i can not tell you right now how happy i am that i took this week off work. you know how you dont realise sometimes how stressed you are until you take the time to do nothing? that. its thursday, and im not officially back at work till tuesday, and i bought home files to work on and things to read, and i havent done any of it, and im not going to, and it feels great. what would be the point of taking time OFF from work if i did work? this is the trap of academia. to get ahead you have to do a whole lot of unpaid work and hope it pays off, and it probably wont, and all you do is end up stressed out and bitter. i’ve realised lately that my mental health is not some kind of indestructible trampoline that you can just bounce shit off eternally. at some point it weakens and will snap. last week i thought i had snapped and it was a little scary. and then i realise how resilient i really am, how many skills i’ve learned over the last 18 years, and how i just need to remember them when it counts!
it doesnt hurt that i very carefully planned a whole long weekend in sydney, and it was just what i needed. it started on saturday with brunch in surry hills with missfee and knitterjp, followed by a little trek to tessuti fabric.
i’ve never been there before, previously being immune to the sewing bug which i have witnessed creep insidiously though the knitting community, similar to that other dark art called crochet. but i am sick of paying a fortune for plus sized clothes that are usually made in crappy prints designed for old ladies, so the invitiation to attend a sewing bee at yogaknitdras on sunday proved too hard to resist. i was well enabled by my partners in crime
and after much umming and ahhing, i bought some relatively plain black and white weave cotton blend for a simple gathered skirt. just being in this amazing store made me realise how fabric stashing could become another dangerous past time. then i headed to roseredville to hang out with rosered and connor and andrew made paella for dinner, and then sunday we headed over to alisons for a little sewing bee.
al’s spare machine declined to work for me, so jane was very gracious and made most of my first skirt, but i watched what she did and cut some bits out and sewed a couple of seams, and thought maybe i could do this after all.
(dont worry the bubbles are fake!). it was a lovely day on the leafy north shore, some local wildlife came down to say hi
and there was much parroting inside about the joys of parenting and the difficulty of finding ones thread cutter. at one point some menfolk arrived and were a little taken aback by the scene caused by three sewing machines and too much sugar, but it really did make me realise how precious groups of women can be.
i had lots more in that vein over the rest of the weekend, including a great time at kris’ on sunday and monday nights watching battlestar galactica (why i have not watched this before??) and my first attempt at guitar hero.
apparently i am no richie sambora. then monday we repaired to the pub, as you do, for knitting and lunch and cider
another fantastic afternoon with so many of my favourite people. i didnt even have to talk, i just sat in my little chair and knitted my little shawl and ate hot chocolate mousse and realised yet again how perfectly lucky i am.
tuesday morning i was determined to buy myself a sewing machine. i fortified myself with coffee at double roasters first,
and then headed to ikea where i heard they were selling machines for about $70 but they were all out. so i bought some fabric instead.
never fear, i drove home via the craplight of doom and managed to pick up a basic Elna model for $160.
it doesnt do a lot of fancy stuff, but i didnt want to overcapitalise early in my sewing career, especially if there is no guarantee me and sewing even mix. the last time i did any was in year 10 textiles and design class, and i couldnt sew in a straight line to save myself. i did some practice on an old pillow case before i started anything serious
i still have issues with straight lines, obviously. but i forged ahead anyway and made my first skirt.
its a kind of a hyrbid gathered/a line, i want to make a proper a line but need a better set of tools i think. otherwise im thinking about a simple wrap around. i can see this getting very addictive.
so it was a really great, creative and productive weekend. the best thing was being back in the city. it made me realise how deciding to leave wollongong is absolutely the right decision. its not one i make lightly, and on tuesday night there was the (rather impromptu) and difficult conversation about leaving the dogs with the ex. i feel sad and guilty and selfish, but i know they are loved and well looked after, and who says their life has to stay the same forever anyway? and ultimately, if i dont look after myself, no one else will. there are so many things about city life i miss, and mostly its the people, just having people around. not even people i know, just other life forms, the sounds and smells of people getting on with life, random people in the street who sometimes smile, who are also annoying and rude and completely crazy. just like me! i miss that sense of busyness, that casual connection that living in close proximity gives to other humans.
this weekend made me realise that starting a new phase in my life doesnt have to be scary or stressful, it can be exciting and fun, could bring all sorts of new possibilities. it reminded me that memories can be a source of joy instead of sorrow. it made me realise i am strong and brave enough to be independent (not co-dependent), that i do know how to be happy, that its ok to be happy. and it reinforced yet again how important it is to be close to my wonderful friends, who make me laugh and smile and sometimes even cry, whose simple words of advice help me see things entirely differently, who are just there, always present and close.
i feel very blessed.