Writing by Freya Bennett // photograph by Karolina Jackowska
Many years ago, I tried to knit myself a nose warmer. It was a cold Melbourne evening and I thought I had stumbled across an ingenious idea. Being an ex-Steiner child, knitting is my second language: an ability I learnt before reading. I’m sad to say, it’s not the fancy, knit-you-a-jumper type of ability but a simple bread and butter, can-knit-a-wobbly-scarf-in-my-sleep kind of ability. So knitting seemed like the quickest way to put my plan into action.
On this particular evening, I did what I normally do when a “brilliant” idea comes to me; I start ahead without thinking anything through. I was cold, bedtime was coming and I wanted a cosy nose. Surely it was that simple?
And so, sitting on my bed, I knitted a little square. I attached some string to each side so I could hold it in place by tying it around my head and voila! A warm nose all night! I was a genius! I was going to be rich! Or so I expected.
Alas, It wasn’t to be. It did not stay on, it was a quite itchy and sweaty and I looked like I was trying to create some kind of 70’s knitted cat costume. My venture was an epic failure and I was back to square one with how to deal with my cold winter nose.
Reminiscing on that evening’s activity got me thinking about cosiness. And it seems to me that the pursuit of cosiness is a much more realistic pursuit than our all-too-common goal of happiness. While being happy is lovely, happiness is an emotion and emotions are constantly ebbing and flowing, just as our anger or sadness won’t be forever, so too will our happiness pass. To pursue happiness as an end goal is a fruitless task. So I have decided to pursue the feeling of cosiness instead.
The oxford dictionary defines cosiness as ‘a feeling of being warm, comfortable and safe, especially because of being small or confined.’ And I don’t know about you, but all I want in life is to feel warm, comfortable and safe.
As an anxious child, I assumed adulthood would provide me some relief from my fear of not being in control, that the simple state of being an adult would mean I would no longer feel anxious, worried or scared. I have since learnt it is quite the opposite. Not only do I still feel anxious, but I also no longer have an adult forcing basic self-care on me such as bedtimes, limited screen activities and no caffeine or sugar.
The self-care movement is strong but I feel it has lost its way a bit. It has become more about consumerism and the ‘treat yo self’ mentality that we’ve misplaced what basic self-care actually looks like. And so I propose we look to cosiness as way of coping with the unknown of being an adult.
Think back to the times in your childhood where you felt the safest and I can almost guarantee you, cosiness featured in there somewhere.
I remember sneaking into my mum’s bed many nights during my childhood and snuggling beneath the warm covers, looping her arm under my head so I could feel extra safe. I remember going to bed in winter with my trusty hot water bottle, relishing the warmth as it radiated under the covers. I remember driving to Sydney in the very early hours of the morning, a bed made for me on the backseat, no seatbelt required, #90schild. Friday night movies on the couch, giggly sleepovers with friends, and my first kitten, so many of my happy childhood memories are about cosiness.
So I challenge you to pursue cosiness with me. If you are feeling a bit lost in this thing called adulthood, ask yourself ‘how could I be more cosy right now?’ It could be as simple as boiling the kettle for a cup of tea, putting on an oversized jumper, heading to the library to soak up the collective cosiness and I guarantee you’ll feel a little bit safer.
Let’s forget about the pursuit of happiness, a quest that will inevitably end in failure as our emotions fluctuate and let’s instead find comfort in cosiness.