I used this quote by Gandhi in the final article I wrote for my high school magazine. High on the energy of a climate change conference where a real live orange-robe-clad swami strode in and spoke very fast with lots arm gestures, I was ferociously sure I was going to change the world. Not just my world. The world. The whole thing. You know.
Freshly medicated with mood stabilisers and a hefty 100 hours of therapy clocked in I felt better than I’d felt for a long time. However, I got sick again soon after this and spent the next seven months volunteering at a native plant nursery and teaching myself how to quilt. I knitted all the time too. It was not just moving meditation, although it was this also. It was movement because being still with how bad I was feeling was too painful. I made a huge peggy-square blanket to cover my not-quite-a-double-bed. It has now been washed so many times it has fallen apart.
I’ve tried not to think about the micro-particles from the acrylic yarn seeping into the waterways. Instead I’ve focused on the way the knit and purl of the-not-found-in-nature-colours soothed my troubled mind. How the repetition of needle-click-and-clack was comforting. How despite falling apart emotionally again, I could make things from balls of twisted fibre. Pretty much something from nothing. And how totally cool was that?
At that point in my life (over ten years ago now) the change I wanted to see, of moving garbage heaps and cleaning up oceans, did not happen. It still hasn’t. Both on a oersonal action level and globally. But I do my best to do my bit. I live low waste. I now knit with natural fibres. I use soap nuts instead of chemical-leaching-laundry-powder. I watch Attenborough on You-Tube advocate for The World and think what an awesome angry old man he is.
My world has however changed quite dramatically. That sickness at seventeen was not my last. My worst episode to date was to come when I was twenty. I almost didn’t recover from it and in some ways still feel I am putting myself back together from its after effects, even seven years on…
But now my life is good. It is the life I hoped I would be living at seventeen when sickness hit. It is the dream-of-a-life I held onto when at twenty when I struggled so much and was seeped in sadness.
I now live in an amazing little studio with an expansive view over The City. I often sit out at night with a steaming mug of fruit tea and it’s like the stars have fallen and become night clubs and reflected towers. It. Really. Is. That. Beautiful.
I work in a library which I love. Most of the time. I like helping people. I like finding things. I like putting things back in their proper places as well. I feel, finally, now I’m in my proper place. Still in The City I was born in (at least for now, but that is another story.) Still writing. Still talking to her plants. Still stitching. But now she is also dancing under a star-stolen-sky for all the world to see.