“She’s homeless, she probably won’t care….”
I have spent the better part of a few days trying to wash that crap out of my head.
The shawl I was working on for the homeless woman I call The Angel was just…wrong. As the yarn started working up I was somewhat confident. No, I take that back. If anything I was ambitious, hopeful, gleeful. At first, I was so excited about this shawl….only to look at it half way through and think, “Good God, I feel like I’m playing dress up.”
This thing was garish and bold, bright and full of floral sunlight. Yes, perfect for a cup of tea at Honeychurch while we watch reruns of Downton Abbey. It was grotesque. But, I kept going, ran out of that yarn, switched to another that complimented the colors and just watched the whole thing become this ugly display of poorly worked, homemade crafts.
I had thought about tossing the whole thing a few rows and colorful calamities a while back, but I told myself, “I’ve spent so much time on it, I might as well finish it. Besides, she’s homeless, she probably won’t care….”
Did your heart fall with a thud? Mine sure did.
This little wave of shame fell on me for even thinking it. I quickly let the project go out of my hands for good and walked away from it feeling a little disappointed in myself. I was making this shawl for a legless, homeless woman with tattered clothes and a mangle of other problems. And I had the audacity to think that she wouldn’t care that I had dared enough to make her something worth who she is.
All those bright lights that hint at sunlit flowers in the shawl I was making would be dirty and pointless within days of her wearing it. And then what? Wash it? She looks as though she doesn’t even wash the few clothes she does own. Not to mention, if she wore it, the shawl would have looked like she was rolled in a Laura Ashley comforter. I mean, this shawl was just bulky and wretched. Like carpet!
So, I made a mad dash for Hobby Lobby, and after looking through their yarn, and peering into my own soul, I decided on a different direction. I didn’t want to make a shawl for a homeless woman, I wanted to make something any woman would wear. I didn’t want it to make her feel out of place, or on display. I didn’t want the shawl to be obvious. I wanted it to be subtle, quiet, bright in it’s own way, dim where it should be to hide any damage from dirt.
Her shawl should be the one you grab off the back of the chair on your way out the door; a shawl that doesn’t steal the story, but compliments it instead. No, I made her a shawl that has the same subtle sophistication that everyone is entitled to. Nothing flashy, just unique.
So, this is the shawl I ultimately made for her. I’m heading up to Publix on Friday to give it to her. There will be no fanfare, no pretty packaging, no cameras and no pics for Instagram. I’ll probably just pull it out of my backpack, hand it to her and say, “You know, I found this and thought you could use it. If not, it’s quite alright. Would you like it?”
And I’ll laugh my little butt off if she says, “I’ve always wanted a shawl, a real bright one with floral, sunlit colors!”
Don’t overthink it, Gregory. Just be kind…..
If you appreciate my work and would like for this blog to continue, please donate to help keep it going. I wouldn’t have the courage to do it without your support.