This winter, after a few weeks of feeling pretty down, my spirits were lifted in the oddest place—a diner bathroom in Burlington, Vermont. The walls were decorated with quotes, and on the side of the stall I happened to enter was this from Eleanor Roosevelt: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
Just that simple reminder did me a ton of good. You can almost imagine Eleanor saying it with a bit of sternness in her voice; but only because she knows you are capable picking yourself up and dusting yourself off. I remember thinking how lovely it would be to find messages like those more often, which is why I was so pleased to come across Miami-based artist Augustina Woodgate, who sews little poems into the tags of thriftstore clothes, at work in the video, above. (Video link here.)
I love the idea of taking a worn pair of jeans off the rack to discover a poem or quote hidden there, a secret meant for me to find.
Woodgate seems particularly interested in people engaging with poetry that they may not otherwise read, but I’m more excited by the idea of the little bits of light you can bring to someone’s day with such a simple act. Imagine if we all grabbed some paper, a pen, and a pack of tiny safety pins and left a trail of messages in our wake? Just that small anonymous connection to another person could do wonders.
Related posts: poems as gifts: don wentworth’s ‘past all traps’