Mastering My Universe

This year I decided to stop hoping and visualizing and working on raising my vibration and any number of spirit-raising techniques to manifest things, and instead, simply work for what I want. To that end, I crunched the numbers to figure out what I need by year’s end to afford where I want to be, and started 2019 with a goal of working more than the 60 hours a week I have most of my adult life. Thought I’d tap out at 70, but surprise, surprise, I’ve been maintaining 80 hours of transcribing a week the past month combining freelance jobs.

Most of my days are, wake up, make coffee and breakfast, sit down to type until noon, make lunch, type until dinner, make dinner, go for a walk, type until anywhere between 10 pm to 12 pm.

I have to watch myself, because I don’t know how many of you have tried to type for 80 hours a week at all or for very long, but the short of it is, it’s not good for the human body. Feet and legs swell, weight is gained without overeating, basically blood stops moving to anywhere but the moving fingers. To that end, I have set up 3 hours twice monthly as part of a volunteer trail maintenance crew for local land I love … 6 hours each month of being more human than machine, thriving in the woods where I’ve always felt most nurtured. And one day a week working in the food bank garden.

Coming to terms with my “disability” on autism spectrum has made me want to simultaneously embrace and accept a new understanding of my identity because everything makes sense now, and wholeheartedly reject it as any kind of disability. It’s just neurosensory difference.

I stare at the long intake form for autism spectrum diagnosis at a reputable center and feel nothing but complete overwhelm contemplating documenting five decades of information about my behavior, so I am still on the fence about pursuing an official diagnosis with days of interviews and neuropsych testing. I won’t qualify for disability if I can work 80 hours a week, and the only benefit I see is having someone else confirm a diagnosis I already believe I fit, and qualifying for some support groups I might not otherwise.

Fitting for International Women’s Day, if medical and scientific research included women more often through time, many women would not have to suffer in dark with any number of health concerns from cardiac disease to autism because women present differently than men.  Here’s a great glimpse of power of diagnosis from one young woman who was diagnosed at the age I wish I had been – my early 20s. When I fell apart after my freshman year in college, greater understanding could have altered the trajectory of my life.

If I don’t pursue an official diagnosis, I feel peace about my talents and ability to focus as a primary web of light that will be my legacy I leave behind when I am no longer here on Earth. And of course my daughter, but as emotional and proud as I feel about her and as close as I’ll probably ever feel to any human being, I try to leave her out of this blog as much as possible.

All the rest of it, easily falling prey to manipulative relationships, the financial struggles, the job struggles, the constant search for stable housing, countless therapists, being told to be on medication for life that did more nothing than help, the “disability” part, is how I understand autism spectrum makes it possible for a person to be in equal measure brilliant and dysfunctional, both able to complete education through some graduate school, write poetry, master a form of music, knit up complex lace, AND enter mid-50s without settling into any of the markers of late adulthood – partnership or housing or financial stability. It also makes me want to kiss the ground in gratitude for the kindness of folks that made the past 15 years of stable housing possible for me and my daughter.

The dream I am willing to type 80 hours a week to achieve:  A small, lovely rental space I can live in on my own without financially requiring housemates (as I have nearly all my adult life) or marriage (I’d choose homelessness over marriage), funds to put my daughter’s belongings in storage or housing big enough to store them, and more freedom in my days to pursue solo creative and Earthbound pursuits I love.

Freak weather cycles experienced in much of the world now as “normal” – each of these pictures taken 24 hours apart.

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Blog Rehab

Two months of reflection on what to do with this blog leaves me wanting to hold its space instead of discarding it.

Creating a knitting blog at Waterwomanknits coincided with new midlife awareness of myself as likely on autism spectrum, so to prevent too much divergence from knitting content, I would like to keep this “Another Remarkable Day” space available for insights not knitting related. Waterwomanknits will stay primarily knitting-related content and makings.

Another Remarkable Day has been an expressive outlet for many unfulfilled and fulfilled big dreams like walking across the country, poetry, music, musings over seven years going on eight. The value of going back and seeing different ways I’ve grown is helpful to me and maybe possibly others.

My very first post in October 2011 mentions the crux of what I imagine are experienced with many on autism spectrum, when I identified two themes: 1)  Feeling trapped in life and relationships, 2) Feeling lost in life and relationships.

Happy to report I no longer feel trapped in life. Instead, I feel home in myself. My biggest ongoing sense of overwhelm comes from finances, but this one area of life I know for a fact is true for most Americans.  And all relationships are still a challenge, but now that I have “found myself,” I don’t describe the feeling as lost. Puzzled often in the social world, but not lost. It’s how I deal with those challenges that has changed. Coping and healing modalities are what I would like to continue to focus on here going forward.

New information is helpful to me. Reading in one recent source that the autistic brain may very well have a different response to “social reward” or good feelings from social interaction was one aha moment that rings true for my life experience. Despite being blessed with usually one especially close friend at a time growing up, I’ve always felt a sense of being alone even in friendship or relationship and just wasn’t “getting it” on more than a surface level why everyone was telling me social bonds were the most important thing in their life. This is not to say I don’t appreciate people who have raised me and loved me, and the daughter I have raised.

It’s just for me, being alone is such a powerful sense of “relief.” My version of success would be becoming a self-sufficient hermit. Forming adult bonds with others, in retrospect, I did continuously out of a sense of watching what my peers were doing for whatever stage of life I was in, and trying, trying, trying to put myself through all sorts of hoops to mimic that. And then feeling awful because I somehow wasn’t “getting” as powerful a sense of belonging in intimacy that I did when alone. I love observing humanity, believe the human spirit is powerful, and have strong emotions when I see injustice play out.

I particularly would like to compile anything I do for myself that may be helpful to anyone, inclusive of those diagnosed or self-diagnosed like me on autism spectrum. Maybe one day (after an official clinical diagnosis at some future point when I have insurance coverage), I could become a coach of some kind like a LifeMap Coach to help others who may struggle more than me.

It was until recently thought that mostly boys were in autistic spectrum. If you would like to learn a bit more about a “newly talked about but old” phenomenon of women and autism, there are many wonderful YouTube and TED firsthand experience talks, and here I post a few.

My hero:

The bravest thing I’ve ever seen:

 

In 2011, I did not have a smart phone or camera, so even though my first blog post was titled Double Rainbow, it did not include a photograph. Here now are some rainbows I captured from my neighborhood at other times. My constant bounty of images from the great power source that is nature is one example of how far I’ve come since that first blog post.  More to come whenever the inspiration strikes.

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Blog Transition

A word from our sponsor….me.

Due to wanting to focus a topical blog on fiber arts and possibly branch into tutorials and creating my own designs, you can find my posts at domain: waterwomanknits.com

This blog will revert to a free version, meaning my piano recording server space will disappear by end of January, along with probably some videos. Keeping a rambling blog going for seven years feels a bit cumbersome, and so many posts I look back on and would now prefer to delete. Some are stream of consciousness to the point they don’t make sense even to me, and I wrote them.

I suppose the blog served its original purpose which was for me to create a space to explore my own identity in a zone separate from my child. When single parenting, it can be easy to become enmeshed and lose any sense of self. Or at least that’s been my experience. Our journey enters a new phase soon. I never thought I wanted children when I was younger, but I couldn’t have asked for anyone more remarkable to help me grow.

By January’s end, I may decide to salvage certain themes like my poetry and ecopsychology content, and delete the blog.

Thanks to anyone who’s been patient enough to like or view a post.

 

 

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December Experiment

Translucent Money Plant dropped its seeds. Will look for 20 dollar bills in spring.

As I knit each night, I’ve been inspired by all the knitting podcasters and vloggers out there who have held spaces of sanity and comfort in 2018. Amid the torrent of bad news, sheer craziness and challenging times, these creators remind me of the self-healing power of creating and crafting that knitting is for me. As I’ve spent the year focusing on what I want to value most, the intersection of fiber arts, wool, sheep, farms, earth-grounded folks is where I want to turn.

My December experiment challenge to myself to help me through the darkest month in the Northern hemisphere will be to create 5-minute videos each featuring a quote or short poem on the theme of darkness (&thus light) as well as random knitting pieces in progress or completed in 2018. My intention is not to sell/promote anything but creativity and sanity inspiration. If you would like to add to my growing list of quotes on the theme of darkness or light, feel free to reply them to me here and I will credit you on my brief videos for your share. Thank you!

I tried to come up with a top-ten list of knitting podcasters I love to watch/listen to as I knit, but I couldn’t limit myself to ten. They represent a tiny fraction of the fabulous creators out there, but are simply ones that resonate most with me or teach me something in any way. I won’t live link them in case they don’t want to be on this blog, but here is the list of names you can search for on YouTube should you be so inspired.

  • A Wooden Nest (Oregon)
  • The Gentle Knitter (Ottawa, Canada)
  • Skeindeer Knits (London via Norway)
  • Kammebornia (Sweden)
  • Ina Knits (Norway)
  • FiberTrek (Worldwide, based in Maine)
  • Dunkelgrun (Switzerland)
  • Babbles Traveling Yarns (Ireland)
  • Arctic Knitting Podcast (Northern Norway)
  • Ninja Chickens (North Carolina)
  • Knitting The Stash (Illinois)
  • Knitting Expat (London / World)
  • Paper Tiger (Montreal, Canada)
  • The Wee Sew n Sew (Scotland)
  • The Fat Squirrel Speaks (Minnesota?)

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Touching Earth

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In praise of fiber artist extraordinaire

Unearthing potatoes by hand for my first time this week, side by side with two lovely sisters, searching them (potatoes, not sisters) for insect damage, then plopping them with satisfying thunk in buckets. This is where I need to be. Where we all need to be. Touching Earth.

Being taught how to harvest chard and carrots properly by a student at Organic Farm School who saved two pigs from slaughter by purchasing them with her limited funds from working three jobs this year while attending school and going to other extreme measures to pay her tuition. Her example gives me hope as I volunteer in exchange for food and work late into the night to make up hours from doing what I love.

These are inspirations I carry with me in response to such calamitous and dire reporting this week out of the UN Climate Change Report and the media mantra telling me “We are more divided than ever.” My response to all of it is to know 100% I want to commit the rest of my life to organic farming even if it takes me longer than I’d like to raise funds, to participate in change needed to feed humanity healthfully, learn forgotten knowledge of my ancestors about living close to the Earth in my disconnected, high-tech, information age society, and to work my hardest to reveal and live from a place of inner unity when the world feels like it’s pulling apart at the seams.  I don’t want artificial intelligence. I want Earth’s intelligence.

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Vignola shawl – pattern by Plucky Knitter, wool from Fidalgo Artisan Yarns

Working in media allows me the insight to choose which narrative to focus on and constantly question who is benefiting from the narrative being told. I choose inner listening and doing anything in my power to remain whole, nonfragmented, honoring the core of what may be a human soul.

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This week’s knitspiration. Check out this co-op of 250 indigenous women in remote villages of Alaska doing amazing knit work:  Quiviut. It would be a wonderful thing to start a small group of knitters that could sell online, because my two hands are unable to produce enough fast enough to turn profit.

Sustainable Foodspiration. Check out this ambitious project to reclaim balanced way of eating and food production in indigenous food labs.

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Zebra plant native to Brazil, about to bloom in Pacific Northwest window

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Fall Montage

My favorite season. Time of fungi, Evergreen blackberry vine, and a deep bow to the gorgeous orb weaver master fiber artist.

Envisioning a time on Earth where sexual harassment/assault for anyone isn’t a thing, and humans can experience what it might be like to live where feminine energies (creative, intuitive, Earth-bound, life-conduit, unlimited) are supported and protected by male energies (direct action, logical, warrior, protector). We all can access these energies inside ourselves. Can we even imagine what it would feel like to live in a time of balance and respect? We are much more powerful than the public narratives in which we swim in this moment. Our culture is so unbalanced, hypersexualized, fantasy/escape, consumer driven, it’s often hard to see the forest for the trees. But if we pan out, we can see the fungus among us and ask ourselves for a better way.

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Bridge to a Crossroads

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A significant crossroads on the horizon is looming for me, and all this year I have set a toe in the water to explore a livelihood closer to my heart. What this has meant for now is pushing myself a bit to an edge, because the total of 10 hours each week I volunteer on farms and knitting/teaching I need to make up late into nights with paid work. Amazingly, household bills and winter heat cannot be paid in yarn and vegetables.

I am thrilled with working on farms because it’s a definite “yes” to work around hard-working people connected to Earth. I would like to have more understanding of all it takes to create healthy soil and irrigation and more botany, but even without classroom learning, I am amazed how subtly, bit by bit, harvesting various plants teaches me without words what to look for, how a ripe something or other feels or looks when ready.

My most significant insight this week is around duty. We all may have many life purposes, but duty can be part of that purpose. Even as I look forward to writing a new chapter in my life as my only child moves onward to her next chapter, I had some unrealistic idea in my head of starting all over as a 20-year-old in a leap from the nest moment. News flash. I am not 20-something, and the biggest commitment half of my adult life is to this child and nothing will change that. Even if she wants little to do with me at the moment (appropriate to her growth).

In short, I resolved for myself that some fantasy of finally freeing myself of the binds of my past continual work to support two people and move toward creating a life with more freedom, getting rid of all belongings and living a nomadic lifestyle to live on farms is not okay when my duty is to my child as well as myself.

I suddenly thought of myself as a young adult and how I would feel emotionally if my stable parent and home base evaporated. It may not even be a choice I can make financially to maintain a home base for her to visit in the same area she grew up since rents have tripled, but at least a space to visit is my goal for the next few years. This week, I ran into someone I hadn’t seen in years who has a pet-free (essential for me), mother-in-law apartment with separate entrance I can afford, so I will hope something like this is available when my time comes to move.

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Meantime, I will keep on creating windows on a new life into my work schedule and see how far that takes me.

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String of Hearts plant next to Kyler Shawl

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