Blog

Stories from a life in progress.

Initiative

One thing I've learned from wrestling with anxiety is that I have a strong tendency to be passive about life, and it does me much more harm than good. Even when I know what I need, I don't always set about getting it. There were days in the worst part of my anxious season when I knew I needed food or water or rest, and yet I didn't give myself food or water or rest. I kept reading or sitting or knitting or doing chores, and in the end I felt much worse than if I had listened to my body and mind and done the simple care-giving thing I really needed to do.

I can't articulate why this is. I have a sense of some reasons but I can't get words around them yet, which means I don't fully understand. I don't need to understand everything in order to start working on change, though. I've been making a point of trying to notice those moments when I'm too passive, when I know I need to do something but I'm hesitating unnecessarily. When I do notice, I boot myself in the rear and go do something about it.

(I still don't always get it right. For instance, at this very moment I know I need to get something to eat, and my body is feeling some squiggly nervousness because I'm hungry. But I'm writing this blog post instead. Life is messy. Someone remind me to have a snack when I'm done typing, please? Thanks.)

I'm working on taking more initiative in other ways too. I haven't been posting to this shiny new blog regularly; I'm thinking up ideas to change that, and starting to set them in motion. I have other things in mind too, some of which I've been dithering over for months. It's time to stop dithering and start taking some practical steps, or to drop those ideas and go looking for ones that interest me enough to really pursue.

One of those ideas has to do with making wool dryer balls. I saw a link somewhere on the internet months ago with instructions on how to make balls out of pure wool yarn and felt them, which can then be tossed in the dryer to help clothes dry faster. I was intrigued and made a few, and had more fun doing it than seems reasonable for such a simple craft. I like winding balls of yarn, I like seeing how they turn out once they've gone through the felting process, I like picking different colors and matching them into sets, I like the quick nature of them as projects (compared to other kinds of crafting projects I enjoy, like months-long knitting or crocheting endeavors). Making wool balls is good simple fun.

But a girl doesn't really need that many felt balls, at least this girl doesn't. I've got half a dozen balls in my dryer, I have five or six others I kept because I thought they had pretty patterns and colors, and that's about all I want to keep around. My house has enough clutter, I don't need to compound it by piling up felt balls in corners all over the place.

So, I thought to myself, what if I sold some of them? I can keep making balls, but they don't have to stay here. And I'll get some money to keep buying the yarn I need to keep making more balls.

Thus started the dithering. I liked the idea generally, but hesitated over the implementation. A couple of friends expressed interest, even bought a couple of balls here and there. I still dithered. I'd mention I was making wool dryer balls to people, describe the benefits of using them, and tag on "I'm thinking about maybe making some and selling them, maybe. I don't know." Which is a terribly convincing sales technique, let me tell you.

I made some more wool balls, matched up pairs by color, took some photos, made up better color sets in groups of three, took better photos. Spent days and weeks thinking about doing something with the wool balls, but not actually doing anything at all. This big bag of felted lumps just sat around my house, not being useful, which was exactly what I didn't want to do with them.

Enough is enough. Even for me, eventually, enough is enough. Why am I hesitating about this so much? Why not commit? Or decide to stuff my wool balls into a closet and not worry about them? Or just give them away and be done with it?

Hesitating isn't doing me any good. Dithering wastes energy and brain space. What is it going to hurt to try selling some stuff, even though I've never done it before? Even though I don't know what I'm doing? At worst, it will be a prime opportunity to learn some stuff. At best, I'll get to make things I enjoy making, and make a little money, and other people will have the benefit of using wool balls in their laundry too. And I'll learn some stuff. Where are the terrible consequences here? What on earth am I so afraid of?

I've got a new page on this site now for my felted wool balls. They are all available for sale. They are a simple way to save money and help take care of your clothes and other laundry, and I'm happy to answer any questions about them. I have some ideas for experiments to quantify the difference they can make when used, and I'm looking for a clear day to try those experiments soon. Time to stop dithering. Let's see what happens when I take a bit of initiative.