Finding a Way Back to Me, by LouSea (@wildfoxmedicine)
Curled up in the corner With my Needle and thread I quickly embed As would a spider With her web. My thread Slithers through the fibers Like a Snake through the brush. I've lost touch With all the people I once was. This is a little song a wrote and had sung while sewing for a few years now. Hand embroidery grounded me. Machine embroidery made the unfeasible possible.
But in November 2020 my arm went numb and limp. I began feeling tingling sensations in my fingers, arm, shoulder, face. Losing my ability to grasp things tightly, including my needle meant I was no longer able to secure my embroidery machine hoops together with the fabric set in-between. It was like darkness fell.
Quickly, I learned how much my self worth was wrapped up in productivity. All I could see is that I would never be able to do these things that I am completely in love with again. Sinking deep into a depression, it took 5 months of agony to find the doctor that could help me. Not being able to do my craft was a lot to handle, but I also couldn't pay my bills, play with my daughter, wash my dishes, clean my house. My body hurt to badly and living was hard. At some point I realized that I was going to have to switch approaches.
I had been messing around with sun dying on fabric and a friend suggested I try to make some masks. That's just what I did. With a lot of patience and breaks I sewed up a few batches of masks.
I needed to find a outlet to create that took even less of a toll on my body. So here I am. Still in physical therapy. Drawing custom graphic designs. Wrapping my designs and prints of my art around unscented mantra candles and lighters. Building bouquets. Slowly moving through custom mask orders.
I have regained use of my hand. Working on strength and dexterity, I still have a lot of flare ups and bad days. There is still a lot of healing needed in my body and in my mind. But there are days I can clean or play with my daughter or cook a meal or make something I love.
I'm always dreaming of ways to combine embroidery with all these new mediums someday in my future. I am becoming more aware of my body and my pain and my hunger and my exhaustion that I often forget about as I go deeper into my creative process. I was unconsciously sacrificing my well being for my craft. I didn't realize I could do both. I have resented the rest that has been required of me. The requirement of stillness.
Business had been covering my life long mental health issues. I am learning that rest and breaks are crucial. Life giving and opening doors to lots of mental healing. I would love to invite you to check in with your body. To stretch before, during, or/and after you make something. To move your sewing machine higher so you don't crane your neck as you look down at what you are making. Take breaks. Set alarms for breaks if you have to. Be kind to your body. You're worth it. And I'm beginning to see I am too.