Creatively Navigating Uncertainty
Growing-up, our house was a place where creativity happened. My grandmother was a master craft’s woman. I wrote a lot about her in The Tao of Storytelling. She taught me a great deal about creativity. Knitting and sewing were her thing and she was pretty phenomenal. She could make clothes without even having a pattern to follow and she’d remodel a garment into a a completely different outfit.
When I was twelve Granny passed away and her old singer sewing machine sat unused in our house for years. When I was fourteen we lost my Mum as well and at the time my youngest brother was only a year old. I had a your out of school taking care of him. We lived in the country (middle of nowhere as we often called it). My friends were over an hour away in the boarding school that I’d attended the previous year.
I struggled in that year at home and even developed an eating disorder. Day-after-day I’d obsess about calories and quantities with the goal to minimize both. I was constantly weak and tired. Looking back now I can see how having a controlling relationship with food gave me the illusion of control over my life. But I was getting thinner and more unhealthy as the months wore on.
However, one day something happened that changed everything. Occasionally I’d go out dancing when my sister returned from boarding school on a weekend. One of these opportunities was coming-up and I had nothing new to wear. I felt like Cinderella and then the fairy godmother arrived. She appeared in the form of the creative muse. As I walked past the room with my grandmother’s sewing machine, I had a thought. “Why don’t you make something to wear?” The idea had energy behind it and I was inspired.
But I had no fabric and no pattern. Well I’d watched granny improvise when she’d run out of fabric or didn’t have a pattern. I could do the same.
So I searched the house for remnants of fabric or garments that were screaming to be remodelled. It didn’t take much fabric to cover a skinny sixteen year old. Before long I’d collected all sorts of materials. I began making self-designed dresses and skirts and wearing them too.
Immersed in my creative projects the drive to control food lessened it’s grip on me. My weight stabilised and I was happier.
Eventually that year at home came to an end and I went back to school. However, I always remember that creativity has been a source of healing for me. Now, I love fabrics and design and I feel at home in a brightly coloured haberdashery store.
I also love writing – it’s always been a passion. So when those uncertainty thoughts arise I often find solace in writing or making something for no reason at all. I become absorbed in the task and get lost in a world of lovingly birthing something new.