Why do I create what I create?
Because I want to live in a world where the following true story can happen everyday everywhere ~
I’d been regularly visiting a café in San Francisco. A four year old boy and his father, who saw me everytime I was there, befriended me.
One day, the father leaned over and said, “He wants to know what you’re making.”
They had always seen me crocheting something. This time I happened to be crocheting decorative tampons but decided to go light and just say I was working on Christmas tree ornaments.
The boy proceeded to tell me about a blanket that someone had made for him that was very warm and he liked it. We continued to chat about his blanket.
Then I decided to try something. “Wait, I have something you might like to see,” and I pulled out my fiber intestine, crocheted out of two beautiful complimentary orange and peach fuzzy yarns. “It’s lifesize!”
They said, “… oh … uh … that’s … long,” they said, trying to be encouraging.
We had a short talk about intestines and he knew what they were. Because their faces seemed to be asking why I made it but they didn’t voice the question, I stumbled through an explanation of why – “because um well I’d never seen one and wanted to feel it and um … without touching a real one … and well … I’m interested in how we relate to our bodies … all the parts … um … “
Then the father turned to the boy and asked, “What other body parts could you imagine being crocheted, maybe as Christmas tree ornaments?”
My first thought? Woah, Dad! If you’re going there, I’m going with you but only on your lead.”
And then I thought, “Woah, Laura. Take it easy. Maybe they just had an earlier conversation about digestion and he’s going to say stomach or colon. Or maybe he has an aunt on dialysis and he’ll say kidney.
In his little sing-songy four-year-old voice he said “pee - niss” with a lilt on the second syllable.
Well, ok then. I turned to the father and said, “I do those too.”
I turned to the boy and said, “Sure, I can crochet you a penis Christmas tree ornament.”
To the father, “If you want to give me your address, I’ll make it and send it to you”, which he did.
Then the father, so easily and cleanly asked the boy, “and what about circumcised or uncircumcised” just to further the conversation with his son, which I had heard him do so many times before on other topics to keep the boy thinking and engaged. He also quickly moved to let me know that anything I made was fine, that he appreciated the offer.
“Circumcised,” the boy said.
“What color would you like?” I asked.
“Black,” he said.
Black was the only color I didn’t have in my yarn arsenal but you can guess what I went out and bought that afternoon.
I sent the black penis to this young white boy a week later and received a very kind letter from the boy’s mother and father, appreciating the gift.
I want to live in that world where even strangers can have safe conversations about all sorts of healthy natural topics without conveying shame.
I have spent decades of my own life digging out of lessons that affected big decisions I made that just weren't right for me but I couldn't admit it at the time.
If we could have these conversations more easily, I Cannot Stop Imagining what other aspects of our world might be affected.
How much of your life is determined by issues of which you cannot even speak?