Friday, December 31, 2021

The End, Unending

What do you do when you've completely lost all hope?

Even at the end of 2020, I had some small little spark of hope. A tiny part of my heart that thought maybe, just maybe we'll find a way through this.

Foolish, stupid, ridiculous heart.

I see people posting about how they still had a good 2021, despite it all. And I get so, so angry at them. How dare they be happy? How dare they show any joy?

I know it's irrational and misplaced. Doesn't stop me from feeling like that.

I have written in the past here so many times before about how awful of a year I had. I fucking MISS those 'worst years'.

In order, here's my 2021:
January:
Both of my in-laws end up with covid, my father-in-law dies from it.

February:
Robyn loses their job.
Our sewer breaks, causing my business to come to a grinding halt for MONTHS.

March:
I have a complete gender crisis.*

April:
My mother has a stroke, and is still dealing with an unknown illness that is still slowly weakening her.
It becomes clear that Booda, my baby boy, is suffering and needs to be put down.
Not even a fucking week after that, my BEST FUCKING FRIEND dies from covid. Her family is fucking AWFUL about it, making an already traumatic event so much worse.

June:
The sewer still isn't fixed, meaning I had to turn down an exciting dye job for my LYS.

August:
We lost our cat, Phelix.

September:
Grandma falls at work and breaks her leg, which also causes the business to halt as my sister who lives with her (and who helps me with the yarn) is taking care of grandma.
I have an extremely terrifying menstrual cycle that causes my anxiety and dysphoria to spike. I lose so much blood that I almost pass out.
This leads to a ptsd-flashback-triggering doctor appointment that still doesn't give me definitive answers.

October:
Find out that Robyn has elevated cholesterol and I don't, but somehow my body is the problem?

November:
My anxiety gets so bad that I have heart palpitations for a week straight.

December:
Multiple friends have covid or are in isolation, waiting to see if they do.
My mother-in-law probably has covid again.

And through this all, my mental health has tanked. I am never not anxious anymore. I have reverted back to bad habits that damage and compromise my closest relationships.

I finally started therapy, but I am really, really struggling with everything. I hardly knit this year. Most of the projects I completed I couldn't even bring myself to post about them.

And as I'm typing this, I find out Betty White died. Just... fucking hell.

I feel like a hollowed out shell. I'm still going through the motions of existence, but I'm not alive. And as omicron now ravages the world, I struggle to see an end to it all that isn't just bleakness and despair. It's an unending end.

I have no hope or desires for 2022. None. I have seen just how awful humanity can be and I know we're not escaping.

I'm not going to leave you with empty platitudes or well wishes.

Just hold on to your hope if, by some miracle, you have any left.

As for me, I'll still be trapped in this house, watching everything burn down around me.

Happy 2022.
Fuck.

 
*This is not a bad thing at all, but it still was (and is) overwhelming to deal with in the middle of everything else.

Saturday, October 23, 2021

The Performance of 'Womanhood'

CN: Gender Feels, Self-Harm, Body Mutilation, Menstruation

Also to note, these feelings are towards cisgendered, menstruating women


I was reading a post on one of my witchcentric subreddits about a mom who had (with her daughter's enthusiastic permission) thrown a 'red tent' party when the daughter started her first period. It was carefully done as a way not to tell the girl "you are a woman now and you must now bear responsibility and caution," but as a celebration of change and the growth bodies go through. A way to break the stigma surrounding menstruation.
 
It was lovely and wonderful.
 
And it made me feel so Othered.
 
I started thinking about my own experiences with menstruation. The shame. The trauma. How I don't think I've ever had an "okay" period.
 
Every time it happens, I want it to stop Stop STOP.
 
I feel so disconnected from my body. I feel like I've lost control of myself. I want to rip myself open and claw my uterus out. I want to mutilate my body so I don't have to deal with it.
 
Having highly irregular periods was a blessing for so long. I could go a whole year with maybe a week or two of spotting the whole time and it was glorious.
 
I have never been able to embrace my menstrual cycle as I was expected to. I resented being told that I was A Woman who now bore the power to grow a child and this meant that I must Protect My Virtue from men at all costs. I could not let these men see that I was Growing Into a Woman. I must hide myself away. I must cover myself.
 
Don't sit like that.
Don't say these things.
Don't let them know that you are Changed.
 
Don't
Don't
Don't
 
All these rules. All these expectations.
 
It makes it seem (from the perspective of a white person in the Midwest) that 'being a woman' has this almost mystical aura to it. It is a ritual to perform. A carefully cultivated one.
 
I did not choose to be a woman, yet I was (and still am since I'm not really out to my family) expected to perform 'womanhood.' Specifically cisgendered, heterosexual 'womanhood.'
 
I'm expected to want to have children.
 
I'm expected to Find A Man At All Costs then spend the rest of my life resenting and complaining about this Man.
 
I'm expected to give up dreams and ambitions and any sense of 'self' to care for these children and this man. I must not only work and bring in money, but also do the cooking and cleaning and child rearing. All with a smile on my face.
 
Isn't it great to be this vision of 'woman' we have forced upon you?
 
Women around me try to find common ground with me. They perceive me not as I am, but as they expect me to be. They share their stories and expect me to reciprocate my own. If I am to be included I must perform their vision of womanhood perfectly.
 
Even well-intentioned cis women outside of this vision make me feel like there's something inherently wrong with me. They still expect me to relate to their experiences of being a woman and when I don't, I'm pushed out yet again.
 
I'm constantly on the outside staring in, staring in horror, and in a warped sense of longing. Oh, to be one of them! To be embraced and included!
 
It's given me such a twisted sense of envy sometimes.
 
I'm fighting against it. And I'm fighting to be perceived as me. I am not 'woman.'
 
My femininity is not a woman's femininity. My femininity is my own.
 
I am nonbinary and I'm tired of being told I'm not.



Friday, September 24, 2021

A Year/Six Years/Thirty-One Years And/Of Change

I meant to write this for the one year shop anniversary on July 17th.
But I didn't.

So I thought I'd do it for the blog's six year anniversary.
But I couldn't.

Now it's my 31st birthday. An event that I thought would be celebrated with friends and loved ones. 

But, once again, I'm away from my friends. And with a piece of my heart missing.

I want to stop feeling hopeless and sad. I want to be able to move past this grief. But I don't know how. So I'm just going to write and write and hope you'll forgive my rambling.

I have so much gratitude for all the support and absolute outpouring of love that everyone has shown me. I still can't believe that what started as way to keep my hands busy and the demons quiet grew into all of this.

I have changed so much over this/these year/6 years/31 years. I have learned so much about myself.

I have learned to embrace my demons, to give into my creativity.
I have learned that I am so much stronger and more capable than I ever thought.
I have learned that I am so very blessed to have built a whole community of wonderful, supportive people who have helped keep me afloat.

Thank you all for reading/buying/loving all that I do. Thank you for embracing my creations and your extreme patience as I have stumbled through these growing pains. 

This is one year/six years/thirty-one years.
This is now.


May there be tomorrow. 

Friday, May 21, 2021

Bitter Medicine

Today is Robyn and I's 10 year wedding anniversary.

Today I took Emmy to get her second covid vaccine.

A little less than a month ago, I got my own second vaccination. An event that I cried with sheer relief about and went out of my way to do something I hadn't done in over a year: knit a shawl for an actual occasion.

It felt like a momentous occasion that needed something pretty to celebrate.


In fact, we took these pictures the same day as my vaccination appointment.

I was relieved, grateful, and hopeful. I thought things were finally, FINALLY changing for the better. I thought my dearest friends and I were somehow going to make it through this.

We were going to be together soon. We'd be able to laugh and hug and be grateful that we could do that.


A little less than a month ago, my world was ripped apart. My heart shredded to pieces.

I lost my best friend, my Bethany.

She died from covid.

She was a month older than me. A month.

I'm not ready to talk about it. I can't.

And today has been a bitter reminder of everything I have that she never will.

She was beautiful. And so fucking clever and witty. And always on board with whatever mad schemes I could come up. Or eagerly recruiting me for hers.

I'll never forget the entire day we spent together speaking only in British accents. And I could always rely on her to join me in International Talk Like A Pirate Day.

She was one of the first people I told about actually starting Black Goat Fibers. And she was so amazingly supportive and always asking how it was going, cheering me on and encouraging me when things were overwhelming.

I knit my shawl for my appointment out of yarn I dyed myself. Yarn that wouldn't exist without Bethany's love and support.

It's not fair.

A childish statement, I know.

But it's not and my heart can't accept it.

It's not fair that I am here alive, breathing, making beautiful things, loving and loved so dearly, and my best friend is gone.

I survived this fucking pandemic and she didn't.

I was able and allowed to get my vaccine. She couldn't.

Bitter fucking medicine indeed.

Friday, March 12, 2021

One Year, One Sweater

A year.

We've been at this for a whole year. 

It's been forever.

It's been no time at all.

I remember casting this on because I needed something to do to try and keep myself calm and grounded. 

Shawls felt useless. Where would I wear one to? There weren't any events for the foreseeable future, so why bother making lace and pretty things?

No, what I wanted and needed was something I could wrap myself up in and hide away.

So I cast on Writer's Block.

I'd already planned on making it at some point and already had most of the yarn, so why not?

I just needed two more skeins of the Malabrigo Rios I used, so I ordered it from Harps and Thistles. 

It felt so weird, to order yarn from them online. Every other time, I'd happily go to the shop to get what I needed. Just so I could spend an hour or two with my fellow yarn friends. 

Cindy brought my yarn out to the car. No going in, no chatting or browsing.

That's actually the last time I've been to the shop in a year. 

I can't even begin to describe how much I miss it. And the people. Oh god, do I miss the people.

I've caught myself crying quite a few times when I start thinking about all the pj parties we've missed.

I haven't gotten to share my accomplishments with them, the new things I've made. Instead, I only see the social media posts of others. 

No chatting or discussing, really. No in-depth back-and-forth conversations about what went right, what went wrong, laughing and joking and actually TALKING.

I crave that human interaction. Especially because just seeing and sharing strictly through social media can make me doubt myself and my talents. I rely on the social cues from person-to-person interaction to understand and make sense of myself. To help combat the voice in my head, telling me that I am somehow lesser.

Watching other knitters crank out sweater after sweater after sweater during the lockdown made me feel inadequate. Like my knitting skills weren't up to par. 

But time seems to be irrelevant now. It's no longer linear. Things ebb and flow in different ways for different people.

I thought this sweater took me a year. 

Cast On Date: March 26th, 2020

Cast Off Date: February 9th, 2021

Finished Date: February 12th, 2021

But in actuality, this sweater only took me 47 days to knit. 


Perspective can really change things, can't it?

That's what I'm trying to hold on to. That looking at all this from a different view can help me make sense of the world. To not fall completely to despair.




Isolation and distancing have been hell.

But it's also forced me to change perspective.


I have learned and changed and grown and discovered just how strong I actually am.

I have learned secrets about myself, wonderful revelations that are shaping me into who I am supposed to be.

I've learned what I can actually accomplish if I am given the tools and resources I need.


We're not out of this yet.

Not even close.

But I feel a little more hope than I have in quite a while.

Guess I just needed to change my view a bit.

Friday, February 19, 2021

Fifteen

Today is Robyn and I's 15 year anniversary.

It was a weird day.

We had plans on spending the day together. They had the vacation time, so they were going to take the day off.

Instead, they spent the day finishing up their last tasks for work because they were let go.

It's been terrifying. I now find myself as sole income for our household. Which means I spent the day sitting at the computer, trying to get a shop update out. To try and sell more yarn. To try and keep us afloat. I ended up with my third headache in two days.

We laid on the couch and cuddled as they clocked out for the last time. They ended up falling asleep on the couch, worn out from the emotional nuclear bomb the last couple months have been. 

I made us dinner. Not anything special like I wanted. But it was good at least.

And now we're sitting at our computers, doing our usual Friday night routines.

They don't know I'm writing this. 

This is actually my first post of 2021.

I hope you don't mind the rambling. Words are hard anymore.

We've reached the point where we've been together for so long that I have trouble remembering things from the beginning of us.

Life has blurred so much of it together.

But what I know is that I love Robyn more now than I did at the beginning.

I love how we've grown together. I love how comfortable we are with each other. I love our easy companionship and wordless understanding. \

And I love how much we still make each other laugh.

Today was a weird day. 

But at least we got through the weird together.

Thursday, December 31, 2020

The Beginning, The End

For the first time in almost 7 months, I did my full makeup.

I put on the dress that I was supposed to wear to Christmas last year.

I put on the shawl I had finished a few days ago.

Robyn and I walked to the small patch of woods where we take pictures of my finished shawls.

Half of it is gone now. Burned down and ripped out by the town.


I was anxious.

Nervous.

I couldn't remember how to hold my hands. Do I smile for these?


It slowly came back to me.


The last time we were here was May 30th. We took pics of Bright Tomorrow.



The first time we came here this year, we were taking pictures of Orchid Thief, a project that brought me my first guest blog post.




I am six months an owner of my own business.

This shawl was made with yarn I dyed myself in the first iteration of my second most popular colorway.


The pattern is Sunshine and Pinwheels. The very first knit shawl pattern I ever made.

The beginning of my love affair with knit lace.


I knit this pattern last year, too.



I don't want to think of the numbers. Of the days and days and days and days and weeks and months of being locked inside.

I don't want to deal with the fear. The anxiety of losing your breath. The suspicion and terror of being close to any human outside of your bubble.

I don't want to acknowledge the grief, the loss, the pain.

Don't think, don't think, don't think.


I've knit 7 shawls this year.

I have worn them nowhere.


I have turned 30.

I have opened my business.

I have been married to Robyn for 9 years.

I have been with Lily for 4 years.

I have celebrated none of these.


I have hugged three people outside of my family in 10 months. 

I miss friends.

I miss people.

My heart hurts.


I will end this year as I have spent this year: quiet and sad.


I have no resolutions, no other hopes or dreams for this upcoming year. I just want to survive.