Today I needed a little bit of a pick-me-up. Fuschia, periwinkle, pink, and lavender seemed to do the trick.
If you’re curious, I’ve nicknamed it: “Medda and the Bowery Beauties.”
That may or may not be an inside joke.
Date: April 30, 2013
Days Spent on Project: 72
Location: Apartment, Washington Heights, NYC
Person I would have sent it to: Another break in the chronology of my life. Today, we’re skipping ahead to my first year at college (Kenyon, in Ohio, if you’re curious).
Melissa K., this Crane would be for you.
Melissa, during my first year of college, was the student leader of the one LGB (the “T” had yet to be added- it was the mid to late 90s, after all). She was wickedly smart, socially aware, outspoken, kind, attractive, and just drew people towards her. She was the perfect leader for that group. She would be the perfect leader of any group, and whatever project she chose to dedicate her passion towards would benefit from her energy.
I forget how I met her; I most likely went to one of those weekly meetings in my attempt to be an “out” and “proud” young student in the community.
I can’t imagine I was one of the more active members in the group. It wasn’t my *passion* (getting involved in theater swallowed all my time and energy soon enough), but I did stay on the periphery of the group and its activities.
But I do remember and know that Melissa was one of the first out women I met in my (very) young life. She was just a year ahead of me in school, but she had such confidence! Such intelligence! Such presence!
Somehow her knowing me was enough of a reason to have pride in myself.
In her way, she helped me through one or two rough spots in that first year.
After my first year, she stepped down from leading our small, but growing, LGB(T) group to focus on herself. In my second year, as a resident advisor and also heavily active in the drama department, I lapsed on my dedication to that group as well. Sometime in my second year, I believe I remember that Melissa took a leave of absence from school to focus on her health.
My first semester of my third year, I chose to study theater abroad in London. Escaping rural Ohio for that time was much needed, for a variety of reason.
Sometime during that semester, I was made aware by mail that Melissa had passed away from cancer. We all knew she was dealing with this. We all kept her in our thoughts and prayers as we could.
But she was taken from us. She wasn’t meant to stay with us.
It was incredibly sad. Looking back, it’s incredibly upsetting. She had a lot to give the world, in so many ways.
I thought about her today because of the recent news article about a male Basketball player, Jason Collins, coming out. A friend on Facebook wrote that she wished she could hear what Melissa would say about it. My friend said, “The NBA player coming out made me think if her courage. It is just a wonderful period of messy and imperfect change. Sorry she missed it.”
I am too. Because I do think, in so many ways, NOW is just a time of messy and imperfect change. And that’s kind of amazing and exciting and scary.
I’m sure Melissa would be more eloquent.
Music I listened to while sewing: The Original Broadway cast recording of Pippin. The Tony nominations were announced today; the Pippin revival got a lot of them. I need to see it…
Thoughts/Feelings behind the block: So, I understand that the A Thousand Quilted Cranes project has inspired a few people to start their own versions.
I think that’s great. I think it’s exciting. I think it’s humbling.
But, I’d just like to say that any of us who choose to undertake it, not take it too lightly. Let’s remember, first and foremost, that I got the inspiration from Margaret Rolfe’s Peace Quilt. She was making a hopeful statement about the state of the world back in 2003. She was quilting for peace.
In my own way, I’m quilting for a kind of self-peace. I’m not always in the best place, and each Crane I sew- each person I thank (regardless of how I know them, good effects or bad)- is an opportunity for me to be thankful for being here and the progress I’ve made and the path I have yet to take.
One day at a time, right?
So, if you’re undertaking your own version of the Quilted Cranes, let’s all be respectful… respectful to ourselves and our lives and our pasts and presents and futures… respectful to what Margaret gave to the world… respectful to the Legend of the Thousand Origami Cranes… and respectful to all the other people out there who have folded (and now quilted) Cranes in the name of love and hope and peace.
Each day is a step in the right direction, everyone.
Cheers and good luck.