Lee Wolfe | Episode 884
Lee Wolfe has been a studio potter for 40 years. Lee’s ceramic work emerges from the organic beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains where she lives in Asheville, North Carolina. The voluptuous forms and the woodland creatures in Lee’s pottery are totemic; intended to bring into your home the wild inexplicable magic of awakening to a bird’s lyrics, eating from the garden and falling asleep under a moonlit blanket.
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When you began recovery did you set clear goals for yourself?
When I came out of surgery my mind was in no way prepared to set goals. I was in a very foggy place. So if I did set goals it was gradually. I had really good health-care support. People who understood where I was at and walked me through where I needed to go.
How critical was it to have people supporting you? Not just for health-care but also from your family and friends?
That was vital. Definitely vital. I mean, I don’t think I had appreciated people in a long time to that degree. When you go from really healthy to very confused and physically disabled and realize people are going to jump in and pick up the loose ends for you, it was like, Oh, wow! This relationship is more than just a good time friendship.
Was optimism an important part of the recovery process?
It’s interesting because I consider myself basically a pessimist ( laughter). So I don’t know if I could have relied too much on optimism but I think I did get a little more optimistic than my normal. I sort of live in a sense of doom, that things are kind of unwinding and falling apart and I am just making the best of it. That’s where I live most of the time.
Is that a suggestion that maybe it’s best not to look at the whole road in front of you but maybe just the next few steps in front of you?
Yes, definitely. And also I learned to really appreciate where I was at. There is a connection you can make with people who are really helping you that’s deeper than the connections you make when you are on your own. There are places your mind goes to when your thoughts are really jumbled. It’s actually a pretty interesting place, just the like the pottery I began to make after my brain had bled and I had lost, you know, a large chunk of brain cells, there’s a place the pottery would go to that was different. And I was kind of fascinated by each stage.
So you are saying, honor the place you are in because it’s part of the process of going to the next place.
Yeah, and also it helps you to not freak out too. To enjoy where you are at, you know, then you are not freaking out about where you are not.
Even though you were getting help did you have to take ownership of the process at some point and say I am taking control for my own sake?
Yeah, constantly. Constantly. I was always working with my neurologist. I fired the first neurologist because I just didn’t think I was going to get anywhere with her and I went to a different neurologist who was willing to work with me because I wanted to go further. My second one was about that. He was saying, Okay, you can progress. There’s not a limit. Just keep going.
Did setbacks throw you off?
I guess if I look back over all, no. It didn’t really throw me off balance. Maybe for a little bit.