Cross-stitching

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The entry in which Annie attempts to compare life to cross-stitching

Friday, December 28th, 2007

Okay, I admit it: I cannot handle “roughing it.” Yes, the cabin is in the middle of beautiful mountains, amid snowy banks, with plenty of snow-shoeing to be done. But I woke up this morning, and the thermometer read -24. MINUS 24. So today, Mom and I made the 90-minute trek to Taos, NM, in search of civilization.

To keep myself busy this week, I have taken part in an activity as old as time – if time is as old as an old, old woman. My hours have been occupied with a little something known as “cross-stitching.”

I used to cross-stitch all the time when I was in middle school. Let’s be real: I was a turbo cross-stitcher; no pattern too large, no needle too small. I basically kept the Precious Moments corporation afloat with my financial support, purchasing kits with patterns of watery-eyed girls with oversized heads washing kittens in wooden washtubs, “Many waters cannot quench love” tenderly stitched below. But when high school began, it was time to put my hoop and needles and patterns away. My time was better spent doing cooler things, like… playing the flute in the marching band and… not going on dates.

My needle and thread sat untouched in a craft box until this past January, when I needed something to occupy my mind during a break-up. Cross-stitching was the perfect distraction from my pain: methodical and mindless, and yet, even with no thought, I could watch my progress as I went along. Cross-stitching produces visible results. You start by threading a single strand in and out, and before you know it, a picture begins to take shape.

Sometimes, I wish that life was like a giant cosmic cross-stitch project. If only there was a huge pattern to follow, pre-packaged color-coded thread to stitch, and the assurance that if we follow the instructions precisely, things will turn out the way that they’re meant to. That would be comforting.

But maybe too easy.

Life is not predictable. Life is not a set of rules and guidelines to follow. Life is not cut-and-dry. It’s complicated, and messy, and often imperfect. I think that if my life actually was a cross-stitch project, it would be rumpled and chaotic, with ragged edges and loose strands sticking out all over the place. Random, non-complementary colors would prevail. There might be cute moments – little rabbits and doves and hummingbirds in pastel shades – but as a whole, it would be a mess.

So… never mind. Good thing life isn’t like cross-stitching.