Saturday, September 11, 2010

Overcoming Fear

A large part of my job is facing fear and overcoming it. I've worked for years to calmly assess my flute playing in the midst of fearful circumstances and make corrections on the fly without collapsing into a quivering mass of nerves. It hasn't been until recently, however, that I started taking an inventory on the everyday things that I fear.

I fear parties, so I have forced myself to go and MINGLE (I'd prefer a quiet night at home with my husband, or a corner where I can hide sit and observe at a safe distance).

I fear math, so I forced myself to learn Sudoku and not freak out over it. I can do medium puzzles with no problem now. I don't really care to hurt myself on the hard ones.

I fear, no, LOATH shopping for clothes, so I force myself to go WITH AN OPEN MIND and try things on that I might not like at first. If I don't find something on the first try, I force myself to keep trying. I'm getting better, but I still hate shopping for clothes.

One of the biggest fears that I nursed for decades was the fear of knitting. I can crochet with no problem, and enjoy it immensely. When it came to knitting, though, I gave up after multiple attempts that ended in dismal failure.

After repeatedly turning a blind eye to the "K" word, I realized that I had ignored the elephant in the living room long enough. I was going to gird my loins and plunge into the knitting arena.

Thank God for YouTube. After just a little searching, I found numerous basic instruction videos. It was then that I discovered that I was not stupid, I was just wrapping my yarn incorrectly when I purled. After that simple correction, I was suddenly able to knit rows of the kind of even stitches that I had secretly been longing to produce for years.

Here are some of my summer projects:

Easy Lace Scarf

Ribs and Ruffles Scarf

Heaven Sent Baby Blanket

Another Easy Lace Scarf

Drop Stitch Scarf

Seeded Rib Scarf

I am still fearful of dropped stitches, have started and re-started projects, and ripped out a good number of rows. I am finding, however, that knitting simple patterns is soothing and comforting. I love the feel of the (pricey) fibers and the beautiful results. I am learning to let small imperfections remain as a hallmark of a handmade product.

Overcoming fear. I'm working on it...


Cindy Thomas Munksgard said...

You have some of the same fears that I have! Good job on knitting! I have some of the same fear. I love crocheting...and have been apprehensive about mom does it all the time...maybe that should be my next project too. Your projects look amazing!

FlutePrayer said...

Cindy-Your quilting is amazing. Sewing is a talent I do not possess, and I admire your skills. Good luck with the knitting!

Joelle said...

Ah, overcoming fears...I think we talked about that a few times during flute lessons :). A friend of mine sent me this quote the other day: "Remember that fear always lurks behind perfectionism. Confronting your fears and allowing yourself the right to be human can, paradoxically, make you a far happier and more productive person." David M. Burns. Thanks for the encouragement through your post!

FlutePrayer said...

Joelle-I'm excited to follow your Fulbright adventures in Korea. I'm so glad we got that final semester of flute lessons together. You really blossomed during that time. Your hard work paid off! Good job.