Monday, November 21, 2005

Knitting and neurosis

Tonight I learned to knit. I had found this pretty teal and blue fuzzy yarn, and I decided I wanted to knit my grandmother a scarf. So, I bought the needles and I tried to teach myself from Internet instructions. But it just wasn’t working. So I had this beautiful ball of yarn, and these brand new needles, just sitting by my bed.

Then tonight my roommate Elizabeth started knitting, and she showed me how.

At first I was tentative, and I was so worried I would make a mistake that it took me forever to really get going on the scarf. But with every new loop of yarn I made, my confidence grew. And when I did make mistakes, and I certainly made some, I was able to fix them or they weren’t big enough for me to notice.

I actually have a few inches of scarf, and it’s beautiful and fuzzy and warm. There are some mistakes, but it’s made with love.

Right. There’s the knitting. What about the neurosis?

Well, for the past few hours I have been freaking out to Kevin. He leaves in about 10 hours, and I was in bed next to him and my heart was pounding and my head was aching and I just had to spill my guts out to him. I had to tell him about all the crazy fears and insecurities and worries running through my tired mind. They’ve been in my head and my heart for weeks, to the point I pushed Kevin away.

I still haven’t forgiven myself for that, and I keep waiting for him to bring it up or get mad or remind me that I didn’t believe in us enough to fight my fears back and hold him close. I keep waiting for him to tell me that I LEFT him in California, and that I didn’t love him enough to stay.

I keep waiting, but he doesn’t say that. He doesn’t THINK that. I know. He tells me his heart, and shows me, and when we’re close I can hear it without him saying or doing anything. It’s just there, beating inside of ME, Loving me more than anyone ever has.

But I’m a bundle of insecurities, and I’ve never been in Love. And I keep saying that, because Love is what scares me the most of anything. I can backpack through Europe on my own, I can ride in my car and leave my family and friends behind, I can do what I need to do. I can be alone. But what if I fall in Love and I don’t want to anymore? What if I want Kevin to be beside me in my car, in Europe, in everything. What if I end up losing myself in him, and it’s just another way of escaping and drowning. Instead of hiding behind the titles of “journalist” and “daughter” and “RA,” I hide behind the title of “Kevin’s girlfriend.”

That would be sad, and I don’t want that to happen. And tonight I was finally able to say that out loud to Kevin. I know he had already heard it in my heart - he‘s good at listening to mine. But tonight I actually believed he loved me enough to bare a LOT of my neurosis out loud to him. And it felt wonderful, and frightening, and exhilarating and horrible all at the same time. Because once I started, they all came flooding in.

Wave after wave of insanity, and I kept trying to keep them at bay. But I just couldn’t. Kevin kept telling me he loves me, and I kept telling him I love him too. He asked me a simple question. Am I happy? Simply, yes. And so he told me I should just enjoy that, and we’ll deal with any problems and “What Ifs” when they arrive. But my fucked up mind wasn’t ready to hear that, despite knowing it’s true.

And then, finally, Kevin said the biggest fear I have out loud. He said he knows I love him, but he just wished I would stop questioning if I really am in love with him. "Oh my God, he knows!" That’s all I could think.

He knows that deep down, in the darkest, most scared places of my heart, I’m not sure if I really love Kevin. MOST of me, almost ALL of me, knows I am. But there are these ugly niggling doubts inside, worming around and poking holes in my happiness.

I keep wondering…' If I love him, how could I walk away? How could I leave California, and then try and break up with him? If I love Kevin, why have I played with other men? Shouldn’t Kevin be enough?

And the biggest one of all…'.. If I love Kevin, wouldn’t all of these insane fears go up in flames?

And that did it. I couldn’t lay there next to him with my head swimming painfully while he tried to sleep because he’s so tired from the altitude, and all the sex because I can’t keep my hands off him.

So I grabbed my knitting and came into the living room, and I tried to clear my head with the click clack of the needles and the loops of teal and blue yarn.

And the more I worked the needles, the more comfortable I got. I became less concerned with making a mistake, and my stitches relaxed. Suddenly, rows were growing quickly, and my mind was easing.

And then I looked at the inches of pretty yarn I had made just today - my very first day knitting, and I realized something. Well, a lot of things. And there’s still more for me to work out, but at least I feel better.

I learned to knit today, and I’m learning to Love. This big, beautiful ball of warm and fuzzy yarn caught my eye, and I was smart enough to grab it. And maybe I didn’t quite know what to do with it at first, but it’s mine. And I can take my time, and I can make something really wonderful with it. But I have to stop worrying about making a mistake. I have to stop worrying that I really can’t knit --- whether it’s a scarf or a relationship. Because I am happy with the click and clack of my needles, and my heart.

The more relaxed I am, the more I enjoy every loop, the easier it becomes. And already I have something delightful. Already there are inches of scarf, and lengths of Love, that I have made. It’s my yarn, it’s my life, and it’s great. And double bonus - I have Kevin, this amazing, beautiful, special man who likes and loves me even when I can’t see myself clearly or like myself too much. Kevin’s there to help me with my loops, and loopiness, and I have to realize he doesn’t want to go anywhere.

I’m so afraid of how strongly I love him, and how much he could hurt me, that I’m freaking out from the “What If he leaves, What If I’m not enough, What If he wakes up and realizes I’m not so great, What If…' What If…' What If…'” thoughts that I am not even allowing myself to relax and just be happy. I am relaxing now, and somehow something has eased inside me. Unburdening so much of this on him, and yes, even here on this crazy cathartic blog, is helping. And I just need TIME. Lucky for me I have a patient, loving boyfriend to provide that, and I‘ll be with him and my new California friends soon. So I’m going to keep practicing knitting, and work on removing the neurosis. And I’m going to tell the dark places and the niggling worms of doubt to shut up. I DO love Kevin. I really, really do.

Yikes! (I still have work to do!)


At November 21, 2005 3:29 PM, Anonymous nicole said...

haha believe me, you arent alone in the 'what ifs'--i keep feeling all carrie bradshaw, like no one is EVER going to be good enough for me! ;)
so congrats

At November 25, 2005 12:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is the same leap everyone has to take. Whether in love or in something simple as learning a new 'trick'. It is much easier to hear about people loving unconditionally without any doubt. That is not reality. Reality is growing and supporting one another through trust and honesty. In that time there will be fights and doubts. Realize that it is normal, take a deep breath and go with the flow as I am sure you had done backpacking in Europe. You couldn't map the entire trip step for step, just as you can't in love:)

At November 25, 2005 5:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In Dec. 2003 I had the following situation:

The girl I loved, and part of me still does, broke up with me. I was falling for another girl, an amazing person I still consider a close friend. And another girl, whom I did not love or even consider a friend, was carrying a baby she claimed was mine.

I was living the "wild life" as you sort of, kind of, are now. You blogged about our switch of roles recently after a conversation we had.

I know this situation does not mirror yours at all -- except trying to figure out what love is, what it means and how the fuck you react to it.

A person I greatly respect gave me the following piece of advice, and I will pass it on to you:

Try not to hurt anybody too bad -- especially yourself.

I think you should keep that in mind as you continue this great journey of your life. Best of you. Wish you all the happiness, orgasims and cuddling a girl could ever want.

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