Sunday, September 1, 2013

Sewing for S.

The reason for this blog.

I never thought that I would be materialistic. But I came to the realization the other day that not only had I filled my sewing room with so much fabric as to inspire dread, but I had come to a dead end in my quest to accumulate life accomplishments. After having suffered repeated failure and loss, I recognize it is time to detach from the notion of "achievement" and begin to accept myself as I am. Welcome to my blog, in which I record the course of my efforts to simplify my life, empty my sewing room, and study Buddhist and other spiritual teachings.



Know well what leads you forward and what hold you back, and choose the path that leads to wisdom.   ~Buddha*

One of the hardest choices of my life so far came after foster-parenting a deeply disturbed teenage girl for 2 1/2 years. I wanted a child; she was childlike. Though we knew her at ages 11, 12, and 13, my husband and I came to suspect she had been affected by alcohol in utero. This blog is not about our past struggle with S., but I begin with her because it was she who led me most deeply into sewing, and because I have used the fantasy of having a sewing business and the “retail therapy” (i.e., fabric purchase) that went with it to fill the void of her absence these past 15 months.
Also, Tuesday is her birthday. I will celebrate it with her tomorrow, Labor Day, at the youth shelter in Sioux City where she is now staying.
 

Here are two garments I made for S. to kick off my "material detachment", and to take with me tomorrow. The material in the skirt was also used in a dress for her 3 years ago, back when she was a girl size 12. Now S. is a woman, 5’ 10” and probably ~155 lbs. It was her favorite dress for a while, and as a fair-skinned blonde, she looked fantastic in red. The familiar fabrics, I thought, might serve to remind her of happier times. As for the patriotic top (Butterick 5495), S. is as non-conforming as one can get, by biology rather than choice, so if she earns some favorable attention for wearing the stars and stripes, why not?


It was S. who told me I should have a “label”, and that it should be “Greta’s Sewing Room.” We shared a "passion for [her] fashion" and the joy of creation, and it was this intense sharing that I miss and now seek.

*I love that Buddha does not say, “attempt to make the wise choice.” He says take the course that will lead to wisdom. Buddha was not risk-averse.

7 comments:

  1. This is beautiful. I look forward to reading more, Greta.

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    1. Thank you, Alternamama. Do you blog too?

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  2. several times over ive typed a heartfelt essay, leave it at that (though now ill have SOMETHING on the clipboard till it accepts my acct info!)

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  3. I'm sure she loved the gifts, they are very beautiful. And that label is fantastic. I'm glad you get to keep in touch w/S. I pray she is getting the help she needs.

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    1. Thank you Zenia. S. exemplifies the type of child a friend of mine has described, in her book title, as "Easy to Love but Hard to Raise." There was so much about her to love, but the daily chaos became too much.

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    2. Heartbreaking for all involved I'm sure =(

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