On Saturday 21st March 2020 I chose to close the doors of our store at Green Point. I made this decision based on my assessment I cannot provide safety and security for customers and those who work in the space.

The financial and legal consequences of this decision are yet to become clear, however in light of the well-being of my community, they don’t matter.

I sit now in my shop full of stock but empty of people, I sew, I think, I throw ideas and options up in the air like runes and look at where and how they land. I sigh. People walk by, the wind chimes tinkle softly in the air conditioning. What, I wonder, the hell should I do.

Nothing, comes back the answer. Nothing at all. Sew your sewing and be quiet. Don’t panic, all that truly matters cannot be touched by this. I learned this from cancer. The way through is in you – create, and the solutions will come by themselves. Having a mental breakdown taught me that.

So I don’t worry for fear of losing what cannot be truly lost – my work is to remind myself of these things, rather than trying to control and protect. And I don’t immerse myself fully in anxiety, even though it comes in waves like water, but I let it flow over me as I submerge myself instead in creating something from nothing; in cutting things up and putting them together differently. This is where I know I’ll find the answers to my questions.

I heard someone say the other day COVID19 is not a plague of the earth, it’s we who are the virus. COVID19 is the vaccine. Strong words, confronting. Sometimes I feel like a virus on the earth. I’ve considered – and whilst in isolation after being tested last week for the virus – I had plenty of time to consider our being the affliction, and our earth is seeking to heal herself from us.

Here’s what I know after being tested for COVID19. Perhaps it’s that I’d like to come through all this firstly, and then secondly to be changed by all these circumstances into someone and something less an affliction to my community and my home, and more a remedy, a part of our collective healing. And this is something we all can be working on right now.

Sister Jo Bangles as a thing in the world will survive this, because I am she and I am it, and  we survive shit. SJB was born of brokenness, from hard ground she turned over sod by sod refusing to give up to the numbing cold and temptation to believe no good would ever be as good as this was bad. Nothing was what Sister Jo Bangles she came from, and nothing is somewhere she feels familiar. SJB doesn’t need anything or anyone to be who she is, because she’s just a vessel things go into and out of. She can be full or empty, and still she will be.

She is me. ?

Stay safe, and may love go viral.

JO xxxx