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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From a Coma, I Awaken

Comatose.

Coming to, now…

Pushing the reset button.

I suffer from the kind of inner critic that loves to say, “Just who do you think you are? You know, no one really cares what you have to say about yourself.” 

It’s terrible, the kinds of things we say to ourselves. If a friend of mine was feeling this way, I’d divert their critic’s attention: “Hey, look! It’s Simon Cowell! He’s looking at you…he so totally wants you!”

 

"How you doin'?"

“How you doin’?”

 

And while the two were becoming enraptured with one another, I’d take my friend by the hand and go running down the street, laughing as we go.

However, when it’s your own inner bully…damn, they’re smart…they know all the right buttons to push. It’s annoying. Seriously? Again? I thought you lost my address, you SOB! As with any aspect of yourself, you can’t get rid of it. Everything, all of it, makes you, you. Reject any part of you, and inner havoc ensues. Outer havoc, too, depending on how you manifest that rejection.

We all feel pain, loss, anger, fear, love. It’s the human experience. And at the same time, each and every one of us is unique. There is no one else IN THE WORLD that has had the same exact experiences that you’ve had with your same psychological and emotional perspective. Nature and nurture, combined. I think that is pretty awesome.

(However, if you’ve met your mirror self, will you contact me? I have a lot of questions for you. And a dart gun. I absolutely need to study you. You think I’m kidding? Only about the dart gun. Well, it’s not really a gun because I don’t like guns. I’m old school. It’s actually one of those bamboo dart-thingeys. And you don’t go fully under. You’re just stunned enough to honestly answer all of my curious inquiries. I stun myself all of the time, so I know what I’m doing.)

If I could, I would love to take our singular awesomenesses and walk/skip/run/march/amble/dance down the street with you. Maybe stop and grab a coffee/beer/green tea/boba/glass of wine with you. Hang out. Chill. Talk about whatever we want to talk about. Because I can’t do this in person – don’t you dare suggest Skype-ing – what I can do is write. I have a voice. What you do with it is up to you. Listen, not listen, nod or scratch your head… Your opinion belongs to you. There’s room for all of it.

Besides, I can only control so much. Unless you allow yourself to be darted. Ah, in a perfect world…

 

Walking Tall (Even Though I’m Not)

If you’ve read some of my other posts, you know that I have a fondness for self-deprecating humor. I’ve used it unconsciously and consciously and thought it was quite harmless. I didn’t mind making people laugh at my expense.

Except…I noticed (and it was also pointed out to me) that making fun of what I think are my real deficiencies doesn’t do me or anyone else any favors. Not taking yourself too seriously is a good thing; turn it against yourself too often and you weaken yourself with your own sucker punches.

I’ve made fun of my height, legs, cellulite, age, over thinking…well, I think that’s enough to begin with. We’re all self-critical to varying degrees, but when it plays heavily on our insecurities, enough is enough. Yes, I want to be a lot taller, have different shaped legs, dimple-free skin, be younger, and I want to stop thinking so damn much. But unless I have bone extension surgery, can turn back time, and stop being an INFJ, well, it ain’t gonna happen.   

As I tackle Project Jane and work on my “stuff”, I want to embody this mantra: Own and learn to embrace what you have, who you are, and that you are a work in progress. The stronger you are at your base, the stronger you will be against your inner critic and outside forces. Why not focus on your assets as opposed to highlighting what you think are your weaknesses?

Easier said than done, I know. It’s taken me a long time to even get to this point and even then, I falter. I just want to make sure I don’t falter too far or for too long.

It’s funny, for years I would walk down the hallways at work with my unusually fast, stompy stride, always giving people the impression that wherever I was going, it was important. And I needed to get there immediately. Sometimes it was true, other times, I had no pressing agenda. I’ve found myself morphing that walk into a strong, bouncy, purposeful stride. Like one of my Zumba teachers says, “Don’t know what you’re doing? Fake it!!!

Didn’t anyone tell you? I may be 4′ 11″, but I can be 6′ 0″ tall inside…

Love on the Pretzel Train

Because I never really dated that much in the past, I was looking forward to finding out what it was going to be like. I joked about wanting to juggle men. I pictured myself being cool, casual, carefree. “Date like a man” my friend Neal told me. But I’ve started to notice that I’m looking for that connection, that recognition of oh, hello…yesI feel what’s possible with you. Does that happen? Is that too much to ask? Maybe all those romantic, meet-cute comedies I used to watch have twisted my brain into an over-salted, unrealistic pretzel.

I’m not looking for the perfect, fantasy man. I know he doesn’t exist. At my high school reunion, one of my former classmates nodded knowingly when I shared that strange men tend to be attracted to me. “I hear ya,” She said. “But it only takes one.” He could be anywhere. Mae, is it true? Could he be with another woman right now? Take your hands off my future man, you hussy!!

I only want to discover the one who is perfect for me and I for them. It’s possible, right? Or am I on the Pretzel Train and every stop is SingleTown?

It’s also possible that I could drop dead tomorrow. Or the next day. I would be dead without ever having found love again. That pisses me off. But if I’m dead, I won’t know how to get upset – I won’t even know I’m dead, so I guess it’s a moot point.

Life doesn’t follow a straight line (like this post), so I have no idea what it has in store for me. Before I don’t know I’m dead, I would like to accomplish the following things this year and the next:

1) find a new job
2) move
3) travel to Italy and/or Spain
4) keep

— my mom just informed me that my face looks really round: “You look round here [cups her cheeks with her palms]. I wonder why…you exercise enough. Maybe I just don’t look at your face that often.”

1) move
2) exercise more
3) find a job that keeps me moving
4) travel
5) continue to date
6) continue being open to possibility
7) keep…keep what?? (I have no clue what I was about to write.) keep on truckin’? keep my head up, my spirits high and hope to love again before I die?

That train stop at my reunion must have done a number on me.  I thought I had chased away the dark clouds that my mom the inner critic brought in a few days ago, but some of them still linger.

Next stop?

Not sure. Think I need to catch that transfer out of CheekFat Town, so I’d better start running.