This piece is one of the first things I made and I think it sums me up pretty well. The older I get the more furious I become at the world around me - the inequality, the greed of people who are meant to be public servants, the intolerance for people who want to be different from the alleged norm. These things have always bothered me, but when I was younger I didn't feel that I had a voice and that being a woman I had to be amenable in order to 'succeed' in life.
Perimenopause changed all that. The rage...dear God, the rage! At anything and everything. It didn't matter how small and inconsequential a thing was, it made me furious and for once I didn't care who knew it. But, as many perimenopausal women will understand I think, not everything is worthy of your rage, not least because that shit is exhausting. So I decided to focus on the big stuff that made me really angry and release my fury through needlework because I am assured that's better than stabbing people with forks. You should try it, it's very cathartic. The sewing, not the stabbing with forks.
I now use needlework to release the thoughts that make me angry, or at least very, very irritated. Some things have happened to me, some I've seen happen to other people that I don't think are right and I believe need to be highlighted and talked about. As my friends will attest, I think menopause should be much more widely talked about (although it's so much better now than it used to be). And I do talk about it whether they like it or not. I talk so that other women my age don't feel so alone because it can honestly feel like you're going mad. I talk so that younger women hear our stories about what happens and will understand when it happens to them and will in turn feel comfortable about talking about their symptoms themselves. I talk so the men in our lives understand what it's like and have some understanding when you're screaming in fury at the table you just accidentally kicked as if it got in your way on purpose. Talking about things helps.
One of the things I love about what I make, is those times when women recognise themselves in what I stitch. I get comments on social media from people telling me that I say what's in their own head and that is exactly what I want. I want to say things out loud that women especially aren't really supposed to say, so that people know they're not alone in what they're thinking. It's easier now of course, with social media being so prevalent, to find people who think like you and view the world in the same way, but because I'm getting old now (no sympathy needed, I flipping love it!) I remember when it wasn't so easy and if you found yourself surrounded by people with different views to you, it could be hard.
So now I have found my voice in cross stitch that is sweary and silly at times but usually has an underlying message. I believe humour is a great way to share a message and get people talking. I don't think I'm going to change the world by sewing brightly coloured swear words on fabric, but I'm bloody well going to try my best.
Love this, totally agree that menopause needs to be talked about much more. Our menopause driven rants certainly make me feel better! It’s good for women to know that they’re not alone in the whirlwind and your work strikes many a chord with me.
Love your blog and your needlework. Keep writing and stitching! ❤️
Ha, love this! Using your powers for good 😃
Great blog, Sarah. I can really, really identify with that rage – and with so many of your samplers, too!
So well written. Thank you for giving woman a voice.