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Will you meet me in the eye?

on finding oneself in stitches, weaving resonant threads together, and leaving the rest

By Sur Ren Dirt (she/they)Published 3 years ago Updated 3 years ago 10 min read
Photo I took at the Space Needle during the 2017 Seattle Womxn's March

The act of threading a needle is not always an intuitive process for me. More often than (k)not, I find myself all scratched up and poked through with tiny pinpricks or gaping holes before I re-member that it is the eye, not the point, I should aim for.

Sometimes I can do it on my own, whether by digging deep into the toolbox of lived experience and years of therapy or by occasionally opening up the tightly locked chest of "trial and error." Lately, I've found myself resting in the bed of intuitive knowing, uncovering brightly colored threads I had carelessly tossed out days, sometimes years, ago.

Other times I crave a little help, a reminder that I am not alone, a tender soul who will share their tools with me and offer a different view. I know it can be difficult to find the calm center, the eye of the storm when caught in the midst of swirling beads of rain and wind that surround. Sometimes I just need a gentle friend to reach out a hand, or to accept my request, to join them in the eye of the hurricane.

It is in these spaces that I am better able to thread the needle of deep belly breath up through my entire body and exhale all that needs to release, before weathering the remainder of the storm.

Will you meet here now?

Have you arrived? Good. Welcome.

This brain-body is marinating on a recent memory right now, one in which I visited a friend just a few months pre-pandemic in order to reconnect and learn a new skill. Mmm, marinating: I’m craving steak now, such a summertime savory treat. Beyond burgers are tasty, and also, this iron-deficient body needs more minerals than that.

I remember watching my friend string the tiniest colorful beads on a thick needle in hopes of teaching me to do the same. Recently, she had begun creating jewelry for friends and loves; she explained that this was a meditative process for her, one that she could stay up into the wee hours of the morning focusing on, and I was both curious and eager to figure out how I could enter this tantalizing NOW space with her.

However, I quickly realized that beading was more anxiety-inducing for me than anything else, and instead found myself appreciating her company, watching her do something that brought her joy, and just catching up on life with her.

By Sigmund on Unsplash

Once upon a mid-twenties breakup, I wrote a short piece about threading needles, about healing and stitching up skin, about creating a scar; it got lost somewhere along the way, with the rest of the brilliant ideas. Sometimes stitches dissolve into thin air, and that’s okay too.

Write now, I’m re-membering a childhood visit to urgent care to stitch my lil baby chin, attached to a body that had been earthside for just four years at the time. I had been playing “puppy dog,” walking on hands and knees over wooden floorboards in our ranch-style home in New England.

My mom had asked me to take my shoes from the mat I had carelessly tossed them on hours earlier back to my room at the end of the hall, likely after running around in the yard outside, playing in the dirt. Play. Yes, there’s a thread. Come back to that when you can, when you are able to.

For now, I am sifting through the memory of my little kid body on a table at urgent care, watching scissors approach my chin, crying the biggest tears I cried during the entire visit. Long story short, my lil puppy dog chin got really friendly with the wooden floorboards in that childhood home there.

I sat silently as they threaded the needle and carefully pulled the edges of my skin back together, but my four-year-old brain could NOT comprehend what on earth they were going to do with those scissors!

(for more details, click on my Instagram post below)

SNIP. Just like that, cords are cut and I am back here in front of this screen, tracing bumpy edges of this scar on 37-year-old skin. Hello old friend. I am here NOW, carefully folding arms ‘round this body, threading fingers through layers of memory, tying off with a French knot.

Some of my ancestors are from France. I never met them but did know my Nana, a direct descendent. I wish I had taken more time to connect our threads of familial existence when she was alive; I think there is much we could have learned from each other.

My big sister used to weave strands of my hair together into french braids just hours before dance recitals, or the night before picture day at school. I’m remembering a family trip to the west coast of the states nearly ten years ago, in which we stopped at a “coffee box” rest stop along the way. I sat my 28-year-old body down on the picnic bench in front of my sister, just as I did all those years ago on the bright red carpet in front of the cable tv set in our childhood home, sinking into familiar rhythms of right over left over right over left.

I need to take a break and create space right now. Want to join me?

Hello. I’m back now. Are YOU here too?

That piece by Jhené Aiko brings me right back to where I need to be every time. You might also find some really great gems embedded in my "Awaken" playlist HERE. My playlists are what get me through the day sometimes. Music moves through this body in powerful ways and is one of the many tools I use to both ground and release.

Part of staying grounded in this body that I live in includes being present with exactly what is at any given moment. This body that I wiggle around in, this is my creative project, my calm center amidst the storm, my place to unplug from the rest of the world. It is the most consistent space I know of to come home to. It is the ultimate em-body-ment of now.

When I am grounded enough to be able to share this with others, especially through dancing or other creative body movements, potent magick arises. Oftentimes I will open my eyes after dancing in a room full of strangers, watch their beautiful bodies swirl and bounce in rhythm around me, and realize that I have once again found my way into the eye. YES, this.

When I think of threading the eye of the needle, of unplugging and unwinding and creating, of mindful making practices, I think of the process as well as the destination. These words you are reading were written over the course of several weeks, dropping a paragraph here, a few words there, watching threads of story come together and fall apart and come back together again.

All roads lead back to NOW, whether I travel them for lifetimes or just a few seconds, like the time I learned to string a guitar and then promptly forgot, which led to re-membering with the gentle guidance of my partner’s hands.

These were the same hands that connected with mine last night, fingers tracing lines up and down my skin, as I slowly unraveled at urgent care. My partner told me dad jokes while a doctor once again carefully sewed a couple of flaps of skin together, this time after playing with a real live not-so puppy dog! Oh universe, you often send lessons wrapped in the most ridiculous packaging.

Side note: I am okay and healing, and as far as I know, dog is too. There is an entire storyline here, of connecting the dots, of rewiring a nervous system and rewriting a narrative that began long ago in childhood. Perhaps I will share it with you one day.

Ah, laughter: this powerful force moves energy through my body in different ways than anger and anxiety do. Laughter is often the exact dose of medicine I need during times of uncertainty, in order to ground back into the body, and occasionally it will... leave me in stitches.

Yeah, I went there.

Speaking of stitches, a couple of people I love picked up cross-stitching recently, one within the expansive amount of time and space we were asked to occupy and reimagine this last year. I feel pretty grateful to have reaped the benefits of their newfound passions by receiving creations from them.

The lovely lil piece pictured below was the first project one of them ever made. Now this babe lives on my wall, next to mandalas my platonic life partner colored for me several years ago, alongside the "queer as fuck" cross-stitch one of my family members lovingly created and gifted me a few years ago, just above a picture of my dad holding tiny baby me in a rocking chair eons ago.

I suppose another part of staying grounded is to stay connected, not only to the earth and my own body but to other creative souls. This past year was... I honestly think I've run out of words to describe this past year: it was "all of the things that you've already heard" and then some.

Besides some very sparse physically distanced hangouts, an amazing intergenerational pod of humans, and the double-edged sword of technology, sometimes my best connection to the outside world, to my loves, was through objects and memories of them in my home.

"Femme Ain't Frail" rainbow cross stitch with white letters, gifted to me from a sweet love just as they were beginning to explore this new craft during the pandemic in 2020.

I believe that when we create, we pour little pieces of our sacred selves into whatever we are creating, be it cross-stitching, painting, dancing, birthing a fucking baby, writing, gardening, cooking, etc. Perhaps that's why creating can be so intimidating and scary at times. I know my own inner critic shows up waving flags and setting off fireworks most times when I sit in front of this screen or attempt to share my word magick with the world.

This is why it is important for me to first create something that gives me life, something that younger versions of my Self simultaneously feel excited and safe experiencing, before sharing with others. This is why I would often dance alone and run my fingers gently along my own skin before going out to queer dance nights or ecstatic dance in pre-pandemic times.

This is why sitting silently beside a body of water or atop a mountain re-charges me more, or perhaps just in different ways than any social gathering ever could.

This is why I need to dig my hands deep into the earth, breathe full and slow when the first flowers bloom in spring, and return moon blood back to the earth when I feel called.

I unplug in all of these spaces by plugging into something greater and more ancient than any form of technology could ever dream of BEing, ultimately finding my way back home to this body, deep belly breathing at the calm center of the storm.

And also, technology sometimes helps me come right back to where I need to be. Recently I stumbled upon the following words, written by a recent past version of Self on the eve of the 2020 presidential election in the United States, nearly 9 months into the pandemic, after much-needed uprisings and an incredibly intense fire season here in the western states, among other things.

I'm going to leave these threads here now, so that you may stitch together whatever pieces work for you, and leave the rest. Then I will be on my way. Thanks for meeting me here in the eye. Until next time...

The words from my November 3, 2020 post linked above are here for you now, unedited, from my toolbox and bed of intuition to yours...

things i want to re-member to do tonight and in days to come. feel free to pick and choose what works for you:

1. wear comfortable clothing. live in your 🦄 onesie if need be (remember to occasionally wash it). practice progressive muscle relaxation (the controlled clenching and releasing of particular muscles, as pictured here with the face scrunch) and other self regulation techniques such as deep breathing and mindfulness.

2. laugh. near water if you can. preferably with a cute human. but really, just remember to laugh. it is a form of release.

3. listen to soothing sounds (running water, a cat’s purr, rain falling outside the window). reminder: spotify and insight timer apps are great for this.

4. create, create, create. no matter the outcome, and regardless of what ego wants you to believe. you are magick and you CAN create. let it flow through you, even and especially if the process is pumpkin-guts-messy.

5. move if and when you are able to. remember that somatic healing is possible. your body and brain can learn to live in peace. keep listening to this body, brain. you’re doing well.

6. seek out, and ask for, nurturing and safe touch and co-regulation (from partners and podmates, pets, healing practitioners). you are worthy of receiving these things.

7. when you have the capacity, take care of and nurture others (pets, children, partners, podmates, friends, family, neighbors, strangers). remember what it feels like to give from a space of grounded compassion.

8. sit in silence when it calls to you. turn off the notifications, the endless buzzing, climb up on a stable structure (hint: though i know you prefer to do this outdoors, your bed or the floor work well, too) and notice your breath, your body. notice the now. leave the rest.



About the Creator

Sur Ren Dirt (she/they)

Write now I'm plaaaying with words.

And also, I need a little support:

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