I am lying in our cozy king sized bed healing. Knitting with my ball of Merlin’s hair, wearing my little yellow sweater, sitting on the orange sleeping bag I just fixed, leaning against the pillow with the forest pattern on it which has become my favorite pillow although it was the cheapest pillow I have ever purchased. I am reading Craft of Use by Kate Fletcher and I came across this section that really made me think.
Chapter 3 page 104, “…these stories encapsulate processes of change that take place not just to garments as they are worn, but also to us, their users, as we wear them, as we grow, laugh, learn in and because of them.” (K Fletcher, 2013)And I can’t help but reflect on my little yellow sweater I finished knitting when I first started seeing Gregory and the Ernestly sewn jeans Tim bought me over 15 years ago.
I think about sewing underwear and how, in order to get the gusset to be in perfect alignment, I trim it while slightly stretched on my lap but in order to do this I must be wearing pants so that the fabric grabs ever so slightly. I can’t do it in a dress or a skirt. I think about how the different clothing I wear enables me to move differently and how I must wear skinny jeans when I ride my bike lest my pant leg get caught and ripped right off, again. I think about how much better I sleep when I am sleeping on the king sized cotton mattress I share with Gregory than I do when I sleep on the stiff, small bed of my parents basement suite. Though I do long for the absolutely absurdly massive down duvet I have sitting on the basement suite bed. My last two boyfriends have been horrified by its scale and refuse to have in bed with us at night (the one that was donated to me to repurpose. I am grateful I fixed up and kept). I think about the linen duvet cover I sewed for us when our last one began to wear out, getting our arms and legs tangled in its many holes during the night. I think about my annoyance at the hole in the sleeping orange sleeping bag and my urgency to repair it this morning and how it puckers around my thread line since I had to do a little plastic surgery to it to make the two halves whole again.
How have all these things changed me, how have they not? Am I a product of the items that surround me or are they of me? It insists that we consider carefully what we are willing to bring into our lives, as I said in my 2013 TEDx talk. But not for the reason I said it alone, not to consider the environment and how much we buy. But instead to consider how the things we surround ourselves with actually direct the paths our lives take.
And then I begin to think about the mahogany furniture my mom bought before I was born and how she always insisted that buying good furniture is what wealthy people do so they don’t have to keep buying furniture again and again and that one day I would inherit the furniture so that I would not have to keep buying new furniture. Does it even fit my aesthetic? It’s doubtful but it wasn’t until this moment I even considered that. But one thing I have considered is how the lesson of investing in better was something that always made sense to me. It was a lesson I have carried around my whole life.
So how do our things change us? How does our clothing make us the people we are to become? “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have” but even more concerningly dress for the direction in which you want to grow. I have never felt so much pressure on my constant clothing creation. Now I will have to think twice, three times about what I am willing to make because not only is it the embodiment of me but it will become the fertilizer that feeds my future.