This week’s post was going to be about snow because I experienced that for the first time and I thought I would share that with you. I thought of writing a poem because I noticed you guys really love my poems; and I appreciate your love for my work. However, today I had an epiphany; yes, another one. And this epiphany was about yarn.
Today two of my classmates had a service event in the lobby of our building. They had an Art Materials Exchange. You took what you needed and you left what you didn’t want. They managed to gather many materials from pencils, to paint, to recyclables. Between these items they had received this one big box filled with yarn. I mean, like a full box of yarn in every color! Within that box there were half made scarves, beanies and other winter apparel. And even though there were some tightly wound balls of yarn, there was this one big blob of tangled yarn. It was massive! And no matter how much you tried to untangle it you either ended up tangling it even more or pulling until the yarn would get caught on something else and you couldn’t pull anymore.
I had had a fairly good day but after one important appointment with my counselor I found myself a little down. So I decided that the best way to be was with friends and so I moved my ass back to the art material exchange and sat in front of the box full of yarn. I told my friend I was determined to untangle everything. She laughed but did not stop me. So there I sat, pulling at a red yarn. I pulled and pulled until it stopped. I had not managed to get it all out so I left that one sting on the floor and grabbed another color and repeated my process.
I kept doing this for three hours. At times I found that I could pull the whole string out of the blob of yarn; other times I couldn’t. The longer I spent doing this the more agitated I got. I noticed that even though it was totally sane to do, I did not want to cut the string and end the ball of yarn when the string got too tangled. I mean, I could pull on one string and if it got stuck I could just cut it and start a new color. And maybe as I did that I could find the remaining string of color I just cut and make a new ball; but I didn’t want to. I wanted to salvage the whole thing.
The more I realized I couldn’t salvage the whole string into one big ball of yarn, the angrier I got at the person who brought the box of yarn in. I never saw the woman; I didn’t even know her name. I just knew that she was bad for doing this. Who throws a bunch of yarn into a box and knits what she wants, leaving half-finished works and a bunch of yarn tangled up? And then she gives it away, expecting someone else to untangle it or to pass it on? Why would someone be so irresponsible? If this is your work, finish it. If this is what you love, then maintain it.
I wanted to make all those colored strings be perfectly intact. I wanted to be able to string them up in one neat ball, all colored coordinated. However, this was not possible. The longer I sat in front of that blob I realized that to be able to get it done I would need to cut the strings and salvage what was in my hand. This inevitably led me to have multiple balls of yarn of the same color in different sizes. More than that, I realized I could not untangle all that mess in three hours. It was not doable. So at some point I walked away from it. I was not able to end it today but it will get done some other day.
It was not until I finally walked away that it hit me (Epiphany), this blob of yarn, this messy, ragged blob that turned into the bane of my existence for three hours, is my life. I am that blob of yarn and all those pieces of string, of different colors and textures are my experiences and the people who have come and gone. My desire to untangle this ridiculously big ball of yarn was my attempt at symbolically trying to untangle my life. I wanted to salvage all my emotions (strings), experiences (strings) and thoughts (more strings) in the best way possible but I found that I couldn’t. I had, at times, to make an executive decision. I could either spend all day untangling one string or I can cut it and continue with another string. I found that for me to be able to move forward with some things in my life, I was going to have to cut it and roll it up in one ball and then come back later to salvage what had been left from that one string. It did feel good when I managed to salvage one whole string but it was rare and at times it was a short piece of string. Whereas, the longer ones were usually cut and left for the next round of string pulling.
I also noticed that my anger at the lady was not at her but at myself for letting other people come into my life and tangle all my colorful strings. It was anger at myself for not respecting myself and letting people tell me how I should do things, or be; thus making me leave unfinished scarves and hats. I let them come into my box of yarn, play with my colors and tangle them and leave. And over the years, all those tangles amounted into this one blob that now I am faced with. And the more I pull on them the more they pull back. So I had to decide if I wanted to spend a whole day untangling the blob of yarn that is my life, knowing I wasn’t going to be able to do it in one sitting, or I could pace myself and do it when I had the time . I, because I was hungry, decided to leave it for another day but still realizing that it had to be done; not because I was going to be praised or because someone depended on me to do it but because I needed to do it for myself.
Finally, as I was untangling the blob a friend of mine sat down with me to untangle the blob. She didn’t do much, but what she did was enough. And that is the last and most important thing of my epiphany. It was my blob to untangle, I decided to do so, but along the way there will be people who will sit down with me to untangle my blob of yarn. They will come at their own time, at their own space and they will do it because they want to, not because they are forced to do it; and that makes all the difference, no matter how small.
Hence, I was the careless lady who let other people tangle my box of yarn. I let myself down by permitting all these careless people into my life; by letting them tell me what I should knit and what I should leave behind. This dear blob is my life; it is the aftermath of the many unfinished and unpicked fights. However, I have decided to untangle this blob, no matter how long it takes, no matter how many little balls of yarn I end up with. And maybe someday I’ll be able to help someone else untangle their blob of yarn, that they themselves were too careless to maintain and stop them from giving it away at an art exchange.
Signing off, TWS