A Ginger Ale Guelph

Image of a can of the Ginger Ale that kept Laura company that Christmas.

One year, Mom and I drove down to Guelph for Christmas. My second eldest sister, Diana, was a mother-hen of sorts at her university residence and had managed to have a suite and access to the empty buildings over the holidays. That year, many people visited to celebrate. Being the youngest, I had very little in common with the others. And after attempts at inclusion, I chose to exclude myself. I nabbed all the “Champagne of Ginger Ales,” found a common area with a couch and television (which displayed endless channels of white noise) and proceeded to do what I enjoyed.

On road trips, I always pack scissors, needles, and thread.  I’m glad I did this time! In solitude, I hand-sewed a pocketbook from an upholstery sample and installed a lovely pink silk peau de soi lining. It was a quiet and peaceful yet incredibly dull time, but I tried to make the best of it.

From time to time, an adult would encounter my clutter of empty cans and ask, “What are you up to?” I would lift up my project. Being so much in my head and not practicing my language, I couldn’t explain to this intruder what I was doing or why. I didn’t feel very smart around these academics and arrogants. I recall the first time someone questioned my thing. This person, let’s call them a Ghost saying, “Why are you wasting your time doing this?” That question made me angry and sad. Here I am, alone, out of the way and not hurting anyone or anything yet, what I was doing wasn’t good enough. I was wasting my time as though it was valuable to them.

As an adult, I now know that when they saw me, all they could think of was themselves. They could never think they could do what I was doing. They might have thought, “I have too many people to chat up, listen to my theories of blah-blah, and drink with!” I wish I had known that perspective then. All I could think was, this is me, and few people understand.

Since then, I’ve wanted to get so good at sewing that I would show them. Show them all who questioned my abilities and the crafts I’ve mastered [insert maniacal laugh here]. And, for the effervescence of my skills, popping their unattainable, unclear, and condescending expectations would be comforting. But honestly, that is not why I do it. I do it because it is my nature. I am gingerly plodding, designing, writing, sharing, including, and really enjoying doing. That’s what I do.

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