Pulling Threads

14 Aug

I’m pretty keen on finding threads that are loose, frayed and sticking out from the fabric of life. I like wrapping these threads around my pinky finger, not the index one, because it feels unfamiliar yet gives me the sense I need to proceed with delicate touches. I tug on them to find where they lead to and follow them for the story, the teachings, the closure.

Sometimes the thread isn’t yet weaved into a spot where it can show me it’s purpose or reason for thrusting itself into my life’s tapestry. When I find this, I have to let go and trust that one day I will find out the truth. It’s the letting go and trusting part that I sometimes forget.

I want to examine the thread that lead me to my final year of studies for my Bachelor of Social Work with opportunities like my up and coming trip to Guatemala to visit with Indigenous communities impacted by mining (which will soon have its’ own blog to report from!).

I was young, uneducated, and a mother to a newborn boy. I was still wobbly on my sobriety legs and walking tall and straight on a good road was still a place that I had to dream of.  I did have one thing though, God. Now, I am not going to dive into a theological discussion even though I always feel like I have to when the “G” word comes up. I was raised Christian, and over the past few years I have been exposed to my Indigenous spirituality, methods of cleansing, and world views. I believe that there are many pathways to God/Creator/Hakatah/Allah/Buddha. But here, on this thread, I only knew the face of the God of my upbringing and He (Jesus) drew me in close and tucked me into his arms. For the first and only time in my life since pre-childhood sexual abuse (age 2), I felt safe, secure, and utterly peaceful.

I had a peace then that I cannot even recall now, a few years later. Never mind that my son and I were living off of 300 some odd dollars a month and that at 20 years old, I had very little to show for myself except for the beaming son I cradled at night. I had no friends, all of them were busy being young somewhere in some place or plane of existence that just didn’t exist to me anymore.  I was fine with that but I knew I needed some social expression and my solution was to volunteer at the local soup kitchen.

I spent one day a week for nearly a year at the soup kitchen concocting feasts from scraps with Catholic elderly ladies whose personalities ranged from feisty to sweet as apple pie. I have never liked the saying “sweet as apple pie” but one of the ladies embodied this, of course it was also a home made thick crusted apple pie full of love and care.

It was then that I asked myself, “What would I do for work that I would do for free?” 

Well, I had just spent a year in a soup kitchen and I figured I wanted to work with people in outreach or others who were suffering with addictions. Boom. Social Work.

Yet, if I had not dragged myself through the mud in life by succumbing to my addictions and sputtering in the sea of my depression I wouldn’t have gained empathy. Without empathy I would lack the heart needed to work in this field. Without my expanding portfolio of experience with addictions and mental health, how could I truly relate to individuals who struggle with the exact same thing?

Sometimes I forget that though, the grace that I was given. The second chances that were more like 16th chances and resurrections that I’ve experienced more times than some may in their entire life. Being reborn, and found after you have been lost and wandering blind, gets harder each time. Every time I enter into the blackness I feel it’s fingers tighten their grip and know that they are more reluctant to let me go this time. I’ve become a real life velveteen rabbit and the wear and tear of life is making me become real. The process isn’t painless. Self-destruction is not a synonym for self-pleasuring or hedonism, it is a hard life.

Today I needed to pull on this thread to remind myself where I come from. I must pull my eyelids up when daily duties and brevity of self absorption threatens to narrow them. Today I must remember to see others through loving, non-judgmental eyes. 


With love,


Helen K

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