No Contact Really Works

Wow.  It’s been about 4 months since my birthday in April, when I finally finished the act of going NC with my FOO.

A lot of positive things have happened in just these 4 months.  In June, there was the discovery of what a moral injury is.  In July, what traumatic bonding is.  Huge leaps in understanding what happened to me, and huge validation for what I’ve done and continue to do to heal.

I would not have believed it if you told me it would happen, but I haven’t cried one damned time about any of this since April.  Not just that I haven’t cried — I haven’t WANTED to cry.

Last week we went to a show that reminded me forcefully of two of my brothers.  I remembered the old connections, but I also had a new connection — a friend I made at the previous show — and I wasn’t upset or sad or nostalgic at all.  OK, maybe slightly nostalgic.  (And annoyed as shit that the tour t-shirt actually has my home town listed.  I’ve blacked it out with a Sharpie though.)

In fact, I’ve made several new connections lately.  Last weekend, we were doing the “stair hike” downtown and we met a lovely woman — roughly my sister’s age, and probably also income bracket — after we stopped to admire her landscaping.  We talked with her for almost an hour, exchanged emails, and she thinks I’m “adorable”.

Then on the way back to the car, we stopped for a couple of beers and met another pair of people and we talked with THEM for another hour.

This woman was younger, mixed-race maybe, and she used exactly the same word about me.  “Adorable”.  What an afternoon.  Maybe it’s not me that’s the problem, huh?  Maybe it’s other people and their baggage and their histories.

Maybe things are going to be pretty damned good from here on out.

I still think about the FOO, and what they’ve done — but not as often, and with much less anger, much more philosophically.  Oh well.  That happened.  I’ve got other, better things to do.

Like the fact that I seem to be writing a book now!

And the huge half-the-house remodeling project is going to get started — after well over a year of architects, drawings, planning — the first contractor is scheduled.  This time next year I will have my new studio, built for me by my Dad.  Or at least, by his money.  A fitting legacy.

Because I’m just about ready to let go of his car, too.  It has served me well for 16 years but it’s getting to be time for something new.  Also very fitting.

Another new connection from just this past weekend — a man who is an executive coach — remarked on my knitting as a metaphor.  We talked about the idea that a life is made up of individual days, moments, events and decisions, like a sweater is made up of individual stitches.  And I half-joked, “And sometimes you just have to rip it all out and start over.”

And then I realized that the metaphor goes even further:

You CAN rip it all out and start over.  It’s painful to do it, and you have to go back to before the part where the mistake is, even if the mistake was in the very beginning and is fundamental to the piece.  But you CAN do it.

And, when you do that, it doesn’t ruin the yarn.  You can still re-use the yarn, and re-knit it into something better.

That’s interesting because it is exactly what I’m doing with two of the first test sweaters for this book.  I had two old sweaters that I wasn’t happy with any more.  I tore them out, and am re-knitting with the yarn, using my new method.  And they are working out great.

One of the old sweaters was one I didn’t get rid of because it had a connection to my Dad.  I had been knitting that sweater on a visit home, and he talked about how much he liked to sit and watch me knit.  It reminded him of his own mother and her crocheting.  The sweater itself was oversized and dated, but I can re-use the yarn, and keep that connection, while at the same time making the old, dated piece into something new and useful.  Something that fits, in fact.

In writing the “Acknowledgements” section of the book, I ended up working my way backwards chronologically, starting from all the students I have had who told me, “You should write a book!”

And I realized that the first three acknowledgements, in order, have to be:  my sister, my mother, and my mother-in-law.

Kind of a pisser.

But also the truth.  So it’s standing.

And it’s OK.  I’ve ripped out the old mistakes, and I’m turning the old yarn into new shapes — knitting new and beautiful things that fit me.