Ester

My name is Ester—it means star and I am fifteen years old. I have been fighting addictions for years. I spend all of my childcare earnings on soda and junk food, none of which helps my personality, my savings account or my figure; and none of which seems to give me more than a moment of pleasure. Only a small fraction of such earnings went to buying literature books.

As I understand it, an addiction is something which has been given power by the mind to replace another thing. I feel sad, so I drink a soda which I find to be sweet and good and for a few moments I no longer feel sad. Repeat the experience. After several repetitions, the soda drinking replaces my sorrow and I have become addicted to it.

You see, I have a lot zeal for dancing; my sole interest is in dancing. I’ve submitted an application for membership to a local dancing club. I dislike my school curriculum. I’ve never hoped for admission to a higher education institution. I have always wanted to be a dancer in all phases of my life but life has blessed me with a pear-shaped body. I am elegant and graceful; I have rhythm and I’m good at coordinating my movements; but, my body is not right and no dancing instructor will allow me to dance in a performance, although they are perfectly happy to take money in exchange for lessons. I realize that junk food isn’t helping my shape but I was grossly overweight long before I became an addict.

My struggle with my addiction became an entry in my English journal and when my teacher, Mrs. Drayton, read this piece, she said, “Don’t be pessimistic. I might be able to help you substitute a healthier addiction for your current addiction; an addiction that would allow your hands to dance to a rhythm.”

I knew there was nothing to lose and following Mrs. Drayton’s instructions, I took some of my earnings and purchased some pretty pink, purple and white dyed cotton threads.

Mrs. Drayton loaned me a pair of 6.5-millimeter knitting needles and showed me how to wrap the yarn around my fingers. Knitting felt very clumsy at first but she encouraged me and told me that it was like learning to hold a pencil to write and it would soon begin to feel natural. For 20 minutes I struggled to make my hands and fingers do what I wanted them to do before giving up.

An hour later, I was busy with some homework and I realized how neat it had felt to work those needles and I wanted to experience that feeling again. I picked up the needles and had another go and this time everything felt right. I quickly produced a dishcloth. The rhythm was soothing and I felt good about the little cloth that I had just made and I was eager to begin another project. Visions of hats and sweaters danced before my eyes. I had discovered another form of creativity.

I still feel sad that I will never become a performing dancer but when the sorrow descends upon me, instead of yielding to my old junk-addiction, I take up my knitting. I relax into the rhythm, enjoy the colors and textures that are building before my eyes, and I feel a bond with all others who find comfort in handwork.

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