The Women's March was over a month ago and I still haven't figured out what to say about it. The day was intense and extreme-- so many people, so much catharsis-- but also fairly tame, apart from a few scary minutes in a crush of people pushing and chanting "March! March!" My emotions were extreme: panic-level anxiety, elation, exhaustion. As I turn over the sights and sounds and feelings of that day in my mind, trying to find a way to hold all the contradictions together, I keep returning to look at the aerial pictures of all the Marches. Were those huge crowds the message of the day, the astonishing undeniable mobilization of the resistance? Being there in the streets in D.C. felt like being an ant or a bee, just a body in motion and a voice raised to join with other bodies and voices for the purpose of showing our numbers, our energy, our solidarity. This depersonalization was unsettling-- truly, I have not settled down and I don't know if I can or even want to. My priorities have been reorganized. I have been rallying, protesting, calling Congress, attending meetings and hearings. And reading with urgency. There are so many (embarrassing, inexcusable) gaps in my knowledge of feminism, intersectionality, systemic racism, and white supremacy-- not to mention basic civics and organizing and activism. I still feel like an ant or a bee in the wider resistance hive/hill, showing up wherever and whenever I can, letting the momentum of the March carry me forward until I find my bearings, my specific place in all this. That's why I haven't popped up to say hello until now.
And what became of the Pussyhat I was knitting last time I checked in? I finished it on the way to D.C. and wore it in the streets that day, but as soon as I got back to the bus that night I took it off and I haven't worn it since. Maybe that was my first act of trying to return to myself-- I will probably unravel it and use the yarn in another project. I have always felt a bit wary of "craftivism" (and collective/viral activities in general) and I have been tuning in with interest to the various critiques of the Pussyhats, some of them condescending and dismissive, some more incisive and illuminating. That said, I don't want to conflate my own uneasiness with moral condemnation. I was prepared for the Pussyhats to be visible, but I was blown away by their abundance. The success of the project, I think, was in demonstrating to the wider world the persistence of hand crafts as a mass medium of expression-- which as a knitter and textile fiend I find tremendously validating!
I continue to work away on personal projects, usually while listening to current-events podcasts, watching documentaries, or gabbing with new friends/allies. Knitting is an excellent companion to these activities, but I am also trying to reclaim space for knitting and sewing and spinning and mending as purposeful creative pursuits, worthy of my time in their own right. I will continue to build my handmade wardrobe and to share what I learn in the process-- this has new (or renewed) meaning and urgency for me now. This moment clarifies the ethical purpose of making: it is an act of resistance to the life-denying, community-shredding forces of global capitalism. The pleasure of working with fibers and yarn and fabric is also a sort of refuge from the fuckery of the world. This is the energy I want to channel into my hands as I work, this is how textiles fit into my upside-down life right now.