Wednesday Ho Hey

Hey Ho! All I have to show.

So, when you begin a worsted weight project but do it in dk it takes a smidge longer than hoped. (autocorrect hated that sentence) But, I do love the colours and this is my sole focus until it is finished. Tho I cast on the Scania Shawl I haven’t touched it since day one because, it is still very much winter here and I want it wrapped up for mid April, but this one, I could be wearing if it were done already.

I’m actually bored to death of knitting straight garter stitch. After thrumming & increases and decreases and bind offs and gussets, this is boring. So, I’m going to get this wrapped up hopefully by weekend and be wearing it during the next snowfall. That is the beauty of it. It’s very wearable nature. It’ll no doubt become my day to day scarf for the winter months, tho, I’m eyeing a couple other shawl/scarves that I may squeeze in before next winter.

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Who Is This Person?

I have started new phases, be it middle age, time to focus on myself for the first time in twenty years, both, but I am growing into myself.

I still bicker when I feel I must speak up, but I feel I don’t actually care. Not usually. I muster some semblance of non-passivity but more & more, I just don’t care. Having come from a long line of the strongly opinionated, this is new. I like to pretend I care, but frankly, I don’t feel this pressing need to have my opinion validated, or to argue yours, or theirs. I’m still trying to care, because I was some how once taught my opinion mattered, and must be heard. But, I don’t feel that way these days. I feel like I force myself to express in certain instances but mostly, my opinion is becoming just that, another random unimportant thought that passes by and no one cares for it other than myself. So, who cares. Why share it. I can’t think of one reason to share it usually. I don’t feel defensive. I don’t feel there is some war of ideas that must be fought. Nope. It’s all pointless. I have my views and beliefs as strongly as ever, don’t get me wrong, perhaps stronger than ever. I continue to add and form new ones. I believe I am correct in them. I’m not really able to form uneducated opinions. I research. I am severely introspective. Always was. I have a high, truthfully too high, degree of empathy. I literally experience pain when other people show me their wounds or tell me their tales of injury. Literal pain. Emotionally, I’ve had to learn to turn this down several notches out of pure survival. It’s been a very excruciating thing all my life and now, finally I’m becoming more able to regulate empathy quite intentionally. To hand it out a little more discretionally. Not very many people earn or deserve your empathy. Many people do not feel pain when I speak of mine, tho I confess, I choose not to speak of it, and so, I’ve become an empathy miser. Seriously, years upon years of shutting this side of myself down and hardening my actual internal self so as to not experience this to that overwhelming degree is a self discipline. It effected everything—my health, my moods, my ability to not be over anxious. It was shutting me down and worrying me unnecessarily. Guaranteed, other people were not losing sleep thinking of me. So it was a silly over drive issue that needed to be geared down. I feel it is more balanced now for the first time ever.

I feel I have the right to not be everyone’s perfect idea of what is, a mom; a wife; a sister; a sister in law; a daughter; a woman. I have the right to stop worrying that I’m not a great cook, or housekeeper. I’m just me. I’m not a slob. I try but I will not sacrifice who I am to be ‘your’ ideal of a good woman, whoever you are.

I am slowly awakening after years of very thick murky trenches of motherhood. People think they understand this; most don’t. Most have not just emerged from nearly twenty years of preschooler parenting. Preschooler stay at home parenting is isolation. I could go many weeks without leaving my house. Sometimes days without talking to adults for more than a few moments. Blips of basic adult human interaction. My life literally for years was servitude. I did not have the luxury of leaving it behind and having a break until five years ago, I took my first ever four day break from my kids. Since then, I’ve squeezed in five more breaks from my kids. None more than a week. In twenty years of parenting. For some people that might be a ton. But for me, I am someone who always needed alone time to get my head straight, this has taken a toll. Kids are beyond demanding and exhausting and I’ve always believed you need to give it all you’ve got. Especially before the school years take hold. I love them like crazy and once they are at school they aren’t quite as much yours. Anyways. These days, I feel a different human emerging out of my mothershell (read that as you will).

Once upon a time I did cross country running. I was strong and farm wiry. I was bold, talkative & social, imaginative, inquisitive, confident, in down times, independent, alone, introspective, pensive. I never had issues with either solo or group activity. I loved being with my friends, loved it. But I also often went to afternoon matinees by myself, comfortably. It was one of my favourite things to do. I suppose that was before Netflix. But I enjoyed time in a group and alone equally.

When you parent in the stay at home capacity, you are never alone but it is crushingly lonely. Truthfully. It is grueling. Some of my kids didn’t sleep through the night until they were four. It was years of painful emotional and mental fatigue. My brain felt like it had become like my body, a mushy piece of bread that was ready to fall apart. My emotions felt raw and neglected. My internal everything was sapped beyond sapping. Everything I once was, was lost and had been sacrificed for the care of my children. Everything beyond ‘mom’ was gone. Truly gone.

These few months since my youngest has started gr 1 have been a slow emergence of myself. I still do a ton for my older kids and actually really look forward to the two oldest growing even more independent of my help. They are getting there. Tho they are 18 & 19, they are young in many ways. I’ve over parented I suppose. Plus they get the advantage of my cooking and whatnot that the younger ones may not get as much of by that age. Anyone with a large family gets what I mean. You have to do certain things for the younger ones, so the older ones are still, even if residually, gleaning excessive parenting, and you’re pushing them out of the nest a little but not too forcefully because you’re still full blown parent to the littler ones. Anyways. With so many kids, parenting is still very much a full time job.

One thing I’ve learned I’ve really needed for my mental and emotional health has been the working out. It has exponentially helped my physical self, my whole self is so much stronger I am blown away in unexpected moments by it. The other day, Costco shopping, for seven, it’s a full cart, trust me—and it was a breeze physically. My body is coming back alive. I don’t think I realized how dead it was. I’ve never been a really chunky build but I was getting pretty squishy for me. Lately tho, I’m not so squishy, and I’m not prone to showing myself off at all, but seriously, I have muscles! This is actually super exciting for me after feeling so weak, especially since my fourth. They do say after age forty your body begins to lose muscle mass quite drastically too. So I felt so weak.

I’m still continuing with Barre class, have begun a weight lifting class, doing running/ walking on the track & as of today am beginning one more lower body workout class, all three have a strong lower body components. I really have needed the strengthening for my hip health but I’m enjoying just feeling strong and flexible for the things I do everyday—honestly, everything in daily life is less difficult, even laundry, but certainly, just walking, stairs, bending down, lifting stuff, all of it.

But the mental benefit too and how feeling stronger makes me feel happier; less pain in the hips too means less snappiness, I’m like an old dog some days; plus the ‘alone’ time on the track, why do I love that so much—me, my music, my footfalls, my breath—it isn’t quiet or alone but it is so alone & so zoned out of the things around me, it is so internally quiet. I need that.

I am asking: who is this person, every time I get into my workout clothes and excitedly head to the gym. I can’t believe I’m sweating and pushing my body to do one more shaky rep. I can’t believe I’m smiling and out of breath and exhausted and pushing more. Every time I step out of an argument because I realize i just don’t care I wonder who I’m becoming. Every time I tell my kids to get it themselves, do it themselves, or I just refuse to be too attentive to them, because it isn’t helping them anymore, I am asking, who is this person? Don’t get me wrong, I feel guilty for letting them take over when I could be doing it (whatever of the many ‘its’ this may be) but I’m forcing myself to be stronger and then to be stronger. Why the guilt of motherhood. Why?!

But yes. I’m trying very hard to focus on me. Selfish as that even feels to type. I’m trying, for them and myself, to focus on me. They will hopefully have me around longer, healthier, stronger, more even tempered. It’s a win/win. I have the time now to establish new habits and work towards new goals and get set towards new and different things. I still have no idea where this all is actually going, but I have faith that time answers most questions.

For now, getting healthier emotionally, mentally, & physically is necessary to tackle the next phase of my life, whatever that may be.

Works In Progress…

…and some completed projects.

So I managed to finish two more pairs of thrummed mittens this past week, Joy’s & my mom’s. I haven’t even knit a pair for myself and I really should, but I’m all mittened-out for now. I would like to get a few more done between now and next fall tho. I have a list of people who really would appreciate them. Somewhere in there, is a pair for myself.

Freshly cast on this week, a Scania Shawl, and Kveta shawl scarf. Both for me. I’ve never actually knit a shawl. Both of these have edges that are knit and then unraveled afterward to form fringe.

Scania is an affordable kit ordered from Craftsy and I must say, reading he pattern took a few glances, but I dove in head first and no tinking or frogging so far so that’s good. I chose colours that reminded me of ocean hues, sand and stone. I actually wish I’d thrown a green in possibly over the Pool Blue, but, hopefully it’ll pan out in the end.

For the Kveta piece, I had seen it in Ravelry and knew the local yarn store had Millefiori light by Berroco. I wanted a different colour but it wasn’t available so, I chose one that I hoped would just look good on me.

Both of these are very different in texture and weight. I really wanted one that was more scarf like, the Kveta, and one more wrap like, the Scania. I have the goal of finishing Scania by the end of April, and taking it with me to California. We scored cheap seat sales there and I’m so excited to go back to San Diego. If a place can feel like home in your heart, it is the west coast of North America, pretty much anywhere will do. But I fell in love with Carlsbad and Oceanside area a few years back, everything about it, the beach, the rugged sand stone cliffs, the sparse trees, the cacti, the little lizards, the flowers, the lemon trees, the salt air. Seriously, it hurts my heart a little. Love it. I love the rugged northern coast of BC too, but, just the idea of warmth and sand under my feet makes me homesick for a place I’ve never lived in. So, Scania is for beach walking. Kveta is my Northern lights inspired cold weather truth.

Here are some shots snagged from the webs that be of them completed, just so it’s more clear where they’re headed.

Above: Scania (new and different baby cable Stitch then I’ve done before, quit easy, tho, do not break the momentum until you’ve grasped where this is going. After that it’s quite easy so far)

Below: Kveta (super easy mindless knitting. Straight up garter Stitch with an m1L every other row)

Never had fringed anything before, guess I am embracing my inner hippie full tilt this time.

Be Courageous

There, courage lay at my scarred feet, hope had faded into a husk of sadness, my body a wreck over a shipwrecked soul.

There, I cooled against the ice, the tip of my tongue sliced, my teeth bloodied, my bruises aching—this is the treachery of life as I’ve known it.

What is the remedy for life, this one, where children have become murderers, and mothers have abandoned, and fathers feel helpless, and bitterness has become the only emotion. This husk lays so still, I’ve felt the paralyzation of fear urging not even a breath to pass my lips.

Hope, you battered agony dead in me, how I’ve yearned for you to come alive again, how I’ve searched the ends of this life for you. Have you not heard my call?

What has tragedy done to me?

I lay still and cold and numb so long—the summers faded; the winters warmed; the birds flew this way then that; flowers peeled open then collapsed; apples ripened then rotted—how the weakness grew great, strong, fearsome, monstrous.

I heard faint things, quaint things, things I didn’t dare to hold in my heart, for surely the beast would devour them. But there they stayed, sweet and quiet and seeded.

Then I felt the tug of the bloom.

I felt that pushing of a seedling, round about rising, every so gently dancing in the thin blades of light. Do you know it—the narrowness of light in those last lovely moments in February, when the sun begins to be felt again—it almost hurts. It is exquisite, how light can feel so lovely, how it can rise hope from its dark death & I can actually feel breath in my lungs and skin and heart again.

Courage comes bursting up.

I am not alone. Lonely is a feeling regardless the company. I am not afraid. Fear is a feeling regardless the peace. I am not abandoned.

I hold, right here. Where tranquility is a mist and an emotion. I watch sunrise upon sunrise and you’re there, against the scars of my feet and the ache of my heart. You breathe courage back into me, and I feel all this world—it’s guns it’s guilt it’s dark it’s death it’s tragedy it’s agonizing agonies—slipping off of it, off me. Hope pushes hard. It holds onto this tiny strength, it wobbles, it shakes, but it grows. Smooth leaves of faith break out—double, heart-like.

Away, runs the despair. Away. (A truth, or a command, a demand?) It flees from the solace of my bones, where the marrow, is spongy, sweet, and churning. My blood runs like sap, thinning and racing quickly, warming in this once tepid but now rising light.

I gift myself to you, as a child to a father, undyingly enamored by the greatness and gentleness of you. I am beyond flawed. I am a tattered gift. I feel these scars and this wound’s ache and that’s; I’m a mess. I’ve no money. I’ve no value beyond a weakness. I am so small. I have an agony about me. But there is a smallness inside that surely, a father loves, tho you know, I know nothing of the love of a father for his child, I’ve never felt that. But I can imagine. It is clean. It is whole. It is kind. It is deathly loyal. It is soft and warm and full. It is sacrificial. I can imagine.

…and out breaks the day, warm, bold, bright…I am folded against this hope, this courage, this faith, resting, strengthening, emboldening.

I hear the heartbeat of hope, I have listened for it, night and day. It is whispering to me, with urgency, “be courageous,” and now, I can feel you holding my hand, and with your hand, I am so strong.

What Is Going On?

So, apparently it’s raining in February. Weird.

As of yesterday Firecracker is 18! How did that happen? No idea. Finished Firecracker’s mitts a few days ago, and now, have begun a pair for a sweet pioneer sister in our hall who is just amazing.

(Below is the fascinating inside out look at these mitts)

These tones are so different than what I typically go for, but the sunlight yesterday as I was knitting really showcased the purples that look black in the shade. The sister I’m making these for, she has no idea, so I hope I picked the right colours for her. She seems to have a few things mustard yellow in her wardrobe and a black winter coat so I think this is a good choice. It reminds me of fragrant Asian cooking. It really should be perfect for her.

I’ve mentally committed to knitting at least two more pairs of these, but I’m itching to move on to something else so badly. I will do the two more. But I think, beyond that, any other pairs will have to wait until next fall. Or, I’ll have to stagger them between other projects. But I can say, I think I’ve perfected the Thrummed Mitten.

Everything

I have felt all of this formed darkness about me— soft breath on hair, on an inhale, that feels far and familiar

I have heard that deep inhale, the one that has purpose & has silence & has no exhale, it holds everything in, but of course, it’s just air

But it is more. It is fragrance & life, it circulated in the blood & it swirls deeply within our innermost in—surely it can touch the soul, this strange exquisite inhale

It was the undertone. Or perhaps, undertow. Spring sat there inside the snow, waiting to melt, there, was the spring flood, the torrent, the smell of flowers, the surge of what was to come, the fullness of life—

It was an inhale, but it was everything.