Friday, January 13, 2006

Wool, yarn, Nestea, open hands and me

Maybe giving up is not the answer. Letting go, losing control, kicking back, maybe that is the answer.

One of my truths is this, I always felt ‘starved for affection’ as a child.  For as long as I can remember I have been terribly insecure and starved for affection.  I’m not saying my parents didn’t love me, they did, the best way they knew how.  Turns out I am a very hands on, touchy-feely kind of person, and they weren’t hands on touchy-feely kind of parents.  There were not a lot of outward signs of affection.  In our family, there still aren’t a lot.  The hugs are sometimes still awkward.  That is why hugs and kisses are so damned important to me with my kids now.  They will never feel starved for affection, at least not from me.  

I cling to affection like ivy clings to buildings, like stink clings to skunks, like dirt clings to little boys.  It’s in my nature.  It is something that I can change, given time and determination.  Lucky for me I have both.

My sister, God love her (and so do I) read my earlier post and sent me the following:

I was just getting ready to email you and then I checked your blog again and saw the new post.  Open hands.  Not holding too tightly.  That's exactly what I was going to email you.  

Some of this will make much more sense once you actually see how spinning works, but maybe you can still get what I'm saying.

I spin probably 15 - 20 skeins of yarn a day.  Of course, some days there are more, some days less (some days, much much less.)  It's hard, but it's getting easier and easier every day.  I sit down to spin now with a smile on my face and a time limit - if I let myself go, I'll spin for hours and hours and hours and nothing else will get done.  It's a joy to me.  Now.

It wasn't when I started.  When I first started, I got so frustrated and ended up in tears many times.  I have always picked up on things easily.  Things seem to come naturally to me.  Not spinning.  Spinning took a lot of work, a lot of trying, a lot of failure.  And yes, a lot of tears.  I couldn't figure out how the yarn slipped way too quickly through my fingers.  Why would it get out of my hands and wind up around the spindle, but still only be a big blob of wool - certainly not spun yarn??  Why in the hell couldn't I get new wool to grasp onto old yarn so I could continue to spin?  WHY WHY WHY?  Dave made it look so easy!  The books made it look so easy!  Why couldn't I get it??

As the yarn slipped through my fingers again and again and again, I clung tighter to the yarn.  I wouldn't let it spin because I felt it wasn't catching onto the new wool yet and if I let it go, it would spin out of my hands and I'd have to start all over again.  So, I held tightly trying with all of my might to make the raw wool cling to the spun yarn.  Guess what happened?  More tears.

Finally, in desperation, I just let go.  I sat with a bunch of raw wool and mohair in my lap and a starter yarn coming from the wheel and just started treadling.  I couldn't believe it, but it was picking up the raw wool!!  I wasn't even touching the damned thing and it was working!  And then I knew why.

Wool is hair and, like human hair, is covered in cuticles that will separate and peel apart and fluff out.  It is the spreading out of these cuticles that allows it to be spun into yarn.  The cuticles from one fiber pick up the cuticles from the other fibers (kind of like Velcro) and that is what lets it be spun.

When I held the fibers tightly, I kept the cuticles from puffing up.  I was suppressing them and holding them flat, thereby eliminating any chance that they could grab onto others and eventually become more than it started out being - a pile of raw wool.  The tighter I held it, the less of a chance I had at success.  When I eventually just let go, however, and held no expectations, no pressure, no meddling, it took off on its own.  When I just had faith that it would work out eventually, it did.

Relationships can be a lot like that.

On December 7th, I wrote the following:

"I will work hard this afternoon, to remind myself to let it go.  Let go of the ineffective need to control my universe.  Nestea ™ plunge life if you will.  The Nestea ™ commercials when they would fall back into the pool, just let go, and fall.  And so I have to adopt that attitude towards my life, the people in my life and the universe around me.  Nestea ™ my life.  

Besides, I’ve discovered in the past, that once I let go of the need to control, things have an uncanny way of working out better than I could have orchestrated by myself."

See a theme emerging here?  I have been clinging too tightly, trying once again to control those things that are truly beyond my control.  Trying to make things what I want them to be, instead of accepting and enjoying them as they are.  Holding too tightly, working too hard for more tomorrows instead of enjoying today.  Holding on too tightly caused him to close up, and no matter how hard or often I reached for him, he just couldn’t be there to grab hold of me.  If I stop planning tomorrow and enjoy today, tomorrow will take care of itself.  I will be less of a control freak, less of a neurotic mess, and he’ll be more open and likely to spend time with me, on his own.

I won’t spin wool into yard, that’s my sister’s thing, not so much mine.  It was hard for her to figure it out in the beginning, but she never gave up, and eventually the light went on, and she got it.  She’s much better at it now than she was.  Dating is going to be my spin from wool to yarn.  I’m new at it, and it’s hard, and I suck at it.  But I won’t give up, I’ll keep trying, and eventually I hope, a light will go on, and I’ll get it, and I’ll find someone who wants to take my wool and spin his with mine and make beautiful yarn together.  Until then, just let go, open hands, open eyes, open arms, open mind, open heart.  Stop planning tomorrow, and enjoy today.  Tomorrow may never come, and you’ll regret missing today.

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