Contributing to #MandalasForMarinke
Marinke – A Creative Being
Where to begin? …..Let me tell you a little about Marinke. I didn’t know her personally, but, like many other crafters that are part of the crafting community online, I was familiar with her work and her wonderful blog, A Creative Being. It is a blog where you can feel at home, sharing in her experiences, knowing you can expect great crochet patterns, and learning how to express yourself, as she did, through art and crafting. Marinke was, just that, a creative being. I remember stumbling across her blog a few years back when I was looking for blanket patterns. I came across the pattern for the Groovy-ghan pattern she wrote up after studying a photo of someone’s finished work. And it was apparent to me, even in this quick blog post that Marinke was a warm and friendly person. Her writing style was casual and sincere; it was like an open window into her personality. I found it inviting and it ushered me into the rest of her blog. Over time I returned again and again to keep up with her craft work and to find snippets of details of her life that would give me a hint about who Marinke was. And it was wonderful. I learned that, like me, Marinke was undergoing hard times in her life because of depression. Compounded with her Asperger’s Syndrome, I cannot even pretend to imagine how difficult things could be. But knowing these things only made me like her and her blog more. I know it can be really overwhelming to attempt even small tasks some days when depression (and/or other medical conditions) make it so scary. But seeing her create such wonderful things time and time again was inspiring to know that even when things are hard, one can take joy and appreciate small accomplishments, and that those can build into larger accomplishments.
Mandalas for Marinke
Depression can be very scary. It is a mental illness that can dictate your perspective, frighten you into emotional distress, and even create pains your body will feel. It’s an illness that millions of individuals have to varying degrees. And some, like Marinke, get it more severely sometimes. I knew she had depression, but it was still shock to learn that she succumbed to its relentless pressures and took her own life. It is a loss that all of us in the online crochet community feel. And it is a fear that those of us with depression feel quite keenly as it hits very close to home…too close.
And then I heard that a campaign for depression awareness was being started, and I knew I had to be a part of it. Bringing attention to the severity of this illness and that there is help out there is an important public health service. Kathryn, from the blog Crochet Concupiscence, has put together this wonderful project called Mandalas for Marinke to honor her work, promote depression-awareness, and help us all remember who Marinke really was. Mandalas are symbols of wholeness and connections to the greater universe, used oftentimes for meditative purposes to find introspective unity. For someone with depression, this task of looking within one’s self and moving towards wholeness is disconcerting but so important for healing. It is most fitting then that Kathryn chose to use mandalas, even Marinke’s own mandala patterns, to promote the message of depression-awareness.
So I bought my yarn, picked out a couple of Marinke’s mandala patterns, and sat myself down to crochet my contributions to the #MandalasForMarinke project.
Meditating Over the Crochet Hook
With so many overwhelming changes happening in my life currently, I took the opportunity, while making my mandalas, to consciously reflect on the state of my mind. At first, every few stitches I noted the different stresses, the anxieties, and feelings of lonely stagnation. With each round I created, I would focus on, restructure, ease out of, and then close the door on another stressor as the last stitch on my round closed too. It’s amazing really, how much conscious effort into calming one’s self can actually work. I’ll be honest though, it took at least two mandalas before I got the hang of it. Even if my depression isn’t gone with just meditation, it is a comfort to know that I could still take one task at a time (or a round) and still find accomplishment at the end of facing my anxieties.
And that’s the key in dealing with stresses or depression. It’s something that I learned from Marinke and relearned as I made my mandalas. No matter how painful it gets, how frightening it feels to try doing even small things, how low I can feel in the darkest moments of depression…one task, one step, one breath at a time is a chance to keep going, working, towards success, towards healing, towards wholeness again. And that is very happy thought.
Thank you Marinke. Truly.