Take up Space

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I finished reading Clara Parke’s newest book, A Stash of One’s Own: Knitters on Loving, Living with, and Letting go of Yarn. It’s a sweet collection of stories and essays by knitters dealing with their “issues” around stashing yarn.

The sentence above was in the last chapter of the book. Sitting there, just waiting to kick in my ocular incontinence. (Thanks, Bristol!) It nearly brought me to an ugly cry as I tried to explain myself to my DH. Why did a book about yarn make me cry?

At camp this summer (Medomak Fiber Arts Retreat), I heard my newest favorite designer, Bristol Ivy, give me permission to take up space. To claim a space that is comfortably and happily all mine. I don’t have to be pretty or well-mannered there. I don’t have to live up to anyone else’s expectations there, nor do I have to think about any societal rules about women (watch your weight, wear makeup, be attractive, speak sweetly, keep the house clean, cut the kids’ fingernails, don’t wear black, children are to be seen and not heard, you don’t need to know how to handle money, your husband will do that, etc.).

Hearing this was life changing for me. I grew up taking up very little space. My parents’ expectations were high but extraordinarily limited. I was taught to iron, sew and be a “good girl” with the idea that, one day, if I was lucky, I would gain a husband and a middle name. That was the reason that I went to college, too. Not to get a good education and grow as an individual but to find a husband. (The now-60-year-old me is groaning today!)

When I divorced my first husband, I continued in therapy with a series of wonderful women who helped me to identify what was important to me and to begin working on who I am today. Who I want to be. I have enjoyed the process of getting to know myself.

The idea of taking up space, however, was brand spanking new and threw open an entirely new door of personal development and a new way of thinking about my place in the world. AND it made me cry. It touched my soul to be given permission (so to speak) to take up space. To be myself, to dress as it pleases me, to speak my mind and to know that I am lovable and loved even as I am myself. To manage my own money and to buy things for myself and others. It was so incredibly powerful to hear that message and I’ve pondered (and will continue to ponder) that idea and how it applies to me and how to bring it into my daily life.

Today, when I saw the sentence above that says that women are expected to take up as little space as possible, it hit me again. Ocular Incontinence. (When I am brought to tears talking about something, I’ve learned, it’s a deep truth for me. I’ve hit the nail on the proverbial head. I am so grateful for the reminder that I have every right to take up space. And not just with my stashed yarn, either.

I have an extensive stash of yarn and two rooms in our home to use in any way that I wish. My DH is supportive of my creative endeavors (I have never hidden my yarn purchases from anybody.) I own my knitting and the supplies that I need to make it happen and I’ve always been unapologetic about it. I’ve been smart about it, too. Never would I be irresponsible and when I can’t really afford it, I head to my stash instead of my LYS. Finding a balance and being responsible are important parts of who I am. Who I have always been. But apart from my yarn, this reminds me to look at other ways that I take up space, to make some new boundaries in my life so that my time to create is sacred. Time with my wonderful, handsome DH is sacred. Time with my children and family is sacred. I want to have time to spend with all of them, and my friends, too.

So, today I put on my crazy flowered leggings and my cotton weird-edged tunic/dress and I am taking up space. I am worthy. I am loved.

 

We’re Growing! It’s a … ?

In late December I will become an aunt again. My younger brother (my nearly-Irish-twin brother, sixteen months my junior brother) and his wife are having a baby! Their first.

The last time one of my brothers’ had a new baby, it was my youngest brother who has not quite hit the big 5-0 yet … and his youngest is into the double digits!

My brother and sister-in-law have waited a long time for this baby (relative to their chronological ages) and it’s going to be a great occasion when he/she is born.

So what does that mean for our family?

Joy! Growth. Gratitude. A reminder of what is really important!

While we have had our relationship ups and downs, we’re all “older” enough that we realize how lucky we are to have each other. We all have friends who have lost family members. We have all lost our parents. We cherish every minute together and we make time to be together. As you may remember, we’ve added a new brother and sister and their respective families into the fold in early 2009 and we’re still reveling in that new addition. We’ve added two great-nephews, too. And now, again, we’re growing!

Family means the world to me. In a perfect world (at least in MY perfect world), we’d all live within a short walk of each other. But the world is far from perfect and we’re spread all over the map (U.S. map, anyway!) California, Louisiana, Arizona, Massachusetts, New York, Illinois, Ohio, Florida … none particularly close to the other but today we’re closer than ever. Because I’ve not been working for someone else, I’ve been privileged to travel to each of my brothers’ homes and to my children’s’ homes, too, in the last year. Last summer all the brothers and their wives and some of the kids and one of my kids and their dogs all took part in the Messalonskee “Camp Smedley” R&R week. 13 people, 8 dogs. And we hardly ever left the campus!

This new baby will join aunts, uncles, cousins, fur-family, grandparents … a couple of generations of family who love him or her already. Just because his/her parents love each other and because we all love them. That’s what family is about, isn’t it? Loving each other as we are and holding each other up when we’re down. Leaning on each other. Accepting, sharing, laughing, making time to be together.

Gone knitting!

 

“Worthy”, your honor!

"Little Linda" - 1 year old

I grew up in a family that didn’t value females. I was born just shy of 2 years after my parents, then unmarried, gave up their firstborn son for adoption. I was born sixteen months before my younger brother – nearly my Irish twin! They welcomed another son five years after me. I continued that path of worthlessness when I married a man, now my ex, who didn’t value my contribution as a stay-at-home mom (despite significant support from my family in the difficult times).

In the years since my divorce, I’m learning that I am worthy. Have been all along. Unfortunately, nobody told me that I was wonderful and beautiful and smart and all the other good things that I was. Nobody really saw me. I was invisible. A girl sandwiched between a lost son and two more sons. I have come to believe that my parents were probably disappointed when their “firstborn” (at least the one they talked about publicly) was a girl. I didn’t quite measure up to the boy that they wanted. And I never really measured up in their eyes.

I read a wonderful blog post today and want to share it with my readers (I know you’re out there!) I’m sure I’m not the only one who will be grateful to read the insightful post by Danielle LaPorte on the Positively Positive website this morning. Her blog is titled, “A Declaration of Deserving … Just Because You’re Here“. It confirms to me what I have come to believe and made me smile this morning through tears of gratitude. Because I’m learning that I’ve always been worthy and I can now feel worthy … just because I’m here.

Gone Knitting!