Whoever thinks that knitting is the domain of slightly batty old ladies is seriously way off base. Anyone who is skilled at this must have minds like razor blades…..
I’m starting to wonder whether I’m out of my depth with this lovely cable sweater pattern, as it appears that you need a degree in Applied Mathematics just to get beyond the ribbing.
I spent over an hour last night un-knitting about four rows as, unbeknownst to me, I’d been reading the pattern charts wrong.
These things are not read top to bottom, from left to right. No, you have to read them from bottom to top, from right to left unless it’s an even numbered row, then it’s left to right.
And blank means knit and dot means purl. Unless you’re on the wrong side, there is an ‘r’ in the month and your moon is in Uranus and then you do the exact opposite.
This project is, however, probably the best Easter present I could have given myself as when I’m beavering away at it, mouthing the mad instructions, squinting at the multiple charts and graphs and swearing like a navvy, I’m not thinking about anything else, i.e. my deepest, darkest fears.
Which is just as well, as for the first time in a long time, I’ll be on my own for Easter Sunday.
I did however decide to have a posh dinner with an old friend, H, in Oxford the other night by way of compensation.
I’d like to say that it was fun, but it wasn’t.
When H is on form, there’s no one like her. We met on a hiking holiday in Scotland a few years ago, and she had me in complete stitches every single day. H has a wry, caustic, coruscating humour, little patience and no buffer, so like her or loathe her, there is no way of ignoring her, especially once she’s had a few. She is also a hugely talented, creative individual and a real inspiration.
On the minus side, she is hugely depressive, extremely self sabotaging and another one of those people who expects everyone to heal, rescue, understand, help, FEED HER in every which way possible.
She is also of late, very negative, nothing is her fault and she can fall out with her friends at the drop of a hat.
Know anyone like that Sista, hmmm? Recognise any of those less than charming traits?
H spent the entire dinner documenting her woes, moaning about people who’ve let her down, telling me how horrible everything in her life is right now, and generally vomiting up all her shit onto the table for my perusal.
The worst part of this was that it was like looking at a great, big, frightening, distorted mirror image of myself.
‘Is this me?’ I inwardly asked myself as she droned on and on and on, without asking me a single thing about myself, unless it was something she needed to know for her own benefit ‘Is that why I can’t keep my friends? Is that why no one calls?’
I listened as sympathetically as I could, trying not to let the green black sludge suck me back down into my own, only recently vacated tar pit, and changed the subject every chance I could, but there was no good/positive/fun news to be had from her.
I think that in three hours we must have laughed once and that was when we were saying goodbye, she, because of the joke she cracked, me from relieved hysteria that I had managed to survive the evening largely intact.
I was desperate to get back to my knitting though, to hide amongst the knits, the purls and thick white cables, and try shoo away the thick black clouds circling around my head. I think that was when I rushed through it and fucked it up instead of reading the pattern properly. Dammit.
H is also on her own tomorrow and something inside me was thinking that I should cook a roast and invite her over. Cheer her up instead of compulsively, maniacally nit picking at her in my head. Be a fucking Christian for once.
But I couldn’t. My home is my sanctuary and to be locked in here with her for hour after hour, as she gets more and more pissed and maudlin, not knowing when she might leave, would (a) tip me over the edge, (b) quite possibly end the friendship if I try and evict her, and I’m not willing to lose her ‘cos I like her far too much to risk that.
This is the tragedy; Aunty C always bangs on at me to make ‘healthier friends’ but I’m a magnet to my own as they are to me, and sadly, I’ve grown to realise that I can’t rescue them. I can offer advice if I’m a good place myself, but if they don’t take it or at least try and help themselves, then I’m powerless.
I don’t respond well to guilt. I was made to feel guilty by my family right throughout my childhood for everything and anything, and it left me very defensive and extremely angry, and I have finally learned that you can only give what you can give. If you don’t have the emotional readies (or real ones actually) in the bank then you can’t withdraw them and give them to someone in need. It’s impossible. Especially as some fucker has blown the door off my safe and completely cleaned me out.
I need to heal myself before I can properly help anyone else, and even then, it may not be my place to do so.
In the meantime, all I can do is love her, be a friend and see her when I can. I will continue to gently rebuff her hinted demands, help manage her expectations and hopefully even make her smile and bring back the H that used to have me in tears of laughter.
As for me, I’ll enjoy the peace and serenity of my home, continue to wrestle with this bastard jumper and see what tomorrow brings.
The snow has arrived. I gaze out of my window and smile.
Suddenly, I don’t quite feel so lonely anymore.