Remember when I ran to make the train and fell on the tracks? That was my most recent lesson in learning to slow down and be patient.
Well, this post shows that sometimes I can be patient. The quilt pictured above is the result of nearly twelve years of patience!
For me, the key to patience is to forget about whatever I’m trying to be patient about and do other things. Time will pass and often things will work out as originally intended.
I’m grateful for blogging, because it helps me figure out the timing of when things happened. February 2008 was my first quilting post. But I had already started quilting before that.
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My quilting journey started in the summer of 2005. My mom and I went to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and saw an exhibit called The Quilts of Gee’s Bend.
I have never been a fan of traditional quilts. Had never wanted a quilt. Not the ones that I had seen.
Then I saw the quilts made by the women of Gee’s Bend and realized that quilts can be so much more. My perspective of what defines a quilt changed.
They can be beautiful and boho. Modern and freestyle. Jazzy. Sexy. Solid colors. Different textures. Sewn by intuition without a pattern. Sewn by hand. Using pieces of fabric from old clothes alongside new fabric.
It was possible to quilt the way I cook and bake. Using the foods that I have on hand and improvising a new recipe. I could create a style of quilting that matched my personality. This exhibit gave me freedom and permission. I could do exactly what I wanted. With no limitation or rules.
I learned about quilts with hidden messages made by slaves. I learned that as an African American woman, quilting is my birthright. This exhibit was like breathing fresh air. I claimed myself.
Looking back I can see the journey. Finding myself anew. Bit by bit over time. I started blogging within a year of seeing this exhibit — and pushing my freelance writing. Trying to manifest my dreams. I started doing yoga and meditating.
As I’m writing this post, I am seeing even more. A relationship that I had been in (on and off for far too long) had a clear and definite ending. My heart was so broken. More than I care to admit. It’s taken a long time to mend. Maybe too long. The mending happened in ways that I did not expect. Within another relationship and while alone. I’ve learned many lessons. And I’ve quilted here and there along the way. Over many years.
I worked on it, then put it away and forgot about it. Then remembered it. Worked on it and put it away — and that pattern repeated. Focusing on other things and knowing that it would be finished eventually. When the timing was right. Going with the flow.
Since then, I’ve been able to accomplish a lot and move forward with many things. Clearing out the old to make room for the new. So about a month ago, I started feeling like I needed to clear out more things and finish the quilt. I set a deadline for last Sunday and finished last Saturday night in the wee hours.
It’s done. What a journey!
Two weeks ago I got a lesson. To slow down. One of my worst traits is impatience. It’s a constant struggle.
Back to the story. I was switching from the Red Line at Park Street to catch an E Train on the Green Line. If you’ve taken the T and been on the E Line, then you know that those trains do not come frequently. The wait feels like forever.
So I started running. I’ve run for this train a bunch of times and have been perfectly fine. No incident. And I always make the train.
Usually I’m wearing sneakers or flats though. This time I forgot that I was not wearing sneakers or flats. I think it was really cold that day, so I was wearing my snow boots. I was too close to the yellow line as well. Someone stepped in front of me, so I tried to weave around them. Again, done this a million times, no problem.
This time, there was a problem. My balance was off because of the boots or being too close to the edge of the walkway or both, so I fell. As I was falling, I was thinking that this was so funny and stupid. Why was I in such a rush? I thought that I was just tripping and would be able to recover my balance. Unfortunately not.
Then I felt myself rolling over onto the train tracks. At the same time I’m thinking, “Oh no,” and “I hope I didn’t break anything.” Luckily I fell forwards with my hands out and not backwards. I had on very thick leggings. My boots are very puffy. So is my coat. I had on a hat and gloves, so I was mostly covered up and protected.
I think I may have been in shock, because I was just lying on the tracks trying to get my bearings. I don’t remember if it was me actively trying to get up and people grabbing my hands as I reached up or people just grabbing my hands and pulling me up. Either way, there were two sets of hands pulling me up.
It must have been quite the sight for people to see. There’s probably a crazy looking video too.
Anyway, two strangers were kind enough to grab me and pull me up off the train tracks. For them I am eternally grateful. Luckily there wasn’t a train coming.
I twisted my left ankle and it’s still a bit painful, but not too bad. I really ripped up my right knee. It’s still raw and I’m wearing bandages everyday, but it’s healing.
I’ve had to walk slower than my normal pace due to my ankle and knee. It was not worth running for the train. Sure, I would have missed it, but I would have made the next train, which I ended up on anyway — and without the injuries.
Needless to say, when I have a choice between rushing or not, I’m trying to slow down — my eternal lesson. It’s still not easy for me. I don’t know if it ever will be easy. But I keep trying.
Thank you to the two kind strangers! I may never know your names, but I appreciate that you pulled me up and got me back on my feet.