Monday, February 20, 2012
Well. I had hoped to photograph some FOs this weekend to show off to you, but found myself flattened by the stomach flu. Friday night on the way home from work, I not only threw up multiple times on the bus (luckily I was carrying my knitting around in this holey plastic bag and just had enough time to yank the knitting out of the bag before it began), I also had to stumble off my train halfway home to throw up multiple times on the platform, and then another upheaval after I got off at my trainstop at home. My roommate found my under the blankets in fetal position. He kindly bought me Gatorade, ginger ale, and bananas. Man, Gatorade never tasted so good (it has since reverted to being disgusting) I spent Saturday limp in bed, listening to Harry Potter audiobooks on YouTube, with just enough energy to rouse myself every 10 minutes to hit "next." But last night I found myself craving CHICKEN (after a steady diet of saltines and Ginger Ale) and took that as a good sign.
So instead, here are some knitting UFOs I've been chipping away at, off and on these past 2 days, when I've had the energy:
I did have grand plans to finish up my dress this weekend, but life gets in the way sometimes. I tend to ask a lot of myself, forgetting to celebrate what I've accomplished in the rush towards getting on with the next thing, forgetting that sometimes what I've done already is a lot in itself. Recently, since August really, I've been asking myself to be more forgiving of myself, to not pack it all in so tightly.
It may sound silly, but sometimes I felt like I was letting down the people who follow my blog if I didn't produce "enough" - would they find it boring? Would they not like me anymore? Maybe I "needed" to make this and then that and fill this quota (1-2 garments per month? But that sounds so slow!) I think that's what I found so disturbing about Tilly's post way back when. Not only did it feel very personal - here's the reasons I don't follow your blog anymore, and the reasons your blog doesn't measure up - but it didn't give much room for people to evolve and their blogs to evolve with them. Because for me, part of being nicer to myself means not pressuring myself to make more things just for the sake of having something new and shiny to showcase. One small step backwards for ayenforcraft, one giant step forwards for Jessica.
Tied in to all of this is the realization that I need to actually carve out dedicated relaxation time for myself. Maybe this comes intuitively to most people; to me, it does not. It was actually something of a revelation. But after not one but three massage therapists, over the course of 6 months, told me that I have a very, very tight back "and should really come in here more often!" (my wallet protested that it would prefer to spend my small self-pampering budget on yarn or fabric, never mind that bending over crafts projects may very well contribute to knotted shoulders, sh!), I skipped on over to Amazon to look for some self-massagers (teach a man to fish ...) and found this intriguing little Accupressure mat which I've been using almost nightly since it arrived, and sometimes in the middle of the night if I've woken up and can't get back to sleep.
See those plastic spikes up there? Yeah, ouch! That was my first reaction. But wow. The description tells you that it may take a couple minutes to get used to the poking sensation, but gradually it will shift into a warm tingling sensation as blood begins flowing into your back (it's supposed to improve circulation; increased circulation = increased healing and decreased stiffness)
The interesting thing is that some nights, as I'm lying there, I find myself tensing up in reaction to the pricking of the plastic points. It's almost a reflexive self-protective stance against the initial discomfort. Yet it is precisely those nights that I do tense up that it takes the longest for the "warm tingling sensation" to kick in. When something in life is hard, our first instinct is to tense up and face down the challenge. But it's not healthy to continually wind ourselves up more and more tightly, and sometimes we have to let pain into our lives in order to get through one period and on to the next phase of our lives. Repression is not resolution, and often the fastest way to get past a situation is to go straight through it.
Does anybody else ever wonder if making clothes will just be yet another phase in their lives vs. a hobby that will stick for the long run? Lately I've wondered that more and more. I think it has filled a really strong creative need in my life for a number of years now, and I have no doubt that I will probably always tinker with my clothes in some capacity. I also know it has shifted my personal style in distinct but also subtle ways, but I don't know that I will always feel the need to fill my wardrobe with items that I made from scratch.
Has this merely been a creative vehicle to help me through to the next stage? I do know I have many other creative interests, but I also know that I've always loved expressing my personal style. I guess this is what my dad calls "the fog of war" (in reference to the McNamara documentary/film of the same title) - patterns emerge only in hindsight, in the moment they are all hazy shades of gray, the merest hints of shapes and patterns. I have no regrets, of course, merely gratitude that I had a creative outlet not only allowed me to express myself and learn something new, but also let me write and find community with wonderful, likeminded folk.