This week, I’ve been meeting with bloggers nearly every day. It’s one of the really fun aspects of what I do: I get to have coffee with interesting people, get to know them, and give them things I’ve made. Yesterday, I had the privilege of sitting down with Stephanie from www.allaboutami.com to talk about yarn. I got to get a glimpse into the life of a blogger, learning about the care and attention that goes into preparing every post. She really is incredible, and if you’re at all into making things with yarn, her blog is a treasure trove!
In our conversation, I mentioned that I feel like this business with wool is a calling on my life. But it felt so weird for me to say that something so frivolous as fashion and crafting is a life calling. Yet, there it was, this deep soul conviction, spat out on the coffee table between us. She said she felt the same, and the conversation drifted on.
Later that evening, I opened Facebook to find news of Trump’s supporters wishing they could take away women’s rights to vote, because apparently he would be elected if only men could vote. That, to me, was the last straw in this whole debacle of an election. I don’t care whether you like either candidate; taking away anyone’s constitutional rights is never okay, no matter why you think it’s a good idea. I shut down the Facebook app on my phone, and didn’t log in for the rest of the day.
But as I sat spinning yarn late into the night, I realized that maybe there is something to this whole “calling on my life” thing, and I have Donald Trump’s reality star bizarro world to thank for my newfound clarity. In a world so bitter and teetering so precariously toward dystopia that a man like Trump can make a legitimate run for the presidency, it is desperately important for thoughtful people to make beautiful things.
I’ve heard that Estee Lauder excelled during the depression, and that sales of red lipstick are never higher than during economic hard times, and I’d always just figured maybe it’s human nature to try to show a brave face to the rest of the world, even when you’re starving and miserable. But I don’t think that’s the case. I think women buy red lipstick during hard times because they need to create beauty in the midst of the darkness, chaos, sadness, trepidation. And sometimes, the only thing you can make beautiful is yourself.
There is so much darkness in the world right now, and it’s easy to be overwhelmed by it. It’s easy to let the words, attitudes and actions of politicians, reality TV stars and strangers on the street creep into your heart and steal your light. It takes real, genuine effort to hold onto your light. You have to give it fuel constantly, just like you have to fuel a fire. But it is so worth it to do so. Because that light is the only antidote to darkness. Because as you produce and create beauty, it spreads to others around you, like frost creeping across a pane of glass.
So, my maker friends, be proud of who you are, and what you do. I’m sure proud to know you, and to be one of you. Share your work, your passion, your light with those in your circle, and expand your circle to include others. We are changing the world, whether it seems consequential or not. And, to borrow a phrase often repeated by Mr. Trump himself, “it’s a beautiful thing.”