Wednesday, October 9, 2019

A Drum Circle Dress

At the beginning of the year I attended my first drum circle. I will never forget it. I had just made my New Years Goals list and one of those goals was to find and participate in a community of like minded people. Almost immediately a "suggested event" appeared on Facebook for a local drum gathering (it's almost believable to think that Facebook does indeed read your mind! )πŸ˜„and in the weeks leading up to it, I faltered in my resolve to go. Though I can get along with almost anyone I am an introvert and have struggled my whole life with social anxiety. As a child and teenager it was almost debilitating and I blame my anxiety for a whole lot of negativity I experienced in those years (certainly avoidable negativity! I let my fears get in the way of SO MUCH.) Now as an adult I find going out in the world and talking to strangers much easier, but I still get anxious about going to new functions and meeting new people.
Turning leaves at Rosie's field trip to the Nature Sanctuary last week. This year, we
have a lot of plain browns! No less lovely than the yellows and crimsons and oranges and purples
of previous years.
I forced myself to go though, and with Malachi and the 3 littles in tow, and some homemade cookies, we bundled up in our warmest things and went. It was freezing cold as we parked in the dusk and walked up to the bonfire where a small group of people huddled with blankets and instruments. . .a variety of drums and some rattles. From Facebook, I knew the organizer, Stan, and was grateful when he recognized and greeted me. We found a place to sit and I wrapped up the little ones in a big wool blanket while Malachi dashed off to put the cookies under the picnic shelter with the food everyone else had brought to share.

The drumming began, and though I had no instrument of my own, I felt the vibrations reach into my very soul. It was a magical time, sitting there on the lake shore, beneath the dark, naked trees, under a cloudy winter sky that once in a while thinned enough for the cold white glow of moonlight to shine through. Rob, who sat near us, offered the use of his many drums for the kids to try. Malachi was quick to take him up on the offer and thoroughly enjoyed himself. Later, he cut and served pie to everyone around the circle.

I had no intention of getting a drum for myself but I found a second hand djembe drum for Malachi soon after that first gathering. I eventually felt that I would like a drum, too, so I got a bodhran, after a lot of anxious, thoughtful wavering on what kind of drum to get. I felt that, in the end, a bodhran is the most appropriate for me when I consider my personal heritage. I have enjoyed getting to "know" my drum since then, and enjoy playing both Malachi's and mine. The little ones also enjoy playing on both, along with their own small homemade drums.

The gatherings are nice for me since everyone who comes is open and accepting of everyone else. I  have never heard an angry or ridiculing word and everyone radiates happiness, love and contentment to be in that place, at that time. For the first time I feel able to let my feelings build up, unchecked, and find expression without worrying about what others think. For me, this has been a huge deal since I have always held back on everything, often struggling with the idea that we must do what we do not like or want to do, and if we allow ourself the freedom of unbridled joy, we are somehow "less" than those who go through life with a stoic resolution of performing "duties". I missed out on so much, and it was all my own doing. Over the past few years, I have slowly come to question and reject this notion. Certainly we must sometimes do things we would rather not do, but to be suspicious of happiness? To actively try to NOT let yourself feel "too" excited and joyful? That's kinda effed up.

So, it has been a good thing. Anyway, I got this super fun red fabric earlier this year and knew I wanted to make Malachi a "drum shirt" with it. He normally is a t shirt and jeans type of guy but something fun, loose and flowy is nice to dress up in for these kind of gatherings. I had exactly the pattern I wanted to use - the Mens Breeze Shirt by Twig and Tale - and last week I finally cut it out and sewed it up.

Alas, disappointment struck as he tried it on and wiggled and writhed to get it over his head and forced down around his torso. It was, simply, too small. Nooooooo! I didn't have enough fabric left to make another one in a larger size and I looked in dismay at the finished shirt that he could not use. I tried it on myself and thought it fit around my body, it was tight at the hips so I couldn't use it as a shirt. Benjamin, the  next boy in line, is much too small for the shirt. I posted about it on the Twig and Tale facebook group and one lady suggested adding in wedges at the sides to expand the hip area. I had enough scraps left to do this, and it worked brilliantly! The shirt, however, was a weird length on me. Not short enough to be worn as a shirt yet far too short for a dress. I didn't want to shorten it since I had made the option with pockets and cutting it shorter would ruin the pockets. I decided to add a band around the hem and this added a few inches of length. Just enough to make it a nice dress length, and, of course, I can wear it with leggings later in the year when it is too cold for bare legs.

Red is not a color I wear all the time and I had some doubts as to if it would look ridiculous on me or not, but I actually really like it. Other people may think it looks ridiculous, but that's ok - they are entitled to their opinion. πŸ˜‚ One nice thing about growing older is realizing I can wear what I want because the only person I need to please by my dress is myself. I've worn this twice so far and I know I will continue to wear it often. I definitely did not need another dress but all in all, I'm glad I have this one now!

I will make Malachi a bigger shirt out fabric left over from the shorts I made earlier this year. It's kind of hard to believe my 10 year old needs a bigger size than I do, though! He's growing up way too fast!

Much love,


  1. You look amazing in red! Glad you were able to salvage the shirt with that fine workmanship.

  2. Dear Sarah,
    Your description of meeting by a lakeside, winter trees and under a winter moon felt very real and wonderful. I could almost hear the branches and logs crackling, and the sound of drums flowing over and returning from over the water. It is good that you have found community, and that with time your introversion has softened. Having followed your blog for so many years now, that news was gladsome to hear.

    Very best fun with the dress that's singing of fall,

    Natalie in KY, where browns, duns, and pinks are sharing tree space


Thank you for your lovely thoughts!