For the past 5-ish years, I’ve made something for my niece (and, after he was born, my nephew) every year for xmas. I’ve put months into these things. I plan, and I spend more money than I have, and I work so hard, to the point where, every year, I wind up with numb fingers from knitting so much to get these gifts done.
Only once have I seen anything I’ve made for these children worn anywhere. Once.
Today, I peeked at my sister in law’s Facebook page to see if I could find a picture of the hat I made my nephew last year. He’s really into dinosaurs, and I knit him a dinosaur hat and mittens last xmas, and I thought, maybe, they might have made an appearance this year.
Instead, I found a picture of my niece in a hat very similar to the one I made her last year. But it was crocheted, not knit, and the colors were wrong. Obviously NOT the one I made her. There are no pictures of her in the one I spent a week on and tore my fingers up by knitting with the metallic yarn. None.
I love my niece and nephew. Knitting is how I express that. And this feels like a major rejection. My love isn’t wanted. Not good enough. It’s something to be shoved in the back of a closet and forgotten about.
And I can’t and won’t subject myself to that anymore.
I crocheted stuffed animals for them this year. My niece’s is done and waiting to be boxed and wrapped. My nephew’s has a few small things to be finished, then needs to be stuffed and sewn together. After this, I’m done. There will be no more knitting or crocheting for these two. I’m not going to pour my heart into something only to have it tossed aside. Again.
And, since I’m perpetually broke, this likely means no more gifts for them. Which sucks.
But I’m done.
So, after the major push to get everything ready for Christmas in 2012, I spent Christmas without my daughter. It was tough for me, and I wound up sinking into a major depression that lasted for months. On top of that, my main computer died, and I didn’t have the money to fix it, and I was under a lot of stress from multiple directions… I wound up totally caving in on myself, crawling into a hole, and hiding.
It’s been a long road since then. There have been ups and downs, but mostly downs. I’ve realized, only lately, that I need to majorly rethink the way I approach relationships – romantic, friends, and family – and life in general. I have a lot of changes to make, the biggest one being taking care of myself – in all senses.
There are many parts to this… One is putting myself first, and thinking about what I need and want to be happy, instead of pushing that to the back burner. This means allowing little indulgences, and rewards when I push myself to do things – and actually following through with those rewards. Doing things for me, and not just for everyone else – something that I rarely do, and have never really prioritized. Another part of this is not letting things dangle indefinitely – either wrapping them up, or letting them go. And another is, when I do something for others, not expecting anything in return. Not a thank you, not equal effort… If I don’t enjoy the giving of the gift in and of itself, without any strings attached, no matter how small, then it’s not a gift I should be giving – whether it’s time, energy, or a physical gift.
All of these things apply to knitting, too. So, for 2015, I have three goals.
1) When you leave a large number of WIPs together, and they get jostled around, yarn gets tangled, and dusty, and picks up cat hair, and things just get messy and complicated – just like when you leave loose ends in life. As I work through my figurative loose ends, one of my goals is to go through my drawer of WIPs and sort them out. Figure out what’s worth saving, and what needs to be frogged. Holding onto all of these is holding up my needles that I could be using for other things. So, anything that’s worth saving, I want to finish – or, at least, make decent progress on. Anything that’s not, I want to frog and, hopefully, find new life for the yarn.
2) Giving gifts is great, but so is selfish knitting. The fact is, there are very few people in my life that appreciate how much goes into every little piece as much as I do. There are a couple, but really… I put so much work into these things, and never really do anything for myself. It’s not just knitting – I’ve long lamented that every cent I earn goes toward bills, that I never take time for myself, that I’m always being dragged in this or that direction, that I never get anything that I want… And, honestly, that’s all on my shoulders. Nobody is going to take care of me the way I want to be taken care of – except myself. I need to do more for me – be more generous with the time, money, and energy I put into making myself happy. So, one of my goals this next year, is to do just that. To do more things for me – that means knitting those things that I want so badly, but never can justify simply because it’s for ME. I deserve these things just as much as anyone else. So I’m going to have them.
3) Along that line… Giving gifts is still something I love to do. But my final goal is to change how I go about it. I’m not going to pour months of my time into things for people who don’t appreciate it, because I always wind up hurt. Instead, I’ll put myself out there for people who I know DO appreciate it, and others… Well, there are things other than hand knits. And I’m going to stop expecting anything back. No more 3-month shawls, only to get a towel and an insulting book in return. If I put 3 months into something for someone, then that’s my choice, and I can’t expect them to reciprocate – especially if they don’t know and -can’t- return the effort, even if they did know. All I can do is give, and hope that it’s accepted, and let go of everything else… And this is the hardest thing for me – letting go. But I can’t control what anyone else does, how anyone reacts, whether that shawl is worn with love or balled up in the corner. But I can know that I put a piece of myself into that, to show that I loved them… And that’s enough.
There will be more later – I hope – but, for now, it’s time to close the computer and head to bed.
Here’s to a better tomorrow.
Merry Christmas everyone!
Hope your holiday is full of love, hope, and happiness – and none of that icky drama (family or otherwise) that seems to hang around this time of year.
Looking for the answer to life, the universe, and everything?
….I sure don’t have it. Bah.
My hands have been achy this week. Possibly because I’ve been using them… But the jury is still out on that.
Managed to get almost all of one project finished, just waiting on some yarn to do the last bit. Half of the (not so) super secret first project is done, too. But, of course, I can’t show any of this.
What I can show, though, is my organization progress. It’s not perfect – nowhere near. But, considering how bad it was, and the fact that I can’t afford to buy organizers this month, I think it came out pretty damn good.
Notice, too, that the cat miraculously changed in the process of cleaning! It’s magic! 😉
Next month… The closet of doom!
I should be cleaning and organizing right now. My bedroom/office is overrun with papers and boxes and all sorts of crap that needs to be taken care of… But I’ve got no energy – or, at least, no motivation.
I have a good amount of yarn sitting in cardboard boxes, with nowhere to put it. All of my project bags have at least 2 projects shoved into them… And I keep having to hunt down patterns that I only put down maybe an hour before!
All of this has led me to the realization that I really need to break down and buy more organization materials. I need drawers (or at least bins) to put my yarn in. I need separate shelves for my knitting stuff (my regular bookcases are packed with my reading books!) I need somewhere to put my patterns I’m working on that doesn’t involve having to get them in and out of a binder. And I need storage for my finished items that don’t have a home yet – including gifts!
I keep meaning to get more storage space, to clean out my closet, to get organized, period… And it keeps getting pushed to the back burner. There’s more important stuff to spend time & money on. Yarn “needs” to be bought, patterns “need” to be knit, bills actually do need to be paid, and work really does need to get done. And, I need to spend time with the midget, and take some time (and a little money) for myself, too… Doesn’t leave much for organization.
At the same time, all this clutter can’t be helping my mental state lately. Everything just piles up, and it feels like the same is going on with my life – everything piling up, nothing getting taken care of, it’s just pushed aside to be dealt with if/when it becomes a problem.
I think (well, ok, I know) I need to commit to working on organizing things – both physically and mentally. It’s just hard to get started, and to keep going, and not slide back to the spot where things are perched precariously and any wrong move could send them tumbling down. It’s not a good way to live in any sense.
Anyone have any energy or motivation to spare?
Apologies for the off-topic, non-knitting-related post. Will return to regularly scheduled nonsense soon.
I’m sorry if I’ve been unresponsive or entirely absent the past few days. Normally, this is the point where I would make excuses for why I’ve been MIA – I’ve been tired, or busy, or life has been nuts. When I was younger, I might even have concocted a story about why I’d been out of touch… Though, to be fair, when I was younger, we weren’t expected to be available for IMs and emails almost 24/7, so a “stomachache” could feasibly cut you off for at least a day or two – not that I didn’t have more than my fair share of those, but that’s a whole other issue.
Anyways, I think it’s time I finally shared the truth about what goes on in this screwed-up head of mine. This isn’t easy for me to share – I’ve been going over how I wanted to say it over and over again for days now. There’s so much I want to share, but at the same time, I’m worried that, when people know just how nuts I really am, it’s going to make things worse. But, at the same time, it doesn’t help anything when people think I’m ignoring them, and having to answer a whole bunch of questions about why I’ve been so quiet just makes it harder to go back to how things were. Hopefully, this will help with that a bit.
I have anxiety issues – that much is known to just about everyone I know. It comes out in everyday interactions, I’m sure, talking about the neighbors, or my mom, or sometimes even Cheyenne. Or certain situations that involve going out in public that make me really nervous. Or answering phones – god, I hate the phone. But it’s much more, much deeper than that.
The best way I’ve come up with to explain it is like this… I’ve got this little, metaphorical bucket that I carry around with me. Every time I interact with people, whether it’s in person, online, on the phone, etc, a weight or a rock or something goes into that bucket. How big it is depends on the situation – who it is, where it is, what happens. Some things, like one on one online chats, don’t add too much. Others, like phone calls, or going out in public, add much bigger pieces. If something is really humiliating – if I unknowingly do or say something wrong – or negative in some way, it’s like adding an entire brick. It can add up quickly or slowly, but eventually, that bucket becomes full. As it fills, it gets harder and harder to keep up the “normal” charade, and once it’s to the point where I can’t carry anymore… Well, that’s when the real fun begins.
Now, this isn’t something new for me. I can remember many, many times where I’ve gotten to this point over the years. Even as a child, I would try to get out of school – I spent a lot of time sitting in the principal’s office, crying, wanting my mom to pick me up and take me home, but not really knowing why, except that I did not want to be in school. When I did manage to stay home for a few days, I’d always dread going back, because there would be all those questions – where was I, was I ok, etc etc… Sometimes they came, sometimes they didn’t, but the utter dread, that knot deep in my stomach and swelling in the back of my throat was there. I never had perfect attendance. Ever. I quit two jobs because of it – I just couldn’t handle dealing with customers. And the longest I ever held a job, there were a few times where, even though I was great at it, my attendance sucked, and was in jeopardy of losing it a few times. Even when I went to ITT, had a 4.0 GPA for all but 1 quarter, I was disqualified from honors things because of my attendance record – because there were some days, some weeks, where I just couldn’t do it.
I’ve described it as panic attacks in the past, but after my research over the past few years, that’s not really what it is. I don’t think that I have the physical symptoms… It’s more like, well… Sheer terror. It’s like my fight or flight response goes off all the time, except I’m pretty sure that I’m lacking the “fight” part, so every inch of me wants to flee – to hide in some safe place until the danger is gone. Except, there’s no physical danger – it’s all in my crazy, crazy head. If I’m pushed – really pushed – I can usually manage to get through whatever I need to, but each thing that happens when I’m going through one of these rough spots is like piling on the bricks in that tiny little bucket. It gets to the point where I just can’t do it anymore.
That’s what it’s been like the past few days – I just haven’t been able to do it. The thought of talking to anyone – online or off – has been wrecking my nerves. Even dealing with Cheyenne and my mom has had me at the end of my rope. It’s not their fault, it’s not anyone’s fault, and I’ve been trying hard to hang on to some semblance of normalcy, at least for Cheyenne’s sake, and dealing with the bare minimum on SL so I don’t have the added pressure of having no money, but pushing myself there has left me completely drained and unable to deal with much else. A facebook comment here and there is just about all I’ve been able to handle – and even then, responding to any comments has been out of the question.
Now, the good thing is, I’ve been through this before, and I know that, given time and somewhere, mentally or physically, that I feel “safe”, I can get through it, and get back to “normal” – but that’s another part of the issue – I haven’t felt that safety anywhere lately. If I’m in my room, I’ve got the neighbor’s music blaring half the time, or Cheyenne wanting to come in, or my mom’s voice running through my head, telling me all the things I need to get done now – or I’m worried about money, or dealing with this or that, or whether I’m going to be able to come up with an animation to make money… The list goes on and on. And, really, I have nowhere else to go. The only time it really quiets down is when I’m either curled up in bed with my earplugs in, or when I have my music blaring on my headphones and a game pulled up on the computer, and am essentially drowning the entire world out with noise and mindless activity (and my own bad singing if nobody else is home or awake.) Neither one is foolproof – I’ll wind up worrying that I’m wasting time when I should be doing xxx or yyy, or I won’t be able to shut my mind up enough for it to make a difference. Eventually, though, I manage to work it out, and get through it, and come out the other side… And deal with all of the questions, and negativity from people who think I’m ignoring them or have abandoned them or that I’m just not as good of a friend as they thought I was because I wasn’t there.
Sadly, I’ve lost a lot of good friends over this. Especially if my current “safe place” is being lost in conversation with a single person. It’s happened before – there have been times where I’ve lost whole groups of friends because I went through a bad point, and there was one person who helped me through it, but I couldn’t deal with any more socialization than that. I’ve never felt comfortable saying that it was because I’m nuts – it feels like an excuse, even though I know it’s not. Though, I guess, it was only recently that I came to realize that maybe it’s not just an excuse, that maybe I really do have a type of crazy that most people don’t have, and just don’t understand. Doesn’t mean I get a free pass from trying, but…
Anyways, that’s where I’m at right now. I’m not sure if I’m totally out of the woods yet this time around, but I’m working on it. And, honestly, I think writing this out has helped a lot. Takes away a lot of the fears about what’s going to happen when it finally blows over – if someone’s going to get upset because I’m screwed up in the head, going to take my mental issues personally…. Then they’re probably not so healthy to deal with anyways.
And I really am sorry if I’ve ignored someone, or not been there when I was needed the past few days. I’m trying my best.
Thanks for listening, and for not judging too harshly.