confessions of a tight knitter

the sea

I didn’t have a photo to go along with any of the different topics in this post, so I’m placing one of my favorite images here. Maybe it will soften the blow for the randomness you’re about to read.

I think I had a dream about Burt Reynolds last night. Not the “now” Burt, but the younger, Smokey and the Bandit Burt. This has nothing to do with the rest of the post – I just wanted to document this somewhere.

I’ve been called a tight knitter. (For the record, I call myself a stone cold knitter.) I guess that could be considered an insult, but I have this new thing where no matter what kind of comment I receive, I try and take it as a compliment:

Dental Hygienist: You have a lot of saliva.
Me: OMG!! Thank you!!! I didn’t think anyone would notice!!!!

Lab Technician: You have tiny veins (after unsuccessfully poking me four times for a blood test).
Me: Do you know how long I’ve waited to hear those four words? I love you, Lab Technician…

Back to knitting. Okay, so my stitches are tightlywoventogether.  You could easily jump to the next logical conclusion: I’m wound tightly.

(I know, this is kind of a weird post. Burt Reynolds, medical personnel, and now knitting, but not having much to do with knitting, either. I understand. You’re angry and confused because you really wanted the details of my Burt Reynolds-infused dream. Or maybe you’re not even in front of your computer anymore. My eager-to-please tendencies are severely tested by this, yet the feline part of me is totally unconcerned.)

I can admit to this. Tight stitches = perfection, control, fear of failure. (I’m only speaking for myself of course, because I dig metaphors and I’m always on the lookout for lessons from inanimate objects.) But here’s the thing: I used to be even more tightly wound. You see, I have a very severe Inner Critic. But in the past few years, I’ve begun to feel more grounded and centered. Some of the seeds I’ve planted – realizations, practices, mindfulness, self-care, trust – have slowly started to emerge. It’s pretty awesome, even with its crazy and unpredictable moments. The Inner Critic can be a dirty bastard, so it has been a delightful surprise when I can either head it off at the pass, give it the side eye, or be met with serene silence.

I’m serious. My head is more empty than ever before. If you don’t believe me, I’ve also included a photo below of the white noise in my brain:

 

 

 

Isn’t it lovely? Don’t give up, TightKnitters. Plant those seeds. Plant a lot of them, and often. This is what it’s like to tame the beast. And someday you, too, can have an empty head just like mine.

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girls just wanna have puffed sleeves

 

Anne's Puffed Sleeves

“Puffed sleeves are so fashionable now. It would give me such a thrill, Marilla, just to wear a dress with puffed sleeves…I’d rather look ridiculous when everybody else does than plain and sensible all by myself,” persisted Anne mournfully.

Oh, how I love Anne Shirley. But seriously. Those sleeves.

All of you Anne-with-an-E fans: Am I alone in this aversion to her dress? Don’t get me wrong – I was thrilled when she got the dress of her dreams. I had myself a right ugly cry when she thanked Matthew for buying it. I mean, I’m not a monster.

But those mega-inflated sleeves. She looked like a linebacker, albeit wearing a lacy dress. A lacy-dress-wearing linebacker with a tiny head.

And then I came across this photo:

check out my puffed sleeves!

I don’t remember this dress. I don’t remember being this young. I don’t remember being so smiley.

This looks more like the me of today: You lookin’ at me?? You’d better not be lookin’ at me.

Apparently, my cute-as-a-button cousins didn’t get the memo about the dress code (sidenote: I think I look like Elvis Presley in this photo. Uh uh huh.)

And speaking of birthdays, today is my so-called day. What’s on my to-do list for today?

Write a post for my often-neglected blog. check.
Shave legs. check.
Find an adult version of puffed-sleeve dress. I’m on it.
Have dinner with friends who are excellent cooks, and request paella as my birthday dinner. Request pending. Four hours and counting.

And…Work. You heard right, you beautiful people! At the beginning of 2016, I managed to get two jobs with the help of incredibly supportive friends. One is a short-term contract job that is kicking the butt of my brain in a good way. The other? Well, it’s too early to talk about that one, as my role isn’t quite defined yet. But I’ll say this: Being myself finally paid off during the interview. I guess the others couldn’t handle the truth. (Wow. Seeing myself in that puffy dress is somehow giving me delusions of grandeur. It’s the attitude…it’s all in the attitude…)

begin

 

My brother took this photo as we explored Fort Ord National Monument (Laguna Seca trailhead, Salinas CA)

My brother took this photo as we explored the Fort Ord National Monument (Laguna Seca trailhead, Salinas CA)

My goal for this sparkling new year: EXPLORE.

Which means cracking open. Trusting myself. Shedding expectations. Kicking thoughts of unworthiness upside the head, giving me enough time to run away, shouting for joy.

Anyone wanna come with me?

Hello, 2016. Let’s do this.

“Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path.”

― Brené Brown, Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead

the fixer upper

I have a favor to ask. Have you ever said to yourself, “Eureka! I know the perfect person for janeintraining…”? Because let’s face it, I know you’re constantly thinking about me. But be warned: too much me will fry your brain into one of those charred and shriveled potato chips you occasionally find in an otherwise fresh bag. I hate that! What’s it doing in there?!?

Oh, right, my favor: DO NOT TELL ME YOU ARE FIXING ME UP. Bold, italic and underlined should tell you how serious I am about this. Never in the history of my blog have I used all three at the same time. (Or maybe I have. I’m too lazy to check.)

It’s way too much pressure. I will get stressed out and act how I think a normal person should act, which will result in an even weirder version of me.

…awkward…(like my dating life)

I suggest asking me to meet up for a glass of wine and I’ll be there without blinking. If you mention champagne, I’ll dress up and arrive a few hours early. And then you can casually introduce me to your brother/cousin/nephew/grandpa/son. This way, he’ll get a few minutes of normal before I start to turn.

This woman obviously cares more about her date than the champagne she’s about to spill. Where are her priorities?

I’m bringing all of this up because…

[a few months ago while getting my hair cut]
MyHairStylist: “Hey, I almost forgot to tell you – I have a client whose cousin just moved into town. She says he likes Asian women!”
Me: “…uh…” (brain short-circuiting)
Me: “…(mental capacity now like one of those charred chips I just talked about)…”

Is this what people do on dates now? Is this hygienic? Why is she hiding her hands? Has she fallen asleep from too much romance?

I’ve been single for the last four years, dating here and there. I like being single, except for when it sucks to be single. I have hope, but I don’t want to use that hope as a life preserver. I’m shifting towards being okay not finding that forever-and-ever person; rather, I want to connect with allies, gather a tribe, surround myself with a gaggle of heart-wise, laughter-invoking tricksters and soul-tenders. I want to add to my existing menagerie of superstar friends.

My brain has somewhat recovered and I’m more relaxed now about being set up. My initial thoughts of rejection, disappointment, and general fear have given way to the possibility of meeting a potentially awesome person to add to my menagerie. (Don’t worry, I don’t actually tell people this when I meet them. They might think I want to display them in a glass case with the rest of my collection of humans. Oops. I’m always revealing too much information.)

As 2016 swiftly approaches, I’ve decided to try looking at the world as a curious explorer. Somehow, this idea gives me more courage to move forward instead of staying still and worrying about an unpredictable outcome…

“A much more interesting, kind, adventurous, and joyful approach to life is to begin to develop our curiosity, not caring whether the object of our inquisitiveness is bitter or sweet. To lead a life that goes beyond pettiness and prejudice and always wanting to make sure that everything turns out on our own terms, to lead a more passionate, full, and delightful life than that, we must realize that we can endure a lot of pain and pleasure for the sake of finding out who we are and what this world is, how we tick and how our world ticks, how the whole thing just is.”

― Pema Chödrön, The Wisdom of No Escape and the Path of Loving-Kindness

 

it’s a new day, it’s a new dawn

 

“Goodbye, Hell Hole!!!!!!!”

That’s what I shouted – because I’m mature and grown-up – as I drove away from my tiny, sweltering ex-studio. I was putting it behind me. Literally.

it's a new day

I’ve been living in my new place for three weeks now. I find myself smiling uncontrollably. I can hear sheep, cows, horses and chickens out in the distance. The most consistent sound I hear is of leaves rustling in the wind.

It’s all music to me.

blackberriescherry plums

I’m currently visiting my folks and packing my car with all of the things that wouldn’t fit in my old place. [I just checked the manual and yes, your parents’ house is supposed to act as a storage unit. Thought so.]

I’m excited to be bringing more personal items and much more kitchenware. My new place is inspiring and full of promise, and I am motivated to step up my game to expand into and embody the possibilities.

The past six months have been a mixture of stress and joy, of limitations and discovery. I still haven’t been sleeping well; I wake up at 4am, 5am, 6am and my mind starts whirring, but this time in a good way. There is so much to do, so much to make happen.

strength

I’ve always had difficulty figuring out where I was going: Where do I belong? What am I doing? Am I making the right decisions? But I think I understand The Force now. You can’t always use your eyes to see. If you know yourself, trust and have faith in yourself, you do your best to feel your way through while remembering to R-E-S-P-E-C-T yourself. You recognize rightness in your bones and you go where they lead you. Dem bones be smart.

I’ll continue to stumble, to doubt, to hope, to practice gratitude. And I’ll try and hold it together if I need to juggle all of those things at the same time, but I make no promises. If you go to your local grocery store and happen to witness a small Asian woman sitting down in the middle of the potato chip aisle, alternately laughing and crying, please don’t disturb me. I mean her. She’ll be fine. It’ll pass.

It’s a grand ride, this life. Full of unruliness, stillness, sudden twists and turns, and the potential for laughter in the face of fear and joy. Better hold on tight. Or loosen your grip. You know what to do for you: The Force awaits.

“To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest. To live fully is to be always in no-man’s-land, to experience each moment as completely new and fresh. To live is to be willing to die over and over again. ” ~ Pema Chödrön

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