A lot of people already know this about me, but since we’re still getting to know each other, dear reader, I’ll bet you wouldn’t have guessed that I’m a hooker.
Calm down…not that kind of hooker. What I mean is I’m a fan of crochet. (For those not familiar with the craft, crocheting is done with a hook, not needles–those are for knitting, which is very different.)
I first got into crocheting when I found a small how-to booklet and crochet hook in my mother’s old Singer sewing machine when I was 10. I assume someone gave it to her (a co-worker, most likely), because I never once saw that hook in her hand. As I flipped through that tiny booklet (printed in the 1950’s) and began reading the instructions, I started feeling challenged. I’d already discovered my passion for solving puzzles by that age, and I was good at math. Those are the skills I used to break down the instructions and ended up successfully teaching myself how to crochet in one afternoon.
Over the next 30 years, I dabbled in making small items like hats and pot holders, nothing very fancy. Just little things I could give away to friends and family. Every few years or so, I’d pick up my hooks, make one or two things then drop the hobby again for a long time. Until last year…when I realized how much I love shopping for yarn…almost, too much.
If you think having that much yarn qualifies me as a hoarder, I would probably agree with you, but LOOK AT ALL THOSE PRETTY COLORS!! 😱😍 What it really qualifies me as is “A Person Officially Overwhelmed By All the Possibilities.” Which is pretty much how I’m currently feeling about the direction of my life. As I sorted through all those skeins, I knew I’d have to also address the bags in my closet…the ones with all my unfinished WIPs (works in progress).
I love starting projects, but I tend to get bored or distracted and never finish them. This is true with nearly every creative endeavor I’ve undertaken. I literally have a wall in my house that has been half-orange/half-white for over a year because I stopped painting mid-way through and never went back to it! I have learned to not look at that wall when I pass it, just as I have learned to not look at the WIP bags in the closet. I am wearing blinders in my own home because I’m ashamed of myself for not finishing what I’ve started. And saying that out loud makes me realize how dumb that is.
What’s stopping me from finishing these projects? Me. I’m the only thing in my way. I can make excuses left and right, play the victim, blame others…but at the end of the day, it’s just me stopping me. It’s just me, whining and not picking up that hook or that paintbrush or that pen.
I dragged those WIP bags out of the closet to face what I’d left undone, and I was very surprised with what I found. I’d made far more progress on these things than I remembered. So, I took one out of the bag and finished it! The mermaid tail afghan I started months ago for my daughter….to be fair though, this one had the least amount of work left in order to finish it.
The others, also afghans, will take a little longer to finish….
Completing that mermaid blanket shifted my perspective. These unfinished projects I’ve chosen not to look at…they’re me. How many times have I started working on myself to improve some aspect that I feel needs it? (about a million) How many times did I ever really stick with it and see it through? (less than one) But, if I can give myself all the blame for my shortcomings, then I can also give myself all the credit for my successes. Because either way, I’m the only one who’s accountable for my life. Maybe deep down I tucked those WIPs away for a reason, so that I could have this moment to realize…
I am a Work In Progress. I am not a Forgotten Bag in the Closet.
As I look again at that massive pile of pretty yarn, I can see colors and patterns coming together to make new scarves, gloves, leg warmers, hats, afghans…even sweaters. The opportunities to create something beautiful are endless! So, too, are my opportunities for life fulfillment. If I want my future to be the big, colorful, intricate tapestry I see it as, then it’s up to me make it. It’s time to choose a pattern and color scheme, pick up a hook and get to work on crafting it. And while I do that, I’ve got a few other things that I’m looking forward to finishing up and getting out of the closet.