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Words out loud can be so hard (got long)

Posted by Racer on January 11, 2008, at 2:36:19

In therapy today, I said something about myself which others have said of me, but I've never taken in. It was so hard, and I cried -- and kinda hyperventilated -- over saying it. My therapist was proud of me, even though I really only kinda half said it...

Some of you know that I knit and do other crafty sorts of things. I also sew, spin, etc. (Daisy and GG have seen me in clothes I've made for myself -- Daisy a dress and a skirt, GG at least a skirt and maybe a sweater-top?) For Christmas, I usually make gifts for my family, and I've sent socks to a couple of people here. I often hear back about how amazing that is, etc, but I always deflect that.

The other day, it struck me -- I was thinking about a woman I know, a more experienced knitter who only knits from patterns. She carries around a huge printout for everything she knits, with stitch patterns charted out, increases and decreases for all the shaping, etc, all printed out. This is someone I actually think of as a much better knitter than I. Well, whatever else I think of myself and my abilities, I don't use patterns when I knit -- I just make it up myself. After years of hearing how "talented" a "designer" I am -- even having the owner of a yarn store asking me to teach design classes for her -- I've never thought of what I do as anything approaching "designing." My self-concept does not include characteristics such as "imagination," "talent," "creativity," etc. The other day, though, it finally sunk in somehow -- I am creative, and not only in the technical sense of being someone who creates things. I *do* have imagination, and then the T word cropped up.

That's what made me cry today. I managed to say that I have imagination and that I do have creativity. But when the last word came up, I couldn't quite say it -- I finally choked out "... and I do have some talent." (My psychoterrorist was still quite proud of me, although she pointed out that I couldn't say, "I am talented," which is the goal she's set for me on that one...)

What got me, though, was how hard it was to say it. I tried so hard, and choked, and cried, and only managed to get any of it out by sheer force of will. Why on earth is it so hard for me to say that? It's a good thing, it's not as though I'm admitting to being unkind to animals, or laughing at the less fortunate. It's not as bad as admitting to some of the terrible things that I've done in the past that haunt me even now. This was a simple set of words, praising myself for something I had finally taken in about myself. I believe it, I think...

Maybe that's it? Maybe it's as simple as fear that I'll be contradicted if I say it out loud?

The funniest thing about all this is that I am a fairly confident knitter. When someone stares at what I'm doing -- which happens fairly frequently, when I'm around other knitters, and they often have bemused expressions on their faces -- I very rarely think it's because I'm doing something wrong. I usually think that anything they're looking at to criticize is just something they haven't figured out is a better method than they use... (In other words, I may be a little arrogant about knitting... Not a good trait, but...) So, it's not lack of confidence in my ability, really. So why is it so hard to say it out loud?

And for that matter, why can't I take credit -- which I still can't -- for "designing" what I knit, rather than just saying I "make it up?"

Has anyone else experienced something similar? Inability to say something good about yourself, even though you've heard it from others and have even recognized it yourself?




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