I’m a frustrating person, I’m also a person prone to easily be frustrated. This is probably mostly because I expect perfection out of myself even those things I have no idea about or have never done before. If I were to go caving I would expect myself to not look like a jackass, same as if I were suddenly an astronaut, deep sea diver, or rodeo clown. I don’t have a lot of room for errors with in myself which leads to a lot of frustration and built up anger. Oddly I don’t expect anything of the sort from others around me. Exactly the opposite I am the first to make anyone feel better if they are learning or something didn’t happen exactly as they desired. I’m a great cheerleader for everyone except myself.
I won’t toot my own horn, I won’t even let you know there’s a horn to be tooted because as my mom jokes “that would lead to a big head” which in my family is the epitome of bad behavior. I think this has also led to my personal perfection expectations. Maybe I hope that if I do something amazing enough others will notice how great I can do something. Many tears have been shed over such a silly notion of instant perfection. More perplexing is that I am not actual a perfectionist. I don’t keep a spotless house, I don’t mind dirt or the odd bug, my laundry pile must threaten me with a baseball bat before I accept imminent defeat unless I do something about it, and cooking is always a mish mash of what I have in the fridge, a bunch of spices that might raise an eyebrow of a chef, and frankly, a lot of broccoli.
There were a few days last month where I lost my beans. I mean total and complete mental explosion. Thankfully no one was here to see it in person. I slogged through and have put it behind me. While trying to coax my 6 week old red cornish chickens into the coop for their first night out of their brooder in the garage and starting to get mad I realized something. This was absolutely nothing to get upset about. The chickens, with their brain the size of my thumb nail had no concept why they needed to be in the coop or why I was starting to fling (yes I do mean fling) them willy nilly over my shoulder. Frankly my anger was making it worse, my own frustration was getting in my way. So I relaxed as I do when I knit a pattern that just doesn’t make sense no matter how many times you read it. I accepted that I could not understand it and just followed the directions. With the chickens I relaxed, took a deep breath, and let the Mr actually help me (something I don’t do very often) get all those damn chickens in for the night.
Later in the week my turkeys were out for the tenth time in so many days. I have no idea how they are getting out and every way seems impossible. They are wily birds and as I was trying to fight a large strong turkey back through the door to their run I realized once again my own frustration was making it worse. I’m a bigger, better, faster person. I like to do everything fast and better than really needs to be done. I was trying to wrestle this damn bird back into the run and it wasn’t working, do I really need to get this turkey back in the coop in 5 seconds flat? Does it really have to be so crazy all the time? So I opened the door (which is not so much a door as a flap) and moved out of the way fully aware that any turkey currently inside the coop could easily now be outside which would only add to my perceived problems. What happened when I relaxed and gave up some control? That damn turkey went right in the run to be with his fellows and I was amazingly not frustrated or angry.
This realization should have come much faster for me (though I’m not always a fast learner). I am never frustrated when I knit. I never get angry when a stitch drops, my needle slips out of a row of stitches (in lace of course), or my ball of yarn rolls off my lap into a pile of dirt when I am outside. I never worry that it won’t turn out, or that it won’t be perfect. Nothing I knit is perfect, I’m a constant cheater, I rarely rip back. Knitting allows me to be relaxed and free in a way I don’t allow myself to be with anything else. If something doesn’t turn out I can easily rip it out and make something else and no one will ever know the difference. I am peaceful when I knit and when I am peaceful things go much better for me. So with this new knowledge in hand I’m going to try to make a pact with myself to always be as if I am knitting, to allow myself to “cheat” and take a little more relaxed stance. It is not important to anyone else that I be perfect (which I am not) so why should it be important to me? For now I’m going to breath before allowing the frustration to overtake me, I’m going to remember that it helps nothing and only makes matters worse (especially if you are working with animals) and give myself a break.
(BTW instead of flinging chickens into the coop I have now realized that if I put their feed in the coop 30 minutes prior to shut in all chickens will put themselves to bed, even those wee wily red cornish who caused such chaos).