For our first-year wedding anniversary, my husband bought me the calligraphy kit that I had added to my Amazon cart months prior as one of my “paper” gifts. It was wonderful and I couldn’t wait to create beautiful signs and hand-write greeting cards and make table assignments with gold pens on vibrant geodes and…
Practicing was never on my list of grandiose plans. I seem to always forget that one cannot go from novice to expert overnight, that there is a process- that takes time- in everything.
My husband and I have been married for almost three years now and my calligraphy books and pens are in my office, tucked away and unblemished.
It seems to be a habit of mine, to not keep habits. Before the New Year I wrote an entry about Rachel Hollis’ #last90days challenge, where I vowed to eat a little better, blog a little more, run a little faster, and push myself to be the best version of “Britney” for 2019. Let’s be honest: my initiatives slowed down tremendously once the holiday season kicked in.
It is a question I pose often, usually after a long day of work: “What could I have done differently, to make sure that I had time for me?” “Why did I not step away from my desk for lunch?” “Why did I choose to sign onto one more meeting instead of heading downstairs for the gym?” What was so important?
A lot of times, I cannot find the answers. And days pass, all the same. But as I said previously, new year milestones always promise a clean, blank slate and energize even the biggest self-care skeptics.
I was in Alexandria’s Paper Source a few months ago and noticed that they hosted public workshops, with DIY crafts ranging from bullet journaling to scrapbooking. I decided to add myself to the mailing list and found in a recent email that they were teaching a hand lettering class. Intrigued, I reached out to colleagues and friends, wondered if anyone would accompany me to this two-hour evening affair. To my surprise, although everyone I knew turned down the offer, I still found myself reaching for my debit card and processing payment for a single ticket. I blocked the date down in my calendar. And even though I texted my best friend on the night of the event and said, “I’m driving straight home,” my car pulled up to the storefront with one minute to spare.
I was out undoubtedly of my comfort zone- Although I adore the occasional lonely street stroll, prefer perusing through stores unaccompanied, even like eating on my own with a good book by my side, I don’t have much experience in doing “activities” solo. I think that I was still a little shocked while walking through the door and taking off my coat. I was greeted at the counter and brought to the workshop table, said hello to four other solo patrons before taking my seat. A personalized workbook laid before me with my name scripted on the front- It was then, that a smile finally crossed my face. I was doing something that I wanted to do. For me. Without anyone else altering my course.
For two hours, I smiled politely, asked a few questions, but mostly remained head down in my book, practicing loops and lines with my tongue lightly perched on my top right lip. The company was great, the craft was difficult at first, but by the end of my class I felt extremely accomplished.
For anyone who lives near a Paper Source, I highly encourage you to look on their website for workshops near you. The hand lettering class consisted of beginners and advanced writers, and it was cheap! ($28 for the guided session and workbook, and you had to buy a $3 pen that would be used in the session.) You also receive a 10% coupon for a future purchase- I was very impressed by the quality of the class.
And more than that, I was proud of myself. I did something that I found joy in, and stuck with it despite the hour, or the location, or the weather, or the lack of company. I could’ve made up several excuses that night but chose to remain excited about the possibility of learning something new and finally tackling an item on my creative bucket list.
My hand lettering sketches weren’t too bad by the end of the course, and I look forward to signing up for another session and practicing in the interim.
Perhaps I’m not so far away from my gold pen, geode dreams after all.