Gratitude

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In case you didn’t know, Thanksgiving is my absolute favorite holiday. I strongly believe that every nation or other group of people need a communal feast day to rally around. Food is celebration, life, pleasure, sharing, and even intimacy. I love and adore food! So Thanksgiving is a special day that I literally look forward to all year long – and here we are on another fabulous Thanksgiving. But this is a sewing blog, not a food blog, so let’s chat about the other super important, valuable, and special facet of Thanksgiving – gratitude – in relation to sewing.

This post is easy ish to write because I relocated to a new home 1000 miles away from everything I’ve ever known. As you know, moving forces you to review everything you own! So I got to go through all of my sewing stuff twice – once in Boston, as I decided what to sell/discard/keep, and here in Georgia, as I downsized further. I know exactly what I have and why – how often does that happen when you don’t move?

Firstly and foremostly, I am deeply grateful for having a place to sew. One of my biggest fears in life is lacking the means to have a sewing space in my residence, so to have such a space when I have nothing and contribute nothing to the household, is winning the lottery of life. I’m also grateful that my parents (in whose fabulous house LJ and I now live), despite not valuing sewing in any overt way, have relinquished so much of their house to my passion/hobby/calling. My sewing machines and more are crammed into my mother’s woman cave, my fabric is in the garage, and my notions are literally in every nook and cranny I can find around the house.

Secondly, I’m grateful for all my patterns! Few things excite me and my creative juices more than a line drawing, and having the actual pattern is the icing on the cake. I do such major alterations to patterns – for size, for fit, and for design changes – that they sometimes don’t resemble the original intent, but I nonetheless love starting with all that fussy tissue. I’m also floored that I have so many: 330 ish after my latest purge. I can’t possibly sew all of them and almost 60 are Vogue designer patterns that will be pried from my cold dead hands, but it’s so rich to have them at all. I’m also grateful to live in the US, where patterns are so very cheap. My average spend on non-indie patterns (which comprise 90+% of that 330) is probably $4/pattern, maybe $5 tops. And that’s including tax and shipping where applicable!

Lastly and not leastly, I am grateful for the ability to sew at all. 36 was a long, long, age for me, and 2019 has been a crazy year. It will likely be February 2020 before my life really settles down. All told, that’s 18 months of sad lows, complicated highs, unexpected obstacles, and challenges of character. With a history of depression and a certain constant amount of anxiety, I really couldn’t get through a phase like this without some curative for my heart, mind, and spirit. In a perfect world, I’d go to therapy, but in the real world, I sew. It’s not my only defense against the dark arts (that’s what I call depression), but it is a huge tool in my arsenal. I feel joy when I am designing – looking for just the right line, just the right fabric, just the right thread, the right finishing details. I suspect the secret to real happiness is living in the moment, but who can manage that? When I’m sewing, I can. The creative options, the process, the progression from nothing to something, require a present focus. I don’t have many other interests that corral me in such a way, so I am grateful to be able to sew and take advantage of its indirect benefits.

I wish those of you celebrating today a very happy, warm, and delicious day. And for those of you not celebrating today, I’d love to hear if your country/people have a feast day – when is it? And what is it called? Inquiring turkey eaters want to know. :)

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4 Comments

  1. I recently realized that I’ve been *happy* for the past couple months. I’ve had long, long periods of deep thought where I try to discern if I’ve ever been *happy*. It’s so difficult to explain depression and I almost wish there were a different word altogether for clinical depression. Sigh.

    I’m so happy that you two are settled and that you’ve got the support of your parents. So critical!!

    And also that you’ve got a sewing space. There is something to be said for the focus and energy required for hobbies. I always say that everyone needs one :)

    1. It’s wonderful to hear you’re finally happy! Each month adds on to the next :) here’s hoping it will be a solid year before you know it. Terminology is so key, but I suspect there will never be a perfect term to convey how it feels, how it works, even though it’s a universal feeling.

  2. You seem to have come miles in your outlook and personal life. I am so happy for you and find your reflections very uplifting. As someone who has battled with depression all of my life it is really encouraging reading your thoughts and your positive attitude. I am always grateful for my sewing and how it helps me cope with life. Happy Thanksgiving.

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