I am so tired. So much, including thoughts about gender and my “place,” weighs on me these days. And then I sit down with my little piece of the earth – yarn. With my women’s tools – needles. (Or tonight with sewing machine and fabric.) And suddenly I vault away from the male world I live in. I am doing “women’s work” and I revel in it. I hold my yarn and needles and suddenly I am sitting with my grandmother Thelma, and with so many great-grandmothers, and with women everywhere who have created things slowly, quietly, without recognition, and without being questioned. I sit at my machine and suddenly I am sitting with my grandmother Edith, and with so many great-grandmothers, and with women everywhere who have sat in front of cold, mechanical machines, with furrowed brows and hunched shoulders, pushing shimmering fabric through to create warm, lively garments. The world has not always valued such work as this, but it has always been valuable. And when I do this work, I know its value in my very bones.
Tonight more than usual I am grateful, especially after such a hard week, to just sit and make my little things. To be left alone. To think only of sensual matters – the feel of the yarn, the smell of the silk, the click of the needles, the sight of the colors, my bare feet on the wood floor with toes on a whirring pedal. It is not that I think one world is better than another. It is not that I think “men’s work” and “women’s work” are categories that should really even exist. It is just that when I sit down and take up this kind of work, it is like walking through a door where I am only myself, without all the other projections and constructions. And I am free.
I’m sorry that you have had a difficult week. I’m equally happy that you find peace in your needlecraft as so many of us do. You write beautifully, my friend.