2016 was quite a year. Creatively, it was fantastic. I expanded my comfort zone by joining an MKAL, I learned new techniques, and made things that seemed scary. I even won second place in the LA County Fair DIY Design competition which is something I pleasantly stumbled upon. Personally, 2016 was a bit rough. The first half of the year wasn’t too bad, but over the summer, I lost a beloved younger cousin, and my Grandfather within two months of each other. My Grandfather succumbed to his cancer, but we were afforded the time to take a road trip with the kids to see him one last time before he passed. My cousin, however, was out of left field and it hit the family hard.
We had our first holiday season without two members of our family but it didn’t seem awful. My cousin didn’t pop in at dinner to say, Hi, and help pass out presents before heading off to work, but more family showed up with their babies in tow. And I received my first Christmas card signed only by my Grandmother. It was comforting to see her familiar loopy script on the envelope, and beautifully sad to see just her name signed at the bottom of the card without “Pop” to accompany it, like it had since I could remember.
Yes, 2016 was filled with many downs but also some ups. Babies were born and dear friends were married, my youngest started Kindergarten, and I started mending fences with my sister, Bear. My 2016 was also filled with good intentions and bad outcomes. It made me relearn lessons I thought I had already learned, made me look at them through different eyes to get a better view of things. It guided me to new opportunities, and some times even stopped me before I found out what was at the bottom of the rabbit hole. It was full of heartache and heartbreak, cries of pain and joy and sorrow, soft stolen moments, and loud bombastic ones. At times, it left me on the ground with bloody hands and knees embedded with dirt and rocks. At others, it cradled me in the softest embrace so I knew I was loved. It was a difficult year to navigate.
And so enters 2017, full of the same promise and potential as 2016. Last year didn’t know it would be the shit show it turned out to be. It’s like that anti-drug commercial where the kids spout off their employment aspirations while a shot of a running man slowly reveals a criminal running from a cop, ending with the line, “No one ever says, ‘I want to be a junkie when I grow up.'” 2016 didn’t stand up in January and proclaim it was going to be a totally heroin-dependent mess by November. It just kind of turned out that way. There was nothing left to do but wrap 2016 in a blanket and let it vomit until there was nothing left but bile and dry heaves. 2017 has the potential to be the waking morning when nothing hurts. It also has the potential to kick heroin in favor of methadone.
I’m walking into 2017 with the scars from last year, and a few wounds that need to heal, but that doesn’t stop me from being optimistic. Joy and Optimism are my default settings. It may take some time, but I always bounce back. The best way I know how to get back to Me is by surrounding myself with good music, good people with good vibes, and knitting.
I fully admit that knitting is my therapy. It calms me down and makes me happy. If I’m stressed, I pick a complicated pattern to occupy my mind, divert the focus. If I’m frustrated, I’ll pick something small for instant gratification; when I have too much going on, I go for a soft focus project–something easy to pick up and put down without much to monitor. Lace is soothing because it uses small repeats which create small goals I can set for myself and accomplish. The daunting task of creating 17″ of fabric doesn’t seem so bad when it’s reduced down to eight or nine repeats of a pattern that’s 12 sts x 8 rows. The creativity causes me to slow my brain a little, think about things differently. I can’t start knitting unless I’m calm because the tension I feel in my body shows up in my work. Some times I don’t even knit. I just carry a project with me and hold it. It all helps.
I don’t know what 2017 has planned for me but I have a few things planned for it. And as I do my best to maneuver the unexpected and achieve the goals I set for myself, I’ll be knitting. I’ll knit some fingerless gloves for a friend because the name of the yarn color reminded me of her. The kids will get their sweaters, my Husband will get some fingerless gloves and socks. Dad will get a vest and I will get my Sadness Sweater. I’ll turn the really expensive (guilt-inducing) yarn I bought on an ill-advised trip to LA into a sweater I never want to take off. I’ll stash down and queue down to my heart’s content. I’ll take the yarn I bought for you and I’ll make you the thing I feel you need, which may not be the thing you requested. I’ll give away half the stuff I create because my goal is not always the end product, though that is a perk. My goal is, and forever will be, the work.
Play on ’17! Let’s see what you’re going to do.