Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Thank you

For your compliments. Honestly. You've all got remarkably good timing, too... it's been a difficult week so far. First, we've had an outbreak of electricians which, with unerring lack of intelligence (see? My fairy godmother gave me a bust. When there are so many other more useful things I could have.) I'd arranged for the beginning of February because that's the time of year when having no power/heat in the house all day is so, what's the word, refreshing. That's it. Refreshing. It's cold here, winter is fighting back. There's a lovely clear glass marble with an iridescent surface looking even more beautiful obscured by frost. It might be hidden by snow soon if the forecasts are accurate. A weather emergency, seven inches of snow and Complete Travel Chaos is on the cards for tomorrow. Anyway. The electricians finished Phase One yesterday (nice lads, seemed far too young to be playing with powerdrills and electricity. I wonder if their parents know where they are?), but the house had not yet warmed up when I discovered that one particular client has decided to dispense with my services on a project I've been hassling with since September. I'm not grief-stricken, just frustrated and embarrassed with an thin overlay of relieved. It's the first time in 18 years I've been unable to find a satisfactory compromise solution to a problem, which (I tell myself) means this one's probably not my fault. But still. It's a failure.

I was truly intrigued by your wishes. Most of them* seem in some way to be about wanting confidence. I wonder if that's got something to do with how much we expect of ourselves these days? So many skills are needed, and every new thing we try leaves us open to criticism as we learn. Criticism from others hurts (me) more, but I think self-criticism is far more dangerous. I set myself unreasonably high goals (based on what I see others have achieved, not thinking that they actually know how to do [whatever] perfectly). Failure is almost inevitable, and there's another blow to my battered confidence. Or yours, if you do the same. So... I wish us all self-confidence. More than that, I wish us a firm belief in our ability to do anything at all if it's within our capability, provided we take time to learn how to do it well. Oh, and the ability to remember to think of the things we CAN do well, not just the things we can't. Anyone else who wakes up at 3am to find their 'Life List of Failures' scrolling endlessly before their eyes? I hate that. I feel so small, so stupid. We can't change the past, I can't undo those mistakes, only try not to repeat them.

Anyway, have some knitting AND some spinning. My alpaca/silk handspun is not wiry! From bottom to top: my little Bosworth spindle and the alpaca/silk roving; 45-ish metres (a spindle-full) of light fingering weight singles (weighs c. 10gms); a sample knitted from a 2-ply made from similar singles. It's wonderful. I love it. Soft, warm, and I'm particularly taken by the way that plying followed by knitting evens out all the unevennesses in my handspun :-) He looked at it and said "You could knit me socks out of that". Which is true, but extremely unlikely.
I feel better already. There's something I couldn't do, wouldn't have dreamt of trying six months ago, and the end product is really not too bad. If we grant ourselves confidence, we can move mountains. Believe it.

* Alice, stop worrying! The world needs people with intermittently red hair and mildly evil thoughts who look fabulous in their handknits :-)


Joanne said...

Oh, I go away for a few days and you write two such thoughtful entries! About the client, you know, sometimes breaking it off can be a relief. I am feeling a small amount of desperation regarding two of my freelance jobs, and I know I'd like to just be free of them. Yes, there's the guilt of thinking, "If I were perfect, I could do this..." but the fact, is, none of us are! It's ok to keep learning, growing, and discovering--like you did, that you can do fabulous spinning, a good effort at your day job, and feel good about knowing that you can't please everyone, all the time.

I'm going to assume that you have electricity and heat again, I hope, because of this blog entry? If not, I wish you warmth. Also, remember to have some fun in the snow!

Alice said...

When I was a driving instructor, I had to tell a couple of clients that I was "letting them go", as they were unreliable, had let me down too many times and were costing me money. How I wish they had dropped me instead!

Anyway, from the sound of it, your client was just exactly the sort you don't need. All that work you did. I bet they want the impossible.

I like your yarn. I wish I could understand more of what it's like to spin, then I would know what an amazing thing it really is. I hope you know where I'm coming from....

Cripes, I hope you will be warm enough in your seven inches.

And thanks for your kind little prod about the worrying. I am trying.

knitseashore said...

Sometimes clients don't know what they want and they somehow expect you to read their minds anyway. Sometimes they expect you to come up with the perfect solution to solve ALL the issues they have in their lives when all they're really hiring you for is a specific project. Those are the kind we are better off without. It is tough to see all the hard work you've put in, though.

In the U.S., or at least the area where I live, we have these billboards up on the highways that I guess are supposed to encourage character building. They pick a word and then an example of that word and a picture of the person who exemplifies it. For example: President Abraham Lincoln's word is "Persistence." The text reads, "Failed, Failed, Failed...and then..." Now, if you're still with me and don't think we're all completely bizarre (!) it's actually a refreshing change from the usual advertisements on these things. And a reminder that when we look to these people who are models of achievement and perfection, that they started out just like us, and made lots of mistakes. I think the one for Einstein says "Achievement" and the text says something like "Failed out of School" or "dropped out of school." (Not sure I have that right). But anyway, now that I'm taking up way too much room on your comments page, I just wanted to say that we have to be willing to try and make mistakes if we ever hope to succeed at new things, just like these famous people did. I hope I can come to accept that it's part of the process.

Hope your heat is fixed and you are staying warm!!!