Thursday, 10 November 2016

Four Years of Knitting Damage Done


Today is The Knitting Needle and the Damage Done's fourth anniversary. I wish the timing of it were more auspicious. As I write this, it's the morning of November 9th, and I'm trying to process the American election results. I have a very different knitting memory for this election than for the 2008 American election, when I spent election night contentedly knitting a pair of socks, pausing only to fist pump when another state was declared for Obama. The resulting socks, fittingly, went to a Canadian friend who lives in the U.S. I told him they weren't just any socks, but were historic socks. And also 10% cashmere.

This time around, I did indeed knit while watching the election results, but then I went to bed at about twenty minutes past midnight on November 8th. The election had not been decided yet, but it wasn't looking good, and it seemed more important for me to get a good night's sleep than for me to find out the results in real time. So I had about eight hours more of remaining in a mental state where a grossly unqualified and abusive man was not the president elect of one of the most powerful countries of the world, though I did not expect to wake up to good news. I didn't sleep well, or much, after the first three hours, and I did a lot of thinking. About the world's future. About the democratic process. About climate change, nuclear war, and racial, gender, and economic inequality. About my own role in the political sphere and in helping to resolve these issues, and my own goals. About this site, since it is part of the work I do. And about my knitting and crafting in other mediums, which will always be part of my life as long as I have reasonable use of my hands and my eyesight, but which seemed to require some reconsideration.

One of my conclusions was that I need to work harder and accomplish more, and prioritize better, to spend less time on trivial things. This is a difficult endeavour for me, as I have had chronic fatigue issues for over nine years. There are frequent days when I don't have the energy to leave the house, and the occasional day when I basically don't get up. It's been well over three years since I went out socially in the evening. The fatigue is as much mental as it is physical, and often leaves me with little ability to focus or to cope with any frustration or stress. Even the thought of doing something useful can feel overwhelming. And after nine years there seems little reason to hope I will ever get better. However, I think I can do better even within my physical limitations, and that hopelessness and defeat is a luxury and a self-indulgence I cannot afford. There is so much to be done in this world, and so many problems to be resolved. I want to get on my feet financially so as to be in a position to help others instead of needing help, and I want to learn more, get more work done, and contribute more to world. I think my contribution will largely be in the form of written work, as I'm not able to do much else, but I can certainly do that.

I thought about Eleanor Roosevelt during the election night as well. Eleanor Roosevelt was an inveterate knitter who took her knitting everywhere she went. She knitted during the U.N. committee meetings she chaired. However, she never let her knitting take precedence over more important things. She never let her knitting keep her from meeting her deadlines for the six-day-a-week column she wrote for 27 years, for instance, which makes me feel terribly embarrassed about my less than twice-a-week blog posting schedule over the past year. Part of the reason I do so much knitting is that I usually have the mental and physical energy to do it, but that doesn't mean I get carte blanche to knit when I could and should be doing other, more important things. I want to be the Eleanor Roosevelt kind of knitter.

I will be continuing to work on this blog, as it still seems worthwhile to me. I don't kid myself that a knitting blog can be a significant force for political or social change, but I think it's worth doing because I can do some good with it. I am providing a service to my readers by giving them an easy way to keep up with current knitting publications, and by helping them develop their knitting skills and their ability to critically assess a pattern. The site is entertaining, and a number of readers have told me that The Knitting Needle and the Damage Done is a welcome distraction during hard times. I also do my best to make this blog and its accompanying Facebook page a place where every knitter feels represented and welcome and where we all treat each other with respect. I also do occasionally get a chance to help publicize a good cause and speak out on political issues -- my rule of thumb is that I can write about anything on this blog or its Facebook page as long as I can find a knitting angle.

So, with these mental adjustments made, the fifth year of this blog lies ahead. Let's begin it together. As always, your suggestions and comments are welcome.

12 comments:

  1. Well, first, happy anniversary to the blog!

    Second, I was afraid you were building up in this post to say you were shutting it down. That is of course your choice and your right, but I am delighted you are staying, and I am happy to read your posts whenever you are able to make them. This blog does indeed brighten my day.

    Third, as an American living in the U.S., and one who has fantasized about bolting to Canada (or another country where I might have a more reasonable likelihood of acquiring legal work, 'cause you all are full up in my field), my reaction to yesterday's election results is that I am going to stay here. I am going to fight for the rights of my friends, of women, of immigrants, of people of color, of the poor, the queer, and the voiceless. I am a little bit surprised at myself, but Trump may have made me into an activist.

    Good luck to you, and good health, and Godspeed to us all.

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  2. The commenter above me said pretty much everything I was thinking while reading this post, but more eloquently. This election was a punch in the gut and there is so much work to be done but I will continue to enjoy your lovely blog.

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  3. I'm from New Zealand but still horrified by the election results and what may happen from here. I'm delighted you will continue, as I love reading your reviews. I also sympathise with your health, as I've had fibromyalgia for almost 12 years now, and it's had a huge impact on my life as I'm sure your chronic fatigue has had on yours. Kia kaha (stay strong) - Shirley

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  4. I'm also glad you aren't stopping, as I enjoy your opinions on these things, and sometimes find projects I have to make! Happy four years.

    All we can do is to do our best.

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  5. Thank you! I look forward to your blogs and read every one!

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  6. Thank you and thank you to the first commentator for being so eloquent. I only hope there's not too much damage to the planet.

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  7. Thank you. I also agree with the first commentator's comments. I live in B.C., but this American election has hit me hard. I do continue to appreciate your blog, too.

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  8. Happy blogiversary!

    Thank you for making me laugh so, so many times. In the work I do, I spend time with sick, sick people, who have scared and stressed families, /'d sometimes those sick people die. And then I come home, and the dinner needs to be made, -and the trash taken out, and school work corrected - and life. Sometimes I can barely breathe. You give me respite. Thank you

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  9. Thank you! I am delighted that you plan to continue. Your writing is witty, clever, and enjoyable. It's always a bright spot in my day when I find there's a new post from you. We need you now even more.

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  10. Yay! Your blog is one of the good things to look forward to when I need a break from the everyday (which now will happen much more often). I'm guilty of being a constant reader but a 'never commenter'. Perhaps I need to rethink this...because the effort you take to write this blog is so very much appreciated...and you need to hear that! So glad to hear you will continue...I love your blog 'voice," funny, sometimes snarky, and smart. Thank you!

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  11. Thank you for what you do. My daughter is three and we sit and look at your blog together. I read your comments on each design to her when she asks me "Mom, what's this?" "What's this?" I think it is the perfect introduction to knitting for her. Your work is needed.

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