I've finished working on one of my vintage patterns and I'm very, very pleased with the fit. I did a sample outfit to make sure everything was where it should be and, well, it is :) Even Ian said that the dress lines and fit were flattering on me. Now all I have to do is figure out which fabric to use - I'm thinking of using my cherry corduroy fabric but I also have this houndstooth that's really nice. We'll see.
Thanks for all of your one-line answer suggestions and wording for when people ask what I do. I never really thought about talking about what I consider my hobbies - making jewelry and sewing - instead of talking about where I was working when I worked outside the home.
I was thinking about this today and I realized that one of the reasons I find this so hard is that I'm still not in a place where I feel that I'm contributing to society. And even though I know that it shouldn't matter, I worry that if I tell people that I'm not working in the workforce, they'll think less of me. If we had kids I could say that I was a mom and I feel that would be more socially acceptable than not working at all.
But being home without kids and not working isn't something our society really values, at least in my mind. Or maybe it's something that I never really valued - after all, I valued work over almost everything else - and so I'm having a hard time valuing my non-work contributions to society and the people around me. I think it would be healthier for me to accept my life and value it for what it is, but doing that will take time.
I was also thinking about whether or not to tell people that the reason I'm not working is because I have cancer. I usually don't to tell people about the cancer because I feel that it's too deep of a subject for a light social gathering and because I don't really want to deal with people's reactions to my cancer. Not to mention the fact that I want people I meet to see that there's more to me than just the cancer - in other words, I don't want to be defined solely by my cancer. So unless people push it - and make no mistake, some do - I think I won't mention the cancer.
Finally, I've also been thinking about whether and how to word the fact that I'm not working because of a medical issue. Do I say that I'm on long-term disability, on leave, on medical leave, on disability, or something else? I know that I'm on disability and all, but I don't like to think of myself as disabled, you know? I guess I'm not quite comfortable with that label so I think I wouldn't say LTD or disability, which leaves the "on leave" options. Of course being on medical leave is true whereas being on leave isn't quite as precisely true.
Hmmmmmm.... it just occurred to me that if I could just get over the fact that I seem to place more value on my work as an employee than on living my life, I wouldn't even need to tell people that I have an employer, would I? I could dodge that bullet altogether!
So all I have to do in order to find the optimal phrase - and believe it, which is important to me - is get over the fact that I don't work outside the home for someone, and learn to value my intangible contributions to society and the people around me, and talk about those. Thanks, everyone!