I Knows Bows

I've been taking a course in basic floral design since the first of September. The floral design part hasn't been turning out half bad. I've been paying rapt attention to the lectures, reading the text book and studying review material. I've really been working hard! Through post-menopausal brain farts (combined with who knows how much ms-related mental fog) I've been keeping up fairly well. With one major exception - the damned florist bows. I couldn't get the simple concept through my brain. When it finally got through the brain, it wouldn't go to the hand. Then I'd make a perfect bow, then five minute later, I'd forget the entire process. It was gone like a puff of smoke. I felt like my brain was completely letting me down and I got mad about it. I came up with slogans - "Bows Blow" was my silent mantra as I quietly made loop after loop. I had a "bow support group" form around me as the teacher demonstrated the process... yet once more. I watched bow-making demonstrated time and time again on the internet. I gained new admiration for people who work with their brains as well as their hands. I felt inadequate for not being able to perform one of the most basic tasks of an entry level floral designer. Then I felt like an idiot for caring so much about something so insignificant in a world where there are so many truly important things to worry about. But...the ability to perform this task was important to me. It was important because I really wanted to pass the exam at the end of the course. And I really needed to pass this course for my own satisfaction. It was a personal challenge and I needed confirmation that I hadn't lost more than I'd feared. Since I was diagnosed with ms in 1986 I've lost mental and physical abilities, retrieved them and lost them again so many times that I can't really compare my disabled self with my original healthy self. I know that sometimes I have to stop and retreat when I'd rather push through - give in to the fatigue and rest when I'd rather keep going. Last night, not only did I produce an acceptable bow, but I also passed the written exam. My arrangements didn't appear to be any better or worse than my classmates'. I have 2 more arrangements to create next Tuesday night to finish my exam. It's been a huge challenge for me but also given me a wonderful sense of accomplishment - that I haven't completely lost the person I used to be.


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