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If At First You Don’t Succeed…

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As I embark on learning a new skill set, I’m struck by how easily frustrated and thwarted I can get when it doesn’t come easily.  This year, it is my goal to become a proficient crocheter (is that even a word?).

I began learning to sew in middle school and have been able to hone that skill over time.  I know I’ve made plenty of mistakes and ruined lots of projects (zippers are still the bane of my existence), but it just seemed par for the course.  Now it sort of feels like I should be able to get this quicker.

One source of difficulty centers around the starter book I was given.  I don’t think its instructions are very clear.  I’ve had much better luck understanding things via YouTube videos.  I’m a very visual person and being able to picture something in my mind goes a long way towards being able to recreate it.

My biggest frustration at the moment is getting comfortable with holding the yarn and needle, keeping the whole processing moving along.  It still feels a little unnatural so I’m just trying to keep practicing the stitches over and over again before I move on to actually trying to create something specific.

I did get a bit overwhelmed when I looked through the book at all the different stitch types and other symbols for various techniques.  How the hell am I going to learn all of these?  It’s like another language.

I know practice makes perfect.  Something I have to keep reminding myself of as I slip up and start over again.  I’m not on a deadline and this is for my own benefit.  There’s no one demanding I learn to crochet except me.  It just feels like I should be getting it faster.

This is all I can do so far

This is all I can do so far

When I shared my frustration, someone quipped, “Oh maybe you’re afraid to fail.”  I thought about it for a second and came back with, “No, I’m afraid of never succeeding.”  Ay, there’s the rub.


The Tipping Point

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As frustrated as I get with all of the conflict in the world, it occurred to me recently that this is actually a good thing.  As I watch another video about why something is racist or why we need body positivity or highlighting the issues of human trafficking (I could literally go on with issues but I’ll stop here), I realize that this stuff is no longer being swept under the rug.  It’s being hung out to dry in the bright light of exposure.

“To cure injustices, you must expose them before the light of human conscience and the bar of public opinion.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.

That is what’s happening now.  The band-aid is being ripped off of our wound(s) so that we can heal properly.  The world is full of suffering, hate, racism, sexism, homophobia, prejudice, injustice, et al.  The only cure for any of it is to deal with it instead of pretending it’ll just go away on its own.



In the past, we routed out the blatant forms of the aforementioned.  That’s why the Civil Rights movement was so brutal.  Some people thought they had the right to bodily harm other people based solely on skin color.  Now, we’re digging in deeper to the more pervasive but hidden forms of prejudice and power.  We talk about privilege and the power structure and how it colludes to keep people in their desired place (poor people poor, women submissive, gays hidden) by more covert and subtle means.

Language can be a powerful tool to warp people’s minds.  Just by setting the standard as male and the non-standard as female, you set up a certain point of view.  Just the words male and female are sexist.  Male is the root word of both and by adding “fe” to male, you almost make a word that visually looks like you’re saying male/not male.  Same with man and woman.

It’s not a small matter either.  We are shaped by the world we inhabit.  If you tell a child s/he is stupid or inferior or worthless enough, he or she will begin to believe it.  When your entire society is telling you that you are less than, you have to be almost insane to stand up against that.

Thankfully, people are finally starting to lose their minds.

And no matter how frustrated I get by all of the fighting, I am comforted by the Gandhi quote:

when i despair