Twenty-five years ago I first learned origami; the box, the balloon, the jumping frog.
I like paper-folding.
I like the feel of the creases coming into place as I gently break the paper fibers under my nail.
I like the interplay of mountain and valley folds working as I move the paper to tuck into neat shapes.
I like the satisfaction of a tiny delicate beauty when my folding is complete.
I would make little things all the time; boxen, cranes, the frog – mostly the balloon, because I delight in the final step of cradling it in my fingertips, blowing into the hold, and have it puff into three-dimensional being. Then I was in college, and I tried to make a paper rose.
I tried. And I tried. No matter what instruction I found, no matter how the folds and movement were explained, I simply could not grasp the doing of it. Page after page was a crumpled ruin beside my desk.
Rarely have I failed so utterly, so completely, so undeniably. It’s always been that, when I set my mind to it, I COULD learn anything I wanted. To come up against something so many people could do so easily that simply baffled all my attempts at understanding was one of the most frustrating experiences that I’ve ever endured.
I stopped folding paper.
Oh, I made paper balloons a couple times for my children to bat around the living room, but I stopped trying to learn new designs, and most of the old ones have fallen out of my head. I couldn’t make a crane without an instruction sheet now if my life depended upon it.
This morning I sat down with several square sheets, and went internetting.
There are many designs of origami rose; I tried one that has no specific name, and got more than 2/3s of the way through the step by step diagram instructions before they baffled me. I went on YouTube and attempted the Kawasaki rose; I managed to get a little more than halfway through before I fumbled.
Then I found a video for instruction on making an “easy rose.” I followed along, folding and occasionally pausing and rewatching as I went. Many of the steps were similar to the familiar folds and tucks of the balloon design I so adore, and this pleased me. There is a comfort to be found, having familiar things in the midst of something strange and intimidating and new. Step by careful step, I bent and folded and unfolded and tucked and creased and folded and twisted, and when I got to the end of the video, I had a tiny white paper rose.
Something impossible just became possible. I’m going to be able to make something for SecretAgentLoverMan the significance of which he may never truly understand. My stomach actually hurts with the joy of it.
Never give up.