fight. flight. freeze. or make masks.
I held out as long as I could. As I opened the news that morning to read about yet another death among the many thousands in our country I could no longer sit back and feel useless. I had a talent. I had knowledge. I had supplies. I had time. And they were needed. Desperately.
When Andrew Cuomo, the governor of New York, put out a plea to any workshops that could sew I couldn't stand it anymore. The calling was too great and I started researching mask patterns, going through my fabric stash, watching videos from medical facilities that were asking for particular patterns best suited for their needs, and got to work. Mixed messages abounded about some hospitals accepting them and some not. Some requiring their own proprietary patterns, some healthcare workers bringing their own to work to wear over their own PPE to prolong its life, and some patterns preferred by nurses and doctors.
After an all-nighter fueled by fear, fight, flight, and freeze, I produced a decent mask pattern. Somehow the breakthrough was soothing, putting me back in control of something I knew I had absolutely zero control over. I landed on three patterns that were simplest to make in bulk for a healthcare donation and could also create a quantity for family and friends.
Several people had already been kicked off the Facebook sewing machine groups for posting about masks, the political division was starting to rear its ugly head even in sewing groups and machine repair circles. Many folks wanting help with their machines and many just wanting to talk about the machines themselves. Even the global sewing forums were channeling people to individual threads to keep the mask making discussion corralled. Some banned mask questions altogether.
"The focus on this repetitive task was
somehow freeing. I was able to let go of fear."
My goal that night was twenty. But that was too easy. Then it was forty. By the time it was 3am I'd reached ninety-five. I became a zombie with a rotary cutter in hand. In the moment, in the cutting zone somehow my mind was suddenly freed from fear of the daily news circus and I'd found the therapy I'd so desperately craved and needed. This was going to do good for others and saving me at the same time.