Panic set in as I sat down at my new Viking Sewing Machine and tired to do some free motion sewing. I threaded the machine at Heirloom Sewing and wound the bobbin, and watched Jackie, who owns the shop sew in a straight line. The needle threader is more complicated than my Brother Sewing Machine but I was still impressed with all the other features. I didn’t try to do any free motion sewing at the shop and as I sat in my studio and found the fabric hard to move across the surface of the machine, I was sure I had made a mistake. The bed of the machine has a textured surface compared to the smooth one of my Brother and I was sure this was the problem. I tried again and again on different settings but still the fabric didn’t move easily.
So I called Jackie, thinking I would be returning the machine, that it wasn’t what a I wanted or needed. Jackie talked me through some of the settings and told me there was another free motion foot that I could buy that worked better than the one that came with the machine. I told her I would come into the shop tomorrow and try the new foot and show her the problems I was having.
After getting off the phone I told Jon what was happening and was certain I’d be taking the machine with me tomorrow to return. But Jon could see what I couldn’t. I was having a panic attack. Buying the sewing machine had sent me down a dark spiral. Too much of a good thing, I was sure I didn’t deserve the new sewing machine and was finding a way to make buying it a huge mistake. I blamed myself for making an incompetent decision, the darkness inside of me bubbling up. I was wrong, I was bad, I was stupid. And this wasn’t just a bad brain, it’s a darkness that lives deep inside my body, something a juice fast can’t touch.
Jon helped me see what was happening and knowing that I was panicking I sat at the machine and figured out the settings and drew a hen. It was different from my Brother, but not that different. It was working. I realized I had the machine on the wrong setting. That’s all that was wrong. I drew some more, the familiar pain that comes from stress under my right shoulder-blade aching. Sometimes the thread broke, or I skipped stitches but now I knew it was the panic, not me, not the machine. I just needed to slow down or speed up, get used the to the new foot pedal. A cat, a hen, a flower, I wrote my name with my new sewing machine.
This is just who I am sometimes, someone who panics when they get something they really want but somewhere inside themselves don’t believe they really deserve. Coming down from my panic I knew I wouldn’t be returning the machine. I also know, with a little practice and getting used to it, I’ll love what it can do for my work.
Today I may not have felt the joy of getting a new sewing machine, but I know it will come. And next time, maybe I’ll remember and can avoid or at least understand the panic a little more.