My name is Rebecca Challenger but you can call me Smar. I started crocheting at around 7 years old. My mother didn’t give me much but this is the one skill I can say that she was the sole purveyor of. Like most children, I had a blanket that was incredibly special to me, my baby blanket that I took everywhere and had dubbed “Blankie”. Blankie was made by my mother and to this day it remains on my bed; this blanket grew up with me. Every time I went to visit my mother for the holidays she would add to the simple blanket by increasing the border. I would watch her hands work as she did this, fascinated at how the yarn was woven into more intricate textures. She gave me some spare yarn and instructed me on how chaining worked, needless to say, I was hooked (pun intended). Over the years I would pick up and put down crochet at various points, never really creating anything but instead just kind of playing with it. I found the repetitive motion to be soothing and the feel of the yarn as it passed through my fingers almost put me into a trance. Fast forward to my late teens, I learn that the ball of stress that is ever present has a name: anxiety. Anxiety brings a friend named depression and they set up camp, keeping me up late into the night and amplifying minor fears and insecurities. Crochet became something that helped me to cope with my two new tenants, providing something to focus on; crocheting can use up so much of my brain power that it has no energy to spare on terrorizing me. It was almost like I was converting my anxiety into a usable item, something with actual worth. Something tangible. My mother made me a hooker, and it has been more effective than any therapy or drug.

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