Just by coincidence, it was packed away less than two weeks after I was finally diagnosed correctly with the TBI and Multiple Concussion Syndrome.
All of my belongings were hurriedly packed because my mother had had a slight stroke and I needed to go help her in Florida for a month, and I had completely run out of money for rent so I needed to move out of my apartment anyway.
Friends had me packed up and moved into a storage locker in under four days. That was the beginning of my “transient” year – a nice word for homeless.
As I sorted through the saturated colors of cotton, it was like I was sorting through memories and feelings that had been tucked away in the folds of material back when it was packed up.
I essentially lost seven years of my life. Starting with a bad accident in February of 2002, I did not get the care I needed until I was correctly diagnosed almost seven years (and multiple concussions) later. (I wrote about my TBI here.)
During those years I collected fabric. I called myself a quilt artist but have only three pieces (all unfinished) to show for that whole seven years. I couldn’t make anything. Planning, organizing, spacial relationships, and sequencing were all damaged but I did not know that then. I just was embarrassed and extremely disappointed with myself. It was a dark time.
Unpacking the fabric, I also unpacked all those emotions from that time period. Just such a feeling of being lost, confused, barely hanging on . . . but mainly Lost!!
As I sorted the fabric, I was able to hold those emotions in the light of now and look at the distance I have come. There is a feeling of mourning for the loss of seven years; all the wishing it could have been different. But as I placed the fabric neatly, sorted by color into the drawers tonight, I was placing the fabric into my NOW. It has taken me a year and a half of living in this apartment to get to the point where I am organized enough that I have room for my fabric, and more importantly, room in my life to begin to sew.
Now since I understand the brain injuries I am much quicker to identify problem areas and where I need help. For instance, I realize that though I understand how the color wheel works and can use it, I do not understand how to apply it to fabric, sewing, and quiltart. Seems like it should be a straightforward leap from the color wheel to the fabric but my brain cells are not doing it! I am equally overwhelmed by the thought of – now what? So I have my fabric out, now what am I going to do with it?
But here is the big difference between the then and now; Now I am not lost. I know that I have brain holes and that I can strategically work around them. I can identify the problem areas and figure out what I can do about it. In this case, I am going to invite a quilter friend or two over to tea and we will play with my pretty fabric, using the color wheel until it makes sense.
- Dancer drawing is by Henrik Moses and is used with permission. To see more of Henrik’s amazing work go to: http://www.artility.nl/ Thank you again, Henrik.