The Problem with Sitting Down

I am about to pop up some of the embroidery designs I’ve been working on, but I thought I’d also add what I haven’t been doing.

I had expected to have samples ready by now and to be charging ahead with it all.

So, why so slow?

Ten days into my relocation to London I sat down too much.

Seems like a silly thing to say really.

But a bit over a week hunched over a table, a desk, a sewing machine and my body collapsed.

It was stupid, and I know that. When I do intense sitting-down-work I know I need to do a lot of exercise. But my boiler broke; I had no heating, no hot water and it was still attempting to snow. (The joys of summer in the UK)

I huddled in my apartment, tried to continue drawing whilst wearing gloves and tried not to reduce the need of washing in the painfully cold water. The idea of running or sweating in the slightest became appalling.

A plus side of all this is that I have discovered a love of headscarves which are a beautiful addition to unwashed hair.

The downside was that my back went into spasms.

I spent two months unable to sit down at all and it was so intensely frustrating. All I wanted to do was work and I spent ages inventing different ways of being able to lie down or stand and continue drawing or patternmaking.

My body has finally settled. I’ve bought a standing art easel, a Pilates roller. I make sure I have walking breaks.

But being cripple has made me more aware of others with similar problems. And we are many.

Each has their coping strategy, their theory, their medications.

But I am to become an employer and contractor.

I am going to ask people to sew my designs. The reality of someone who is a seamstress is that you sit down almost all day, hunched over a sewing machine.

To become successful at this venture I must ask many people to spend their days hunching over sewing machines.

And I don’t think the physical side of this is the worst.

The lack of mental stimulation that coincides with this monotonicity. Day in day out.

Our nature lies in movement; complete calm is death – Pascal

We see our cities and our stationary lives as a sign of civilisation.

But I would say that all of us do not feel calm and at ease in these ‘civilised’ settlements.

People settle and become nervous and stressed. There is a strange yearning to travel and explore. We tell kids to travel after school in order to ‘find themselves’. Help them ‘get it out of their system’.

australian outback

He who does not travel does not know the value of men – Moorish proverb

What if we accepted this need for constant change rather than fought it?

The latest generations are showing signs of inability to settle completely. But, rather than berate youngsters for wanting to continuously change jobs and not want a 1950s work model, why don’t we look at changing the system so we can accommodate this.

It may even turn out to be a far more productive and healthier system.

I’m talking about rotational manufacturing. Job sharing. Cooperative working.

It’s not revolutionary thought. But it could be revolutionary practise.

So, here is to His last word to his disciples, “Walk on!”


One thought on “The Problem with Sitting Down

  1. Certainly worth discussing. 200 workers were laid off from Target yesterday. One woman had worked there since 15. In tears, “she said I’m here for work. I need to work”. I wish her luck, but travel and love of change sets you up for success in today’s economy and culture. ‘Change before you have to’. Love the Pascal quote!

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