A lot of my childhood and some of my adulthood was spent with my eyes to the ground, looking for something I dropped. An amethyst crystal that was attached to a keyring, a bracelet made of frayed rope that was on my wrist, the pendant around my neck that wore through the pewter and has broken every chain I’ve ever strung it on. I am hard on the things that I own. I break things. I lose things. They slip past me, through my pockets, away onto the sidewalk. And my OCD made each lost thing into a trial. A new knot of anxiety tied in my gut and tightened like a string of prayer beads. The world is scattered with lost totems of mine, lost bits of myself, pieces of my peace, the things I kept to keep myself calm.
I spend time with my sewing needles. The same compulsiveness that leads me to wander in the same paths over and over to find the paper crane my friend made me in eleventh grade that I took to New York and promptly lost leads me to work tirelessly on art projects.
I sew until my fingertips go numb from yanking the needle through layers of denim, or leather, or patches on jackets. I sew for so long and so hard that my thumb and index finger curved my steel needle, thick, with a big eye so that I can see to thread it.
I guess sewing needles aren’t super special things, but I’ve lost and found this one in the couch half a dozen times, found it in the beige carpet half a dozen more. You know that scene in Full Metal Jacket where they talk about their rifle… there are many like it, but this one is mine? This needle was my rifle, as battle-scarred and beaten down as I am. Not pretty or delicate, but functional, nicked and gouged and mine. And gone.
Slowly but surely I’ll ruin a new needle. But I won’t stop looking for this one.