The Infinite Wisdom of Self-Doubt

I never knew it was possible to fail so many times in life.

Who am I kidding, of course I did. Everyone fails.

Let me say that again for the people in the back.

Everyone fails.

And here’s what happens when high expectations are set and not met: the failures pile up and up and suddenly you’re overwhelmed with all of the regret for the times where you could have done just a little bit better. You’re hesitant and unsure of your previously unshakable foundations. Suspicion creeps through the door, uninvited.

Disappointment is a part of life, but self-doubt has killed more dreams than failure itself. Doubt takes you back to square one, back to a past life where you know so much less.

But that same self-doubt has a sort of infinite wisdom, too, because revisiting long-buried worries gives you permission to start over. You know that you’ve walked down the same road before. There is a strange comfort found in passing familiar landmarks and experiencing old ghosts of emotions.

You do it again, and you do it a little bit better.

So here’s my love letter to all the failures, the instances of déjà vu. I’m tired of seeing you all, although I know each of you are here for a reason. Truly, thank you for stopping by. It’s just that I don’t have time to dwell on you anymore. Your season has come and gone, and it’s time to find something new.

Now excuse me, I’ve got a date with some great expectations.

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Look Who’s Back… Part Two

Six months later, I am the proud owner of a blog with less than ten posts.

Okay, maybe this isn’t working out the way I thought it would. I can only really vouch for myself when I say this, but I have been thinking about it quite a lot more! There have been other things on my mind that have taken precedence over this blog. My summer, however, is almost halfway over. I still have the same bulleted To-Do List that I started off with. Not too terribly much has changed. So yeah, I’ve decided, eff that.

Perhaps I am discrediting one thing. I am ten times more fit and in shape than I was when I last posted! Ultimate Frisbee twice a week, training for a 5k at the end of August, and healthy eating habits have turned my body around. Of course I’ve only just begun, day one of the “fitness journey” (am I that person? Fine, I am that person) was on June 20th. Routines take some time to stick, but I’m proud to say that I have made a point to exercise every single day for the past fourteen days straight. In particular, I’ve been hiking frequently. Spending time in nature is incredibly refreshing—in fact, as I write this, I’m sitting in a camping hammock outside of my window. There’s spotty WiFi but I have the chirping birds, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Future Islands, and Mahalia Jackson to keep me company. Everything is pretty peaceful.

As for my WIPs…I’ve been finishing projects like I never have in my life. In the time since I have last posted, I completed Saroyan

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Dragon’s Breath

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Campside

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Rye Socks

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…and a new hat design. I need to write up the pattern, and once that is done, it will be on Ravelry. There is a little twist to it, though. You’ll find out about that soon. For now, check out all these FOs. I’ve never seen so many together in my life.

Meanwhile, the main project that has been occupying my knitting time is this lap blanket.

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I designed the pattern. It’s the first new project that I have let myself begin in months. My college suitemate’s sister is getting married and I was invited to the mehndi ceremony. Blue, green, and pink are the bride’s favorite colors, and I’m really happy with the turnout. Unfortunately, I have a tight deadline that is eight days away. Who in their right mind starts an entire blanket two weeks before a wedding? Who??

Maybe I’m delusional, but the blanket seems to be coming along at a rapid pace. All I can do is keep knitting and cross my fingers that I’ll be able to jot down the pattern before next Saturday night.

Look Who’s Back

You’ve got it, folks, I’m back from my first year of college, and guess what?

I NEVER HAVE TO DO CHEMISTRY AGAIN.

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All of my courses ended on a high note, and although time management clearly still isn’t my best skill, I managed to survive the semester of Chemistry 2, Chemistry 2 Lab, Statics, Physics 1, and Calc 2.

I’ve spent the last two weeks sleeping, cleaning, and catching up on scholarships, but now it’s time to get my knitting life in order.

My current goals (aside from cleaning up my email inbox of over 200 messages) are to complete the projects that have been waiting in the wings, some since last June, so I can get back to designing.

We’ve got a beautiful blue stash yarn Saroyan for my good friend, Susy. I’m hoping to finish it by Saturday night when I’ll see her daughter’s band perform at a local coffee shop. Only 15 leaf repeats to go, I’m thinking positively.

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Next is the Shawl That Got Me Through My Chemistry Lecture– any suggestions for names? Also, any pattern recognition? I don’t remember the actual name of the pattern. The red is Malabrigo Lace in Bergamota, which unfortunately felted a little bit after weeks in my backpack. The cream is some cotton from the stash that ran out…then I stopped increasing on each side and replaced the cream with the blue Sock-Ease.

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Here’s Dragon’s Breath. This project began at my college orientation, has been driven halfway across the country, and even survived being dunked in half a cup of coffee. It’s a fun knit and simple to memorize, although I can’t tell you how many beads I’ve lost (the yarn is Premier).

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Wow, I guess it’s clear what my favorite colors have been over the past few months. And yes, there are several more WIPs burning holes in my knitting bags, but don’t worry. I’ll get to them soon enough.

Hands

You know how some people say that the eyes are the windows to the soul? Through the eyes, an deep pool of emotions can be expressed with just one glance.

I think for knitters, however, the hands are the windows to the soul.

Hands start small, soft, and simple. They grow and change, sifting through wet dirt after a rain and exploring their ever-expanding world. Skid marks, bumps, bruises, and scrapes befall them as the adventures continue.

Scars appear, nails are painted, knuckles are cracked, pencils sharpened. At some point or another, yarn begins to flow through the fingers. Soft bamboo and sharp aluminum join the mix.

Hands face the chapping, drying wind. They grow even more, working through sleepless nights. These hands fold laundry and move furniture. They change tires and cook meals. They will shake other hands, give high-fives, and intertwine their fingers with another set.

These are the hands that can climb mountains.

When I observe and compare the hands of my parents, I see my own hands. Yes, my mother’s are daintier than mine, and my father’s are rough and wider in the palm, but they each tell their own story. My life is written into their hands, just as their stories are woven into mine.

One day, my hands will be wrinkled and spotted, too, and skin will stretch over the knuckles like a lofty piece of parchment. Thankfully, there is a proud, immovable muscle that will be forever etched in the center of my palm. Decades of memories pile up over my wrist and down my arm. Fingertips are sore, fingerprints rubbed away.

You know, I don’t think I necessarily made a forthright effort to become a Knitter, capital K. As I’ve always said, knitting stuck with me. But honestly, reaching towards this creative lifestyle is about the only decision I’ve ever truly made for myself. Of course my family wouldn’t have discouraged it– I was the easygoing middle child who never caused trouble. At least I wasn’t talking back, or running a complex drug dealing ring at the tender age of twelve. Anyway, my nose was buried in a book ninety-five percent of the time. I didn’t have time to fight and stand my ground. I simply believed what others told me, whether it was about the world around me or about myself.

Sometimes I wish that I had learned how to formulate my own beliefs earlier in life. It’s profitable to be flexible and learn from others, although I don’t really know what it’s like to press an issue and stay steadfast in a single argument. No, I’m not a bitter or immensely regretful person. It’s not my style. I’ve watched irrational anger waste away lives, and that obviously brings nothing but pain.

My hands are shaped and strong, but they are untested. I can’t adjust myself for other people or for different situations. What I can do is lose my fear of making mistakes, because they’re absolutely inevitable, and beautiful in their own ways.

I am not my mother. I am not my father. I am not my sister.

I am my own person, I have my own hands, and I make my own decisions.

“When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, ‘I used everything you gave me.'”

–Erma Bombeck

Holidaze

And so ends another wonderful holiday season. Per usual, it went by at top speed, and I still have gifts left to knit, but it was still quite a Christmas and New Years to behold.

Christmas Eve, we drove far into the mountains to attend a service at a small chapel where my parents were married. The single room building, lit by enough candles to nearly be labeled a fire hazard, was packed wall-to-wall with worshipers squeezed onto old wooden pews. A beautiful service, and a silent night.

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On Christmas Day, my family stayed home and celebrated together– the next night, we drove into the mountains again for a fuller family reunion.

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New Years passed with my first “Donut Drop” experience. The Drop is a local tradition, when a hole-in-the-wall donut shack (hole in the wall, get it?) drops a large donut into a extra-large cup of coffee in the middle of town at 7pm.

See that little glowing circle under the clocktower? That’s the infamous donut.

 

 

 

Finally, that’s caught us up to today. As a late Christmas and late New Years present, I’ve finally uploaded a pattern!

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Yes, I know it’s not knitting, and I know it’s not that cool brown intarsia surprise I was working on in December. I’ve definitely caught startitis, but that surprise will be coming soon. Meanwhile, feel free to check it out! It’s a super quick project. If you’re like me and got a yoga mat for Christmas, maybe it will inspire you to put down the needles for an hour and try the mat out!

Check it out on Ravelry.

12.5%

One semester down, seven semesters to go.

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Sunrise after the first all-nighter.
And oh, was this first semester a doozy. It has taken me a while to admit it, but I’ve finally come to terms with the fact that I needed to spend the entire past week recovering from both the constant urge to be fulfilling responsibilities and severe sleep deprivation (twelve hours of sleep each night tastes so sweet after four months of negative five hours every three days).

Chemistry, man, chemistry. Learning how to study is certainly a formidable task, especially since I started off walking when I should have been running. By finals week, I caught up to the pack, although I was still tripping over my feet with exhaustion.

If I have discovered one thing, however, it would be balance. Navigating the social mores of freshman year while dealing with a major that demands constant grooming isn’t like juggling a couple of bowling pins. In reality, it is standing in the center of a hot and sweaty gym as the last surviving member (read: target) of a vicious game of seventh-grade dodgeball. Don’t get me wrong– I’m a positive person and I loved every minute! But dealing with the wonderfully beautiful complicated first 12.5% of my undergraduate degree was never a simple matter, nor should it have been.

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6:54 AM, 11/11/2015.
Hah hah hah, ADULTHOOD! I fought hard, I did my job, I scaled three different roofs (that’s another story), I sprinted to the end, and I defeated that ugly beast! The payoff glittered like gold. One week ago, I was panicking about my final final. Tonight I can say, with finality, that I’ve recovered.

It’s about time I got started on my Winter Break To-Do List.

What is this Winter Break To-Do List, you ask? All in due time, young Padawan. For now, I’ll be continuing work on a Christmas design surprise.

Here’s a little hint:

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More to come soon.

Yet Another Knitting Blog

Well, I’m not sure whether this blog was spurred from pure procrastination on studying for my last two final exams and writing two term papers, or if it truly is my leap into a virtual “blogdom” of my own.

You see, I’ve been considering creating a knitting blog for quite some time to chronicle my adventures in yarn, though knitting is not solely what my life revolves around. In a way, I have always been a collector of things: seashells, yarn, knowledge, cats, pens, books, moments, music, tea, ceramic carvings of Japanese fish (not really, but that would be super cool), friends, memories.

So I suppose a blog isn’t a waste of time (current internal mantra: “THIS ISN’T DUMB. NO ONE KNOWS WHO YOU ARE. THIS ISN’T DUMB.”), and perhaps along the way, I’ll learn something about myself, about you, about the world. It can’t hurt my writing skills, either. Goodness gracious, if you haven’t already noticed, I am a heavy comma user.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT ME:

  1. I knit. That is a given.
  2. I also crochet, which is mildly exciting. However, I am a firm believer that crocheting should be limited to cute stuffed animals, toilet roll covers, and hats that are furiously made in the dark morning hours when you’re desperate for a birthday present and don’t want to drive to Kohl’s.
  3. I have five cats. Half of the time they are sweet balls of grey fluff, and the rest of the time they are complete and utter arses, though in the best way possible. C’mon, they’re cats. You gotta love ’em.
  4. Currently, I am a university student wrapping up my first semester as a Mechanical Engineering major.
  5. I really love hot chocolate with cinnamon on top.

Ah, I’ve procrastinated enough. Here’s to The Yarn Engineer, where I will document my knitting escapades, make up words, talk about engineering things sometimes, do other stuff, conquer my fears, record my life and my observations of the lives around me, and hopefully not look too silly while I’m at it.

Cheers!