Literally meaning ‘tattered rags’, ‘boro’ is a centuries old type of Japanese folk textile. Layers of hemp and cotton scraps – much cheaper than silk – are mended and patched together to create a durable and warm fabric. A single piece of boro would be continuously mended and passed on through generations, each seamstress adding her own style of ‘sashiko’, intricate patterns made with a simple running stitch.
There is a pile of jeans in the back of my wardrobe. A pile I wish was much, much smaller. They taunt me. Make me feel bad about not fitting into them anymore. One day, when I felt particularly shitty about having to add another pair to the pile, it hit me. Sure, there is the obvious benefit of having a bunch of perfectly fitting jeans ready to go in case I ever miraculously wake up a completely different shape. But does it outweigh the constant confrontation with a body I no longer have?
So I cut them up.
The old patches are worn with memories and thin as lace. I console myself with the thought that a particularly expensive, beautiful and above all brand new pair is at least finally appreciated, after years of waiting for a bout of stomach flue.
Now, I am slowly sewing the scraps onto an old denim shirt, hoping to turn it into a jacket one day. I stitch for future seamstresses to accept the transience of the female body and add patches of their own. I stitch to pass it on to the generations of women after me, who will wear it and feel invincible.