𝔬𝔫 𝔪𝔞𝔡 𝔰𝔠𝔦𝔢𝔫𝔠𝔢: a ramble

(this got much deeper and more personal than i intended lol)

immediately when i became interested in sewing, in the winter of 2021, i was referring to my projects as “frankenstein’d clothes.” that was when my identification with the mad scientist archetype was really solidified as my Personal Brand.

it had started much earlier, though. in high school english, when my class read Frankenstein, i was embarrassed to admit to my friends how much i identified with Victor. (he’s the worst, i know, but listen, incredible self-centeredness and deadbeat dad-ness aside.) even as a little kid, i would take various pieces of garbage, attach them to each other with scotch tape, and call it my “invention.”

(when you asked me what i wanted to be when i grew up, i would invariably answer, “a scientist!” but by high school, i had realized that it wasn’t going to happen. i have an artist brain. it can do math when it has to, but dear god, it does not want to.)

i started sewing on january 6th, the day of the M@GA insurrection here in the US. i was scared, and angry, and needed an outlet. i wanted to take something apart and put it back together again wrong. i wanted to wear it, so everyone could see the mess inside my brain and heart for themselves.

by the time the hustle culture grabbed me by the throat and i started selling my sewing projects, i had decided that the “frankenstein” thing was an obvious gimmick for my shop. but it’s gone beyond being just a shallow advertising tact. i’m really in love with it. and i’ve been thinking, lately, about why that is.

i remember my childhood “inventions.” they had no practical purpose (much as i might have pretended they did). i was just consumed by the allure of safety scissors and elmer’s glue, and needed to make something silly. and it always delighted my parents. they really enjoyed my mad creative spirit.

as we get older, people start to have more expectations for our creative pursuits. we start to want them to be objectively “good,” or “useful” – to either make money, or at least really impress people. it’s a crushing pressure that can suck the fun right out of the process. but i probably don’t have to tell you that.

so that’s part of what the mad scientist theme captures for me: the unfettered, childish delight of creativity, and recapturing that spirit for myself. feeling free to experiment and take delight in it, even when (especially when?) it comes out “wrong.” letting your emotions take the wheel.

there’s a darker aspect to it, too. i mentioned identifying with Victor Frankenstein. i wrote that part yesterday, and had to stop mid-sentence when i got queasy from not having eaten much of anything yet. and it started me thinking about Frankenstein again – searching up fanart, feeling something resonate in my gut. the rest of that day was a bit of a depressive spiral.

i was out of college by the time i realized i had ADHD; and it wasn't until very recently that i’ve admitted to myself there’s definitely some autism going on there, too. maybe it’s only one or the other, but i think it’s probably both (which, if you’re not familiar, is quite common). accepting and getting to know my neurodivergent brain has been a huge focus of my life for the past few years. i functioned so well within the narrow structure of K-12 school, and decently in college. but since then, i’ve felt completely adrift.

so in retrospect, it’s stupid obvious why i related to Frankenstein so much. because god damn it if that isn’t a story about neurodivergent creativity trying to find a place for itself in a neurotypical world. if that isn’t a story about two people who are disabled in different ways (Victor and the Creature), which makes it all the more tragic that they end up at odds with one another. and if that isn’t a story about what happens when you just assume a young adult with a weird brain will be fine on their own and leave them to their own devices, only to be making surprised pikachu face later when they hyperfixate so hard they forget to eat, then promptly have a complete mental breakdown.

this brain of mine functions best with structure, but craves total freedom. it obsesses over creative pursuits so intensely that i am burnt out within days, weeks, or months, and left feeling hollow and hating myself for losing motivation. i always try to run before i’ve learned to walk, and it often works – but i never tell anyone, because they’d think i’m bragging.

trust me. i’m not bragging.

i don’t know how to end this. i just really wanted to express what appeals to me so much about the “mad scientist” archetype. it’s the elation, and the struggle. it’s about being a big freakin weirdo. it’s about being queer and fringe and brainweird and learning to love that as deeply as i love whatever my hyperfixation-of-the-month is.

i’m a person who tries really hard to control how others see me. i guess this is a way for me to let a little madness out into my public image, in a controlled way. under the surface is a gushing, churning storm – but i’d rather have you look at my cute little grinning baby in a lab coat, i think.