Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Sewing (02/22/07)
I was so angry! My teeth ground against each other as though trying to chew on my frustration rather than the pulverized straw that had ceased to fulfill it's purpose. I had abandoned the empty soda cup a long time ago and the 12” straw was reduced to half it's size. A river of heat coursed through my veins as though my heart was submerged in a hot tub, bubbling in resentment and criticism. Other than a faint trembling, I was sitting perfectly still as I held the piece of material in my hand. Even though it was durable silk, it felt more like it had been woven with fragile butterfly wings, which I was about to destroy! The instructions were to sew with overlapping stitches in a feather pattern. I looked at the needle between my fingers as though it was a barbaric tool meant to pierce the toughness of a cured rabbit hide. No! Make that a buffalo skin! The fabric square in front of me might as well have been skinned off the back of a six foot beast! A lump filled my throat. What I was expected to do seemed totally impossible!
I took a deep breath but it rose in levels like an elevator giving a jump at each floor. My heart was pounding within the doors “Let me out! Get me away from this madness!” Tears started to burn my eyes and I blinked hard, refusing to give in to any kind of theatric display of emotion. Well—rage yes, feelings of inadequacy, no! It was easier to hold my breath. Maybe if I held it long enough I would pass out and everyone would agree that this was beyond my ability.
Why did she say she had all confidence that I could do this? How dare her put me in this situation! I stated at the very beginning “I can't do this!” Did she listen to me? No. with that sweet smile she shuffled my way and with eyes that could cocoon an entire galaxy of love and goodwill she blinked as though it was meant to be a waterfall of encouragement cascading over me.
“You can do this, I know you can.” Her voice wasn't angelic but neither was it coated with sugar. In all truth it would have been easier if she had just yelled at me. I didn't want to listen to her; I wanted to listen to my own heated debate. I looked at the pattern again. All I had to do was use an overlapping stitch in little featherlike movements. Feather? Ha! Pluck those feathers one by one! My breathing started to catch again as I turned that piece of cloth into the naked skin of a plucked chicken! That's how I felt, exposed and humiliated!
She gently took the cloth from me. “Let me show you.” The perpetual smile was like water on a fire. Even though I wanted to crackle and sizzle I accepted the splash of compassion and the smoke from my own smoldering anger cleared as I watched her fingers do the delicate sewing. It wasn't so hard after all. Had she believed in me because she knew I was making it harder than it was, or because she trusted her own ability to ease distress? Either way, I spit out the straw as my lips curled around the word “thank you”. As soon as I said it, I knew I was okay.
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