Two steps forward, one step back (originally published March 2021)
So, my shop opening went well! Big shout out to everyone who supported me with messages, well wishes and orders! Thanks to all of you, I feel like a craftsperson again. I celebrated by ordering a bunch of new yarn - more than enough to keep me going well into the fall. I am happy to report my supply of liver of sulphur finally arrived so there will be antiqued jewelry pieces appearing in the shop in plenty of time for Mother’s Day.
On the health front, I have been struggling a bit. A year ago, I was being investigated for an uncommon lung condition - lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM). Initial testing was inconclusive, but I’ve recently had troubling symptoms that could either be related to my congestive heart failure or to LAM. My cardiologist and internal medicine specialist feel we need to get this sorted out. So I have more testing in my future.
In the short term, I am working away as best I can. Some days I have a few productive hours. Other days I spend most of my time resting because my blood pressure is in my boots. Sometimes, I can still manage to knit, but sometimes even that isn’t possible. (You know you’re exhausted when you can’t follow a pattern you made yourself.)
I write this, not to solicit your pity, truly. My quality of life is good. I take pleasure in the mundane as never before. I appreciate the people in my life, and especially in my little bubble. I am still able to create. I have a supportive family. And I am still here.
I like to think I’m a bit like the lovely plant in the thumbnail picture for this post. I took that picture on the beach in Bonavista in 2017, just off the end of Church Street. It grows on the rocky beach, above the high tide mark. It spreads like a ground cover, keeping a low profile so the ever present winds don’t tear it to shreds. It’s blue, green foliage gives way to delicate, beautiful blossoms. I’ve always admired its beauty as much as its hardy nature. It thrives because it found a way to adapt to its conditions; it had to if it was to survive.
Some people may wonder why I restarted a craft business given my unpredictable health and income limitations set by Canada Pension Disability. I’m clearly not doing it to make my fortune and yes, it does place additional demands on my limited energy reserves. But the joy I take in making and sharing what I make with others is irreplaceable.
Facebook reminded me that a year ago, I was cutting ties to my identity as a maker. I was despondent over it. And I tried to fill the void that was left with other things. But it was not the same.
So here I am, with a damaged heart, cysts in my lungs, knee in need of replacement, and some medical question marks hanging over my head. The funny thing is I was in the same situation this time last year and I was struggling emotionally and unable to look that far ahead. This year, not so much.
The difference? I’ve reclaimed a missing piece of my identity. I have The Knitted Raven, and am rebuilding my community of makers, supporters and patrons. I have creative purpose. I am planning future projects. I am adapting to my new reality in a manner more consistent with my nature.
Thank you, to everyone who has helped me get this far, from the bottom of my heart.