Emily Turner shares how she kept her anger in check with the art of profane embroidery.
Irritable, snarky and lacking mojo, I finally admitted I was in a rut and utterly fed up a couple of years ago. I had an urge to reinvigorate my long-dormant creative side, but not the confidence to know where to begin. I needed something to soak up my escaping steam jets of menopausal rage and rediscover my much-missed spark.
How I found my people
When I was invited to attend a meet-up with the Profanity Embroidery Group, I mustered enough courage to go. These brilliant embroidery artists are so skilled in quick-witted obscenity that their work is positively and deliciously indecent. I spent an enjoyable evening watching them stitch and swear in the dark gloom of a weather-beaten coastal pub. What a tonic! I found my tribe.
Skilled in quick wit with obscenity”
I didn’t want to share I’d been to art school, after all, that was decades ago and I wanted to keep expectations low! I’m not sure a degree in printed textiles was super relevant when faced with their weighty expertise, a needle, thread, hoop and a blank piece of fabric anyway.
I got to know my new tools and let my hands go with the flow. I was soon creating unrespectful profane artwork after many stops and starts. There was the time I sewed through onto my clothes – well wearables are all de rigueur, right? I also found out why those in the know steer clear of using pretty gold thread. As tempting as it looks, it leaves a very messy, knotty backside!
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Slowing down, calms things down
Menopausal rage is as real as a toddler tantrum in the middle of a heaving supermarket. It’s understandable, as many women have a lot to be angry about. Menopause comes at a time when we’re juggling home and work with less energy than our younger selves. Find out more about anger and rage during menopause.
I found most things pretty bloody annoying”
I’ve got a busy job, teenage kids and a horrific affliction of needing the house tidy to be able to relax – what a burden the last one is! Perimenopause crept up on me like a slow-growing, yet suffocating, ivy. Before I knew it, I found most things pretty bloody annoying and struggled not to let it show. It’s only recently that I realised irritation, anger, loss of confidence and not feeling quite yourself are menopausal symptoms.
This is where the beauty of embroidery comes in. It slows you down and empties your mind. It’s complicated and you can only focus on one stitch at a time. If you get distracted, you’re likely to get a knot or stitches in the wrong place. It feels meditative and a way to bring mindfulness into your life.
There is nothing more satisfying than stabbing something thousands of times”
It’s also perfect for when menopausal rage is burning within and your heartbeat is thundering in your ears. There is nothing more satisfying than stabbing something thousands of times and it’s even better when it doesn’t land you in serious trouble.
Rolling with modern pressures
Once beloved by grandmothers worldwide, embroidered art is now trendy and cool. Traditional samplers have been replaced by hoops of colourful joy bursting with complex designs or motivational sayings.
It’s a way to decompress and find life bearable”
Perhaps our elders had the answer to dealing with life’s competing pressures? Clacking knitting needles, pulling at crochet hooks or sewing is not just a way to pass the time, it’s a way to decompress and find life bearable.
Whether you are plagued by irritated tuts, frustrated huffing, cutting comments, explosive outbursts, foot-stamping or door slamming, give embroidery a try and see if it helps you ride out the storm. Has creativity helped you curb your menopausal rage?