December 5, 2008

In which I realize what to do

This Christmas is proving to be a difficult one for me. Joe told me this morning that I am both sensitive and resistant to change, and he's right. I notice everything and then take it all way, way too hard, and then, once I'm upset, I start looking for corroborating evidence for my thesis (because not only am I sensitive and resistant to change, I also like to be right) so that I can prove, to anyone who might be trying to cheer me up, that all is lost and things are hopeless. I usually wind up this sort of thing with a rousing game of "and if you're happy, you just don't understand what's happening and you're all in on the plan to ruin Christmas."

This is not my best trait.

Usually my best trait is my enthusiasm and stick-to-it-iveness, and I'm proud of that. I can really get behind an idea and stay behind an idea, no matter what it is or how absolutely stark raving mad it is, and I think what I'm feeling this year is some sort of perversion of that, where I've managed to really get myself behind the idea that Christmas (and I know this is a rather vague sort of complaint) "isn't working." It's true that this Christmas is going to have challenges. I've never really adjusted to the loss of Janine at this time of year, I'm not sure what I'm supposed to do when the whole family doesn't go to my Aunt Helen and Uncle Don's for Boxing Day for the first time in my life. Amanda moved out (though I'm sure she'll come home for Christmas... right?) We had to cancel our annual Gingerbread party due to scheduling problems, and my brother has (hopefully temporarily) separated from his wife...whom I adore and feel the absence of rather keenly. (There's also the fact that this makes my brother a pretty miserable guy at present, which I respect - poor buddy, but it brings down the Christmas cheer level substantially.) To top it all off, this is the year that Joe's parents are making a wonderful trip to Spain to visit Joe's sister Kate (she lives in Spain) which you can hardly begrudge them for a second... but that means they're gone for the holidays too.
All of this together has me moaning around, whinging about our crappy Christmas and how every thing's changed and too many people are dead or gone, and all of my attempts to connect with the parts of Christmas that really do it for me, like family and friends and all of the traditions I adore are totally arsed, and being one big misery case until this morning, when I realized that I have got to get a hold of myself because I'm pretty much guaranteeing that I'll suck what joy there is for me to find in this Christmas right out of the world of possibility and there won't be anybody to blame for that except for me, a big whiny, ungrateful, overly sensitive crybaby, and frankly, I hate people like that. I really do.

I got to thinking this morning that there has got to be a way for me to find the joy in this season again. That I have got to put on my big-girl panties and pull myself together. I thought not just about the traditions that aren't going to be possible this year, but about the chance to really enjoy the ones that remain, and to embrace and generate new ones to replace the ones... like Boxing Day with Aunt Helen, that really aren't ever coming back. The world turns, I'm on it. I should try harder. Change is inevitable. I thought all of that in the dark - because frankly, in Canada right now it feels like it's dark all the time, and that reminded me of this post- The Return of the Light, and I started thinking that other than the feeling I have when I am surrounded by my family during the holidays, the Knitters Without Borders work has filled me with a joy that is almost unsurpassed. The feeling I get as yet another knitter drops an email in my box that says "I'm really broke, but I'm grateful anyway. I found a few dollars and I gave." lifts my heart up. Another knitter. Another, and another - I've never not been entirely awestruck by how much knitters will do, understanding as we do that a whole monumental effort is made up of one simple thing... repeated many, many, many times.

Knitters, in my experience, are not an easily defeated bunch. Tasks that would daunt other mortals look like child's play to us, because we've learned from knitting that accomplishing big things isn't really all that hard. You just have to stick to it. One stitch is small. One stitch is almost nothing. One stitch is hardly worth doing... unless you put it with hundreds, and then thousands and then tens of thousands of others.
Knitters know this without being told, and this is what makes Knitters Without Borders a force to be reckoned with.

Starting today I'm going to begin re-updating the total - and brace yourself. Dudes. We're going to do it again. Bigger. Better. More karmic balancing gifts. More changing the world. The world needs us, MSF needs us, and we're the best people to do it. One stitch at a time.

The instructions in the Return of the Light post still work. Let's make a little more history.

PS: Still working on the beautiful brown socks, which are a cobbled together pattern of my own, created by ramming the traditional "sailors rib" onto my plain vanilla sock recipe (in this book, thanks for asking) and Shibui Sock yarn in the elegantly named colour " 7533".

Sockdetsr51208

I'm thinking of calling it something else in my head - like Mocha-Swirl or Bittersweet Chocolate. (This is likely why my job is not naming yarns.)

Sockssr51208

Oh. Wait. I just checked the Loopy Ewe page while I was adding the link, and apparently it's called "Bark." Fair enough. Much better.

PSS: I'm still working on a hat too, seen here in the light of the setting sun. At 4:00. I told you about the dark:

Plainhat51208

100 stitches on a 4.5mm needle, round and round in 2x2 rib. I'm knitting it with some beautiful Corridale from Lyman's Sleigh Bell Farm, bought two Rhinebecks ago. It's lovely stuff, and the knitting of it is remarkably restful and calming, which is probably safer for everyone.

PSSS: I'm starting to feel badly for mentioning it, but the final round of the Canadian Blog Awards is winding up tomorrow, and if, after you see my competition you think I deserve your vote, I'd love to have it. I'm nominated in two categories, Best blog here and Best Activities blog here ... and while you're there, Lene's nominated for best Disability blog here, Knitnut's up for best local blog here and best Local blog here (us knitters gotta stick together.) Happy voting, and thanks for even considering it.

PSSSS: Today's gift for knitters? These knitting paintings (if you've got the coin.) Thanks for the link Lene.

Posted by Stephanie at December 5, 2008 2:29 PM