On Friday, I turned 56 years old and this blog turned 12. I’m celebrating, in part, by going on a trip down memory lane. You belong in this story… join me if you will.
I gave myself ColorJoy (the blog… “Art as an everyday attitude”) as a birthday present in 2002, after wanting one for a long time. You know, my family owned small-town newspapers and both my Grandma Ruthie and Uncle OT wrote columns for those papers. My Gramma Illa wrote a column for a several-state-wide farming magazine, too. It just felt natural that I would write one also.
WordPress says that this is my 3,250th post! There would be no point in posting if nobody was out there listening. Since the very beginning, I’ve enjoyed getting to know you. Several folks have been with me since the very beginning.
As a community-focused person, I value you and your input here. Life is much better with you in it.
Patterns for this Community
When I first started knitting again, I made things up on the needles. That’s just how it made sense to me. I was a computer trainer, and an after-hours artist. Right away you started asking me for patterns. And thus this new life started.
On Ravelry.com, I now have 38 patterns available as downloads in my PDF pattern store. I’ve written more which were published by others (Knitty.com, Willow Yarns, the book Joy of Sox and more). Adding those in, I show 59 designs on Ravelry. Whew! And you have been with me every step of the way… test knitting, encouraging me, keeping me grounded.
A Thank You Sale (not on Black Friday)
Though my Blogiversary was on Friday, I could not stand to offer you a thank you sale on that day which is full of other you-don’t-need-this sales at malls and big box stores. Ugh. I waited until the frenzy had slowed down a bit.
So… to thank you for being on this lovely journey to creativity and colorful knitting, I’m offering a sale now.
Until December 731, buy 3 of my single patterns (regularly $6) and get one more free! Just choose 4 patterns, put them all in your shopping cart; when you check out, you will see the discount in your total.
That is only $18 for four of my designs, written by me, in language you know you understand. This is less than dinner with a friend, and it will give you hours of enjoyment.
I test and proofread (with help from this community) before I release patterns. If you have any hiccups while working through the pattern I am here to make sure you succeed.
(You don’t need a Ravelry account or a Paypal account to participate in this offer. I use these companies to deliver your order. No signing up required (though Paypal makes that option a little hard to find).
But which ones might you choose? Here are some hints. Of course, there are more to choose from when you go directly to my Ravelry online store.
Shown here are some of your favorite patterns over the years. The Road-Tested Legwarmers outsell all my other Ravelry patterns by leaps and bounds. Let’s face it, lots of us get chilly and winter coats are often not long enough for comfort. These can be for dance, for fun, for staying warm in a drafty home, or for fashion. They include knit to fit instructions for any legs and any yarn gauge. Here I show them knit in purple solid Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride Worsted and Noro Kureyon.
Also shown are my Chippy Socks for Kids (thus named because I couldn’t stop at knitting just one pair). These are perennial baby shower gifts.
The Keys and Coins Hat can be made with or without ear flaps. My friend Bonnie has made close to two dozen of these, and has the pattern memorized now. They are pretty quick knits and very impressive as a gift.
Colorama Crescent Shawl comes in 4 sizes and can be knit in zigzag stripes or in one yarn (which shows off beautiful feather-like stitchwork as seen in the final photo… that one is knit in handpainted yarn from my friend Meg at Twisted Fiber Art). It is a very pleasant knit with a nice rhythm to it. There are only 3 places where you need to pay close attention. The rest is knitting that can be done while chatting with friends. And it’s very wearable! Small versions can scrunch up like a scarf and I wear my Goddess size wrapped around me like Stevie Nicks in 1978.
What else? The holiday-gift favorite One-Day Neckwarmer, which made the Patternfish Top-Ten Cowls… distinction. It really does knit up in part of a day. It takes less than 50 grams of light worsted weight yarn in two colors, so two 50 gram balls gets you two gifts. I have one in merino and angora that I wear in our house when I get chilly.
Is it Too Mushy…
…too mushy to say I appreciate you… that I am so deeply grateful that I’m in this place in life that I can write to you here? That we have this community together?
It’s way better than a newspaper column. You can comment back and we can chat.
I hope you enjoy my Blogiversary as much as I do! Hugs from Lansing, Michigan, USA!
I could talk about how I was an insecure young person… and think I’m talking about my unique characteristics. For the record, I have never looked insecure on the outside because I talk a lot, which looks like confidence.
Yet a few years ago I got clear that even people who look like they have always belonged… even those people can feel like they don’t fit in. A friend who lives a house she likes, a neighborhood or two from where she grew up, who in her 50’s does the work she trained to do in her teens, who married her high school sweetheart and is still happily married? She commented to me once about “those of us who are creative” (implying that we don’t fit in the norm).
Jonathan Fields of Good Life Project (his podcast is wonderful… check it out) says that in the midst of people we often feel alone and lonely. It can be so very true!
It’s a sad truth that we humans need to belong and yet we feel like we don’t belong more often than not. And when we feel insecure, the first thing we tend do fuss with is our appearance. We worry about our weight, our skin/zits, our weight, our hair cuts, our clothing, where we live, what we drive… and more.
Where We Least Expect It
Even in an environment of general support we can feel off center at times. Once I complained that a group of women in my dance troupe were all expected to wear the same type of costume for a dance.
My intent was to support those who would feel/look more beautiful in a different silhouette. The look on one dancer’s face told me that what she heard was that I thought she wasn’t beautiful enough in the chosen costume. My opinion that another costume would be better means that I didn’t think they looked good in the required costume. Ouch. (I’m still squirming about that misstep.)
I picked up a copy of O magazine (by Oprah Winfrey’s organization) last spring. There was an article on decluttering which interested me. I love some of her regular columnists including Brené Brown. Yet the front cover of that magazine had an article titled “Diet or Exercise: The real key to weight loss, once and for all.” And inside? Advertising all over selling products to slow down or eliminate aging, or cover flaws. Flaws?
My Obvious Flaw that Some Don’t Notice
I tell you what… Once I made friends with a lovely 5-year old on a day-long train ride to Montreal When we said goodbye she asked… “do you have a pink tooth?” I said yes, that it was an “owie” a long time ago but it doesn’t hurt now.
I have a damaged front tooth because of an ill-fitting orthodontic retainer when I was about 16 years old. It shows up on photographs. I figure that some day I’ll get the veneer that would make it less noticeable in photos. I almost did it ten years ago and decided against it for a number of reasons.
However, I smile a full-tooth smile every day. I laugh every day. And the people I’m close to don’t even notice that tooth until I mention it. They see the real me, which comes through very strongly above how my tooth looks.
That tooth is a reminder that things went permanently wrong when I obeyed blindly even when things didn’t feel right (“don’t take off the retainer no matter what…” and thus even when it hurt unmercifully I didn’t take it off and it killed a nerve). So the flaw, if there is any, is in my teen self being a good girl and following orders even when my gut told me that something was wrong.
My Story: Young Adult Insecurity
When I was younger, my tendency to worry about being accepted came out in an impulse to buy things that would make me feel more acceptable. If I was being interviewed for a job, I bought a whole new fancy suit and raincoat rather than perhaps standing tall in something I already owned or that was less pricey but that was just fine. If I was having company over, I would buy new towels and throw pillows and serving dishes, as well as buying food that was more pricey than really fit into my cash flow.
I spent much of my entertainment hours reading catalogs planning to shop, or meeting friends at a mall for a full day of shopping. The debt wasn’t the core issue. What I bought wasn’t even the issue. The issue was feeling that I wasn’t OK and maybe that one next purchase might make me more acceptable.
I got into unmanageable debt (the numbers mean less than whether I could manage the debt at the time). In 1990 I finally gave up unsecured debt… credit cards, professional services received but not paid immediately, and personal/ signature loans (there were no payday loans back then and I’m grateful).
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about that younger me. I call her Cookie, which was a nickname that never stuck but that I liked. She had many of my current good attributes, including loyalty and valuing loved ones. She wore black most of the time to feel sophisticated(yes, really… there are folks in my life now who can vouch for that). The black was a good background for her (important-looking) artsy jewelry. She bought stuff hoping that it would make her belong.
The Song which Brought Me to Tears
I was driving the other day, changing radio stations as I drove. This practice exposes me to musical styles I would not otherwise hear. I heard this song… which has a repeating line “you don’t have to change a single thing.” And I cried. I cried for that young me. For Cookie who felt unacceptable even though her energy attracted friends who appreciated that energy.
Please listen. It may not be your normal style, but it’s worth listening to as a poem of encouragement set to music. One voice and a lean musical accompaniment.
For the record, while looking for the video I found an angry column in ChicagoNow which focuses on the makeup-wearing message in the song (while I responded to “…max your credit card… buy it all, so they like you…“). And the columnist points out that sometimes women choose to wear makeup within the constraints of a real world which expects them to look a certain way. But then she says:
Am I the world’s greatest beauty? Of course not, but I have commandeered survival of the fittest. Brains over brawn. I figured out the rules of society and used them to my advantage…
…What of this lyric, “you don’t have to try” which is possibly even more problematic? Suuuuuure we don’t have to try. This irritates me becauseit places the blame on women for living inside society’s normsinstead of on the media and current attitudesthat put that norm in place.Just love yourself! …You know what the truth is? The more standard a lady looks and the more forgettable her looks are, the easier her life is. There are exceptions for daunting beauties, but the rest of us are just trying to get by….
…It seems girls will be shamed no matter what. If you rock your natural skin and hair, you get called a lesbian/chubby/weird. If you learn the unspoken rules of society and conform to them to give yourself the best advantage in life, you’re just a superficial, poser fake-face who shouldn’t “try so hard”. Only true natural beauties deserve any attention, okay?…
Strong feelings, there. And she’s seeing totally different parts of the song. And her filter through which she’s viewing the lyrics is very different than mine. I’ll be fascinated to hear how it lands on you.
In an article I read about the video on Today.com, I found a link to a place more in sync with my take on things… RAW Beauty Talks. On their page they say:
Every day we are inundated with thousands of messages telling us we aren’t good enough. We size ourselves up against Photoshopped magazine covers, celebrities we don’t even know and the perpetual stream of filtered, edited photos that pass by on our social media pages. The result equals eating disorders, over-spending, anxiety, depression and above all a cap on our own potential happiness!
We are over it. RAW strives to help women everywhere find confidence in their unique beauty so that we are no longer imprisoned by society’s conventional standards of beauty.
In my view, if anyone male or female wants to wear makeup as personal expression or self-decorating I’m behind it 100%. If someone wears makeup on stage or on camera because the lights obscure their features, that is logical. If they choose to dress/present themselves in a certain way to belong to a specific environment… well, cool.
I just hope that you don’t feel you *need* makeup on your days off or with your friends. Once I watched an Oprah show where there were 3 women on a challenge to live without makeup for a week. One of the women’s husbands had never seen her without makeup. When she was pregnant, she’d put on makeup before bed in case she had to go to the hospital quickly.
Then again, decorative things can feel like luxuries at times. You and some friends might go get a manicure together to feel pampered. One of my best friends can’t wear makeup or dress up at work so she rocks the girly stuff on her days off for fun. That all fits in a self-acceptance place.
You Belong! Yes. You belong.
The song says “…when you’re all alone, do you like you?” I like where she’s going with that. I wonder, though, why it’s so lonely finding our way getting to that point.
Why do we all feel alone next to each other? Why do we feel that freckles are awful on us and cute on someone else? Why does everyone like everyone else’s hair but not their own? Why do we think that a blemish makes our heart less whole? Why is it so universal to feel this way and go through such an insecure time?
I’m empathizing with those who are twisting themselves into something they don’t like in order to fit with people they don’t really want to fit with. If you feel (as young Cookie/Lynn did) you need to buy stuff to be accepted/ avoid criticism… to protect yourself against feeling unacceptable to others? Well, that sad insecurity I lived with is what this song touches in me. Because, as I discovered, even people who look comfortable from the outside looking in, on the inside don’t always feel like they belong.
LynnH is Lynn DT Hershberger of Lansing, Michigan, USA. She considers her artistic medium to be color, whether it
be knitting, printmaking, polymer clay or embellishing with paints. She also creates recipes with allergy-friendly,
gluten-free, and vegan-friendly ingredients.