Why Am I Sew Happy?

Ethics and MoralityAwesome Moments

I stood, poised at my machine, my implement, my weapon, with my foot resting gently on the peddle, laying dormant for that one moment, but still quite ready to strike.

I toyed with the idea of slamming my foot down hard, as hard as I could, gunning the engine of this sewing machine, and racing through those last few stitches at the speed of an illegal drag race. I could imagine the crazed whirring sound that the needle made as it pulsed up and down and up and down at high speed. But I refrained, pressing my foot down gently and carefully, so to avoid injuring myself (needles are very sharp, you know) as I sewed. With that slight movement, I finished the last few stitches of my beloved garment at a steady gait. It was over before I knew it.

I removed the cloth from the machine, and looked at it. This was my piece, my creation. I felt majestic, almighty, and all-powerful, albeit slightly irrational in my fervor over fabric. This garment, a corduroy vest, was not my first piece nor my finest, but something about it awakened within me an enormous sense of accomplishment. Perhaps, it was the sharply pointed collar, my first ever, perched at the neck like a bird, or maybe it was the slight dip at the back, indicative of the design I had put into the piece. Or it was the straight, tight seams, traveling all around which caused me such pride. Who knows. Who cares. There, standing in my room, surrounded by little scraps of fabric in all shapes, sizes, and colors, hunched over a sewing machine, and completely oblivious to my piece’s modest attributes, I felt like king (check that, queen) of the world.

I held it, my vest — that seemingly great achievement up in the air, and looked at it, stared at it, displayed it for all the (empty) room to see. My delight was such that it could not be contained; it spilled out of my body in little shakes of the head, twitches of the arms, and tiny shrieks. I was so proud, so crazily, irrationally proud that I literally couldn’t keep all of that feeling inside my body, let alone inside my mouth. Naturally, I couldn’t help but smile. But this smile was of its own breed. I didn’t smile one of those smiles that you force yourself into, as a form of self-recognition and congratulation. I didn’t smile one of those smiles that serves only as a pale visible reflection of the tiniest happy feeling, only for the benefit of others. No, this smile was the embodiment of happiness, so full that my cheeks immediately began to hurt with the strain of it. The movement was involuntary. I couldn’t stop smiling. I was powerless in the face of my own achievement and boundless joy. And that instance of creation, and of elation, ultimately forged in me one of the most strange and wonderful feelings. At that moment, I was both supremely powerful, and supremely powerless.

Naomi Chasek-MacFoy is a 9th grader currently attending Bard High School Early College. She enjoys reading, playing soccer and sewing. Naomi lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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