Casting on at Ripping Back!

Hi, everybody, and welcome to my new project.

I’ve had a serious case of start-itis for a while (that’s the sort of itchy feeling when you really want to start something new, and you can’t, for some reason), but now that I’ve figured out exactly what I want to cast on, hopefully it will go more smoothly.

I do promise that every post won’t be filled with slightly forced knitting analogies, and I hope you bear with me on the ones that are.

Okay, so I’m sure you have questions, like, “Who are you? What’s Ripping Back? What does it mean? Why should I read this, anyway?”

My name is Amber.  I’m in my mid-thirties, recently finished my undergraduate degree, have had sort of a patchwork career and never quite managed to do anything in the traditional way since I turned eighteen.  I’ve been married and divorced, gone through a long-term abusive lesbian relationship, and am now settling down into who I want to be and what I want to do.  Goals include a master’s in counseling, a career in helping people, and turning this blog into something of value that I can be proud of.

I say in the “about” page that Ripping Back is about emotional honesty, effective communication, and yarn.  I managed to get out of a seven-year-long relationship in July 2009 – it actually lasted longer than my marriage.  My ex, whom I refer to as Hurricane Isabel (not her real name), was physically, mentally, and emotionally abusive.  Shortly after that, I started crocheting, and quickly moved into knitting as well.  Knitting was one of those things that I always wanted to learn how to do, but could never find anyone to teach me.  After leaving Isabel, I found the courage to teach myself.  Somehow, knitting became part of the healing process, and learning emotional honesty and fiber crafts became plied together in my head.  Knitting is a kind of meditation where you create something solid and warm and real; emotional honesty is a kind of behavioral meditation where you create a relationship that is solid and warm and real.  So I guess there is serious similarity there.

“Ripping back” is a knitting term that refers to undoing rows to fix a mistake.  When you’re genuinely ripping back, you pull the needle out and yank on the yarn.  Sometimes you end up going too far, or losing stitches, but it’s all part of the process.  Every knitter does it.  On the other side, ripping back refers to removing the facades and masks and lies we tell ourselves and each other, to arrive at honesty and communication and happiness.  If you want to increase your emotional honesty and improve the relationships in your life (including the one you have with yourself), then this blog is for you.  If you want to read about how I’m healing after abuse and helping others heal too, this blog is for you.  If you just want to hear me talk about my adventures with yarn, you’re welcome to do that, too!

Before we get started, I want to clarify something.  Emotional honesty is not radical honesty; this is not a practice where you don’t engage in telling polite lies to keep the wheels of society moving.  I’m not endorsing you going out and telling somebody that they don’t look good in that dress, or telling your boss that she’s a jerk.  Emotional honesty is rejecting the cult of okay.

The cult of okay is the practice of responding to status inquiries with neutral answers.  “How are you?” “I’m okay, fine, doing well, pretty good, can’t complain; how are you?” “Fine.”  And so we lie to each other, and pretend that we are okay, even when we’re not.  We start out doing it with complete strangers and end up doing it to our friends, our family members, ourselves.  You’re always okay because there’s never another option.  I challenge you to stop doing that.

The next time someone asks you how you are, tell them the truth. You don’t have to get into great detail; it can be a one-or-two-word answer.  It’s the holidays, how are you?  Stressed?  A little worried?  Excited, because you love this time of year and you can’t wait to see people?  How are you, really?

You can tell me in the comments.


~ by Amber on December 17, 2010.

5 Responses to “Casting on at Ripping Back!”

  1. Welcome to blogging. 🙂

  2. I have insomnia! Woo!

    (And yay for the blog. :D)

  3. Yay you’ve started this. I think it will be awesome.

    And my bit of emotional honesty for today is I’m really trying to keep the soul-crushing feeling of this time of year from getting to me, and mostly succeeding. I have a feeling I won’t be getting much sleep this week.

  4. How am I feeling? ALSO INSOMNIAC and a little overwhelmed by my headnoise XD Also, happy to see this. ^^

  5. I’m sort of pissed that the person at work couldn’t take ONE run for me today. But hey, happens. And I’ll remember it.

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