I only stopped by the craft store for a couple of sheets of yellow cardstock. (I was hoping to find that shade of greyish yellow that is so popular right now...so popular, in fact, that apparently no one's made cardstock out of it yet.)
Just yellow cardstock, but I did wander over to the sale section which is where, right in front of a Glitz Design clearance rack, I was accosted. By the very woman whose face I've never seen and whose voice is only in my imagination, but it was her all right, my ISD in the flesh: svelte in a tasteful red business suit, elegantly coiffed (blonde of course), expert high-heel wearer. And completely superior to my craft of choice.
“Oh, my,” she started up the conversation, “are you actually one of those scrapbookers?”
Is it that obvious? Was it the five sheets of yellow cardstock (none of them the shade I am searching for), one package of letter stickers, and two acrylic stamps I was holding that gave me away? Or was it my scrapbooking horns (the ones that grow secretly out of a scrapbooker's bunions)? I should never wear flip flops! Clamping off my natural sarcasm (which spurts out at the sound of condescending mockery), I simply nodded my head.
“I just don't get all this stuff,” she said, mockery still spraying. “I mean, who buys it all?”
Certainly not me, or at least that's what I tell my husband.
“I'm only looking for a picture frame but the scrapbooking supplies have taken over the whole damn store. And look at it all. It's just so cute. It makes me want to gag.”
I finally managed to speak around my own stomach acid. “I guess you either get scrapbooking, or you don't.”
“I know!” she agreed. (I think she thought we were having a friendly, let's-bash-the-scrapbookers two-way conversation.) “It's like it's a lifestyle or something. Like it's a religion. It's weird. Scrapbookers are weird, don't you think?”
I cannot believe my restraint. I pointed her toward the frames without expressing any sort of snarkiness.
I'm not really sure that damming my natural snarky responses was the right choice for this conversation. I could have given just as harsh as I was getting. Except for the part of me that's embarrassed to be a scrapbooker. Because every word my in-the-flesh internal scrapbooking demon (ISD) said has also previously entered my own thoughts. (Especially the bit about the cuteness. I like to think I tend more toward the elegant, rather than the twee, side of things.)
So I stood there, clutching my purchases but no longer debating with myself over whether I should buy the acrylic stamps. Instead I was trying to think of a real response to give this woman. One I could also give my ISD to get her to just shut up already. I'm tired of my internal battle over whether or not scrapbooking is a silly waste of time. I want not to feel guilty and embarrassed about it.
Of course, there are the pat answers. Scrapbooking is good (read non-weird, non-cult-like, non-silly behavior) because it matches up photos with the stories behind them. But I could do that in a far simpler manner than my current one: some photo pages, some journaling to go with. Much as I love my story-centric, word-laden pages, there is more to it than only the words + photos thing. Which brings us to the other pat answer: it's a creative outlet. This is true, of course. One of my friends once told me that I'm the sort of person who always has to have something creative she's working on—a statement I took as a compliment. I do like to be creative. It does make a person feel rejuvenated to play with such lovely papers et al. But it is also this playing that makes me deeply anxious—makes me feel that what I am doing is a weird, or a childlike, or a silly way to use my time. And even my truest, simplest answer belies my doubts. Simply, I scrapbook because I love it and because it makes me happy on several different levels. But since it also makes me a little anxious, embarrassed, and ashamed of myself, it isn't, obviously, just about the happy-making.
Despite all that, however, I simply cannot, cannot imagine life without scrapbooking. Does that mean I've been converted to the scrapbooking religion? I don't know. The thought of all the pictures in the world just sitting there on people's computers, unused and incomplete, makes me sad. Making a record of my life and my children's while we are living them continues to feel just as important as it did when I first discovered scrapbooking. I don't scrapbook every day. Life is, of course, more important. But it is always there—the supplies are waiting, the stories and photos are waiting.
That, my friends, is what happens when you head to the craft store looking for just that shade of yellow cardstock. You sometimes find yourself evolving into an existential scrapbooking crisis, right there in the sale aisle. Which makes it even harder to get that ISD's voice out of my head. Still, since life is unimaginable without it, I'm going to continue scrapbooking, even if it is weird.
But if any of you can tell me where to find that shade of yellow cardstock (just tinged with grey), that'd be wonderful. I'm kind of afraid to go to the craft store again.