One stitch at a time is how I'm approaching my knitting these days. As long as I just keep focusing on that one little stitch at a time then things are pretty manageable. It allows me to focus on the moment and the process of knitting without getting overly worried about what is coming next in the pattern or how many rows I have left to complete on my current project. By refocusing my attention on my knitting I'm learning how to knit in a different way and I'm enjoying it a lot more.
My thought process towards knitting is just one of the things I've had to adjust to. It's odd how there are some things that can be adjusted to easily but others just seem to a herculean task. I realized this week that the only thing stopping me from making necessary adjustments is me. When I first got diagnosed I thought, "we'll I'll just keep knitting and I'll figure things out." The problem is I stopped knitting. I stopped crafting. I stopped creating. I just kind of stopped.
It was easier to stop than to face some of the realities I was confronted with. It's one thing to drop a stitch of your knitting because you just weren't paying attention, it's a lot harsher to drop a stitch because your arms are shaking because of a neurological dysfunction. If you don't knit, then you aren't as acutely aware of your shaking arms. If you quit spinning yarn on your spinning wheel you maybe aren't reminded that you aren't quite as coordinated as you once were, and maybe you don't have the same control over your feet as you used to.
I've been struggling a lot with "definitions" how I define myself and how I am defined by others. It seems like I'm constantly at a crossroads of who I am and just when I think I figure it out I realize that I'm far from figuring out. Who I thought I was and who I thought I would be certainly never involved the letters "m" and "s". It seems like one day I was on a trajectory going in one direction and then the next day and a few doctor's appointments later I'm something completely different. Most days I don't even focus on the fact that I've got MS, I'm learning to deal with the treatments, the side effects, and the odd reactions I get from folks when I'm using my cane or walking a bit wobbly; but I don't think about the MS. Yes I know denial is not just a river in Egypt. I realized this week that as much as I thought I was dealing with all of the changes MS has brought I realized that I wasn't as ok with it as I previously thought.
Earlier in the week I received a comment from a blogger asking to join in the Carnival of MS Bloggers. To be honest my first reaction was "huh? I'm not an MS blogger, I'm a craft blogger." I called a friend kind of distressed by this label of being an "MS blogger." My ever so wise friend made the brilliant assertion that I don't have to join in. I hung up relieved. She validated me, I didn't have to join in, I didn't have to be an "MS blogger." Yet as the days went on I kept dwelling on it, not quite sure why I was so uneased by it. No one was twisting my arm, no one was saying you must do this, and yet I couldn't quite shake the feeling of not being honest with myself.
Then I realized it I am a lot of things: wife, friend, knitter, spinner, bobbin lacer, sewer, quilter, poet, crafter, wood turner, pet lover, oh and I have fibromyalgia and MS. I'm also left-handed, hate onions (unless they are fried) oh and I detest mustard (unless its honey mustard.) I realized that if I had been asked to join a wood turning group or any other craft non-health related group I would have been thrilled. Then it all kind of clicked in my head. When I started this blog I knew it would be a mis-mash of "life and crafts smashed together," and that's what I want my blog to be about. Along the way as I worked on my ever changing lists of projects life kind of happened and now MS is part of my life. I am an MS blogger, and a craft blogger, and a variety of ever-changing things.
This week I faced the inevitable truth that MS is a part of who I am but it does not define who I am, no one thing that I do or that I'm interested in defines who I am and most importantly I realized the freedom of letting go can be an uplifting experience. The fact of the matter is one of my mechanisms for dealing with MS is crafts of all sorts and as I learned this week from the fabulous folks in the MS knitter's group on Ravelry, I'm not the only one crafting with this illness.
Monday kicks off MS awareness week. Today I recieved an e-mail from the National MS Society that asked the question "what will you do to move us closer to a world free of ms?" The only answer for me was to stop "stopping" and start "moving." Moving in a forward direction of acceptance and if necessary adjusting. So I'm proudly joining the Carnival of MS Bloggers, I'm proud to be an MS blogger AND a craft blogger. I'm also thankful for the life lessons I learned this week and I look forward to blogging about my various craft projects and life with MS.