The title says it all, really.
Saturday, April 8th, I turned another year older and, surprising everyone, I’m sure, another year wiser.
Ever since I was little, things had to be just so. As one does, I would come into possession of things that I or someone else would consider precious. I had clothes that were only for “special occasions” and things of that sort.
I would have coloring book pages that I really liked, so I would do what I could to keep them looking nice when I would color them in, but through juvenile lack of fine motor skills, I might ruin one. This lead me to stop coloring my favorite pages so that the nice ones would stay nice.
I can’t tell you the number of shoes, clothes, and jewelry I have bought and not worn because I would want to save them for those elusive “special occasions” that no occasion ever seemed to qualify for.
This mindset has also affected other aspects of my life. I would avoid writing papers for my English classes because I was afraid they wouldn’t be perfect. I’ve procrastinated on internship assignments for fear that what was in my head wouldn’t translate to the digital canvas. I have a closet full of storage boxes that contain my personal belongings that I feel uncomfortable putting out on display because of a nagging “what if” that questions when next I will need to pack up and move again.
In all of this, the conclusion is that there is no perfect moment, perfect project, perfect event, or perfect place. There is only what we can affect presently to make for a more enjoyable life ahead of us. And, yes, the timing may be off and some things may get damaged along the way. Despite that, I am slowly subscribing to the idea that it’s still worth taking that chance if it means my life will be more thoroughly lived and not controlled by fear of imperfection.
This concept is not one that can easily be acted upon in one fell swoop. So, bite-sized actions are helping me along the way.
I’ve decided upon and planned out qualifying events for beginning work on certain projects that I have been putting on the back burner (either from the materials being “too precious” or needing to put other priories first). One such thing is my birthday present to myself.
I bought a skein of Hedgehog Fibres sock yarn in the Birthday Cake colorway. This is a luxury present that I would normally hoard like some kind of folklore dragon. To ensure that I didn’t let the idea of the yarn become too precious, I made plans to cast on these socks with this yarn on my birthday. I’ll have a happy project and a hand knit item that I can wear and enjoy regularly. I’m even using the leftover yarn for my sock yarn blanket to be with the rest of my knitting memories so that it can be precious, but still functional.
With use, these socks will wear thin and need to be darned. They will eventually become unwearably threadbare. I still firmly believe I will be happier knowing that I used and loved these socks instead of being burdened by worrying that the yarn wouldn’t hold up to wear and tear.
Another thing I’m doing to help wrap my brain around this idea is making sure that the things I make ARE precious. I know that seems a little counter-productive, but let me explain. I’ve already finished the first sock of my birthday pair. The problem is that the heel does not fit well. I know that it will bother me and create another reason for me to not use these things I worked so hard on, so I’m going to rip back the heel and knit a different one. They aren’t the perfect sock, so I’m making them the perfect sock. I’m fixing my mistakes so that I will be less afraid of making them.
I will also be developing the habit of hand washing my knitting so that it stays nice. I fall off this bandwagon quite often due to laziness, but I want these socks to last as long as they can so I can enjoy them for as long as possible. I bought myself a clothes drying rack with a mesh top for laying knits flat to dry.
I’m hoping that by giving myself permission to create and enjoy the things that I would normally consider too nice for regular use and by creating a way to keep them nice, I will be less of a crazy hoarding dragon and more of the fire-breathing rainbow dragon that confidently goes forth and rains terror from above. Or something. You get the jist of it.