Over the Easter break, and due to our current lockdown situation, I decided to do some mending. I’ve been working in a stressful situation since lockdown began, so I desperately needed to take some time out and get my mind off work, and the situation the world is in.
I had bought a cardigan a couple of months ago from an op shop that had quite a few holes in it. I know, seems strange to buy something like this, but I just kind of fell in love with this old thing, and I knew it was just going to end up in landfill if I didn’t intervene.
So, I brought it home, and have tried wearing it and just being OK with the holes, but it wasn’t really my thing, so I decided this weekend to patch it.
I’m definitely not a knitter. But it was the only way I could see to patch up this garment. So first I knitted two elbow patches, this worked well. Took me all day – and any knitter reading this will probably laugh, as really, they are quite small. It would have been nice to shape them into ovals, but all I could do was a rectangle.
Then I needed to patch the pockets but had to use bits of wool I had, so I made two large striped patches for these.
Anyway, the whole time knitting, I got to thinking about mending. How often we need mending and what we do to patch things up. When I first decided to patch the cardigan, I thought about purchasing wool that was the exact same colour, so the patches would not be noticeable. I actually went into a wool shop and was going to bring the cardigan in with me, however the shutdown started, so I decided to use what I had left over from a couple of plain scarfs and some Peggy-squares I’d made into a cushion.
But like I mentioned, over this time sitting at the window and mending this cardigan, I started to think about all the mending that needs done in my own life. When things are difficult, I often hide it, or cover it up so no one can notice how I’m feeling. And now, staring at these coloured patches on my cardigan I wondered what would happen if we allowed ourselves to be patched, and we allowed our broken parts to be seen.
How many times have you hidden what is broken, thinking that if people see you in this state you are somehow lesser, or weaker?
I know from experience, that certain things that happen in life never go away. There is no ‘getting over it’. No way to fix it. It stays with you. So, what I do is try to live with it, and maybe when I’m out and about, at work or social events, I cover it up. Hide certain parts that I don’t want people to see. Thinking if they see damage, they won’t think of me in the same way.
At the moment, with the world in turmoil, my moods have certainly been up and down. At times I spend time on creative projects, but I am also spending a lot of time lying on my bed and thinking about the world, and people’s lives. Some old hurts are also surfacing. Fears, and worries take over pretty quickly if I’m not careful. I mean, things are difficult right now, there is no easy way out of this.
So, in this time, can I mend? Can I be brave enough to turn towards some parts of myself and see that they need a patch. And yes, it might be a big bright one, noticeable, but in the long run, more durable, sustainable.
I don’t know how to actually go about mending. Maybe the first thing is to be honest. If you struggle with mental health, talk about it, on a level that is every day. I think that I want to be braver in this way, I want to include all of myself rather than pretend I’m able to do everything or feel a certain way. Some things will never go away, but instead of hiding them maybe it is possible to make those broken bits visible, and in time OK.
Below is a small list of quotes I found online from artists and writers that obviously know who they are, fully, and are not afraid to show their broken bits in their creative outlet.
Catch you next week. xx