On the floor of my bedroom, for the last month or so, there has been a pink unicorn neck pillow with its stuffing coming out. I kick it out of the way every once in a while when I need to get in a drawer, or I pick it up and then put it back on the floor when I can’t find a better surface to pile it on. I’ve been meaning to fix it, but, you know … I move it around ceremonially instead. It sheds little blobs of white polyester stuffing that I occasionally find stuck to my pajamas or wedged in my shoe. It is there so I remember to sew it up, and it’s there to remind me I haven’t sewn it up yet.
Ever have one of those? That niggling little thing that sits there and bugs you when you notice it, but mostly you just move it around and make a mental note to put it on the long, long “one of these freaking days” to-do list?
MAN, those suck.
I was having a day yesterday when almost every single thing in my mental load was of the cement-truck-sized variety. The kids went back to school. They went to an after-school-care program for the first time since the big one was a toddler. I met with one of our financial helpers to talk about the money I am making … and not making. The fridge isn’t working right. I needed to spend time on the book I am writing and send out an invoice for something else, but I needed to be there for my hubby and myself and my friends and also worry about the kiddos and their mental health, and diet, and success in school, and friend group, and screen time. I needed to get groceries. I needed to do my taxes.
Every single damn thing was overwhelming and ridiculous and fraught with emotional and financial peril. And I took care of a whole lot of them (maybe not the taxes), but at the end of the day, all I could think about was all the shit that still hadn’t gotten done. The boulder that hadn’t been moved yet. The clothes that didn’t get folded.
At 11pm, I sat down in bed and stared into space for sec, and I noticed the little pink shedding unicorn. The head was ripped off in a way that made it look like its throat had been cut. It was dying—bleeding out right there on the floor. I sighed, then got up, dug out my makeshift sewing kit (that I bought at the grocery store, and, thank god, had pink thread), and started to sew the thing back together. It was a Frankenstein job to be sure—almost literally in this case, since I was sewing its flopping head to its neck—but I pulled the stiches tight, and it looked reasonably reassembled. And I relaxed for a minute. And I felt a little wiggly moment of joy.
I am not a seamstress, to be sure. I am not an expert at piecing together the pretty little edges and knowing what stitch is the best. But, I reached in the drawer, fished out the tools I had, and I fixed that mother f’er. It wasn’t perfect, but it was DONE.
I am a creative human, trying to balance my sweetie, my family, my work, and myself, and, like most people, I often deal with cement-truck sized things to worry about. And, like most people, I feel confident that if I only had the time, I could sew up everything just perfectly. I wouldn’t be leaving my little blobs of stuffing around to stick to someone’s pajamas or shoes. I wouldn’t look like I was bleeding out on the bedroom floor. I’d have my head much more firmly secured.
But sometimes, just putting a thing together with sloppy stitches and pink thread from the grocery store is okay. In fact, it’s great. Sew that thing up using whatever you got, and then take a minute to appreciate your handiwork. Breathe, relax, and feel the joy.
I am here to tell you, at 11pm, I fixed the hell outta that unicorn.
And I feel better … in more ways than one.
Hi. I'm Amanda Dobbs.