Wednesday, November 20, 2013

candid crazy

We have fully acclimated back to life in the States, I think. The glow of the rediscovered ordinary has faded to comfortable shabbiness. I’m a little sad because I liked the buzz I got from normal stuff like a soft mattress, toast, measuring cups, and apple cider. It was magic.

Now I’ve re-engaged in my private and persistent battle with boredom. I often feel at loose ends. The days are full with the kids and their studies and adventures and scuffles. I do lovely, self-fulling things like write, read, visit with friends, and watch movies. I think and ponder and work myself up into ranting tizzies over world affairs and cultural idiosyncracies.

But it’s not enough. (And no, nothing is ever enough. This is my personality, my Achilles heel, my poke-y thorn.)

I think back to times in my life when I was completely boredom-less. There was that afternoon when I was an almost-teenager and I spent hours playing in the ocean, fully absorbed. There were the natural births of three of my children and the all-engrossing task of getting them into the world. There were the intense, rather awful months of fostering a difficult teenage girl. There was the bellydancing. There were the weeks when I was involved in a play. There were the first three months of survival in Guatemala.

Not to over-analyze the situation, but I think I might thrive on pressure just a little. Also, being productive. Maybe being in front of people, too. And since I’m not about to put myself into a pressurized situation willy-nilly (I have to have stellar reasons and be fully sold in order to put myself and my family through such stresses), I think my best bet is to work at being productive. So...

I’m taking up knitting.

It’s a pretty mild solution (sorry to be so anti-climatic) but I’m hopeful it will work. Doing something with my hands will (please, please, pretty please) rein in my antsy mind and insatiable desires. (Yikes. That sounds a little more risque than I intended.) In my free moments, I’ll have something to pick up and zero in on. The soft yarn, the clicky needles, my eyes staring at one spot, the making something will work together calm me. (Good grief. Now I sound like a jittery druggie.)

I’ve done this before. I got a so-so scarf and a now-trashed hat out of the deal, along with a solid sense of accomplishment (questionable though it may be). I’m slowly gearing up for the plunge: getting the yarn box down from the attic, pestering friends, studying patterns (which is foolish since they’re as legible as hieroglyphs to my un-knitting-educated eyes), and purchasing supplies. My fingers are itchy to start. It’s like I have that I’ve-been-trapped-inside-all-day-and-need-to-have-a-walk-NOW feeling, but it’s all consolidated into my fingers.

Knitting isn’t the long-term solution, make no mistake. I’m fully aware that it’s simply a coping mechanism, a way to bide my time and ponder until I land on the next rock-my-world, go-go-go, thrill-seeking, push-my-limits (and everyone else’s) project.

I sound crazy. It’s one of the risks of being candid.


From the archives (I told you it's an ongoing problem).

So come on now. Be candid. What’s your crazy? (And if you say you don't have one, I won't believe you.)

16 comments:

  1. I can totally relate. Sometimes my chronic pain keeps me down way longer than I would like it to. And I am a person who likes to keep busy and do things in my home mostly. So I had to come up with something several years ago that would help me to combat the restlessness and that I could do while I sit and wait for the pain to go away. I started making jewelry, and haven't stopped since! And yes, I too would like to learn how to knit. I'm left-handed, so knitters kind of look at me like I'm a misfit... and I can tell they are wondering, how in the heck will she ever learn? So if you know anyone who could teach a left-handed wanna-be-knitter, or maybe you ARE one...let me know!

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    1. I'm a left-handed knitter. My grandma, a rightie, taught me by sitting opposite me and having me pretend she was a mirror.

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  2. I adore handwork because it's so soothing. I'm a fairly basic knitter (I can barely make sense of a pattern), but I thought I'd progress into socks last year. So far, I hate it, and the goal of my handwork is to love it and have something useful on the other end. I also quilt, darn socks, and do other various little stitching projects.

    As for my crazy, I am not a laid back person. I can get quite intense and anxious over little things and I find it hard to admit that I'm wrong about it when someone tries to talk me back from the edge.

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  3. Perhaps join with some other knitters you might learn at a faster pace and make some new friends. Perhaps your daughters would want to learn also. I love hobbies, quilting is my main hobby, it leads to friends, travel, and a lovely finished project. Working on a project is a vacation in itself, it gives the mind a place to escape, plan and imagine. I would love wool socks, please!

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  4. Knitting keeps me from going insane, also. It is boredom, despite the fact that I could be busy from morning through night running the household, cooking, teaching, etc. There is a difference between busy and absorbed, right? With toddlers and babies, I was completely focused and absorbed - now, with older kids, it isn't enough. So knitting staves off any creeping sense of uselessness and/or existential angst, I guess.

    Join Ravelry! Lots of good patterns, support, etc. Friend me - I'm goodenoughknitter. I just discovered an excellent scarf pattern and am currently obsessed by some fingerless mitts.

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  5. I get so fidgety, it's insane. I like to have a lot going on and lots of balls in the air. One of the hardest adjustments to motherhood was learning to respect my children's need for me to *not* do that all the time. I really do see how they sacrifice when I am, for example, out at bedtime every night for a month because I'm directing.

    Yes, I knit, I sew, I constantly have "handwork" of some kind. I can't just WATCH A MOVIE because I have to be doing.

    I don't know where I get it. My parents are not at all like this.

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  6. I can relate. I need a project to focus on to get through those times during the day where I can't do what I want to do.... monitoring homework, supervising toddlers, changing diapers, etc. If I have a project to ponder or be excited about, it helps.
    I'm an avid knitter and I honestly don't know how I survived before I picked it up again. I only knit terrible scarves every few years until about 5 years ago. I picked it up to knit my son a diaper soaker and I haven't put the needles down since. I highly recommend you check out Ravelry.com if you haven't already. It's a wealth of information and patterns! :) If you need any suggestions for beginning patterns, let me know. Happy knitting!

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  7. That picture is hysterical! So, I imagine you having knitted boxes of hats, or scarves, or socks by Christmas. lol, And they'll all be beautiful. I'm sure you'll be great at whatever you find to fill your time and mind and days. I tried knitting for about twenty minutes. Not for me.
    ~FringeGirl

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  8. I knew a stage manager who knitted at rehearsals. She'd deliver scarves, mittens, etc. to the cast at the close of the show. And, on paper, as an SM she NEVER had a free moment, but just filled her busy moments with an added layer. Helped her focus, I believe.

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  9. Since you said I have to have one the first one that pops into my mind is I chomp down red licorice and can't stop until the package is done. Pretty crazy at my age. But I'm rarely truly bored. Maybe it's the always challenging 8-4 job that fills most of my life and I squeeze everything else in before and after.

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  10. Crossword puzzles! I often describe them as my "crack cocaine". They're what I go to when my mind is doing jujitsu with itself. Of course, it produces nothing cherished or useful--but then, neither does knitting (when I'm the one with the needles)! Q.

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  11. Knitting is my big soother. I tend to have one big project going on with lots of little ones to jump around between. It took me two years to knit my husband a sweater, but it's glorious now.
    I used The Opinionated Knitter's pattern - incredibly easy.

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  12. Ditto on Ravelry. You can stay busy there for a long time! I can identify with the boredom and the guilt over the boredom! I think I am hardwired that way. Keep looking, you'll find something that intrigues you. Don't give up.

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  13. I feel compelled to share this with you: http://www.instructables.com/id/Laptop-Compubody-Sock/
    I don't remember where I first saw this, but it killed me. And there were even more variations, but I couldn't find them right now... enjoy. Now this would be a productive challenge for ya!

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