One of the things I’ve been Working On is how utterly crap I am at being alone with my own company. I watched the Tanya Davis/Andrea Dorfman video How To Be Alone again today, and it was just as heartening and scary as ever.
Being alone requires trusting myself to interpret my experiences without input from others. Even on a moment-to-moment basis this can be hard for me. That is part of what motivates me to post so many articles to Facebook; I need the validation from others that my take on something is accurate. It is also part of what motivates me to keep this blog, rather than write in a paper journal.
There are other reasons to have these public conversations absolutely, but I have to acknowledge that it’s also a way for me to ask everyone “Do my perceptions make sense, here?”
Anyway, here are two things I am doing to get better at trusting myself:
I knit a sweater without a pattern! I figured I knew more or less how sweaters worked, having made a few, so I just kind of went for it. This is how it turned out:
This was the process:
Knit ten stitches to figure out how many stitches you need to make an inch. Measure the ten stitches to see how many inches it is, and divide the bigger number by the smaller number. Write that number down. Measure your neck (in inches), and write that number down. Multiply those two numbers by each other and cast on that many stitches on circular needles. After casting on, knit a row and then attach it but don’t get it twisted. Knit until you think it looks like a collar. Then knit a quarter of the way around and put a hoop earring. Knit one more stitch then put another hoop earring. Knit half way around and put another hoop earring, then one more stitch then another hoop earring. Every other row, increase one stitch before and after each of your hoop earrings. Do a black stripe every 7 rows for some reason. Half way through, realize you hate the rolled collar, so put the whole thing on an extra set of needles and tear out the collar and do a knit one purl one rib. Cast that off and try it on to see if it looks good and realize you cast it off too tight and cannot pull it over your head at ALL. Tear it out again and cast off using super big needles to prevent this. Go back to knitting the rest of the sweater. Measure from your neck to your armpit, and when the shoulder seam is that long, knit a few more rows and put the sleeves on another extra set of needles while you keep knitting the body. Get worried you will run out of yarn and not have sleeves, so you go back to the sleeves and knit seven rows of knit one purl one rib and then cast off using black. Go back to the body and just keep knitting a big tube with a black stripe every seven rows. Miscount a few times and have to tear it out and fix it. Cast off in black when you think you have knit the last row of seven that your limited amount of blue yarn will allow. Haphazardly weave in everything and knit up the armpit holes with your only crochet hook. Put on the sweater, and realize there is a hole in it. Burst into tears. Hand sweater to Jairus who has never knit in his entire life but will spend 3 and a half hours grafting the hole closed through reverse-engineering. Put sweater back on, and take a bunch of pictures of yourself in the evening sun before it gets too dark.
The other thing I did that is helping me trust myself is also textile-related. I was out for a walk in the Beaches with Jairus, and we went into a store that had a giant basket of knotted/woven bracelets. I knew I wanted a couple (they were 2 for 5 dollars!), but I was sent in a tailspin by the idea that I would end up not looking at all of them, or even if I did set aside that time, choosing the wrong ones somehow. People we are not talking about risky decision, you know? But I was all like “Aieeeee”.
I took at step back (metaphorically) and thought “Oh just pick two, Audra, you know what you like!” So I quickly narrowed it down to 6, and then grabbed two of them without much more consideration. Once outside of the shop, I tied them to my wrists and they haven’t come off since. It’s been nearly a month now, and when I look at them I think two sort of contradictory things: 1. They are clearly the most perfect ones because the colours make me super happy and 2. Who cares if there were better ones anyway because it will have zero impact on my life if there were.
Tell me about your internal processes! What do YOU agonize over and how to do you check in with yourself about what you actually want? This is something I expect I will write about a lot.