A few weeks ago I took this class called Cardio Dance at Spice Studio. Now, I've been doing aerobic dance/exercise classes for going on 40 years now -- Jazzercise, aerobics, step aerobics, blah blah blah. So you'd think this would be a cinch for me. Well. It wasn't. The teacher, Taryn Brown, is a professor of dance at St. Mary's College, and winner of the Maryland State Arts Council individual artist award for choreography. She's talented, hip and fun. Her moves are current. Mine are not. Taryn is very patient going over and over all the moves slowly adding on a little at a time. Only I wasn't quite getting it. Just a smidge behind, you know. The gal dancing next to me was having trouble with it too, and we laughed and said that we hated it. The truth is, though, I didn't hate it, and neither did she. What we hated was messing up. It's embarrassing to be out of step - turned the wrong way - zigging when everyone else is zagging.
As adults, its uncomfortable to feel incompetent. We learned all the hard stuff, like walking and talking and typing and playing tennis or whatever, a long time ago. If we didn't learn to play a sport or a musical instrument when we were young, chances are we're not going to pick it up now. It's just too painful to be a beginner in a world we perceive to be filled with experts. And that's a shame, because not only are we never too old to learn, it's the learning that keeps us young and vibrant.
As knitters, we often sit at the table and see women of all ages stop by and admire completed garments or projects we're doing. They'll touch the yarn and say, "I never learned to do this," or "I don't have the patience to do this." Having taught hundreds of people to knit over the last 14 years, I know this to be false, but I also understand their real meaning, which is "I'm not comfortable putting myself in a place where I'm not competent." I get it. It's a hard place to be, and no one really likes it. But here's the thing - it's not a permanent condition. We keep trying and we get better. I submit myself to Taryn's class each week, because I love it, and I know that I'll get it. I'm not uncoordinated - I just don't know the steps yet. It might take me longer than some to learn them, but I will learn them. The only way I can fail is to quit.
It's the same with everything in life, including knitting. Whether you'r stretching yourself with a complicated technique, just starting your first sweater, or trying to decide if you want to give knitting a try, remember that it takes time to become proficient at anything. The only way to fail is to quit, or worse, to not even try.
I look forward to seeing you in the shop and around the table trying new things. You are always welcome here. ~Ellen