Sunday, April 20, 2008

On things that can be taken away

So a friend over at LiveJournal told her story today. You won't get the rest of this unless you go read it, along with the comments. Go on, come back.

Good. It was this quote that prompted this

I've seen and been through a lot of things that changed me. I learned, over and over again, that the world is not a safe place. That in the US we take very much for granted our liberty, our food, our clean water, our access to health services.

These things are fragile. And like that, can be taken away.

There are a lot of ways that you can learn that the world is very fragile. All at once, over a period of a few days. Or gradually, one small incident at a time.

I had the kind of step-monster who didn't like anyone doing anything he couldn't do. This included most hobbies and learning anything from written material. Before she died my Grandmother taught me the basics of knitting, baking, sewing, and embroidery. The very basics, I was all of 8 when she died. But I enjoyed the work and wanted to learn to do those things as well as she did. Mother has little if any skill in them, so I picked up books and started teaching myself.

The step-monster was not amused. You would be amazed at how many ways one can "accidentally" destroy and/or lose a craft project. Or how quickly someone can stir up an argument if they want you to stop doing something and focus on them. Or how fragile antiques could be.

I quickly learned that the one thing he couldn't take away, damage, or destroy was what was inside my head. That was the one gift from my Grandmother he couldn't wreck, the skills she had taught me, including how to read. So I practiced my skills on small projects that I was never very attached to.

Times have changed. Now I knit everything from socks to lace, sew all my own clothes, do expert level embroidery if I get a mind to, and have already taken one ribbon for my baking. And I always remember my Grandmother's hands when I work.

They can take things, but not what is in your head. Or your heart.


Granted that just made me remember how much times change as well. I have very curly hair, and have always loved to wear it long. He and his father used to tease me, at least I think they were teasing me, by sneaking up behind me with scissors. I quickly learned how to make a bun. By the time I married, after being on my own for a number of years, and after Mother being divorced for two, I was finally wearing a braid I could still flip over my shoulder at a moments notice to protect it. I've been wearing it down more and more since we moved to Oregon. Last week I finally decided to make down my default hairstyle.

Things are fragile. But sometimes, with the people you love, things are also safe.

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