I offer this odd little Mountie as a visual. It doesn’t pertain to this post but, as this post is going to be a little rambly I thought you deserved something weird to look at. You know, in case you get bored.
Over the Spring our kitty Meowlcolm succumbed to cancer. Prior to his passing, we spent over a month trying to figure out what was making such a young cat so ill. When his suffering became too much for him to bear, we let him go.
Meowcolm’s loss was pretty stressful for everyone but especially for El. In the last four yeas or so, we’ve had four of our beloved animal companions pass away. Meows was number four. To cope with the stress and to stay distracted, El would go into my sewing room and sew. She put weird fabrics together, came up with her own ideas about how a should bag should look and dressed some of her dolls in all manner of strange things.
At first, I thought I’d help out; direct her to a simple pattern, show her a little hand-sewing, but she wasn’t interested. She simply wanted to make things. Make things fearlessly in her own way on her own terms. So I watched, and took care of our beloved cat. And when he died, El went back to sewing and making. She’s continued on; even though the stress of loss is past. She continued on as she grieved.
I watched. I helped her thread the needle when needed, fill up a bobbin or tell her where things were when she got lost in my mess. As I watched I came to understand that the creative process, when unhampered by fear and doubt, is amazing. I thought back to all the costumes and things I’d gotten rid of in the last decade. I made so many of them without a care in the world. Now, when I sit down to make a ‘historical’ garment, I stress over its authenticity; Are the seams right? Should I hand-sew it? Should I finish it using x’s technique or y’s ideas? Sometimes I’m so crowded out by doubt, that nothing gets done.
Watching El removed my doubt. El doesn’t care if you like what she makes or not. She doesn’t care if her seams are straight. She pleases no one but herself. And, in the end, isn’t that what creating things is all about? Making your joy manifest?
So thank you, my sweet El. Thanks for teaching this old dog a new trick. I love you sweetheart.