Friday, January 05, 2007

Making a Case for


I know. Sounds strange doesn't it with everyone going into rehab these days? But sometimes addiction can be something positive. Like stitching. For me it's an addiction. I think about it 24 hours a day. Yesterday when I was scrubbing the bathtub(if you're family and reading this, yes I do occaisionally scrub the tub--even used the Magic Eraser--greatest thing ever)and thinking to myself, "When I finish this I'm going to stitch if only for a few minutes". Then I finished and stitched, got up again; if I finish cleaning out this drawer, I'll stitch for an hour while watching Veronica Mars. Never ending cycle.

I bring it up now because on Christmas Day I made a last minute trip home to Memphis, I squeezed in a few hours to visit my mom who lives 2 hours outside of town. My brother drove me there. I was able to see my mom and probably the very first cross stitch addict that crossed my path, our neighbor Doralyn, who is once again my mom's neighbor. She stitched models for the LNS back in the 80s. I have never known her not to have several projects going, cross stitch, quilting, crocheting. She does it all and her work is amazing. I mention this now because when we were leaving my mom bought my brother some Copenhagen, yes, he's addicted to dip, snuff whatever you want to call it. A few years ago when they visited us down here for Christmas she bought him like $50 worth of the stuff and explained to me since she's a smoker she understands addiction, well my question is, "Where is my $50 for DMC?" Cross stitch for me is an addiction. I need my fix. I truly need it or I would be looking for some blow to snort. It's that basic for me. The few times I haven't stitched have been very dark times in my life. When I don't feel the urge to pick up a needle something serious is going on. Why is my addiction poo-pooed and everyone else's much more serious?

Like a junkie passes out dreaming of their next hit, I go to sleep dreaming of my next project, the next time I get to sit and stitch. My next hit if you will. I remember when I mentioned to my mother, "Hey, where's my $$$ for my stitching addiction?" She pointed out that an addiction to a drug like tobacco was more severe that if you don't get it, you feel like you will die. I tried to explain to her I feel the same way about my cross stitch addiction. If I can't stitch I'll die.

I know in this world when there are a lot of more important things to focus on than a silly addiction to needlework, it doesn't make a lot of sense, but for me it's truly what keeps me sane. You see when the world closes in, things are tough, I can pull out a project and lose myself in it. I can put all my energy in making those little Xs on the fabric. I can see the picture form before my eyes. I can see myself somewhere else, in Hawk Run Hollow, I can take a vacation from reality, isn't that what drugs do? Take you some place else? Cross stitch is my drug, plain and simple. Please understand I'm not making light of someone with a drug problem, not at all, I'm just saying that some addictions can be positive. Well, except for the effect it has on my behind. I'd rather stitch than exercise, maybe that's the negative side of this particular addiction.

I do fall asleep dreaming of projects, those started and those I haven't even purchased yet. I see them finished and on my walls, I see myself stitching, finishing those projects, feeling that high. And let me tell ya, finishing a project is a pretty fine high if you ask me.

I don't think non-needleworkers get it. I don't think they understand the feelings stitchers get from the needle and thread. Does my stitching life take over? Sometimes. Yes it does. Sometimes I can see where this can be a problem, like not wanting to go to a movie with the family when I could stay home and stitch. That's probably not healthy. I've learned to bring balance into my stitching life. I can let it go, sometimes, for a short period of time. I'm not saying that while I'm at the movie I'm not thinking to myself, if I were at home I could be making so much progress on such and such project. Of course I am. But I've put the hoop down and stepped away for a little while. You see I could easily stitch 10 hours a day and not think anything was wrong with that. I'm going to admit a terrible secret here, I live three miles from the beach and sometimes I don't want to go to the beach because I could be home stitching. Ok, that's just wrong. So I'm trying to put my stitching into some kind of perspective. I should go to the beach on pretty days. My argument this year for not going to the beach when I wanted to stitch was "I'm protecting my skin". Made sense at the time. Are you beginning to see just how serious my addiction is to needle, thread, the hoop? We're talking big time serious.

But I'm ok with that. I love this part of my life. It pretty much defines me these days. There are worse things than being called a "stitcher". Yep, I'm one of those people.

And I really, really like doing it* in public.

*stitching.....what did you think I meant?


Anna van Schurman said...

I've feigned a headache so I can stay home from the movies and stitch. Don't tell the dude.

Anonymous said...

I'm an addict also. I just love how creative stitching makes me feel. Thanks for your post, you've made me feel less guilty :-)

Eclecticmk - Margie said...

I hear you sister! Hello my name is Margie and I'm addicted to stitching....

Joanie said...

Hi, my name is Joanie, and I am addicted to all things cross stitch...I related to your post, yes, I am an addict too.

Stitching fills a need to be creative, to work with color and's been a constant in my life for the last 25 years. It's given me pleasure during the good times, consoled me during the darkest times of my life.
Like you, I would die if I couldn't stitch.

Anonymous said...

That's right! All of us not going through a 12-step program deserve our "Hi Melissa" too! Here's to a healthy addiction!

Chelle said...

Great post, Melissa! Oops, gotta go...the needle is calling my name. ;o)

mary ann said...

We just get our endorphin rush in a different way, visually not via a 'narcotic' introduced into the blood stream. Come to think about it, we could be lumped in with the gamblers ... but you won't see me in rehab because I come thru my 'arts & crafts' cravings naturally. I inherited it!

I looking forward to you starting Village of HRH.
I am working on my second block.
Keep on Stitchin
Mary Ann

Jacque said...

Seriously, I'm on the lookout for one of those miner-hats with the light that will shine. If we do go to the movies, it shouldn't be an issue any longer. Addicted...who me?

Meari said...

I sit at work sometimes and think to myself "I could be at home stitching on..." So, I'm with ya! I'm a stitching and stashing addict. Do we need a 12-step program?