I loved reading this collection of essays from author and knitter Rachael Herron.
Seriously. My blog is Stitches and Words right, but her book should be called that. She writes so beautifully about her knitting.
Despite a very productive year so far in terms of yarn projects and blogging (productive na to, considering previous years), I really don’t have a lot of completed projects under my belt. Still, I find that using either of the two blankets I made and kept always gives me a sense of pride for my handiwork, and comfort.
In contrast, writing sometimes makes me anxious. For a long time writing was also my solace, but not having written for so long I feel like I have lost my voice and am now self-conscious about publishing what I write. But I intend to break through this. They say writing is like a muscle – the more you write, the more you get better.
Crocheting and Knitting centers me. When the stitch is uncomplicated, and the pattern repetitive, I am able to keep my hands busy and my mind free to wander. While I stitch, I let thoughts form and percolate. In a way, it’s as if I meditate while I hook.
In the last three years specifically, I have gained more confidence as a crocheter and knitter. Confident enough to feel proud to give my handiwork as gifts. With the same consistent practice, I hope that confidence also shine through in whatever form I choose to share my stories.
Recently, crocheters from a group I belong to in Facebook have been yarn bombing and doing meetups. I have yet to participate, but that is on my list. I’d love to meet fellow yarn lovers and share stories while crocheting.
Every now and then I think about opening a craft store where people can come get their crafty fix, and also learn to make stuff. But I’m not quite sure I am creative enough to hack that. Hmm.
Not long after you get married, there’s this unspoken pressure to conceive. Your parents are anxious to have grandchildren, your friends are waiting for you to join “the mommy club”, and obviously, this is something you and your spouse had planned long before tying the knot. Now that the bliss of the wedding has passed and reality has sunk in, it seems like you’re on a clock to get knocked up within the next year. When months go by and nothing happens, the stress, anxiety, and pressure can be enough to send you into depression.
“Why is it taking so long for us to get pregnant?”
“How can I get my family and friends off my back?”
“Everyone around us is having children without a problem, is there something wrong with us?”
“Am I not trying hard enough?”
There are a lot of thoughts running through your head and with each passing month that you’re not pregnant these feelings get harder and harder to push aside. What was once an exciting journey towards starting a family with the love of your life has turned into a nightmare that you don’t know how to escape.
Could it Be Depression?
How do you know if you’re battling depression and not simply a bit down about not being pregnant despite your best efforts to conceive? There are different types of depression, each with its own set of symptoms, causes, and treatment. However, if you’re suffering from mental illness as a result of trying to have a baby, you may notice the following physical, emotional, and behavioral signs:
Lack of energy and exhaustion
Loss or increased appetite
Not wanting to get up
Lack of motivation
Constant sadness and feelings of misery and despair
Loss of the enjoyment of life
Lack of focus
Thoughts of suicide
What Should You Do?
If you’ve experienced a number of these symptoms over a long period of time, chances are you’re depressed about the process of trying to get pregnant or the thought that your dreams of pregnancy may never happen. Either way, you should know that getting pregnant will not make your depression go away. It is making changes and seeking help (especially if you’re suicidal) that help to resolve the matter. Here are a few suggestions on what you might do to start turning things around:
Don’t get ahead of yourself – Just because you’re not expecting yet doesn’t mean you can’t get pregnant. Unless you’ve heard a clear diagnosis from a doctor, you shouldn’t allow the assumption of infertility to get you down. In fact, paying a visit to the doctor can help you understand what you may be dealing with.
Keep a journal – it is human nature to be upset when things don’t go according to plan. Keeping a journal can help you to get these pent up emotions out.
Find something else to focus on – many couples have reported that they tried for years to get pregnant with no luck. However, after putting their mind elsewhere they were able to get pregnant right away. Perhaps you’re too focused on trying to conceive and it’s stressing you out.
Stop planning it – if you and your spouse are reduced to having timed sex during you ovulation periods then maybe it’s time to take a break from the planned sex. Enjoy your partner intimately for the fun of it and whatever happens, happens.
Talk to someone – if you’ve reached the point where all you can think about is getting pregnant and it’s causing you to feel depressed you should talk to someone. A counselor, for instance, can help you to understand that you’re not alone. They may also be able to help you develop positive behaviors that can heal your mind.
Having children is something that most couples want some day. What many don’t realize until they’re actually ready to have kids is that it doesn’t always go according to plan. On your journey to parenthood, it is important not to put so much pressure on yourself or to let the outside world put pressure on you. Do what you know is necessary like eating right, exercising, and getting plenty of rest and leave the rest up to chance. If you’re really stressed about the ordeal the next most effective solution is to get help. Don’t let depression take away what is supposed to be some of the most fun moments in your life.
Having a list of topics I could still explore and write about in the future.
Accumulating drafts on specific topics I thought I wanted to write about, but may not live to see the light of day (the drafts I mean, may not get published at all).
Realizing that I still loved to write, even when I sometimes feel like I don’t have the words.
Feeling good about Likes on Facebook, and even better about actual Comments!
Coming to terms with having very little readers, and STILL continuing to write.
So I didn’t make it to 100 blog posts in 100 days, but I choose to consider this project a success. I have no intention to catch up or to make it up to 100 posts because in the process of getting those 24 out, I feel like I have already learned and gained so much.
This project has meant more than just actual blogging or writing.
I’ve unfollowed profiles on Instagram to make space for those I followed for their 100 day projects. Because I realized that I wanted to be inspired enough to take action instead of allowing myself to look at a feed, compare my life to that feed, and feel bad about my non-IG worthiness.
I also unfollowed profiles whose posts I don’t really engage with – those I just scroll through, not even bothering to read the caption.
My hands have been really productive, and that has been so good for my sanity. I typed, I crocheted, I’ve knit. I even completed two projects on my sewing machine (which I haven’t shared yet)!
I read eight books.
I had anxiety over work, and I have worked through it.
I had a piano teacher in high school that said that my hands were good at making things. I didn’t believe her because she was referring to my attempt at hand-lettering on my folder of sheet music. I didn’t believe her because I had classmates who were better than me at that kind of thing. But now I appreciate what she said – because I do good and beautiful work with my hands.
Over the last 100 days, I have re-connected with myself. It has been a journey finding my way back, and and adventure setting a course to take in the days to come.
Being a parent to a dog is pretty rewarding for most parts. However, there are certain challenges almost all veteran pet parents can relate to. Without offering any solutions whatsoever, here’re 9 real-world challenges only dog parents can fully understand.
Social Media Feeds Bombarded with Advertisements of Pet Products:
Ordering pets medical supplies and other doggie products on the internet directs a swarm of targeted ads. Your social media pages and Amazon suggestion lists are nothing but an endless gallery of pet products.
Dog Fur on Clothes Is an Inevitable Truth of Life:
What used to annoy you before now has become a truth that you have learned to live with. You have grown used to plucking out pieces of your pet from your clothes while at the office.
Planning an All-Nighter with Friends Is as Plausible as Going Unicorn Shopping:
Even if there is someone at home to take care of your dog, you imagine your pet waiting patiently at the door for you to arrive. This very thought keeps you from participating in stayovers and all-night parties.
Constantly Trying to Avoid Saying Certain Trigger Words:
“Okay, Max I know I said car, but we are not going out right now, alright!” Sounds familiar? As a seasoned pet mommy or daddy, you know what words you should never say when your dog is listening. When you say “outside” you better mean it.
Waking up at Night Realizing You Are Cramped for Space:
Did you ever wake up hugging the edge of the bed while your dog is all stretched out bang in the middle? It happens, it’s just something you have to live with.
Realizing Your Dog Is the King/Queen of Facial Manipulation:
“Give Me the Biscuit!” That’s exactly what your dog is thinking when it makes those cute faces and tilts its head ever so slightly. What’s worse is that you fall for it every single time.
Apologizing to People Because for Your Dog’s Obnoxiously Warm Welcomes:
Your dog knows how to stage a welcome. As long as you have a dog in your house you would never have to worry about your guests feeling unwelcome. The only problem, they sometimes may feel awkward when your dog jump-kisses them in their mouths. You have no choice other than sincerely apologizing and handing out towels.
The Realization After Giving Your Dog a Bath That You Forgot the Towel:
This happens more than you would like to admit. The worst thing is you only realize it after you and your dog is completely wet inside a towel-less bathroom. If somehow your dog manages a wet escape, you have no choice but to bring out the mop.
Your Pant Pockets Have Become Permanent Storage Units for Poop Bags:
Occasionally, when you put your hand inside your jeans pocket, out comes old receipts and a bouquet of unused poop bags. Your pant pockets have become a buffer storage unit for these bags.
Another month done. Halfway through 2018. Six more months and it would be just another year gone by.
How much have we accomplished thus far? Is life all about the passage of time, or about how much we do or make in a given amount of time?
Do you measure life by how you feel?
If we want happiness – how does happy feel like? Stop for a moment and think about this: how do you want to feel? Whatever that it is – do what you need to do to feel that way.
Many times, I catch myself thinking about how much time I have wasted. It’s as if I look back at days, weeks, and months, only to realize that I’ve only been going through the motions but not really being fully alive.
But I don’t really think that’s 100% true. I think what’s true is that my idea of living constantly changes. Sometimes I want more, and other times, it is enough to simply exist.
And always, these ideas are influenced by what or who is around me. My husband is prone to saying that social media is evil – and he has a point. How many times have I looked at my social media feeds and come out feeling bad that I didn’t do this, or I haven’t been there, or my house doesn’t look like that? So many times.
But it isn’t social media‘s fault. I realized that I’ve allowed myself to compare my life with an idea of someone else‘s life based only on carefully curated photos. I judged myself.
It took some introspection, some inspiration, and some deep conversations with like-minded people, plus the husband, for me to come to terms with the reality of the choices we make in life. Because ultimately, that is why we are where we are in this season of our lives. It’s about the choices we make. It’s about what we prioritize.
That’s how I managed to stick to the habits I learned when I gave my health a reboot. That’s how I’m finding time to spend with the people I want to surround myself with. It’s also how I’ve managed to complete 8 crochet projects so far this year, and read 16 books! It’s also how we’ve now managed to travel to two countries in less than a year’s time vs ZERO travel in so many years.
Life is all about what we make space and time for. When we look at it that way, I think, it opens us up to nearly limitless possibilities.
This is not to say that I’m living the life. I am also a work in progress. I know that I am still making bad choices, and my daily actions still don’t reflect my vision for the future I want to have. I am inspired – but more often, as it appears, not inspired enough to take real action. Understanding that, I am less frustrated by how much I haven’t yet achieved.
Inspiration. Choice. These are the precious first few steps, but they are not enough to make our dreams a reality. That requires consistent and focused action. That’s why I share this note to the world, not to preach, but really to remind myself to
Choose your vision. Get up. Show up. Do the work. Make it happen.