This post is for Day 3 of Eskimimi's Knit and Crochet Blog Week where we had to talk about our craft hero, someone who inspires us.
It took me a while to figure out who my craft hero is mainly because I don't really love the notion of a craft hero. As mentioned last week, there's so much talk about celebrity crafters that I kind of have a hard time relating to the real world equivalent. A craft hero suggests to me someone who has to be brave to do something. Sure there are a ton of crafters who are fantastic at what they do who can encourage you to be better at your craft. They can introduce you to new techniques and yarns, but the kinds of heroes that appeal to me are the ones who have to overcome adversity.
This is why my friend Mary Lou* is my craft hero. I've never met her, but because of her I am going to Burning Man this year and will be joining her group, where we will be showing people how to dye silk scarves (in the desert!) that they can take home with them. I've always wanted to try my hand at dying clothes and fibers. As soon as I found out that this group existed I had to become a part of it. Forget that I didn't know anyone in the group. Forget that I've never been to Burning Man. Mary Lou and her friends welcomed me with opened arms and have been a tremendous example of the Burning Man tenets. Before I get to the desert, I have to do some dying so I know what the heck I'm doing. So in that way she's inspired me to branch out, get off my butt and try this new craft... but that's not the reason she's my hero.
She's my hero because she is sharing her struggle with stress.
We have all been in dark places. There have been times where you've been stuck somewhere emotionally and not known how to get out. There have been times where making any decision could change your life in ways that you're too scared to even consider. There are times when things beyond your control are affecting your life and you have no way of fixing them. However we don't always share our experiences of these times. Anxiety is something that is still stigmatized and sometimes we all pretend that everything is perfect in our lives, when in reality we're struggling. That is why I admire it when people forego that secrecy and tell their friends and family that they are having trouble. It's even more admirable when they find a way to write about their stuggles in a way that is accessible and relatable. Soon, Mary Lou will be starting a blog about her struggle. I've gotten a preview of her writing and it's absolutely compelling. I cannot stop reading.
I'm going to send her a learn-to-knit kit because I believe firmly that learning to knit can change your life. I know Mary Lou is strong, she is brave and that very soon she's going to be kicking ass again. At least that's what I'm visualizing. It wasn't so long ago that I was in a tight spot. I was in an unhappy marriage, having married for the wrong reasons. I was stucker than stuck, with seemingly no options, just to keep on keepin' on, which was unacceptable. There was anxiety. There were medications. One day I made the decision that I was going to do things to make myself happy and not care about the consequences. It didn't seem like I was answering my problems, but the simple act of doing the things that made me happy made me realize that living an unhappy life was my choice and that I didn't have to live that way. It was going to take enormous change, a lot of discomfort, but the alternative was to let my individuality die. I considered that we only have one life that we are known to live and I couldn't waste it and suddenly making changes seemed simple.
Knitting was a quiet way for me to embrace my own happiness. It quieted my mind while busying my hands. It evened out my breathing and smoothed down my pulse. Knitting quieted the voices of guilt and obligation, allowing the sounds of possibility to percolate in my brain. That's what I wish for Mary Lou, peace of mind that engages an onslaught of amazing possibilities and I know that knitting might help make that happen.
*Not her real name