Monday, May 27, 2013

How I Suck The Joy Out Of Everything

...



On Sunday, between sweating inside of a bee suit, and tearing apart my vegetable garden, I put on a pretty dress and went to a very nice garden party.




I brought along two sweaters, that I had knit as gifts for the twin boys of my friends Star and Nick. 

Somehow, in the process of making these two garments, I failed to weave in an end of yarn, and left it hanging.  This was remarked upon by all of my sharp-eyed knitting friends.

That one loose thread ruined any happiness I might have had in those little sweaters.  Any joy or pride was crushed.

It's not that I have cruel friends. Far from it.  They said nice things about the two sweaters. But all I heard was the criticism.




I grew up in a very unhappy family. My mother was violently abusive, and my parents lost no opportunity to let me know that they considered me an utter failure, someone who would never amount to anything.  I was a shy, clumsy child, and my family took never failed to miss an opportunity to taunt me for my failings. To this day, I hear their voices in my head.

And let me tell you, those voices were loud in their critique of my knitting, yesterday.  They sucked every bit of joy out of that project, and filled me with shame.

To this day, I don't understand how adults could use their power over their own children this way.  A healthy family might find ways to praise of encourage their children. But not mine. This poisons so much of my life, even all these years later.


27 comments:

terri said...

Your knitting is beautiful. You are beautiful. You bring joy to everyone who knows you. If I had been your mother I would have told you this every single day.

H J B said...

Difficult concept to swallow for those of us that have dealt with childhood abuse, but very crucial...
No one can make you unhappy, your emotions belong to you. You can CHOOSE to be bothered by others or not. It is a choice to give someone else the power to influence you, a choice that must be made carefully.... As a child many influences have power, but as an adult, we must learn to filter, and work to protect children from those that abuse that power.
Joy and happiness are also choices, and powerful ones as well!

Anonymous said...

It's very difficult to lose that judgemental voice from childhood. Good luck!

Erin said...

I am so sorry you had such an awful experience. We share some similarities you and I. I think I know how you felt. I try hard to talk over the loud old voices. The sweaters are beautiful. Keep telling yourself that. Your friends would be mortified to know how they hurt you. On the off chance they are not mortified I have a mantra for that . "Associate only with people who elevate you". Sometimes it takes a few new friends!

. . . Lisa and Robb . . . said...

I wrote about this because it was gnawing on my insides so hard.

That's a positive choice, instead of letting it fester. Right?

. . . Lisa and Robb . . . said...

My knitting pals would, indeed, be mortified to know how weird I got from their observations of my knitting error.

Anonymous said...

Yes, good to let it out instead of festering. Brave too to share these painful thoughts and feelings. Now what about taking what you wrote and burning, burying, or flushing it away to let it go in a symbolic way?

Blessings.

Carolina said...

The sweaters are adorable. Well done, even with a hanging thread (or two, or three.)

Chris Gough said...

Beautiful cables and stripes, Lisa. Really.

Michelle said...

It's good to get it out. You do it on your blog and I, silly thing, I talk to myself. My favorite way to get it off my chest is to go out hiking alone and talk to myself.... Thank goodness I hike on trails where few other people go! You know, there is one significant good thing about getting to a certain age, you just don't give as much of a s#*t about what other people think. It's very liberating. But those old ghosts still have a way of sneaking up on you now and then. And it is a bit embarassing when I do get caught talking to myself out of the trail.

And by the way, I think those sweaters are beautiful.

Noreen said...

Your sweaters are beautiful. Your sweaters are the bee's knees. Your sweaters will be worn so much that they will soon have holes in the elbows and your friends will beg you to please please don't knit another, fix these please because they are so so perfect.

I bet they didn't mean to be mean. They just don't know your sensitivities.

Anonymous said...

As a victom of child abuse,I understand. I deal with things still every day because of it. It is weird what things it effects and instills in you that are seemingly unrelated. I get it. You are not alone. As a knitter and crafter in general, I get that too. Let me just say that your knitting is wonderful! I once had that happen to me. I saw in a photo of her received items (I did a craft swap) that I accidentally left a strand of yarn (or didn't weave it in enough before washing). Just breathe *hugs*

tiggermama said...

Parents pass on what they know:each generation gets a little better than the next. It's incredibly sad that your parents were so filled with hate by the generation before them. I'm so sorry you had to go through that.

i know something about that myself, having been raised by similar parents. Mine did the best they could with the little they had themselves. And on good days, i can remember that. On the bad days, my mantra becomes "God does not make junk."

Your parents were wrong: the sweaters are GREAT!
~tigs (cindyellen)

Anonymous said...

*loads of hugs*

the pink dragon

Stefaneener said...

That makes me feel so sad. It's not true, you know, not anymore. But those early installed scripts are difficult to get past. And I view you as so incredibly accomplished. . and so wonderful. May not help, but you know, it's now, not then?

Mel said...

They are beautiful, and must have taken hours and hours of love going into them. They will be worn and loved.

This weekend, I was volunteering at a dinner shift at a thing. Mid shift, I was told to go sit down & eat, wait for people to clear out then we'd mop. The organizer came over and said, "May I ask what you are doing over here, and why Josh is over there?" She was abrupt and brusque. I hopped to, said, "Sorry, I was just finishing, I'll go see what I can do to help!," thinking that my hubby had been drafted in my place on the serving line.

I was surprised to see him sitting down at his table. I checked back in with the organizer - "Um, Josh is sitting over there, is that what you meant?" "Yes. Is something up, why aren't you sitting together?" "Oh, I was on duty, and couldn't find him." "Honey. Stop. We can always find people for you, just come ask us."

So... she was really looking out for me. And I immediately assumed fault, blame, shame, the works.

It was a great example of what Josh is always telling me - people appreciate me and are not out to get me. I should not be so paranoid. But it's how I grew up, with the alcoholic dad. "Just don't do anything to provoke him."

Sigh. *hugs*

Nancy Williams said...

I was so sorry to read this! The jumpers are just gorgeous (and I always leave threads hanging, so I don't even think there is anything wrong with that). I hope all the comments here make you feel a bit better. It's probably time for me to say, cos I've been reading for ages, your blog is one of my blog highlights - I just love getting an update on how the garden, bees, etc, etc, etc are doing. I'm very inspired by the way you live and your approach to things - so keep your chin up!!! You are GREAT!

Steve, Christa, Emily, Meghan, Charles & Elizabeth said...

I cannot even begin to say what an amazing and inspiring person you are. As for your talents, from work, to knitting, to gardening (yes, I mean that) to adventuring, you leave me in awe.

Heather said...

I love you, and I don't even really KNOW you, lol - you ARE loveable, and I've never read so many amazing things from someone who truly displays an ability to live as deeply and authentically as you. That's what I know.
Just wanted to leave a link to this site I've been navigating, that really has great real world example advice and support: http://outofthefog.net/index.html
Maybe you'll find something that helps stop the tape - I did...

Anonymous said...

Ask your cats what is their opinion?

I'd bet they'll disagree.

knitica said...

Well I think you are amazing, because you appear to have made a February baby, but with a very handsome cable instead of the lace pattern, and suddenly it's not a swing coat and could be worn by a boy or girl. I'm sorry your family did such a number on you. I've always thought you were great and was so excited when you wanted to be friends.

Literary Lisa said...

Lisa, as everyone who has had the pleasure of making your acquaintance knows, you have proven your parents wrong at every turn: you are a talented, creative, caring, intelligent, beautiful, successful person in the world. You are loved! I treasure our friendship, though we are many miles apart.

I am sad that your parents did not appreciate the incredible person that they brought into this world, but the rest of us do!

Hugs to you and Robb!

Lisa (Tamsyn)

heidi said...

How sad:(

Your knitting is excellent! Cute and adorable:)

I really must say that I enjoy reading your blog!

Debbie said...

Those little sweaters are adorable. Believe me I understand your parents voices in your head, but don't give them the power to continue to hurt you. When you hear that negative voice,stop, call it the lie that it is, and have whatever positive affrimation that works for you to replace that destructive thought. it really does work. Be kind to yourself, my friend, and believe that you are the kind, loving, talented woman that others know you to be.

Debbie said...

Those little sweaters are adorable. Believe me I understand your parents voices in your head, but don't give them the power to continue to hurt you. When you hear that negative voice,stop, call it the lie that it is, and have whatever positive affrimation that works for you to replace that destructive thought. it really does work. Be kind to yourself, my friend, and believe that you are the kind, loving, talented woman that others know you to be.

K said...

As someone with no knitting skills whatsoever, and a novice in the necessary application of patience to learn such skills, I am incredibly impressed. It's hard not to let our imperfections define us. It's a natural human foible. There is something Divine in each of us, and knitting sweaters for little babes is something of the best in you.

Grumpy Grinch said...

To paraphrase Butterfly McQueen, I don't know nothin' 'bout knittin' no sweaters, but those sweaters look beautifulmto me.

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