A few weeks ago, I turned 42. I'm truly in the middle. These 42 years of living have taught me many things. Unfortunately, so many of the lessons I have learned are the result of mistakes and wrong turns. Sometimes, I struggle with the scars of regret and when I reflect back on my life, those scars are the only thing I see. I don't see sparkly eyes staring back. I see the wrinkles, stretch marks, and hairy warts of poor choices.
But I have hope. I have art. And through art, I can mend so many things.
Many years ago, something sad happened in my life. I had a miscarriage. The grief I experienced was like nothing I knew. The darkness was like a riptide pulling at my heels while I struggled to stay afloat. But I knew I must stay afloat and I did. I was lucky to have the love and prayers of my family. And lucky to have embroidery. Yes, embroidery helped bring me back to shore. Every day I snuggled up in a cozy chair with my dog and stitched. I stitched quaint tea towels, a denim jacket, and an enormous poem on a quilt. And with each stitch, I felt better.
And so I kept moving my hands. Stitching more, painting more, cutting more, and pasting more. And I realized... these acts of art are healing me. Art was bringing me back.
As I wallowed in my birthday-induced regrets earlier this month, I knew what I needed to do. I got to work in my studio. I threw myself into some new projects and got my hands moving. As I created this collage, a phrase stuck itself into my brain. Woman, Mend Thyself! In other words, quit moping around in the regrets of what you didn't do ... do it now! Fix it now! Take the rest of your life and fight for your dreams! Work hard. Take yourself seriously. And just stitch up your battle scars as you go.
Patchwork is more interesting than perfect anyway.