My earliest memories of art class around Kindergarten involved my grandmother trying to convince my art teacher that I was “really gifted”. My grandmother, being a rather outspoken matriarch had marched into parent teacher conferences with the attitude that I was some kind of Picasso in the making. The art teacher smiled politely but didn’t comment much. Shortly after my turn, I remember hearing her rave about another student. It was the first subtle hint jogging my memories that I was on the verge of something evil to come……
Creepy, foreboding forest with an unnatural hush in the air is the setting. Even the animals are too terrified to move or utter sound. They know that horror lurks and its sharp, strong jaw will clench them if they but wince. Then I come ambling along, too preoccupied to see the danger lurking. “Fa la la la la” I hum loudly, tripping over my shoe laces. A whoosh in the brush, a whir, a horrible, bone chilling scream and I am suddenly ambushed by none other than……………..art.
Seriously, its been that way with me and crafts for some time now. That Kindergarten memory was just the beginning. At camp Wannakewin, I made a wide circle around the craft cabin and avoided it at all costs. Even torrential rain and mosquitoes was better than going in there!! In Jr High, I was getting an “F” in art. I had to beg my boyfriend, now husband to cheat and submit some assignments for me just to pull up to a “D-“. Another memory was the time a Sr. High boy drug me off into the art closet, locking us in together while the whole class roared in laughter at my screams and bangs on the door to be let out. At the time, the art teacher thought it was funny. Memory after memory of failed art projects, mean kids and unimpressed art mentors plague me. By the time adulthood rolled around, and I get invited to do crafts with other women here and there, I flat out retort “Crafts Creep Me Out!” Usually an eye roll is involved on the part of the inviting female. They remain unimpressed with my lack of enthusiasm. I truly mean with all my heart “Crafts Creep Me Out” and they do.
If I don’t hum loudly and I hold really still and don’t breathe, when art passes by, he might not get me. Still, every so often, I find him sniffing about hungrily wanting to devour me. He’s the kind of raging animal that wakes me up in a cold sweat. I suspect he’s been peering in the window at me while I am innocently drooling on my pillow. He ever so cautiously waits to spring on me when I least expect it. Sometimes he hides under my bed ready to gnaw my ankle off at the first sight of my foot hitting the floor. It’s a totally irrational fear, about as rational as the Boogie man hiding under my bed. Still, just typing about him makes me feel like hyperventilating.
This big bad Boogie man had been holding my girlfriend Elasta Woman in chains for quite some time now. He has her fascinated in this dreadful obsession called “crochet”. Just like any unhealthy addiction such as drugs and alcohol, Elasta Woman got sucked into this terrible vortex of “triple treble”. I tried to warn her about the evils of this crafty vice, but she just laughed it off and got her kids sucked in. Before long her girls were making all manner of hats, scarves and even dresses. Soon Goat girl and Mist were addicted. This terrible plague seemed contagious and wide spread to all who were exposed. “Krafty Kay” seemed to be the ring leader or yarn pusher if you will. She seemed like a nice young mom from all outer appearances, but if you take a closer look, you will find that she and the whole craft thing are tight. If you pull on the monstrous weave of tightly knit stitches, you will find “Krafty Kay” right smack dab in the center of all the handiwork. What lengths would she go to to infect the entire valley with her fiendish scheme?
You guessed it. She held another crocheting craft day at her apartment connected to the mercantile with all my innocent, addicted girlfriends, slaves, crocheted in its clutches. This time Elasta Woman rather strongly suggested I attend.
Night after night I tossed and turned, dreading the day. Its like inviting your girlfriend to have a root canal with you, or maybe a colonoscopy. What kind of warped mind thinks crocheting with a bunch of other girlfriends is fun anyway? I gladly accepted a night shift working as an Emergency RN the night before, knowing it would delay the inevitable as I would have to sleep some of the day away. At some point I would have to get up and show up. I dawdled, drinking some coffee, washing my dishes, cleaning up dog puke and checking news on face book. I knew I was about to face a ghastly opponent. My stomach lurched. I wanted to purl – I mean hurl. I held back involuntary wretches as I stepped out the door with my kids in tow. I could no longer delay the inevitable…….
The girls seemed genuinely happy to see me upon my arrival. Nervously I settled into a chair, bracing myself. They all seemed oblivious of my discomfort. Krafty Kay had me sit reeeaaal close to her so she could show me how to start my stitching pattern. I forced myself to breath evenly. “Show no fear” I reminded myself. Thankfully, there was food on the counter and Miss Belly Fat called to me often. I suspect that she and art are in cahoots with each other. I tried to explain to the girls about my irrational fear of crafts. I told them it was kind of like the time we all went cliff jumping. “Remember being frozen out on that ledge?” I asked them. They frowned and none of them felt they could reasonably compare crocheting with cliff jumping.
Bravely, like Dora on “Finding Nemo”, I repeated to myself “just keep crocheting” “just keep crocheting”. At first it all looked like a menacing jumble of knots, but over time I could pick out just a bit of pattern. The girls all encouraged me with words like “you can do it” and “look at you go”. Gracie suggested “Just pretend like crocheting is not a craft”. Later on Rabbit, Elasta Woman’s daughter rubbed my shoulders as I battled ferociously. I imagined myself as Rocky in a fighting ring. That old Rocky music was playing loudly, inspiring me. Rabbit was like the coach on the corner between rounds. I was really ready to knock out some bad boxer, maybe even the Boogie Man himself. On and on, round after round I stitched suppressing the fears that shrieked loudly “Stop it right now!! You don’t do crafts!!”
When it was finally time to go home and get ready for work again I had an actual piece of work started. It is a partially formed hat. Remember the time all the girls sat around in a circle and whispered about you? That’s how crafts were for me. They were and still are kind of like a clique that I wasn’t a part of. I was always an outsider, looking in, too insecure to even attempt to join them, embarrassed of myself letting my imagination go wild about what those girls might be whispering. My shoulders slump, my head hangs down and I want to hide. Somehow, today, just some how, the Boogie man wasn’t quite so threatening. Somehow I managed to do some stitches like the other girls and bravely moved into uncharted territory. Really, I think crafting is just as terrifying to me as cliff jumping. It makes me sick to grab that hook and move the yarn around. I want to throw up, but I force myself to do it anyway. I asked God not to let me live my life missing out on anything. Long ago I learned that the secret to getting out of yourself is to do things afraid. That’s what I did and that’s how I accomplished part of a hat today. Elasta Woman looked pleased and proud of me. I smiled, wearing the hat that she recently stitched for me...............................