Aspberger. Our whole family is introverted so not understood by the majority of extroverts. It also means we have a hard time finding other introverts because either they too are staying to themselves or pretending to be extroverts! I agree the internet is great for people like us to interact and still enjoy it!
    Keep up the blog--enjoying it.

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    1. I have noticed that a lot of my very intelligent friends have similar issues! And my family is mostly introverted too, so family gatherings devolve into individuals all sitting in the same room doing their own thing pretty fast :)

      Thanks for reading and commenting -- yay internets!

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  22. I will chime in and say that I met you this past summer and you were charming and quite easy to talk with. Like anything else being social is a skill and I think you have managed it very well. Although I know what you mean about diving into an interest, and that cartoon about the reading 100 pages cracked me up.

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    1. Thanks for the affirmation, Beth...it's good to know all my practice has paid off :)

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  23. I can completely relate to a lot of what you have described - being social for me is entirely an "act" and I get very uncomfortable if I have to do it for too prolonged a period of time. I always thought there was something wrong with me because I'd way rather stay at home and be a hermit than go to parties or social events, but as I've gotten older I realize that everyone is created differently, and it's just as OK to be a hermit as it is to be a social butterfly :)

    I am TOTALLY that girl in the cartoon, making friends with the cat at parties instead of hanging out with the cool kids... I have LITERALLY done that so many times it's embarrassing! ^_^

    All that said, it's incredibly comforting and fulfilling to have discovered this online sewing community; it fulfills my need for human contact without putting me way out of my comfort zone. I can share excitement, experiences, and knowledge with people who "get it" without feeling judged.

    This past birthday of mine I spent with my partner at a gaming convention. I don't remember the last time I had a party, but I will tell you - if you were anywhere near me, I'd go to your Tolkien party in full costume, without hesitation! :)

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    1. Symon, we can stay home and be hermits together! As I get older and feel less obligated to do things, I find myself turning down invitations more often, and as a result generally feeling happier. Some social butterflies I know still have a hard time understanding that sentiment, though! But yes, this online community has been invaluable in meeting other people who get it, both sewing and socializing-wise, as I'm discovering.

      That cartoon has also happened to me way too many times, and worst of all is when there *isn't* a cat to make friends with! In those cases, I make friends with the bookshelf...horrors when I'm at a cat-free, non-reading household!

      A gaming convention sounds like a perfect way to spend a birthday. Consider yourself invited to my virtual party!

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    2. Haha!! I giggled at that - parties without cats or books are horrifying indeed! lol

      I'll gladly be a hermit with you! ^_^ There will always be lots of people who don't understand & that's ok - apparently you have lots of people right here who do :)

      Thanks for the invite! I'll be there in spirit! Hopefully one day we can have a hermit party in person ^__^

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  24. What a lovely post. I'm so happy this has happened for you. If we ever meet, I'd love to talk about your cat. Can we talk about mine, too? Happy birthday. A Tolkien party sounds wonderful.

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    1. I would love to talk about cats with you, Renee! Thank you for the birthday/party wishes!

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  25. Such an honest and inspiring post! Well done for being brave enough to share it with us! I love your blog, especially those quirky dresses made from superhero bed sheets! I really hope you have a fantastic birthday. Many happy returns for the day itself! x

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    1. Given the positive response here, it doesn't feel particularly brave...it's not like I just shared I was an axe murderer ;) Thank you for your well wishes!

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  26. Tolkien party woo! Sounds like fun. Besides, people need costumes for when The Hobbit comes out anyway, so they shouldn't complain.

    Also, I wanted to say that you are very not alone in your feelings and anxieties about social situations. I find my personality is very similar to what you described (maybe it is a chemistry person thing... hmmm....). And, I have to admit I totally agree with you about the sewing thing - although sewing is a sort of solitary endeavor, I find that it makes me a bit more sociable at the same time (even if that is partially over the internets and not totally IRL). Anyway, I very much enjoyed reading your post and I hope you have a fun birthday party!

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    1. Yes, that's right -- this party will just help them not to procrastinate on their costuming! Hah!

      I think science tends to attract a lot of us types of people, as all the touchy-feely-social people go into the humanities. Okay, okay, that's a horribly broad over-generalization, but I think one of the reasons why I like being in science so much is that everyone seems to understand that we are all socially awkward and therefore cut each other more slack. I think the internet is a perfect solution for sewing, since it almost can't happen socially since most of us don't have the space for more than one person sewing/cutting/ironing, but we still want to be able to talk about it with others!

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  27. Sorry to disregard all the great things you touch on in your post but this sentence is killing me:

    " It's a little less than a month until my birthday, [...]"

    Because my bday is Dec 12th and there is nothing I love more in this world than another Sag...except maybe for an Aries or a Gemini.

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    1. Forgot to add that I will come back to address you post, just too busy to do it right now.

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    2. Haha yes, I'm a December baby...and it's always nice to meet other people who share the always-getting-birthday-and-Christmas-presents-combined angst ;)

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  28. Such a great post! I'm so happy I got to meet you in Scotland and am bummed I couldn't make it work out in Cali!! I so wish I could come to yor Tolkien party (both David and I have eleven cloaks.....teehee). And your post really hit home for me, I've had social anxiety in the past and I think blogging (and David) have really helped me feel more comfortable in social situations! Hope you have a fun time planning the birthday party (lembes bread! Hoorah!)

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    1. More attendees for the virtual Tolkien party! I am not surprised at all that you and David both have cloaks. I'm with you on the helpfulness of both blogging and husbands when it comes to social situations. And you can bet I'll have lembas at the party!

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  29. i love this post. thanks for your thoughts, openness and candidness. :)

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    1. I'm so grateful for the positive response from all of you!

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  30. Mrs. Cation: I love this blog post. I love how raw and real it is. I have so enjoyed following your sewing journey. You have made so many wonderful pieces. You are an inspiration. More than that, you are a wonderful person who I am so grateful to call friend. I look forward to continuing to witness the great things you create as well as many more years of friendship!

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    1. Shayna, you are a huge part of bringing me to this point where I am posting this! Thank YOU for your friendship!

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  31. Yay! Good for you. Here's an interesting thing my friend told me... apparently men typically like to socialize with others while DOING something... like fishing, or fixing something (just to be totally stereotypical). This is apparently called side-by-side socializing or something like that. Meanwhile, women like to socialize face-to-face... like, have discussions while facing each other, without necessarily doing anything else. Maybe you're just more comfortable with the side-by-side thing. I know I am!

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    1. Oh... in which case, maybe to make sure you have an awesome time at your party, you can plan lots of activities/games.

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    2. Oh, I am definitely more of a side-by-side-er! It's really too bad that it's hard to talk over the sound of sewing machines side by side :)

      I am totally making people play LOTR trivia as one of the games!

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  32. Beautiful post! I think so many of us feel the same way about sewing. I know I do! Happy, happy birthday!

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    1. Thank you, Clio. I didn't realize just how many of us felt that way about sewing!

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  33. Hurray for you - I think your post is awesome and you are very brave. I love your blog, I come from a family of 'geeks' and, despite having a strategy to cope, quake in most social situations. Despite being a Star Wars fan first and foremost, I would whip up an elven cloak in a minute to celebrate you birthday. Have a super birthday. I am sending you a virtual hug, much less awkward than an unwelcome real life one :) x

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    1. Star Wars was my first major geekdom, so I understand :) Thanks for the virtual hug -- none of that awkward approach, which side should I put my head, how many times do I pat her back sort of thing for us!

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  34. It is so rare to find honesty such as yours anywhere these days, that I appreciate it all the more. I am no stranger to social awkwardness and I have been wounded by it and wounded others many times. One of the benefits of moving a lot is the opportunity to start over. Your adventures in sewing continue to inspire me.

    Have a wonderful birthday!

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    1. I've never thought of moving so much in that light -- thanks! And if I can be honest, it's only because of the openness of this community that leaves room for that kind of thing. My sympathies for your social awkwardness wounds; I know how those can hurt. Thank you for reading and commenting!

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  35. I thought you were awesome from the first moment I "met" you (stumbled across your blog) and this post only makes you more awesome. Your party will be a blast, and I hope sometime we will meet in person.

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    1. I really hope to make it to SteamCon at some point! In the meantime, I will continue to admire you from afar -- you are awesome too!

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  36. I'm so glad that we got past our initial impressions of each other 15 years ago, because otherwise, I would've missed on the pretty much non-stop awesomeness that has followed! And trust me, you are not, and have never been, the most awkward person I know. ;)

    P.S. I'm sad that I won't be able to come to your Tolkien party, but we can have a belated celebration the following week?

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    1. Oh, our belated celebration will be epic, if only because it's the actual line party...

      I, too, am extraordinarily glad we made it past that first project working together! You've been such a big help to me in learning to be less awkward. And hey, I'll take the Not The Awkwardest Person You Know award any day!

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  37. Thank you so much for writting this, because I can relate to so much of it! Many years ago I would get so stressed in social situations that I would have panic attacks. Age had definately mellowed me (and made me not care so much), and my sister has been more of a help than she'll ever know. I find folks that know me well just accept me as a bit quirky - in work no-one bats an eyelid when I start reading a Harry Potter book at lunchtime!

    I love your blog, especially Walnut and your superhero dresses. The Clone Wars dress is amazing - I recently bought that pattern because of that dress! Have an absolutely brilliant birthday, and wear your elven cloak with pride because it is fabulous!

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    1. Ah, yes, age and the resulting (hopefully) maturity! I think it's so true; as I get older I realize what really matters. And oh man, I can totally identify with holing up during lunch with a book! My co-workers will just have to deal :)

      I hope that pattern works out for you, and thanks for reading and commenting!

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  38. Thanks for sharing part of yourself! My husband has Asperger's Syndrome, so I understand exactly what you're saying - he says it's like he's learned to mimic normal interactions really well. I myself am a bit odd in the same way, though not as far on the spectrum. I know what you mean about sewing and blogs - it's wonderful to interact without having to worry about reading social cues.

    I love your blog - keep it up!

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    1. Thank you for reading and sharing! I totally know that feeling that your husband describes, and yes, blogging makes it so much easier to interact!

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  39. Can I reach out through cyber-space to hug you??? I love this post because it gives voice to how I sometimes feel too. I love that sewing and blogging about sewing make me feel connected to a larger (awesome) community. Thanks for being so courageous and honest.

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    1. I accept the virtual hug! Thank *you* for reading and letting me know that it resonates with you. Isn't the internet awesome?

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  40. You rock so much. Great post, Lady. I'm not Aspie but there's definitely a spectrum and I'm definitely to the awkward side of normal. It's taken me years to realize that although I'm shy, I actually really, really like people and enjoy interacting as long as I can figure out what to talk about. That being the trick. (Having kids helped a lot. So did having a variety of oddball obsessive real-life groups I fit in with, ranging from library club when I was twelve to bellydance from sixteen to... well, ongoing.) I'm amazed at how much sewing & the online community has done for you, though---that's so insanely cool. You're definitely high on my list of computer peeps I'd love to meet IRL. Someday, sigh...

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    1. Ha, "awkward side of normal" - I love that! I definitely fall on that side too. Thanks so much for this post. I just stumbled upon your blog and relate so much to what you have to say here. I haven't made too many sewing friends (although I have thankfully made some knitting friends IRL, but I have a sewing friend hole to fill! haha) but blogging has been a great motivation to keep me learning and improving.

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    2. This is so much like me and what a wonderful turn of phrase it's is too. Awkward side of normal indeed!

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    3. Hahaha oh yes Tanit-Isis, I am totally stealing that description. Yeah, I know some actual Aspies and I also know the DSM "requirements", which is why I would hesitate to self-diagnose, but I'm definitely not normal. And I know what you mean about liking people but just not knowing what to talk about! Whenever I meet other geeks in real life, I always get really excited (and possibly overly gushy and scary) because AT LAST I KNOW WHAT TO TALK ABOUT!!!! It's a wonder that I have friends sometimes :)

      I would go so far as to say that you might be at the top of my list -- I mean, I totally had a dream about meeting you (and it involved social anxiety, even) ... :\


      Shona, I'm so glad that you stumbled over here and found things to relate to! I don't have IRL sewing friends, but gosh, the online community really is amazing. I'm so glad that you've found the blogiverse to be motivating; it definitely keeps me going too!

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  41. if i wasn't 66 yrs old and living in Ventura, i'd grab an elf with a cloaks for both of us and join you. thanks for the wonderful post and your fabulous photos. we're cat free because of allergies (we suffered until our 18 and 17 yr olds went to their rewards, so really love and appreciate your cat pix and subplots. your wrap dress and slacks have given me hope. thanks again, friend.

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    1. June! I would so love to have you at my party! And wow, way to suffer for love...that is so touching! Thanks for reading and commenting!

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  42. Cindy, I can totally relate to so much of what you've written here. Yay for the online sewing community! And yay for your brave post - you're fabulous. :-)

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    1. Thank you for reading and your very kind response! I really love this community so much.

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  43. What a wonderful post. You are beautiful, inside and out, plus brave, brave, brave. Those as brave as you should have exactly what they want and a Tolkien-esque party it should be! Please know that you are no alone in your thoughts and feelings about social interactions. Happy, happy birthday!

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    1. Thank you letting me know I'm not alone and for the birthday wishes! I don't feel particularly brave about this sometimes, so it's really nice to see all of these very accepting comments.

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  44. Great post. I totally get ya. There is a lot of Asperger's in my family, although it is more marked in the men. When I realized that in my 30s, suddenly it all made sense to me too: the hours I would spend observing people to figure out the proper way to act, what to say, how to stand...I was actually quite social and popular later on in school, once I figured out how you were expected to BE in public, but still always preferred alone time. People tell me now that I'm very perceptive and good at reading people, but I think that stems from all the time I spent studying people as a child in order to understand how they function ;)

    Getting older also helps because you realize that most people don't really think about you that much, and so you don't analyse your speech or actions to the same extent - you just say what you mean! Although I still stick my foot in it sometimes without meaning to; that never ends for any of us except the most gifted of speakers.

    Have a great LOTR party! I think that most people would love to do something YOU love when it's your birthday - screw the pub night or stuffy dinner party if that's not what you want. I may host a party for my next big one (45!), but the more likely scenario is that I'll leave my family behind and go on an adventure alone. hehe

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    1. Thank you for sharing about your family -- I've got a cousin who is actually autistic, so I'm not surprised that so many of the rest of us exhibit signs on the spectrum. And oh, how familiar that sounds, the time spent observing and analyzing what's "normal" social interaction!

      I totally agree with you about getting older; you couldn't pay me enough to be a teenager again! It's funny now that I'm teaching high school and seeing how much that social fear really affects a lot of them. I tell them about my experiences (and that nobody really thinks about you that much) and they look at me like I'm crazy...

      Thanks for the birthday party wishes, and I hope when your next big one comes that it's everything you want it to be! A solo adventure sounds pretty awesome!

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  45. Like so many others have said: thank you for posting this. It's comforting to see that such a popular (for lack of a better word) sewing blogger struggles with so many of the same issues as me. I definitely pick up a project or a book and can't extricate myself mentally. I'm pretty good at mimicking normal social behavior when I'm around people a lot, but I have such anxiety with strangers it's hard for me to recommend myself to a new group. I think a lot of the time I just come off as crabby (that's a polite word for it, I guess).

    I feel awkward now since I haven't been blogging long or regularly. There are so many great people I'd love to get to know, but I'm always afraid of putting myself out there. It's like you said: what if I throw a party and nobody comes? You should throw yourself whatever kind of party you want for your birthday: I'd totally make a cape for your party and I'll bet so would a lot of other people!

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    1. Heh, I don't know that I'm really a popular sewing blogger, but I'm glad that you can relate! That feeling of being sucked into a book is one of my favorite feelings ever, and swimming back to the surface is...ick. And I have totally been called crabby before!! Thanks for sharing your own experiences, and consider yourself invited to the virtual party!

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  46. Loved this post. Being geeky/analytical, love the shared insights of the garment construction. Sewing is cloth architecture for the body. Candidly, read the post picturing another blogger until mention of Mr. Cation. Odd that.
    Social insecurity can as much stem from previous hurt as lack of convention awareness. My experience. Please continue sharing analysis and insights. Love your blog

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    1. That is a beautiful and perfect sentence: "sewing is cloth architecture for the body." So true, and I think that's why I love it so much -- it's the perfect combination of creativity and analytical thinking! Thank you for reading and commenting!

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  47. Hey, you could be my twin! I am quite in awe of people who really really like interacting with other people. For me, if someone is nice enough to leave me alone, I pay them the compliment of leaving them alone :)

    I should clarify, that the above applies to strangers. Once I get to know people I feel pretty comfortable around them. But even with my dearest friends, I need to take a break and spend some alone time.

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    1. Hah! Yes! That is the best compliment ever :) I know what you mean...and yes, even dear friends don't need to be around *all* the time!

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  48. Totally amazing post! I haven't been sewing for all that long and have recently been feeling a bit overwhelmed by the fact that I can make absolutely anything I like and alter it to be just the way I want, that feeling is making me feel pretty lost in terms of who I really am and what 'my style' is. But I can see that the fact the sewing is making me think about my style and what suits me is going to get me to the 'comfortable in my own skin' place you are talking about and I can't wait! Well done for putting it so well

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    1. Isn't it amazing, that you can just think about what you want to wear, and then you just whip it out of fabric? I love it! Sewing really does help so much in being comfortable with yourself, both inside and out!

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  49. Fly-by comment to say this post is all sorts of awesome!! Have a blast at your party, it sounds like a great idea!

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    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment!

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  50. Every one of those cartoons is so me as well! In fact, the one about making friends with pets at parties is now my gchat status.

    I just started a sewing blog and I think part of that is my wanting to share my projects without having to go to things like quilting bees that would just make me nervous. I have decided my project for the year is learning to be better interacting with people and I'm working on it. I'm still so much happier with my dog and my sewing machine and my books though!

    It was fantastic to read your post and all the comments and know that I am far, far from alone in that. Thanks!

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    1. There was another picture on the IntrovertCat tumblr that was something along the lines of "feel like all of these pictures are about me, but don't share because that might reveal too much about who I am." Obviously I don't suffer from that compunction :)

      Thanks for sharing about your sewing goals -- I think that's a great way to approach blogging! And I totally know the feeling of being happier with animal+sewingmachine+books!

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  51. I'm so glad you posted this! It's so wonderful for someone who feels this way to share her thoughts...often I feel socially awkward, lacking that "feminine" predilection towards feelings and socializing that people who are female, are commonly assumed to have. This makes me feel less alone. Thanks for being so candid! You are charming and talented as well!

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    1. Oh man, don't even get me started on how femininity = being awesome at socializing! Every time my relatives said something to that effect, I would just feel bad and like a sub-par female for not being able to intuitively know what people are feeling and thinking. Thank you for commenting and sharing!

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  52. Ms. Cat-ion, thank you for the inspiring and honest post. I particular, this line me stop and think: "because the learning and fact-gathering must continue for my brain to feel alive." I feel the exact same way. I know many of me female friends feed off of social interactions and actual are relaxed by them. I'm the opposite. What does calm me, however, is learning, researching and doing. I think this is why so many sewers love this hobby -- you don't just learn it and move onto the next thing. Sewing has so many avenues to explore, you can probably spend lifetimes in it without getting bored.

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    1. Oooh, another obsessive compulsive learner! So glad to "meet" someone else who thrives off of learning. I totally agree, with sewing there's so much to learn that you can always keep your brain engaged!

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  53. I find you and your blog very inspiring, just as much as you have become more comfortable in your own skin you inspire others to do the same, thanks for all that you share and for being yourself! I am sure your b-day party will be ridiculously fun!

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    1. I am continually surprised and touched that my rambly post can even help others with their own issues. Thanks for your affirmation and I really hope the party actually turns out both ridiculous and fun :)

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  54. You have a great blog, and your enjoyment of what you do shines through every post. It is great to find people who share one's obsessions, it can make a good base for real friendship, and terrific that you've found that blogging has made you more content with yourself. I think that as you move through life you tend to find more people who share your interests, whether it be work, hobbies or shared circumstances, such as bringing up children of a similar age, so it gets easier to connect with people on some level rather than having to make small talk with completely unfamiliar people at parties as your "social" life(my pet hate).

    I have met the most wonderful and interesting people through the internet sewing community too, it is a real blessing. Have a terrific party.

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    1. Thank you echoing my sentiments about small talk! Worst idea ever, seriously. Yes, the sewing community is pretty dang fantastic. Thank you for commenting!

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  55. I personally think you are the queen of awesome. I love love love this post for its honesty and how much I relate to it!

    I think sewing attracts a lot of young women who are willing to do something a little countercultural among our generation, wanting to make our own costumes (hello, already have a small project to make a Firefly t-shirt for everyday wear), who are extremely analytical (see.... every pattern ever made) and wanting to do something very unique that reflects *them*. And the blogosphere connects us all, and it's amazing. For once, as women, we're not competing with each other in a consumerist society, but making something of our own - you choose this dress with this style, I modify it a little to fit *my* body and what I like, and I choose a different fabric, and we're celebrating our differences, ourselves, and each other in the process.

    Awesome.

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    1. I'm pretty sure you nailed it on the head there -- sewing is definitely a little off the beaten path and it really requires a certain personality to be as into it as we are! And ooh, a Firefly shirt sounds awesome!

      I really really love how this community is so open and friendly and encouraging; it's definitely different from the stereotypical female cattiness! I love seeing how each blogger really embraces their own personal style and even though it may not be something I'm into, I love that they're into it!

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  56. I love the blogging community for all the reasons you talk about.
    Thank you so much for airing these difficult to face issues. I think ASD is well overdue for renaming or at least removing the 'D', after all we're all on the spectrum somewhere.

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    1. I am in total agreement! It's just a different way of being/interacting, but that doesn't make it a disorder! Thanks for reading and commenting.

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  57. Thank you for sharing. I like your blog and your creativity and I LOVE the idea of a LOTR party. I'd come as a elf, if it were possible..

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    1. Please come to my virtual party! :) I am continually (pleasantly) surprised at the warm, positive response to my word vomit...thanks for reading it and commenting!

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  58. One of my fail safe plans is to bring an ipod with a book on tape. Then I sit in the corner and tap my foot or bob my head randomly so that people think that I'm just to cool to participate in social drinking!

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  59. Thank you for sharing what was on your heart! This is why I love our blogging community!

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  60. Oh my gosh, this sounds like the things I say about myself! I stink at small talk because it is not logical and seems pointless. I relate to feeling like you can be who you really are better online too. Costuming has put me in social settings that have caused me to better cope with crowds and dealing with a bunch of people, but I still feel extremely awkward at social events where I don't have a job to do.

    Wish I could come to your birthday party IRL! Btw, my bday was yesterday. =)

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    1. I'm totally with you on the pointlessness of small talk! I feel like with blogging, not having small talk is a given, so we can get right down into the nitty gritty details of sewing :) Thanks for sharing about your experiences with costuming events...that's why I like helping with setting food out at parties, or helping to clear empty cups or whatnot...gives me something to do! Happy belated birthday, and I wish you could come to mine too!

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  61. I love you Cindy! I wish we lived near each other so I could meet you. You are so inspiring, truly one of my sewing idols.

    I have no knowledge or experience in the field of social disorders so I hope I don't offend or sound ignorant in my comment but I think that most creative people have brains that are different to others so they have different thoughts and ideas and I guess can think outside the box to come up with concepts that no one else has thought of :)

    We are all "crazy" and "obsessed" in our own way and about different things... some people put their energy into gym and fitness, their careers (I recently read an articles about which professions attract "psychopaths", lol) and I guess you and I (and the other amazing sewasaurus'es) put out energy and creative mind into sewing.

    I also like to hang out with animals at parties (came home from a hen's night once drunk off tequila and covered in dog hair, true story) and I re-watch tv shows and movies over and over. I'm a little insane :)

    I love you girl, thanks for sharing this deep and personal post, it feels great to get to know you that little bit more.

    Kisses and hugs!
    Neeno.

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    1. Neeno, I really really really wish we could meet up IRL! It's too bad, this whole Pacific-Ocean-in-the-way deal. As a psych major (not that that really means a whole lot), I would agree with you that there are definitely some brain differences. I think it's really fascinating to see how those differences translate into behaviors (can you link me that article about psychopath professions?). I am with you on the rewatching thing, too! Sometimes it's just comforting to know exactly how something is going to turn out. Thank you for being so affirming of my naked post :)

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    2. Your profession attracts the least psychopaths :)

      http://www.news.com.au./business/worklife/the-ten-jobs-that-attract-psychopaths-and-why/story-e6frfm9r-1226512127799

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    3. Thanks for the link! Good to know that I'm probably not a psychopath, although I don't know that I'd classify accounting as a job that requires feelings and empathy...

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  62. Cindy, thanks so much for posting this. I am an introvert who is naturally awkward (though socialized to be less awkward). I sometimes (okay, usually) assume that the people I admire are perfect, which makes me feel very nervous about all the ways in which I am not perfect. Thanks for being someone I admire who is not perfect and talks about it! As usual, I feel in good company as I read your blog.

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    1. Thank you for your very sweet comment, Amanda! Seriously, it's other kind people in our little online community that make it so safe to be less than perfect. I, too, am super introverted, but on my blog I can pretend to be otherwise :)

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  63. I've fallen head over heels for you (in a very internet platonic kinda way) from the moment I discovered your blog.

    No amount of social awkwardness is going to make me like you less. Nobody is perfect, and I'm happy to discover that besides interesting, intelligent, funny, geeky and gorgeous you are also human.

    Many of the talents that you have (the geeky scientific stuff) are typical for people who tip their toes in the autistic spectrum. By that I don't mean that you should be diagnosed or labeled or I don't know what. What I mean is that it is rather common for geeks to be socially awkward. Hence the stereotype.

    Life is a bit like a videogame. We all start out with our little avatar and can put our gold coins in certain 'powers'. Some have an avatar that has most of the powers invested in social skills, others have mostly brains, others have mostly beauty, and most have a mix of a bunch of things.
    You've got an avatar that is awesome at fixing puzzles, building things, is smart and also happens to be pretty. On the downside, you're lagging behind some others in the social skills.
    But guess what, you've just completed a round of sewing in the game and you've earned a big ass strawberry that you just decided to trade for social skills :)

    You are doing great and this party is a fantastic idea. My birthday is December 10th. I guess it's pretty close to yours. I wasn't going to party, but now I'm thinking I should.

    So there you go inspiring me again :)

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    1. Happy super early birthday to you, too! Don't feel pressured to have a party or anything ;)

      It's funny how I read other blogs and am always touched when they share something that makes them more human, more three-dimensional, but it's so scary to do the same on one's own blog. Thank you for your very kind, affirming comment! Having been in the sciences for a long time, I would definitely agree that it's more common for them to be socially awkward. It's been said that autism can be thought of as an "extreme male brain," and since science and other analytical fields require a lot of systematizing, it makes sense. But it does make it a little weird to be a female and have a more "male" brain.

      I like the avatar comparison you make, although I'm more of a tabletop RPG-er than a videogame person, but it's generally the same. My D&D character isn't very good at social interactions either -- I put all of her points toward stealth :)

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  64. This post, your story, is amazing, and thanks so much for sharing it. I’m with Tanit-isis “on the awkward side of normal” – there’s a reason I’ve been following your blog (and many, many others) for well, maybe nearly 2 years? and have only just decided to start commenting, because I felt like I knew some of you so well and I wanted an opportunity to plug into this network of awesome people rather than just watching from the side like I do in real life. How odd, to feel like I know you and we go way back, when obviously I only know what you choose to share and you don’t know me from a bar of soap! My (adorable) 19 year old baby brother was diagnosed with Aspergers as a tot and I’ve learned a lot from watching him grow up. I certainly wouldn’t hit the diagnosable part of the spectrum, but that hanging out with cats at parties? Definitely me  (I have a long standing joke that I always overeat at parties because standing at the table surveying and selecting finger food is a great way to look like you’re only temporarily disengaged from the party and no one ever notices if you never walk away from the food.) And as the comments here show, you are not alone!

    I have a monthly craft meet-up at my place, where folk like The Dreamstress and MrsC and others who don’t blog come together to make and talk and have fun. It’s often a den of shrieking cackles of laughter and we discuss everything from seam finishes to relationships to politics. But I think part of its popularity is because having something to do with your hands means that there is no pressure to be social the whole time, and sometimes the whole room will drop into comfortable, companionable silence while we stitch together. I’ve sometimes referred to my group as Crafting for Social Misfits :) I started it as an attempt to make friends in a new city (by “new” I mean I’d been living in it for 5 years and still hadn’t made any lasting deep friendships). There have been other “social milestones” along the way and each one fills me with a little bit of pride. I am completely in awe of you organising your own party! I hope you have a wonderful time.

    Thanks for sharing this insight into you. I have adored your blog from the minute I started reading it. I love your Star Wars and video game and other geek references (the battle of Yavin tee is awesome), your beautiful finished garments (I’m awfully fond of the Magenta Mucha Maxi), your bravery with sewing (just leaping into things – and pulling it off), your creativity (sheets! Spiderman! Spiderman sheets!),Walnut (who doesn’t!), and your diversity (tee shirts AND historical costumes?). Please keep sewing and keep blogging! And of course, being socially awkward, I’ve probably just rambled on a lot more than is acceptable, sorry about that!

    Also, omphaloskepsis? New favourite word :)

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    1. Ah yes, hanging out by the food. That is very familiar to me :) Thank you so much for kind and affirming commenting; it's so nice to "meet" you and hear your story. That Crafting for Social Misfits group sounds like an absolute dream! I would live to be in a group like that. And hey, your long rambly comment made me feel like I know you a little bit more, so no worries! I am the queen of long rambles!

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  65. I just found your blog AND this post, both of which are really wonderful. Like you, I wouldn't necessarily self-diagnose as an Aspie, but I feel like all the new info about women with Asperger's and doing my own research (yay, research!) helped me make a lot of sense about my more mysterious traits. When I was younger, I always wished that I could just jump into "fun" activities like unstructured playtime like the normal kids but it just wasn't my kind of party. (Some things never change - nothing makes me want to run for the hills like a so-called "mixer", eek!) BUT, how exciting that one can learn to throw the perfect party for one's self, just as you are doing/have done! Hope it was awesome, and thank you for the wonderful post. :)

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  66. Oh, Cindy, what a great, honest post! I'm so glad you've found some community and acceptance in the sewing world! You've really flourished and I know that you inspire so many people! I'm really glad you've decided to celebrate your birthday-- I'm sure your friends will be so happy to celebrate you! :)

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  67. A) I love that you included at TLDR at the end of the post.
    B) I totally have a cloak. Perhaps not quite light and floaty enough for an elven cloak, but a cloak nonetheless. I've been told it's very French Lieutenant's Woman. It was part of my regular out-of-doors wear when I lived in California; here in Seattle I should really get around to making something more waterproof!

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  68. As you certainly know by now, great post. It resonates with me and so many in so many ways. I am well to the awkward side of normal. (I am also well to the older side of young, a trait you don't share.) My dad was a corporate nomad so we moved a lot when I was growing up. In hindsight, I should have been a scientist or an engineer, but I spent my entire childhood trying to learn "how to mimic normal social interaction" and, in the 1960s, normal social interaction for girls did not include math or science. (Maybe I'd have been better off a little closer to autism on the spectrum?) Anyway, I, too, am grateful to the online sewing community, and to the online Tolkien community before it, for helping me learn to make friends.

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  69. I'm a little late to reading this post (just trying to catch up on my blog roll) but still wanted to stop and comment to say how much this post touches me. I feel much the same about the online sewing community, although not for the same reasons as you. I love how supportive and engaging the community is, and it's lovely to hear that I'm by far from the only one.
    I'm so glad you've found somewhere you 'fit', because you do, your personality shines from both the creations that you make and your writing on your blog. xx

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  70. Please don't say you're not "normal"- we are all unique! As a scientist you know that the average/mean is really never truly representative of the sample. And that the outliers are the interesting ones!

    We are all hit with what women "should" be and how we should act in our society, and I'm sure it's one of the reasons we have so much depressive illness in our culture since none of us end up feeling "normal"...

    I'd also hazard a guess that "confident" people are often pretending to be confident and have a list of topics to start them off with, just like you... They might pick up more cues to extend the conversation than someone with an ASD, but how many do you see scrabbling around with nonsense fluffy topics that are just not worthwhile?! I have plenty of non-ASD friends who'd pick a cat over that... ;)

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  71. I know I'm hopelessly late to this post, but I didn't want to read it and not comment. I actually read it right after you wrote it, but I'm at least as bad as you say you are (and probably way worse) about being personal on the internet, so responding to something so personal, and being personal about it, is really, really hard for me. And I'm probably going to stuff it up.

    So anyway, what I really wanted to say, is it's such a privilege to get to know you, and to have you as part of the internet sewing community. I've always thought that you were the best example of what we could all be, in terms of how you sew, and how you share. So thank YOU.

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  72. Can't believe I just read this!! (Worst friend ever) Thanks for sharing! I can testify that you are even more delightful in person.

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