What I’m “Sew Grateful” For

I’ve decided to participate in Sew Grateful Week by reflecting on all the things I’m grateful for.

Sewing Blogs

I’m a self-taught sewist. I have only one friend in real life who sews who I see rarely, and if it weren’t for the huge community of sewing blogs that have offered tutorials, tips, pictures of projects (both failed and successful) I don’t think I would have come this far on my own.

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Jiu Jitsu

Current rank: Bumblebee (unofficial name, it’s really Yellow with Black Stripe).

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I’ve been studying jiu jitsu for a few years now and it’s taught me so much in terms of discipline both on and off the mat. The hardest thing for me is learning to come to class regularly. I’ve had to compromise time with friends, family, freelance work and sewing so I can come to class regularly and it’s well worth it.

I learned how to defend myself and how to feel empowered knowing that if push came to shove I can defend myself. I also learned how to meditate on the mat, how to focus on what’s in front of you and how to quiet your mind in times of stress.

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From left to right: training machete, stick #1, stick #2, training knife #1, training knife #2. Possible combinations: machete, single stick, dual stick, espada y daga (stick and knife), dual knife. (I’m just waiting for the day I get stopped on the subway as a potential terrorist and it’s the day I’m going to stick and knife class.)

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I’ve also been studying arnis, the Filipino art of stick and knife. My dad was in the military in the Philippines and I see this as part of my heritage. Learning knife-fighting has taught me to get out of the way (the best stances are useless without footwork), how not to be intimidated by weapons and is very empowering.

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My Friends and Family

Me and Nanay (mom).

My mom was diagnosed with cancer last year, but as hard as it was on everyone I learned that family sticks together when times are tough.

My friends were the ones who texted me back at 3 am whenever I was upset/angry/sad about whatever was going on. They watched Game of Thrones with me, sparred with me on the mat, helped me with my belt test, helped me draft my bodice and skirt sloper, made me dinner from frozen Trader Joe meals and watched martial arts movies with me on a dying Playstation, invited me over to meet their 8 cats, came with me to Fall Fashion Week and generally were very supportive in times of trouble.