Leave it up to an album I haven’t listened to in 18 or so years to make me realize how much the world (and my world) has changed. I have not really felt father times gravity yet. I did today. It all goes too fast doesn’t it? I heard the first chord and I was transported back to the floor of my brothers spare bedroom. Headphones on. Needle ready. Attacking a pair of Levi’s cutoffs with any scrap of fabric I could find.
There is something about sewing something together that is calming to me. I used to create these worlds with pin and needle. Worlds where I would escape. So much of my life has always been coming apart at the seams and back stitching until I couldn’t see straight was a blessing. For a long time a needle, what I wore and anything to do with cloth was about all I could control. Moving a swatch of fabric this way and that to see how it will look and matching thread or myself to it reminded me of trying on life myself. I love to run my hands over fabric. I love to feel the weight. Feel the color. Many a time in my life I purchased something just for the fabric. Just because I love to look at it.
I always wonder who designed the pattern. Who laid the pattern. Was it done lovingly or in a sweatshop. You can feel that you know. Clothes have soul. I believe that fabric absorbs a part of its wearer. There have have been times where I have seen this totally amazing piece of clothing at a thrift store and after walking around with it in my arms for a while have passed on it because of the feeling I was getting. I don’t think this happens all the time and I know it sounds weird. But how can the artifacts that witness our lives not absorb some of its energy?
I was in a thrift store in San Francisco about two years ago. I was on a mission to find a mirror for my bathroom wall. I found these two totally amazing old mirrors against a back wall. I couldn’t believe it. Neither was very big. One was all etched glass flowers and out of this world. The other was a wood framed bureau mirror that someone had refashioned into a hanging mirror. It’s mirror backing bubbled and cracked from the passing of time. Anyway, that etched mirror was perfect but I got the strangest feeling from it. This voice in my head kept saying “Do you really want that hanging in the house.” and “I don’t know about this thing.” I almost felt like whatever it had reflected before wasn’t good. And I tried, oh how I tried, to ignore my gut. I wanted that mirror. I left it and ended up with the bureau mirror. I’ve been happy ever since and grown quite attached to it.
It’s shit like that happening that leaves me convinced that what we go through creates a lingering energy and that what surrounds us absorbs it. Maybe that’s where memory is. Maybe memory is in the emotion created by our energy.
It makes me think of those Levi’s and countless other things that I sewed through my teenage years. I can’t help but wonder if there has been someone else out there at some thrift store who passed up on the jeans because of the same reason. Because some lonely, angry, abandoned teenage girl sat for hours, headphones on and sewed all of her hurt into that fabric.