I am unraveling a sweater I have spent the last month working on every day.
When I first started knitting it, I didn’t make up the correct size and when I was a third of the way finished with it I realized my error and unraveled it. Gamely, I started again, this time making the correct size, and when I finished the body of the sweater I began having doubts. The design of the sweater didn’t appear like the picture in how it draped across the body, but, again, gamely, I forged ahead with the sleeve. When I was almost done with the first sleeve and trying on the sweater for the third or eighth time, I realized that the design of the sweater just wasn’t flattering. I checked other people’s projects on Ravely, and realized that none of the completed sweaters really looked good on their bodies either. Instead of investing more time into a sweater that wouldn’t compliment me, I decided to unravel the whole thing. Sitting with the beautiful fabric in my lap, unraveling, I began to feel quite emotional. I feel like everything I attempt is a failure. Everything I try to do unravels in the end and I am left with great building blocks of what I could do, or could make, or could become, but really, all the effort I expended has resulted in – nothing. I feel as I unravel this sweater, that I am in fact unraveling my entire life back to the beginning, back to nothing but potential.
Are you ever haunted by a word, by a word like potential? It has been given to me at various points of my life, from childhood school assessments, to work performance reviews, to comments from friend and loved ones. She has “potential”. You question yourself, “am I living up to my potential?” I look at gorgeous balls of yarn and see the potential in them. I see myself wearing a beautiful sweater that I made myself and feeling the satifaction that I have made something that lived up to the potential of the thing. Sometimes, though, I just cannot achieve anything that meets the potential that I envision. Then I begin to fear starting a project because I have this niggling feeling that it won’t be as good as I want it to be. I will always look at the finished product and think, “it’s okay but it’s not what I had hoped for”. Then, worst of all, I won’t even start something new because I know it will never be right. My art supplies sit fallow in a box, the clean paper unmarked, the yarn unknit. This fear of failure at the start is my greatest failure.
How does one overcome fear of not living up to ones potential? Or breaking past the fear of even starting?
I do not know the answer to this, as I sit here, unraveling.