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Inside Out Stitch

February 5, 2011

If there’s a hazard to being a writer – beyond the poverty and the thoughts that take over your day and the inability to tell fact from fiction, much less figure out why it matters – it’s that there are metaphors everywhere. Metaphors are distracting. They are to a writer as boobies are to teenage boys.

That said, they’re also very useful. I have come to think of them is clues along the treasure hunt that will ultimately deliver me to my own self. YAY!

Today’s metaphor is brought to you by two strands of yarn that are where they are not supposed to be. They are on the outside of the blue band in a hat that I am knitting. And somehow, when I saw them there, all twisted up and on display, I learned a hell of a lot about myself. Thanks, yarn.

First. Wow, I am one predictable chick. If I like a boy (which happens so fucking rarely it’s hard to actually get a good data set,) I immediately start making things for them. Not buying things. Not doing fancy sexual tricks. Not even asking them what kinds of gifts they want me to give them. I just do what makes me happy, which is making them things.

The last boy I really liked got a little quilt for the new apartment he was moving into having been recently separated from his wife. Actually, he never got it, I forgot to bring it to him when I finished it (we had only been out once,) and he very quickly did something that made him forever unattractive to me, so he never got it. It’s still in the laundry room, where the cats have claimed it for their own. The reason for the little quilt was that I imagined I would often be naked in his apartment, and I am usually cold. I liked the idea of him seeing my naked body in a quilt that I had made for him. And I figured that throw-quilts were something that guys wouldn’t buy themselves, seeing as they have no buttons and don’t do anything. The fact that I never gave it to him reminds me, every time I see it, that I have learned to say “no” to things I don’t want in my life, and that is very empowering.

I will often knit for people. Nothing fancy. I knit a hat for my last boyfriend, and a scarf. (Clearly, I like the metaphor of keeping each other warm.) He hated his eyes. His eyes were, in fact, beautiful. I thought they were like chocolate. He referred to them as “shit” brown. But, after a year or so together, I knew what colors made his eyes sparkle, and made him a scarf and hat in those colors. I told him that. And he responded, again, that his eyes were “shit brown.” I should have known then that I was fighting an uphill battle to make someone who was cold and shut down, warm. I loved his eyes.

So here I sit, knitting. I recently fell into the ridiculously blue eyes of someone who sees through and into me in a way that, frankly, makes me very uncomfortable. In a good way. I want to make things for him, and send them to him, so he will know that I’m thinking of him. Things that will keep him warm, that are uniquely me. And I realized that’s why I make things for people – I want to give them pieces of me. It’s my way of saying that you are worthy of my time and knowing the inner magic things that make me happy. Like making other people warm and happy.

Anyway, ridiculously blue eyes. I am selfishly knitting him a hat with bands of blue in it, because I know they will make his blue eyes even brighter, which will absolutely thrill me when I look at them.

But, gasp, I was knitting while sick and watching Zoolander. And somehow, when wrapping the inner threads to keep things tight, I pulled them through to the outside, across a thick blue band. There is no way to pretend it was a design choice, it’s just a mistake, and it looks like one. So, here’s my funny thought process, which amused the hell out of me.

  1. I can knit a strip of fabric,  artistically wrap it around, and affix it over the mistaken threads, holding it in place with one of my grandmother’s antique buttons. That would be even “more” me! A creative solution to something, and sharing one of my grandmother’s buttons, which is such an illustration of how sentimental and thrifty I am. How much pleasure I find in little things.
  2. I can actually, sort of, “knit over” the mistake with blue and mask it. But, I dunno, it would look like a bad cover up, and that’s so not me.
  3. I can assume that he’s the kind of guy who would notice the whole hat that I knit, for him, rather than the mistake. Wow, that one stings. I spent two-years with “shit brown eyes” being told every thing that I did wrong, and nothing that I did right. Why would I even care about the stitch, I knit him a hat! I don’t want to be with someone who would care about the bad stitches!
  4. That’s it! I am pretty sure that this is a guy who would notice the hat, and the bad stitches, and probably realize that I could have fixed the stitches, but chose not to. And might even know that it was because I knew he wouldn’t judge me – may even like the fact that I know that a few bad stitches doesn’t ruin a hat!

And with that, I learned a lot. Even if I did still notice and worry about the missed stitches, I want to be the kind of person who doesn’t care. And the only way to be that person is to, with all the love and joy in my heart, give Blue Eyes a hat with messed up stitches. If he cares, let him go.

As with most gifts, I learned as much about me as about who I was giving the gift to, and why. I know what I have to give, and it only goes to people who appreciate and are made warm by it.

I still may do something clever with the messed up stitches. But, if I do, it will be because I want to, not for fear of how the gift will be received. What and how I give is all me. How it is received is not something I can control. But I can learn a lot from it. And I have.  (That’s the real gift.)

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