Some Thoughts on Laundry
I know I’ve mentioned it before, and certainly during the postpartum period when N was born, but I struggle with anxiety. I feel like this is important to put out there because there are so many of us that face this, sit with it, try to make space for it. I’ve been working for a long time to learn to make space for the anxiety and just let it be what it is, a feeling, a temporary state. Not a thing that defines who I am or a character flaw, just a passing state of being.
Some days it is easier to be with the anxiety than others. Other days all I really need is to fold the laundry. I know what you may be thinking, and no I haven’t reached some holy level of domesticity. The thing is though, that the laundry is just the laundry. When I’m in a state that can easily feel like everything is out of control, including myself, I know the laundry is always within my capabilities. Even if I feel so shaken that going to the grocery store feels overwhelming, I know I can still fold a shirt. I can hold the shirt in my hands and think of the person it belongs to, the person it shelters from the sun and other elements. I can call up fond memories of this person wearing this shirt. I can fold the laundry and pour my heart into this simple act that simultaneously eases my turmoil and cares for someone I love.
Above you do not see a shirt, but a hand-knitted shawl. It may not be immediately apparent but the laundry and the shawl are related. I’m telling you, sometimes, it’s almost the same. The knitting. The folding. The dishes. Simple, mindful acts of love that salve and soothe.
A couple of months ago I participated in Beth Berry’s group coaching program Loving yourself Back to Center. It was a wonderful experience that I think about daily. The shawl you see here is a thank you to Beth for reminding me of things that I had not forgotten in motherhood but had somehow gotten buried under the immediacy of daily life with young children. Though Beth may not mind if I came to fold her laundry, knitting is another tool I have to bring myself back to center, nurture myself, ease anxiety. The finished shawl is a gift for Beth but the knitting of it was a gift to myself.
My Ravelry notes for this shawl can be found here.