One Thousand Words on Why I’m Grouchy and Hate Sewing

A few posts ago, I mentioned a tragic sewing machine accident in my past.

When I was a little girl, my mother had a sewing machine. It was “portable.” Not the lightweight portable of today, but the heavy, awkward portable of the seventies.

The sewing machine was green, sort of a sea green with darker green trim. It had a hard green case that went over the top and latched on the sides. There was a sturdy green handle on the case.

It also had a pedal that you wrapped up inside when you moved it or stored it, then put on the floor when you wanted to sew.

I can still remember the smell of the sewing machine. It’s hard to describe, but is sort of a cross between plastic, machine oil and thread, which makes sense since that’s what a sewing machine is.

I was always a little obsessed with the sewing machine. Between the pedal on the floor and the big wheel on the side, it was a wonder of moving parts. When you turned the wheel, the needle went up and down! And you could make it go backwards too! And the whole thing made whirring and clunking noises!

It also helped that my mother wasn’t a big seamstress, so the sewing machine only made occasional appearances. She didn’t make clothes, but would repair rips or make curtains for the house. Simple things like that. The fact that the sewing machine was hidden away most of the time made it even more mysterious and alluring.

One day I was playing under the table while my mother sewed something.

I was probably playing with my Barbie dolls. I was always playing with Barbie dolls.

My mother was doing something with the bobbin. If I knew more about sewing, I could probably tell you exactly what she was doing, but bobbins mystify me. I don’t understand their purpose and whenever I’ve tried to use one, it ends up in knots.

So my mother was bobbining or whatever and I was playing with my Barbies when that shiny sewing machine foot pedal called to me. Pedals are made to be pressed.

Apparently working with the bobbin involves having your finger under the needle. And as I said above, the pedal makes the needle go up and down. I’m sure you can see where this is going…

I honestly don’t remember any of the aftermath of sewing my mother’s finger. I’m sure she screamed, because a needle just went through her fingernail. I would scream if that happened to me.

But I don’t know if she turned the wheel to get the needle out herself, or if I kept pressing the pedal so the needle went back up. I don’t even remember if there was blood or if we went to the hospital.

I think I’ve blocked it all out.

To this day, whenever my mother sews she starts sweating and turning red. She says it doesn’t have anything to do with having a needle stuck in her finger all those years ago, but it must be part of it. How could that not affect your relationship with sewing machines?

I’ve never willingly gone near a sewing machine or under a table since that day and it wasn’t even my finger.


I’m feeling very pissed off tonight. Not about anything in particular, just in general.

Maybe pissed off is too strong. I feel annoyed, touchy, grouchy.

I think it’s because I’ve been too busy lately, spent too many hours at work.

See, I’m a true, honest-to-God introvert.

While some people get their energy from being in crowds, at parties or clubs or just hanging out with a big group of people, I need time alone to rejuvenate.

Once in a while, when I’ve been very busy for an extended period of time, I find myself starting to resent other people for no reason other than they exist and are near me.

Do you remember that scene in The Princess Bride? Where Inigo Montoya is trying to get through a crowd and so Fezzick yells “Everybody move”? That’s what I feel like shouting. Or “Everyone leave me alone!”

I’m smart enough to know my irrational annoyance is just a sign that I need a quiet evening or weekend away from people, that I don’t really hate all of humankind with every fiber of my being. But sometimes it feels that way.

I don’t like that I get so resentful and I know that makes me sound like an awful person, but I stopped beating myself up about being an introvert a long time ago.

It’s just who I am.

I’ll admit that sometimes I do get jealous of extroverts, though. They have more fun, more friends. They’re cooler than I am.

It doesn’t help that other people think being an extrovert is better too. I have several friends who get frustrated because I don’t want to go out to a Halloween party or go bowling.

There’s the perception that being out in a crowd is healthier, better for you somehow. And that if you like to stay at home you are a sad, lonely or miserable person.

No one has actually said that to me, but I’m guessing they think it every once in a while when I lock myself away from humanity for a short while.

But I’m not sad, lonely or miserable. I would be miserable if I tried to force myself to be an extrovert. I’d be hanging out in the corner, irritated with everyone. Who wants that at a party?

I had lunch with a fellow introvert a while back and we were talking about a mutual friend. How everyone loves her and she’s always doing something fun while people like us are at home in our pajamas.

Even if she looks like she’s having more fun, I’d still rather be at home in my pajamas. Sometimes my pajamas are the only thing that keep me sane.

2 thoughts on “One Thousand Words on Why I’m Grouchy and Hate Sewing

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