Thursday, March 04, 2021

Very Small

After my cathartic release yesterday, I felt better, or at least I was determined to feel better, which is something. Then more things came up. It turns out the State didn't exactly drop me, they just lost me in the lockdown shuffle, and since I tracked down the D.A., and got brought up to speed, I learned that a restitution hearing is still on the table. That's all about the criminal case, but it bears on the civil case. AND... I couldn't cry any more, so I went upstairs, did a Wednesday cardio, in the rain (it blows in on the balcony!) And then I picked up my sewing box and escaped into very small stitches and single strands of floss. Would anyone like to see some very small stitches? Please?
I began in my sketch book, looking for inspiration. Then I made a very small sketch on cloth. I am using the same cloth with the rings, and after I have filled in as many pieces as fit, I will cut each of them out for framing, or finishing as part of larger projects. (I only mention this because it's uncharacteristically diligent of me.) Anyway, look! A ratty-rat!
And. Yeah, the rest of this post is all about me tucked up in my room, with curtains open, listening to the rain and Edwardian Farm, while I make hundreds of tiny stitches turn into rats, an owl, a bat, and a hen.
Sometimes, even very small things can do a lot. I hope you are finding something, to make the days better, to remind you of your power.

Tuesday, March 02, 2021


"No te olivdes nunca, que eres poderosa," Natalia Lafourcade. I started stitching this line from Mexicana Hermosa, on my handkerchief, the one with blue flowers, vines and leaves, then I made a terrible snag, tangling the floss and pulling up a thread of the cloth. I had all of the dread convictions and conclusions, about this complication, in the periphery of my thoughts, but if I have learned anything in sewing, and life, it is... go slow, even stop if you can, and come back to it later. Fires have to be put out immediately, but tangles, can wait. Many problems, real or perceived, in an exchange of words, or between me and a needle and thread, will be easier to understand, less difficult to resolve, when I am calm, when I am not driven by those dread convictions in my head, when I am not tired, nor anxious. I put the handkerchief down. Somehow, sooner or later, I would figure out a way to fix the mess, but not now.
Then I started something new. Inspired by wreaths, and cycles, things that are round, and go around, by diatoms, and the patterns in nature. Again, not much of a plan, but taking inspiration, in the moment.
Do not ever forget, that you are powerful. I forget all the time, that I am powerful, and what it means to be powerful. I have had an aching to be powerful in justice, powerful in coming out of trauma with grace and some kind of vindication. That is not going to happen. In every moment since what happened to me on December 6, 2018, I have felt trapped, injured, scared, dissociated, helpless, like a victim, not only from the collision but by the justice system, by insurance companies, by my injuries, and slow recovery. No one outside, no one with authority or the legal means, is going to right what was wrong, or fulfill the obligations I was promised. There will be no justice, nothing fair, no balancing of the forces between right and wrong, no healing compensation. It is down to me. It always was down to me, but I fell victim, not only because of the choices of a drunk driver, but to a system that lead me to believe that by spending 27 months in bureacratic, legal, and emotional negotiations, hearings, and testimony that there would be a conclusion, an untangling, restitution. In all this time, when I might have focused my attention on therapy, on looking ahead, on coping with my new normal, I have been pulled back into the very moment of impact. They make me restate what happened, and what has happened since, over and over, again. Describe, explain it, show pictures, send a statement, give us documents, call this number, go to this office, you're subpoenaed, again, again, again, another hearing, another, another, another, then start from the beginning... What happened? And how do you feel? Are you still in pain? Send us your records. Like this, for 27 months. It will be for little to nothing. Nothing compared with my time, with the pain and suffering caused by the collision, with the pain and suffering caused by trying to do what was demanded of me, then required, then encouraged... and one by one everyone that either demanded something of me, or promised me something, has disappeared, and I am alone, and left to be over it. The State of Calfornia did not follow through, did not complete their stated committment to me. My insurance, SF, will not complete their stated committment to me. It's almost over. But it's not concluded, and I almost completely forgot what it means to be powerful.

While I was deciding how to stitch one of the rings, William came to my room. He had pictures on his phone he wanted to share with me, like this one, of our falling fence, looking down the rail, on the neighbor's side. He showed me others, including some looking through the buckle in our sidewalk, where a tree root has pushed up two slabs and you can peer through. Inside are tiny sprouts, damp earth, sunlight, the otherside. Those images were the inspiration for the last, unfinished ring. Instead of continuing filling the little circle with satin stitches, I left a broken, open space, where I can look inside and see small things are sprouting, and peer through to the otherside, and see light come in.

When I finished the rings, I picked up the handkerchief, with the tangled mess. I gently tugged at the floss, looked carefully at the threads in front and on the back. I measured my options, and salvaged what I could, even cutting floss that was too destroyed to salvage. And then I wove in new floss, wrapped up loose ends, secured them, and smoothed things out as best I could. And I finished each letter, that spells out the message, "No te olivdes nunca, que eres poderosa." It's only now dawning on me that those are good words to put on a handkerchief, a piece of cloth made to dry tears. I've been crying all morning, dealing with insurance calls, and trying to reach the D.A., and awaiting a call from my attorney, when I am supposed to resign myself to more "meaningful" negotiating, by demonstrating my "good faith." Take less than you were promised, in other words. I feel kicked, and powerless. But I won't let it end this way, even if it hurts, if I come out broken... I will come out.
"I'll tell you what freedom is to me: No fear," Nina Simone said. I think about that, and I think about what my power is, what it should be, what I will make my power be. My power will be moving forward and taking joy with me... if the joy is tangled in pain, tainted by hurts, scarred, fragile, imperfect, so be it. I will take my joy, and make more, and I will share it. I will sing aloud, figuratively, at least, and reclaim my freedom, again, and again, and again.