Thursday, January 6, 2011

Saying No

A little backstory:

I am a sophomore in college and attempting a double major in biology and religious studies.  I have just earned a B- on a botany quiz.  I am a straight-A student.  I stop by to see the professor, a lovely person, who gently asks me how many hours I am taking that semester.  I tell her: 19.  

She tells me that it is impossible to take that many lab-intensive classes with that many credit hours and asks me why I'm doing it.  I tell her about the double major.  She tells me it can't be done.  I tell her I've been thinking about dropping biology to a minor.  I plan to go to grad. school in religious studies, but I love biology.  She tells me to drop the major and to drop her class, since it's no longer required.  

I tell her that I want to continue with botany.  I don't want it to beat me.  I can bring it up to an A; I just have to work harder.

She pauses, then says, "Of course you can do it.  But why would you kill yourself to make a point?  Who are you trying to convince?"  Then she goes to her printer, prints off the drop form, and hands it to me.

I owe that professor a lot.

I have always struggled with "should," with proving to myself that I can do things instead of walking away gracefully.

This afternoon, I sat at a computer I was attempting to rebuild* and pulled out Jeanie and started to knit while Microsoft was loading.  The stitches alternatively split and fell off the needle.  I spent several minutes struggling with the first eight stitches, which were a cable, before the computer blue screened and I stuffed the whole lot into my bag in frustration.  I yearned for something calming I could do while the computer stomped its foot and refused to cooperate.

After spending some time on the phone with my new South American friend from Dell, who is now sending me a replacement hard drive for said computer, I walked back to my office with my knitting bag and thought.

1.  I love this pattern.  It's gorgeous.  I've seen many people's finished stoles, and they are breathtaking.
2.  I love this yarn.  It, too, is gorgeous.
3.  I am convinced that this finished product would be one of the most beautiful things I have ever made.
4.  I hate knitting this pattern.  My needles were too dull.  Andrew sanded them into sharp points for me, and now they stab me.  I can't see the pattern well.  The laceweight splits and falls off the needles unless I am 100% dedicated to watching them.  Everything with this has been a struggle with me.

I thought for a long time about it.  Most of me felt like that student in the botany professor's office, determined to push through regardless of whether that was the best thing for me; afraid that walking away was failing.

I remembered the conversation with my professor and asked myself, "Who are you trying to convince?"  The answer had to be myself.  Nobody else cared what I was knitting, seeing how this is my hobby, forthelove.  I was trying to convince myself that I should finish this pattern because I had started it, irregardless of anything else.

Then, I said no.

* Master's in Theological Studies, remember.  I, too, am a bit confused at what my life has become.


  1. A valuable lesson we all should take to heart.

  2. Yes, that lace wrap IS gorgeous. However, I've wondered about many knitting designs that get published and think: some things just are NOT meant to be knit by others.

  3. Good for you. Much wiser to spend your time on a project you will enjoy!

  4. I need you to teach me that lesson PLEASE! :) good for you, Bonnie!

  5. Beautiful. Thank you.