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Knitting and Relationships

I love knitting.  Some of the time.  It’s actually more like a love/hate thing. 

Last night I was working for several hours on this dress for my niece, only to have to rip out every row except one.  Four hours of knitting for one row.

I only have myself to blame.  It’s a complicated pattern where every stitch has to be accurate, and I knew I had messed up but I figured, it’s at the end of the row.  It will be at the seam.  I can make it work!  I’ve made this mistake hundreds of times, and it always costs me in the end. 

My problem is that I love to knit complicated patterns.  Most people find a pattern for a scarf that they like and they knit 5 of them.  I, on the other hand, decide to knit something like a dress, which takes months to knit, and when I’m done I never want to see the pattern again. 

I’m actually selling a few of the items that I’ve knit at The Stitchin’ Post.  Even if they sell, the best I can hope for is to cover the cost of the materials, because I’m only making something like one cent an hour. 

But that’s OK.  I’m not doing it for the money.  I just like the challenge.  To me, patterns are more like puzzles to be solved, like Minesweeper or Sudoku.  A pattern that I have already mastered is boring and no longer holds my interest. 

My relationships follow a similar pattern.  I like a challenge–someone with all kinds of issues and baggage and diagnoses.   I want to hear all about their problems, learn how they developed, and figure out how to solve them.  That’s why I became a psychologist.  No matter how messy things get I think, that’s OK.  I can still make it work!  Which is not always a bad thing.  But sometimes you  need to cut your losses and start over, in knitting and in life.

The problem is, the majority of my family members have some type of mental illness, so I have a skewed notion of what a “normal” relationship is.  Several years ago I was talking to one of my colleagues about the demise of my first marriage and she said, “marriage is hard work, but it shouldn’t be like climbing Mt. Everest.”  I thought, really?  It sounded that bad?  

But some people do climb Mt. Everest for fun, and I guess I like scaling psychological mountains.  Like knitting a dress for my niece by Christmas.  Which I will work on again tonight.

About Christy Barongan

I didn't know it at the time, but I wanted to be a psychologist so that I could figure out how to be normal. I think many people come to counseling for the same reason. What I've come to learn is that feeling good about myself is not about trying to be normal. It's about trying to be me. But it's a constant struggle for me, just like it is for everyone else. So I thought I would approach this task with openness and honesty and use myself as an example for how to practice self-acceptance.

4 responses »

  1. So if you like us, does that we mean we probably have issues and baggage and multiple diagnoses?

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  2. Your knitting is gorgeous! And your taupe shawl sold today!!

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  3. Pingback: One Year Progress Report | Normal in Training

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