Homemade Kindness

I enjoy making things. After breast cancer five years ago, I took up quilting. Cutting fabric into small pieces and putting them together in a new form was an apt metaphor for an attempt at living a new life post mastectomy. I remain an avid quilter to this day, deeply so. I am creative and precise. Many finished works hang on the walls of our home like the art I see them to be. I am working on two projects right now. The projects are complex and, therefore pleasing to both my eye and my hands. Quilting is a devotion of time; countless hours to design, plan, choose, cut, piece together, and ultimate quilt into its final form, so I like to like what I’m working on. This is all precursor babbling because I am anxious about the mental place I am in right now; about what I am doing with these two quilts being coaxed into being.

I am giving them away. And why is that so radical? Because these are gifts for people I do not know well in the gift-giving sense. I am probably breaking social norms by throwing a gift into the scenario, let alone a homemade one. I have only done this once and, Mary, if you are out there, let me say again what a blessing you are and I am going to talk about you right now. Mary is someone way more important in the world than I am. We would never have crossed paths except that I wrote a dog story which got picked up on The Dodo and she saw it and responded to me. Personally. And has kept on doing so to this day; always words of support and affirmation. Post cancer life was so darkly hard at that time and her unexpected kindnesses struck me deeply. I just had to put my appreciation on the outside of myself, so I made a felted blanket using the last of the alpaca fiber I had carried with me to Florida from our life in California and sent it to her. What a dork, but also one of the most authentic things I have ever done.

I know this is a form of kindness. How can it not be? Making something with such love and intention, holding such warm thoughts of the person in my heart while I work. But then there is the gifting of it and that feels so damn risky. I am filled with self-doubt about how it will be seen, how it will be accepted. I am such a dork! I don’t want to stick out, I want to fit in! Aaaagh! The anguish!

I’m going to do it anyway; make these two quilts and give them away. I hope the spirit with which they are made and given shines through enough to be seen. I hope I don’t hear about it if it does not. I am not so strong that I can handle that.

Day 8

Writing about what sings to me from a life made full with animals.

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