I figured, since so many of you have left lovely letters in my inbox, that I’d update you on where I’m at. :)
Since last we typed, I caught a virus which lead to an ‘exacerbation’ – basically, my asthma got uncontrollably worse due to the inflammation caused by the virus that had moved into my respiratory system. I’ve been on prednisone and a couple of new puffers in order to reduce the inflammation, and I am happy to report that I am *finally* seeing some improvement. I can breathe much better than I could last week, and though I am still coughing, it isn’t quite as all encompassing an experience as it has been. I can make it from the couch to the kitchen without gripping furniture for support (the shortness of breath has been off the hook) which is nice, and I actually managed to eat solid food yesterday.
Yesterday was the first ‘close to human’ I’ve felt since the virus hit on the 5th of September, and I pulled out a limited palette of things to play with in order to remind myself that I *could still paint*. Believe me, after ten days of doing nothing but moving from bed to couch to bed again, one can forget what one is made of, and that was definitely my experience.
I came into the studio and put on a movie on the lap top (Eat, Pray, Love), pulled out a journal a friend made me years ago, and made a solemn vow to myself that I would not judge the outcome. I would just *play* for the sake of playing. I reached for whatever delighted me (in this case, fluorescent pink paint, turquois pthalo, black pen, pink and blue Tombow markers, gold paint, a stencil, a couple of Faber Castell Pitt Pens, and a white paint marker) and I just made stuff for the sake of making stuff.
It was like getting reacquainted with my inner artist, who had been hiding in a blanket fort under a pile of Vicks scented Kleenex.
Oh, hello. Are you still in there? Think you might want to come out and play?
Painting while under the influence of NyQuil is really interesting. There’s something about this stuff that depersonalizes me – meaning, I don’t feel like myself at all while I’m on it. I feel like I’m outside of myself watching myself. It is very difficult to get in touch with what’s happening on the inside of the equation. Numb is a good descriptor, along with foggy, and pretty much ‘out of it’. Still, the flinging of paint without caring about outcomes let me reach through that fog so that I could shake hands with myself once more after ten or so days of being relatively unknown to myself. It was a bit like an archeological dig. Oh, yes. There I am, under the rubble of exhaustion and an overwhelming list of blown deadlines. There I am, still complicated as ever, still grappling as usual, still half bewildered and half determined, still somehow *here*.
I know that in the big scheme of things this ten day ‘down and out’ experience of mine is no big deal. I was able to adjust things, tweak things, beg off, switch out. I survived. My business survived. But it is *scary* when something like this happens and you have absolutely no control over it. There are no sick days to call in. There’s no one to pick up the slack. It’s just you and this alarming new normal wherein two hours of upright are too many, and you can forget about painting or writing anything coherent. You’re lucky if you can make tea.
It’s made me think. Made me wonder how I can create a life in which there is time for the inevitable frailties of the body. Made me miss being partnered up so that when the chips are down, there’s someone there to change the sheets and make the soup. Made me question the way I schedule myself down to the very last second of every single month, week, day, hour.
I’m still thinking.
Meanwhile, here I am, making the most of the time I have with you this morning by coming in here to share that I am alive and mending. I also wanted to share the journaling I did yesterday in my bid for freedom from the artless, NyQuil haze. Click through them to see them full size. They’re unusual for me. A bit on the psychedelic side, colour wise. Looser than my usual fare. Less concerned with outcomes. I like them a lot, and I especially like the honesty in the sentiment I included on gold paper. “I’m willing to find out…”
CLICK THROUGH TO SEE THEM FULL SIZED
And that’s me for now, on the mend.
NOTE: This post is part curated from my archives (the Bed Head Diaries), and part present day.
The world is hugely heavy right now, and my life is hugely heavy.
A purse dump of happenings:
I am in the middle of a unexpected move, which is a positive change, (I have a view that isn’t my neighbours doing the naked dash and a dishwasher and a gorgeous walk in shower, and my rent went up but only by about $50 a week), but it’s a change that came at crunch time for several projects I’m working on. This means I am a frazzled mess. Like, seriously frazzled. Grateful for my friends who show up big time and put up with the ‘I’m going to stick a fork in your face’ look that takes over my usually pleasant features while I’m a frazzled mess. And,
I had to put my lovely dog, Sasha, down at the end of May, which broke my heart and broke the dam that held back some long unresolved grief. And,
I am supposed to be going on vacation on from the 13th of June to the 17th of June, and this move, and all the work that is due has to be completed before I leave. And,
Anthony Bourdain died. I can’t even talk about it without crying. You have no idea what he means to me, what role he’s played in my spiritual lineage. I am devastated. And this triggered some more long unresolved grief. And,
My relationship with my ex has shifted from every Friday on my couch to I only ever see him when necessary. We are distant with one another. We are civil, but not warm. We are, finally, exes, and it feels fucking awful and I do not want this even though it’s what’s good for both of us at this time. And,
I have a huge tax bill about to come due, and it is very huge. Did I mention huge? It’s huge. And,
Other stuff I can’t talk about because discretion and not airing other people’s bad behaviour out on my laundry line. And,
The world. This whole fucking world. This scary, enormous fucking heavy fucking world.
This is me today.
I am trying for soft. I am trying for willing to be open to the possibility that everything is falling apart so better things can come together. I am trying for gentle, with myself, with you…
I am luggage under my eyes. I am so stressed, I can *literally* barely focus my eyes, which will *not stop twitching*. I am procrastitweeting and procrastiworking and procrastidoodling and procrastipanicking.
I am spent, but still pushing. I am my shadow written all over my face. I am ‘woe’ and ‘why me’ and #firstworldproblems and whine and wine.
I am also premenstrual, and I have been eating utter crap, and I am retaining water, and my eyes keep leaking without notice.
I am inconsolable, and walking around holding my guts in, and wondering what the point is. I am worst case scenarios. I am unable to recognize my own face in the mirror (who is this haggard looking person?) I am worn. the fuck. out. I am ready for a change, and yet terrified of what change will bring.
I am terrified. I am lonely. I am struggling. I am striving, but definitely not, at this particular moment in time, thriving.
Maybe you are some of the above, too, or all of the above or some combination of some of the above + stuff I can’t even imagine. Or maybe you’re just fine. (Could you send me some of that? With some dark chocolate and a Valium? Thank you.)
Wherever you’re at, I offer you this:
We’re going to be okay. I believe it even when I don’t believe it. I believe it because the story isn’t over yet. There is still story left in the story. We’re just in a really shitty part of the book. Let’s keep reading, okay? Take my hand. Hold on tight. Flip the page.
We’re going to be okay.
“Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief. Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly, now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.” – The Talmud
Hold my hand. We’ve got this. We’re going to be okay.
Things have been really heavy, both ‘out there’ and ‘in here’ for me over the last couple of weeks, and I’m feeling the need to unpack some of it today. I am going to hone in on the ‘out there’ stuff. Please bear with me, because these thoughts are flying out of my fingers faster than I can think.
Out There, there are conversations happening about racism and cultural misappropriation that I have felt convicted to attend because I teach spiritual things. As a teacher of said spiritual things, I find it really important to address things like sourcing our spiritual modalities with integrity, with respect for the cultures from which we draw our practices. My personal stance has been to examine all of my practices, and ask myself if they actually belong to me. I even went so far as to have a DNA test so I could get a grip on my blood lineage. What am I made of? What were the pre-Christian practices of my ancestors? A lot of this work has been inspired by Leesa Renee Hall, who teaches expressive writing, and runs a ‘Decolonize Your Ancestry’ program on her Patreon.
My public posts about these subjects (mostly on Facebook) have resulted in a lot of push back, sometimes public, but mostly in the form of things landing in my inbox or PMs. Included amidst the push back are thoughtful messages in which important questions are being grappled with, and those aren’t the kinds of messages I’m talking about. I’m talking about messages in which people seem to want to debate me on my stance, point out how my stance is wrong, express anger or disappointment in me, or tell me how my stance is making them feel bad about their stance.
It’s been hard, and annoying, because I’m not the sensitivity police. I can’t tell anyone else what’s right or wrong for them. I can point out blatantly racist content or marketing, but I stay in my lane, by which I mean that I will arrive to back up the voices of BIPOC, but I don’t ‘go after’ these things on my own initiative. And I don’t ‘go after’ individuals who appear to be misappropriating culture unless they’re bringing it into my spaces in a way that harms or disrespects BIPOC. I don’t mean to be telling anyone what is or is not okay for *them*. I take a stance about my own personal convictions, and I establish what’s okay and not okay in my *spaces*, but it seems that taking that stance is interpreted as issuing orders or assuming I know about the contents of your character or your own soul.
I’m not the boss of you. Just because I think something is wrong for *me*, doesn’t mean I’m saying it’s wrong *for you*. I have no idea what’s wrong for you. I prefer to let you figure that out for yourself. Honestly, I have enough work to do over here in this little puddle of Effy flavoured goo without taking on other people’s work as well.
Sometimes what happens, I think, is people feel personally convicted by my personal convictions, and that is super uncomfortable. The thing I’m convicted about not doing – for example, smudging, using the word ‘tribe’ to describe my on line community, using the word ‘gypsy’ when I mean ‘free-spirited and colourful lifestyle’, or chakras, or deities from lands and cultures that have nothing to do with my ancestral lineage – is something they really enjoy, and so my eschewing it makes them feel bad about doing it. Instead of examining why they are feeling that way, people feel free to inundate my inbox with why I’m wrong and why I should continue smudging or using the word tribe or why I should just shut up about all of this political stuff and make art.
Like, I didn’t ask them. You know? I’ve drawn my conclusions on my own after much education from BIPOC. My stance is not up for tweaking or debate. I didn’t take it lightly. I took it after much personal examination.
But I’m not saying YOU can’t do whatever it is you want to do. I may have a boundary around what we share in the temple space I run (Moonshine), but it looks like this – “In this space, I’m asking for sensitivity around the use of spiritual modalities that belong to BIPOC. I don’t want memes about smudging in here. I don’t want discussions of ‘spirit animals’ in here. What you do in your own personal practice is none of my business, but in here, let’s keep our discussions to spiritual modalities that we can claim based on our ancestry. So if we’re white, we source our spiritual practices from our European ancestry.”
It seems this has set me up for a lot of extra work, because people get *pissed at me* for this, or they examine their own conscience around this and want me to help them untangle it (which is great, but it’s not really my area of expertise). I have a handy ‘you must do as your conscience dictates’ ready for these kinds of messages, which feels like good boundaries, but I’m not sure what to do with the people that *get upset with me* over my stance. Like, how do I answer those messages? What do I do about those? How do I say ‘you know, your stance and integrity are none of my business, and I’m not auditioning to be your Jiminy Cricket.”
There is a feeling arising out of all of this that when people follow my posts, or read my blog, and ‘reward’ me with their time, attention, likes, loves, etc. they feel a sense of entitlement about what I post in those spaces. If I’m posting about racism or cultural appropriation on my personal Facebook wall, and it upsets them, they feel entitled to ask me for my (unpaid) time in helping them resolve those feelings. Like, they want to continue feeling good about me, or good about themselves for liking my content, so they ask me to help them feel better about *me*.
But it seems like what they’re really asking is that I change my stance so they can feel more comfortable. It feels like they’re asking me to stand down on the cultural appropriation issue. “Let me smudge, let me ‘namaste’, let me ‘Aho’, let me ‘spirit animal’ without questioning it, without investigating my own right to do so…Let me feel okay with myself so I can continue feeling okay about you…”
Um…so not my job.
Because, first of all, I can’t ‘let you’ or ‘prevent you’ from doing anything, except in the context of what’s okay to share in my spaces. I have those boundaries in my spaces, not because I want to be the sensitivity police – good gods, y’all, I have enough to do without adding that to my job description. I have the boundaries I have because my personal stance has attracted BIPOC into my spaces, and their safety from racist rhetoric and cultural misappropriation in my spaces *is my responsibility* as a holder of that space. If I’m welcoming in BIPOC, and then I’m encouraging or condoning practices that disrespect them or cause them harm, I’m a shitty facilitator. I don’t want to be a shitty facilitator.
But it seems that some people in my spaces are now uncomfortable. I hear things like “I’m walking on egg shells” or “I’m afraid to say anything”. So I’ve failed somehow, and I’m not sure how to fix it. Like, how do I say ‘this is my stance, your mileage may vary, just don’t bring it in here, please!’ in a way that won’t alienate people? Maybe that’s impossible. Maybe I should just accept that people will be alienated and maybe my content isn’t for those people.
It would be really great, though, if they could decide that for themselves and just wander away, because I didn’t sign up for this part – this part where people feel free to ask me to help them be okay with me *when they are obviously not okay with me*.
Like, it’s okay to not be okay with me. Be not okay with me. Own that. Don’t ask me to fix it, because that is not my job.
It takes an enormous amount of self awareness and self-accountilbity to question your own sense of entitlement to the spiritual modalities of BIPOC. Why do you feel entitled? There’s a treasure trove of healing to be done around that question and I admit it isn’t for the faint of heart. That I ask people to do that in my paid content means I have to show up for the consequences of asking that. I admit I was ill-prepared for that. I blithely included these requests for self-examination in Moonshine expecting that the people who were going to be attracted to this program would have already made some headway in this area. It didn’t feel like such a big ask that we switch out misappropriated spiritual practices for practices that were not stolen from other cultures. It felt, in fact, like a no brainer.
I’m teaching art witchery. For me, that doesn’t include smudging or spirit animals or shamanic journeying or anything else that’s been sourced (stolen) from lineages that are not my own. I, personally, have no desire to end up as a thread on this forum, where plastic shamans are called out and examined. I have no desire to steal culture when I have so much of my own rightful ancestry to explore and indulge. I have a primarily pre-Christian European Witchcraft based practice that uses art as its primary method of raising energy toward the attainment of my desires. That’s what I’m trying to present. That’s my area of expertise.
But it seems that because my witchcraft, which doesn’t include practices sourced from spiritual modalities I believe I have no right to use, bumps up against witchcrafts which include whitewashed, misappropriated spiritual practices, I’m now in an awkward position. I’m having to field a lot of ‘who do you think you are’ type ‘nobody tells me what to do’ style push back.
And I guess this is what I signed up for when I designed this program with requests that people respect BIPOC. Because in this time, and in this political climate, asking that people respect BIPOC is, apparently, super controversial (WTF?). Which makes me sick, because it really should be a no brainer. We are sourcing our energy from this land we’re living on – land we stole from First Nations. Let’s have some respect. We are sourcing our energy from this land we’re living on – land cultivated by and built on the backs of People of Color. Let’s have some respect.
Why is this so radical? Why is this such a big ask?
I don’t know, but I’m here, showing up in all the ways I can, answering the questions – even the ones that are insults in disguise – and I’m not going anywhere. I’m here for this. I’m here to keep asking this ask. I’m here to design content that asks for respect for BIPOC. I’m here to help you create a spiritual modality that can enrich your art journaling practice, to help you create an art journaling practice that can energize and inform your spirituality. I might be failing, but I’m listening, and I’m trying. And if you’re not interested in sourcing your spiritual practices in a way that respects BIPOC, my work is not for you. And it saddens me that there are those of you who feel that way, but that’s okay. I can deal. I know there are just enough of you *that are* interested in that, so I’ll turn my attention there in the certainty that what I do serves *you*.
Thanks for listening.
So, it’s been a long minute since last we typed.
Work has pretty much taken over my entire life, with paperwork being a major thing, along with accidentally writing two books (both Moonshine and Journal52 have become major writing projects without my intending for that to happen), doing as much art as possible for myself, and then this, my class release schedule:
Mixed Tape Monthly – Once per month – includes full length tutorials + PDF + speed painting
Moonshine – Includes a speed painting on the New Moon, and a full length tutorial + PDF + speed painting on the Full Moon + a monthly PDF ‘guidepost’ for each month + impromptu lives in the Facebook Group whenever needed, which I edit and upload to the classroom
Book Of Days – Two full length tutorials + PDFs per month + weekly lives in the Facebook Group, which I edit and upload to the classroom
Journal52 – which I design and write for once per week. This gets added to a formal classroom in my teaching network, and also posted on Patreon.
And then there’s the work of holding space for each of my groups (Moonshine, Book Of Days, and J52 – though, I have to admit that j52 is one of those lovely ‘no work required’ spaces where we just share our responses to the prompts each week). The emails, the newsletter updates when each class goes live with new content, the research, planning, and outlining or the writing for Moonshine…
In Search Of: House Elf
And then there’s the part where I have to feed myself – both body and soul, take care of my animals, clean my house, go to therapy, and maintain my friendships and family relationships, and maybe date (or ‘just hang out’ as the case may be).
And then there’s my deep need for solitude, doing nothing at all worth noting, and refilling a well that is in need of constant refilling with true crime documentaries, audio books, curiosity led studies into esoteric topics, indulging in the art classes I want to take so I can skills build, playing around with bullet journaling (because I needed another hobby).
And in the midst of all this, I’m planning a collaborative version of Book Of Days for 2019 called “Book Of Days All Stars” which will include at least 12 guest artists, one a month, with inevitable bonuses, and deep dive interviews.
So, you know. I’m pretty busy. <——–UNDERSTATEMENT It is no wonder at all that I spend most of my life in boy shorts, tank tops, and colourful buffs that keep my bed head in check.
But I’m happy.
So that’s a thing that should be noted, because you’ve all witnessed me slog through four years of grief of the kind that can take a girl out. You’ve all witnessed me boomerang back and forth between acceptance and denial over my marriage ending. You’ve all watched me navigate the terror that is watching your child decline into a serious mental illness that required hospitalization and treatment. You’ve all watched me date a few guys who seemed great until they didn’t. You’ve all watched me flail about trying to find my footing.
You watched while I moved three times in four years. You watched while I tried two different antidepressant medications that ultimately made me more depressed than I was before I tried them. You watched me grapple with the truth that my ‘depression’ isn’t ‘depression’ but rather trauma related symptoms that require unraveling to get better rather than the silver bullet pill might be. You’ve watched me come into awareness of my own value. You’ve watched me grapple with imposter syndrome. You’ve watched me make mistakes, and then scramble to fix them. You’ve watched me rise. You’ve watched me shine.
And now I’m happy, and stupid busy, and I haven’t had a whole lot of time (or inclination) to write about it all.
But hi. Here I am. Near the end of the third month of the year, dusting off the blog (which I am tempted to call ‘my journal’ instead because that feels so much friendlier and truer than ‘blog’), and typing what is true for me.
What is true for me:
I am in love with my work.
I am in love with my friends, both virtual and meatspace.
I am working towards becoming an LLC (limited liability company) in the next year or so, and I have already picked the name (9 Willow LLC, after a poem I wrote years ago, and also my favourite number + favourite tree).
I’m on my way to having my tax shit sorted.
I am writing my face off on the regular in a way I never have before – thousands of words a month – and I’m building books out of that writing.
I am coming into my own voice + style as an (eeeeeep) artist.
I am self-possessed.
I find myself unafraid of whatever is coming, because I trust myself to withstand it.
I am occasionally sad about things that are worth begin sad over, but I am not depressed.
I have wicked effective tools in place to help me deal with my anxiety (which is also trauma related, and not a chemical thing).
I am working hard at being as intersectionally feminist as I can be, watching out for cultural misappropriation in my work, ensuring that my spaces are as safe as possible for Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (because that is where my warrior self is occupied lately).
I had sex recently. I hope to have more soon.
I’m no longer holding on to a vision of my ex and I getting back together. I’ve let that go, let him go, so that our relationship can grow in the direction it should rather than the direction I want to force it into.
I have female friends to whom I am fiercely loyal and devoted, who are equally loyal and devoted to me.
I am going to become a grandmother (what we are all calling the Mimi) in July of this year.
I have relationships with all of my beautiful children, whom I love and would fight to the death to defend and protect. They see me. I see them. We all know we all have one another’s backs. I also love my daughter in law, who is so much like who my sister would have been before drugs, alcohol, and mental illness took her from me, that having her is like having a piece of my heart back in place. She’s also carrying my grandchild so I get to be that ridiculously doting mimi who feeds her and buys all the baby things, and looks forward to spoiling her grand bean rotten.
I no longer feel like I have no idea what I’m doing.
I feel capable and confident in my teaching abilities (like, teaching is my superpower).
The future feels full of promise instead of full of omgdoom.
I am shining brighter, because I’m no longer afraid of the attention that attracts.
I am (mostly) not concerned with those who ‘don’t like me’. or those who actively seek to take me down a notch. I’m not up for their tall poppy cutting shenanigans. I’m more concerned with serving and loving those who value what I offer, and I have become very good at acknowledging that there are many (200 each in BOD and Moonshine this year. Whoa!).
I am embodied more often than not – and for a dissociative girl, that’s saying a lot.
My therapy sessions have become less and less about my past and more and more about my present and future.
I’m a writer. Yes, I am. A Writer. And I am lucky enough that my work lets me stretch and flex that muscle daily.
I’m going to be fifty this year and I feel more beautiful than I’ve ever felt.
My body is rejoicing at recent lifestyle changes that mean my pancreas is no longer taxed with sugar and refined carbohydrates. I stuff myself on nothing but real food, like butter, veggies, meats, some fruits, nuts, and nothing that comes from the middle aisles of the grocery store, and I’m getting leaner as a result.
I have 90 patrons on Patreon who are happily soaking up weekly and monthly content, which makes me ridiculously happy.
I have two beautiful dogs, and one beautiful cat whose presence in my life means I never feel alone and also always have a reason to get out of bed in the morning.
The participants in my classes regularly offer testimonials about what my classes are providing for them, and that makes me ridiculously happy.
I recognize that I am a woman of integrity. My honesty is no longer up for negotiations. This is who I am. If you don’t want an honest friend, you’d best steer clear.
I am a metatron, a catalyst, a shadow dancer, a shame buster.
I have a bit of a social life (which, okay, requires the donning of pants and bras, but it’s worth it!).
I am well on my way to getting my ID sorted (P.S. note to self: get that guarantor form signed).
I feel adulty more days than not, where I used to feel like an orphan child wandering the world with no north star.
I am my own motherfucking north star.
I took the first three months of the year off of blogging because I really needed to settle into my new schedule, and also because I was kind of holding my breath, waiting for the boom to fall. This is a thing that happens to survivors of trauma. When things are good, and you feel mostly good, you aren’t quite sure how to take that in. You dismiss joy almost as soon as it lands, like shooing a beautiful bird off your shoulder, because the unexpected loss of it would be too much to bear. So I grappled with that. I leaned in to how I actually felt. I let the cracks in me become ever wider, the guards go down, and I started to nod at joy when it arrived and let it stick around for longer and longer. We are now well acquainted. I expect shit will happen, but I also expect it will pass.
I am no longer braced for an unexpected tragedy. I am ready to reach out from the deep dark soil of this first half of the year, stretch myself like a tender green shoot, and emerge transformed.
You’ll be hearing from me more often.
One of the things that helped me the most when I was first starting my creative business was learning from my peers. Any time an artist or teacher that I admired released a blog post or program about how they do what they do, I jumped on it. I probably spent in the neighbourhood of a thousand bucks in my first year of trying to navigate this whole ‘teaching on line and making a living with my art” thing!
Well, there’s this eBook out now, and it’s way less than a thousand bucks. It’s FREE, Y’all! If I’d had this resource, I would have been over the moon! AND I’d have had more money for paint!
Download the new, expanded “The Business of Art” Ebook and get interviews with dozens of professional artists who share their advice on building a career out of your passions and give practical advice on improving your skills, teaching courses, selling merchandise, marketing and more.
Get the Ebook Here
The Business of Art is available as part of the second Art Bundle for Good coming on December 6th. The first Art Bundle was a massive success, and this bundle is bigger and better. I bought the bundle last year (because there were so many artists I wanted to learn from featured in it) and this year, I’ve been invited to participate! YAHOO!
There are thousands of dollars worth of courses, resources, ebooks, etc. on topics like, painting, drawing, mixed media arts, digital illustration, creativity, marketing your art, and more all bundled together for one low price for 5 days only. It’s a fantastic deal that will definitely take your art and creativity to a new level.
The best part is that 25% of the Art Bundle for Good profts are going to support Courageous Kitchen, a Bangkok based charity helping refugees. The Art Bundle for Good is a great opportunity to get dozens of top art learning resources from many of the biggest names in the industry and do some good.
Check out the website and sign up to get the free ebook. I’m sure you’ll love it!
Love you! Have a fabulous Wednesday! I’ll be back in a jiffy with Journal52. xo
Yesterday, I cast on some luscious sock yarn and spent the evening knitting p5, k5 in the round until I had a cuff. Then I switched to straight knit.
I probably should have made it a bit bigger, but I’m okay with that. I like tight socks. I find them comforting. I like *slouchy* socks, too, and I aim to make these easy to scrunch down around my ankles the way I like. If they’re way too tight, well, I’ll turn them into fingerless gloves and cast on more stitches for another, larger pair.
Yesterday, my entire body said “I need to knit socks”. It wanted to make a thing for itself, like a hug for my toes. It wanted the pleasure of watching self-striping yarn self-stripe. It wanted to turn a heel. I could easily have argued with it. I mean, I don’t knit anymore. I had a retinal detachment about a decade ago, and the surgery to repair it left me with extremely wonky vision. My glasses only properly correct my right eye. My left eye can’t be corrected all the way without giving me double vision and crossed-eyes. I could wear contacts but they irritate my eyes so badly that I can only wear them for an hour or two before I want to scratch them out of my face. Furthermore, I didn’t have anything I needed on hand in order to do this thing my body wanted me to do. I had to actually PUT ON PANTS and leave the house in order to fulfill this desire. But yesterday was the kind of day that demanded that I listen to my body, so I listened, and I took a quick trip to the textiles store to pick up sock yarn and a set of double pointed bamboo needles.
After about a decade of not doing it at all, I picked it up again. Once I got the stitches cast on and the first few rows knit and purled up, I could go pretty much by feel. The gentle click of the needles was a balm on my soul some how. It’s an almost mindless pleasure, and I really need that in my life right now.
Knitting is something I taught myself how to do one cold wintery afternoon about eleventy million years ago. I got it into my head that I wanted to knit *socks* of all things. Not a scarf. Not something a beginner might start with, but SOCKS, and not just tube socks, which are hard enough, what with the four scary looking pointy needles, but socks with a GUSSET and a TURNED HEEL.
It took me a few days to puzzle it together, thanks to YouTube and a few excellent tutorials on the interwebs, and I was off, knitting socks. I knit about a half dozen pair in a frenzied marathon of knitting ALL THE SOCKS, and then I moved on to intricate lacy things on tiny circular needles with patterns that read like mathematical treatises on the nature of the universe.
Not long after, my left eye did its thing where it started to shed my retina, and that was the end of knitting for a long, long time. I had surgery, and for weeks afterwards, I had a massive air bubble in my left eye obscuring my vision. I also had a *lot* of pain. Knitting was the last thing on my mind. I mean, I couldn’t even *read* at that point, so over time, I forgot about knitting. It was just too taxing on my freshly healed eye. I put away my needles, gave my lovely skeins of wool away, and I moved on to something else.
But yesterday, my flesh and bones wanted it badly, so I listened, and today, I’m going to put on an audiobook (I’m listening to Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon), and I’m going to knit until my eyes demand I stop.
Tomorrow, I might tackle everything that’s on my plate. Tomorrow, I might decide knitting is stupid and a waste of time, or too much for my poorly eyes, but for today, I’m gonna knit, because it’s the simplest, most soul-nourishing thing I can think of doing for myself, for this self whose body has carried secret sorrows for so long, she can’t remember what it was like before the sorrows descended.
P.S. And you? What are you doing today against the secret sorrows your body has carried?