The Dress, The ER, The Intention

Recently, I read that we can set an intention without necessarily knowing how we are going to accomplish it. I have had that experience regarding dying silk. There has been considerable interest in creating botanical prints on fabric. I wanted to learn to formulate some of those colors. After several attempts that I considered unsuccessful, I tossed the pieces of the dyed silk aside and moved on. Recently a friend taught me how to do the botanical printing. Another intention I have had in the back of my mind is finding ways to upcycle clothing? After completing a botanical print on an old shirt, I saw the previously dyed silk and layered it with the shirt and was amazed that I had accomplished what I had envisioned without consciously doing it step-by-step.

I realize this can also apply to my writing. There is power in setting my intention of what I want to communicate. Then I let the path reveal itself while I keep writing. . . .

I can handle this. You can handle this. We’ll figure it out. Don’t worry.

These phrases seem to be a motif for me, and my children. Maybe it’s my inconvenient truth, the message that we can handle more than we think. Not that I haven’t crumbled. As I explore dress in my past and my present, I can’t help but think it makes a difference, not only for ourselves, also for those around us. On September 11, 1998, I specifically remember the part dress played as the day unfolded.

The Dress, 9-11-98

It was a long, black, rayon dress with a v-neck, tiny flowers scattered about and several buttons, each one different. A narrow ruffle edged the collar and down the front. Several gores gave it a flare, creating a swing with each step. I wore a simple necklace. I was implementing a recent decision to take my work, my life, and self-expression more serious and dress for the day each day.

There was flaunt in my walk when I arrived at the Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning to teach my writing class, and there was satisfaction in my stride when I entered The Salon to cut hair. A message was waiting on the answering machine. I returned the call before I began my haircut. No big deal, I was sure. “Collapsed lung. Paralyzed. No brain damage.” The doctor said. I listened, calmly, even though. . . . I finished the haircut I had just begun. I had to. I knew I was strong and in control. At the hospital, I marched through those steel gray emergency room doors as if to say: Come on Donnie we can handle this, let’s go on home. Of course we couldn’t—not with all those tubes and that paralysis.

I can handle this. You can handle this. We’ll figure it out. Don’t worry.

My intention has been set.