a yarn about yarn

So for many months I have followed some internet groups and forums for people who like to crochet.  I love that people share pictures of their work, finished items, works in progress, ask help for gauges or needles or yarns, or seek advice, but yesterday morning I noticed that the majority of the posts I had recently seen started out with self-defeating comments like, “I know it’s not great but” or “it’s not the best” and nonsense negative talk of this type…SO being the kind of person I am, I made a general post on one of the sites called Crochet Addict.  I wrote that everything everyone makes is amazing.  That we are women who enjoy an “old-fashioned” hobby and I love how people seek feedback, but could they please not so often include negative comments, such as I described above, that couldn’t we agree that it is amazing that any of us make things at all, and appreciate it, without women putting themselves down…

So I noticed during my lunch break at work yesterday that 390 people had “liked” my post but that 41 people had made comments.  So I looked at what the comments were.  GOOD GRIEF People!!!???  Needless to say, my uplifting and positive comment was met with many grossly distorted interpretations and then comments about how ‘bullies who have confidence are always wanting to tell other people how to feel’ and how ‘maybe some of us who have suffered 43 years of abuse don’t have the confidence in our work that you do’ and ‘why would you tell people how to think or ask for help’ and another one who wrote, “you know men crochet too don’t you” …Over-Thinking much ladies??!!  Oh my goodness…I was just trying to share some positive vibes, to encourage some of these women to take pride in their work and their tasks!

So I deleted my comment and I deleted myself from the group and “un-joined” the forum…ALL I was trying to do was to remind these people that anytime we sit down to create something, is IS worthy of praise, however elementary or stupendous our skill level might be…AND instead, and I guess I should have expected it, people chose to read into my words, WAY more, or different meaning, than I intended…I felt sort of sad and then sort of annoyed…BUT then the light bulb came on in my head, as it often does minutes or hours or days after an event, and I realized that negative people are always going to find the negative, in anything, no matter what…they lack the ability to read my simple words, and fail to interpret the intent because they are seeking to find the bad in all and everything…and then I felt kind of sad for them and a little sad for myself, as I did love seeing the different stitches and patterns that people shared.

I really wasn’t aiming to tell women how to “be” and was just reminding them all that there is no need to put yourself down, ever!  So I am back to YouTube only for my crocheting tutorials and Pinterest for my ideas and I learned a lesson…no need to try to share my positive view, I’ll do like my boyfriend advises and just keep my upbeat-ness to myself  😉


“Never Not Broken”

I recently read about a Hindu goddess called Akhilandra who is thought powerful because she is broken.  I like this, mostly because it is in complete opposition to “our” modern American cultural beliefs and philosophies that seem to constantly remind us, women especially, that broken equates with defeat, failure or weakness.  Her name in Sanskrit literally means never not broken, yet she is revered and honored because, her super-power if you will, is being able to constantly put herself back together again.  This touched me when I read it because one of the ways I most regularly describe myself and my life and my time on this planet is that I am a work in progress, and I’ve often felt like I have failed, because the progressing and the working seems to be ongoing, like I never get “done,” yet here is a goddess who is honored highly for just this…rebuilding and re-imagining, constantly.

It is not unusual for me to often feel  like peace will simply evade me forever, the continuous loop of fixing, failing, fixing, failing…but reading about Akhilandra made me think that it’s not the end of the world really, ( and honestly, we all know it NEVER is ) because, for every failure, when I felt so doomed or discouraged, however briefly or lengthy the sadness held, it was just a new starting point for something next.  Sometimes the next was better and sometimes it wasn’t, but nothing was ever the same.  This goddess reconfigures reality as needed, any time…At the start, at the end, some random middle, wherever and whatever… She takes all the broken bits and aches and tears, and reworks them fully knowing she will likely do it again sometime in the future…Yet, in all the images I found on the internet of her, she’s not sobbing in a heap of woe, wearing the same yoga pants she’s had on for days and eating Pringles right out of the pantry and Ben and Jerry’s right out of the freezer.  NO!  She is depicted wearing colorful exquisite sarees and riding, get this, a crocodile!  Talk about girl-power!!

I follow no religion and don’t have too many firm beliefs but I do believe this; things can always be worse, and we can always try to do better.  I like that in Hinduism there is a goddess for pretty much any need you might have.  There is Parvati, the gentle goddess of love, there is Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge, there is Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity, and it seems that if something ails you or hurts you or troubles you, yes, they’ve got a goddess for that.  My friends who are Christian will tell me that this is what God does for them, any need they might have, they put their trust in their faith and let God handle it.  They will also tell me that their God will love me, whole or broken.  That idea comforts me too.

I thought too about how many times I have comforted my broken daughter, or a broken friend, and how many times my mother and my friends, did the same for me.  I’ve felt power in the healing of love, both coming to me and moving through me.  If Akhilandra has a theme song, it would not surprise me one bit to find it’s Beth Orton’s version of Ooh Child, or maybe Closer To Fine by the Indigo Girls.  As flawed and broken as I have felt in life, when I have needed energy to comfort someone I care for, somehow all my broken bits meld together and suddenly I am the healer, the fixer, and not the one in need of healing or fixing.  Maybe Akhilandra’s energy is all encompassing in its brokenness and wholeness both, it’s love above all else after all.

I know some women who feel broken right now.  Some feel broken by the men they thought really loved them and on whom they thought they could depend.  Some feel broken by the constant charlatan-like chant and chatter in between their own ears, self-defeating and self harming always.  Some feel broken by the jobs they thought they really wanted or careers they thought were worth pursuing.  Some feel broken by their own bodies with angry cells clustering together and revolting against them, trying to beat them down.  Some feel broken by their desires for food, alcohol, shoes, vacations, all trying to fill their feelings of emptiness, yet none ever succeeding in quashing the hunger pains.  I hope any of those women who might read this will reference some pages of the Vedas or the Bhagavad Gita and feel some of this goddess power.  I like that whatever I believe, or you believe, is what ultimately gets us through the night.  I like thinking that there are entire religions and principles that give us peace with our thoughts, strength and power, and forgiveness for our failings, and I guess most importantly, the confidence we need to believe we can always try again.  I like thinking that every time I stumble I can dust myself off and regroup.  I like thinking that there is a cool chick wearing bright cloths, scarves, and a sari and steering a crocodile, ready to swoop me up anytime I fall.

Sunrise, Sunset, and all the space between…

A lot happens in a day, in a season, in a year, in a lifetime…we have lots of time & space & moments of living between our first breath and our last.  Some of us will have far more days than we expected and some of us will have far fewer, but every day really counts…some days are clearly (no pun whatsoever intended) better than others, and even the hours of the days with events we would rather forget, well, they count too.  Those days, the hard ones, the struggling and the juggling, I’m told are what build character, and fair or not, some people have WAY more of those than seems just.  However, regardless of the number, or the frequency with which some suffer, if we focus on the moments of joy and the days or hours that are splendid, we are all better for it.  At least I believe this to be true, and if it’s not, I still prefer thinking about the nice & happy.  The first sunrise I ever saw, from that first sliver of flaming tangerine glow just peeking a hair above the horizon, until it sits big, round, and magically bright, just above the edge of the earth, happened only a few years ago on a chilly end of summer morning beside a boy I’d been dating a couple of weeks.  We had a first date in July that simply never ended, and I sat that morning, shivering on my beach chair in the stillness of predawn, wondering why people would want to be outside, in the dark, in the chill of September, but then it happened…that little shimmer forming on the water, and I kept my eyes open in wonder and watched, and then laughed at how silly it was, to grow up down the shore, and be “so old”  before I witnessed a sunrise.  It was one of the best mornings and moments of my whole life.  That boy, who I sat and watched surf fishing that morning, well, we are still on that first date that never ended, and today, his birthday, is the 18,264th sunrise of his life…despite the fact it is pouring rain today, is gray and gloomy, and his golf game got canceled, and it’s rather likely none of us will see the sun today at all…

I have spent some time during this relationship thinking about the space between…the space between a day and a night, a week and a month, summer solstice and winter, year upon year…I often wonder, too much some would say, about the “if-onlys” and the “should-haves” and think how so much of both our lives would possibly, well honestly very likely,  have been much better if only we had met when we were teenagers…My heart literally skipped a beat, like I mean I really felt like I was not breathing, that night that July, those many sunrises ago, the first time we met.  Hundreds of thoughts raced through my mind in those first moments, most notably the shocking realization that we had been teenagers at the same small high school at the same time, and had many mutual friends, and yet, never had I ever met him, not even once.  Even in those first minutes and then hours, and days of our first never-ending-date, I wondered how nobody thought to introduce us, how did he not notice or know me, and how did I not notice or know him??!!  I was a cheerleader and he was a drummer, we could have been quite the couple!  It was almost funny, and then sort of sad…the wondering, as we got to know each other, and learned each others stories, how much fun we would have had, how very different both of our lives would have been, could have been, had we only met then, instead of now…but we are not young, we do not have full lives ahead of us, we don’t get to have dreams of ‘how it’s gonna be,’ we don’t get to have visions of a wide open future of possibilities…we have only the time we have left, to try to now live the life we imagined…

I call him the drummer boy, but he is not a boy at all, and actually as of late, not even a drummer…Today he is 50, and plays percussion, and while I have known him for only 1,368  days, I sometimes feel like I have known him all my life, and honestly there are some other days, of which I am not nearly so fond, when I wonder if I know him at all…it’s not a complaint, really just an observation, and it reminds me of a Jane Austen passage; “It is not time or opportunity that is to determine intimacy;—it is disposition alone. Seven years would be insufficient to make some people acquainted with each other, and seven days are more than enough for others.”  This is of course from Sense and Sensibility, and anybody who knows me, knows that when I first meet somebody, I lack both.  

Some couples meet and click and ease, flawlessly, or so it seems, into a relationship.  We, the drummer boy and I, were not that kind of couple.  We met at a time that was confusing and uncertain for both of us…looking back, it’s always so easy to look back and see SO MUCH MORE CLEARLY, we probably should have, after our first few dates, agreed that “now is not the right time to try to start a relationship” for either of us…but we didn’t do that.  We dove in, straight down the rabbit hole, head over feet, despite many indicators and facts that, had we both had our sense and sensibility about us, should have made us stop or at least pause, but what happened, happened, and all we can do is move forward.  Not one of us can change our pasts, we just press on.  I still feel my toes tingle when he smiles at me, and his laugh is still like magic to my ears.  These things matter.  We aren’t young, and maybe we met too late for us to have had the kind of love, experiences, and lifestyle we would have wanted, and wish we could have shared together, but sometimes I feel like I’m still a teenager when I am beside him, or watch him making music.  Like F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote, “They slipped briskly into an intimacy from which they never recovered.”  In every sunset comes the promise of a sunrise.  In every mistake comes the learning.  In every rumination comes the understanding.  In every space between comes the living.