The girls and I had a busy week learning a new craft. During treatment last year, a lot of the wonderful people I met would knit during our group sessions. Starting out, it was really distracting. Needles were clinking together, yarn was everywhere, and it seemed like everyone was knitting a blanket. I quickly learned that this kept the mind busy. It was a healthy way to cope with whatever negative emotions or negative situations you were dealing with. So I started knitting. I would knit after meals. I would knit when Ed was winning. I would knit when an uncomfortable discussion was happening. I. Would. Knit.
So this week, I wanted to add another coping mechanism to my toolbox: sewing. Sewing to me always seemed like a daunting activity. I always felt like there was too much room for error. What if you measured incorrectly? What if you sew it incorrectly? What if the dress/project doesn’t fit the girls? I am extremely good at doubting myself. I don’t like trying new things because I am afraid to fail at it. But, in hopes of becoming the best version of myself for the Gregory girls, I took this week to find something new to help cope with the never ending stream of thoughts.
Before starting my first sewing project, I had never learned how to read a sewing pattern, but I had taken a sewing class last year to learn the basics (thank you, Aunt Sue). The girls and I took a trip to Joann Fabrics, picked out what appeared to be a simple dress pattern, bought a piece of fabric, and went home to attempt to make a dress for Lucy.
DISASTER. Absolute epic failure. I had picked out a pattern that had sleeves on it. Easy, right? No. Not for the first attempt at making a piece of clothing. To me, this was failure. This was exactly what I was hoping to avoid. I needed something to help diffuse the crazy, not ADD to the crazy.
Then, I found a print-at-home pattern online. It looked simple and there was even a tutorial video I could sew along with. YES! This was exactly what I had been looking for. So, I started sewing. I sew when the girls are napping. I sew when the girls go to bed. I sew when the crazy seems to be too loud. And you know what? It’s healthy. I’m not listening to the thoughts when I’m sewing. I’m listening to my sewing machine (thank you, Mrs. Gregory) humming away. I’m not thinking about my failures and faults. I’m thinking about bobbin thread and hummingbird scissors.
The dresses, they aren’t perfect, but they represent two nights this week where peace came in and negativity went out. Needless to say, the girls are about to have metric boatloads of imperfect dresses and outfits in their closets, all made with love, all made during the wee hours of the morning, and all made with a quiet mind.
Lucy, Dorothy, and I are starting a new project. On this road, I have been looking for a purpose, searching for a way to add goodness and love back into the world, so we’re going to work on that in the upcoming weeks. I’ll keep you posted! If nothing else, there are many more peaceful nights headed my way. It’s about damn time for some peace.
So for those of you reading who are in recovery or are on your way to recovery, I challenge you to add another coping mechanism to your toolbox this week, a healthy one that challenges you, but also brings you peace. After all, we need all the tools we can get to get through this.