When I was in my early twenties, I travelled to many places all over the surface of the earth in search of my greater meaning. I met many interesting characters. There were the cobwebs in abandoned buildings, old dolls who complained of their masters leaving them behind and one very interesting piece of fluff that had travelled through time and space, only to settle back in the area it first flew from.
Though each of these characters had interesting stories to tell, one that struck me the most peculiar was the eye of a needle I met.
I was just beginning to think that my entire journey of finding the greater meaning was a waste. I had left the semi-comfortable life I’d known in search of it. When I first got the urge to find it, I was a mere teenager. I was part of an entire piece of fabric, worn out so many times, by so many different humans, that I felt lost. Tired.
As a piece of thread, I was optimistic and was transformed - through one machine and the next - into a new being that I did not recognize. I was loved, I was appreciated and I was worn. But I soon learned the hard way that to be worn once was okay, twice was fine too, but more you were worn, the more you were stretched and tired. I didn’t realize it at first, but there was a limit. I was crossing that at a speed too fast to be heathy – and I didn’t know until it was too late.
I was resting from one particularly long wearing when it struck me how tired I really was. It wasn’t until much later, when I was put to rest in the back cupboard next to some old furniture that the seriousness of my condition really struck me, and I realized I had to leave. It was when I saw a tiny piece of cloth, absolutely worn out but not given up. It refused to budge and while it thought it was being brave, I knew that it was close to collapsing. What happens to a useless cloth? I had no idea…but I wasn’t about to find out. I decided in that moment that I was not going to be like it. I left. I started again.
To go back from a piece of cloth to my original self was hard. I remembered how I was and how I wanted to be, but to want to be something is not the same thing as actually feeling it. I was an energetic piece of thread who put in all it had to be what it was – useful.
But to whom? And at what cost?
So when I left, I travelled, I went to places far and wide in search of my original self. I met lots of characters, as I mentioned, but I never met the old me. It was useless, I decided, one cold January evening. I had lost more of myself than when I was in that back cupboard. Now, there was no going back.
And it was then, that I met an eye of a needle. It was a chance meeting, really. The eye says it was fate. She told me stories of how she’d been molded from a piece of iron into this eye and the process had been full of delicacy and love. She was respected, feared and resented, all in one go. But she had one difference from me. She had faith.
She had faith in herself, in her ability and her meaning to her was clear. She was here to help create something magnificent, but not at the cost of her own well-being. She wanted to spread joy, but not at the expense of her own. She always put herself first. Perhaps this is why she was feared. But she wasn’t just feared, resented or respected. She was admired. She knew her place in her own mind, and put herself up on her own pedestal. Her respect for others came from a place of self-confidence. She knew what she had to do, how much she had to do, and she knew the only approval she needed was her own.
I longed to be like her. I decided to be like her. I promised and swore I would be like her. But I couldn’t. I gave it all I had. I thought how I thought she would. I spoke to people in the same calm voice as hers. I even tried out her own tasks. I just failed and it made me feel worse. I wasn’t fitting into her shoes.
I was swimming with all my might to try to keep my head above the water – to try and stay afloat. It was a struggle and I thought if I keep struggling, I would keep from drowning. I looked at her and saw that she was floating peacefully over each wave the rough ocean would throw at her. While I would be dragged underwater with each wave and have to push against my might to surface again; each wave would carry her upon it gently, like they went hand in hand.
I was exhausted once more. I thought this eye of a needle had shown me the path to my greater meaning but all I was doing was spending my energy to stay afloat. I looked at her with closing eyes, this was it, I was about to give up.
As my eyes closed, it struck me – almost as if in a dream. Her head….so different from my own. She was an eye. An eye of a needle. I wasn’t. We weren’t the same character. What worked for her would never work for me. I was going from being me, a thread to a piece of cloth…I couldn’t become a needle. If I was to go back, I would have to become a thread.
I had to do what worked for me, and not for anyone else. No one could tell me what to do, only I knew. I knew what I had to do. And now, I just needed to have faith in myself.
Finally, I, the thread, had found my soul...or at least was on my way there.