Why threads?

Now that we’re 7 months into Threads I thought it could be good to share a bit about why it started here.  I wrote most of this months ago, when I had my two minutes on the news to talk about threads of compassion OKC. That chance to be on TV made me want to share some more about why I even began doing this. Here goes…

A little over nine years ago I was raped.  Talk about a surprise, that sure was something I never thought would happen to me! 

Back then I didn’t know how to crochet, and I had no idea I’d be telling the whole world (or at least the part of it that finds this blog) about my experience.  In fact even saying or hearing the word was hard for me, and for my family. What I did find, even back then, was that when I was willing to be a bit open about my experience I came across others who had been through the same thing. No story was exactly the same as mine, but many parts of the experience were. It’s almost like once it was open people kind of came out of the woodwork and said “that happened to me too”.

I can’t explain why people feel shame following rape – it seems to creep in even for those of us who know without a doubt that the situation was not our fault, that there was nothing we could have done to prevent it, that it was the result of some person making evil choices. I think that it has something to do with silence –with feeling like it’s something that shouldn’t be talked about.

But I can say that there is comfort in not being alone, that finding someone else having the same crazy emotions is a great reminder that though life can be crazy that doesn’t mean we have to be; that the turmoil of emotions is often a very normal reaction to trauma. And that sense of not being alone can help remove some of the shame.

So, when almost 9 years to the day after my attack I saw a description of Threads of Compassion on the Lion Brand Yarn website in the charity section, I thought “hmm, maybe I can do that here.” I learned to crochet about 2 years ago with some ladies at church. I’ve loved it –it’s been so fun to make baby blankets for friends. Threads seemed like a perfect way to reach out to others and put my hobby to good use. I contacted the YWCA and they said yes, let’s do it!

Giving or getting a scarf is certainly not a magic tool to healing –but I do think that it can be a step towards it. For the receiver it is a reminder that you’re not alone and it gives you something soft to cling to at a time that everything around you may feel cold and yucky. For some givers it is a way to move forward, a way to say “yes, I was hurt, but now I can help others”.  For others who give, it’s a way to express sorrow that such a horrible thing is happening and to try to offer some assistance. 

For me this has been a great project! It’s encouraging when others give me yarn or a gift card to help get yarn. It’s been fun to help friends re-learn to crochet so they can help. It’s been neat to experiment with new patterns. It has felt like a huge vote of confidence when someone brings me a scarf to give. And, it’s just incredible when I hear back from the Y that people are thankful for the scarves, that some cling to them like teddy bears.

OK, this was a lot to read, and if you’re skipping to the end, the bottom line is: I’m doing Threads because it’s a way for me to offer support to others a time when they really need it.

3 Replies to “Why threads?”

  1. What a wonderful project Jess! I have seen your posts on FB about Threads but I really had no idea what it was for or the reasoning behind it. You are such a strong person with a big heart for others. Keep up the fantastic work, it is truly a blessing to others.

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