The Socks from Hell

Those of you who have read me for awhile know that I'm big on this patience thing, even though patience is the least of my virtues. Come to think of it, I'm not sure if it's on my list at all, but I keep working at it, and perseverance is part of patience, even if it only begins with the same letter.

When things get tough and frustrating, I try to put my mind, and my attitude, in a beautiful, serene place. Homeland 2, from the Homeland series, by Steve Henderson.
When things get tough and frustrating, I try to put my mind, and my attitude, in a
beautiful, serene place. Homeland 2, from the Homeland series, by Steve Henderson.

Speaking of perseverance, I recently finished knitting the most difficult socks I have ever encountered, so frustrating that 1) I contemplated giving up knitting (not really, truly, at the base of my soul, but yelling it aloud at the socks made me feel better) and 2) I found any possible excuse to avoid the project, to the point that the bathroom toilets were very clean indeed. (For the full story, check out The Socks from Hell at my Middle Aged Plague site.)

But you know what? I finished them, slipped them on my feet, walked around in them, and admired — yes, admired — their beauty, despite their many, many mistakes.

And in the process I accomplished several things:

1) I worked through the problems — and there were a lot of them.

2) I didn't give up. (Don't underestimate this one — if you continuously toss a painting canvas aside mid-way through and start over anew, without conquering what drove you nuts in the first place, you will be continuously tossing art canvases aside mid-way through and never figuring out where you went wrong with your painting techniques.)

3) I identified mistakes and fixed some — the glaring ones that I kept trying to pretend I didn't see.

4) I identified mistakes and didn't fix others — the ones that weren't so bad that they couldn't harmoniously coexist with me.

5) I became a bit more patient. Amazing.

–Carolyn

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7 thoughts on “The Socks from Hell

  1. Great post. When my wife and I were having kids a few years ago, we had a saying, a mantra- “remember the 4 P’s, patience, persistence, perseverance and some other P.” We could never remember what our 4th P was. Anyway, it’s all true. Stick with it, don’t quit, you’d only quiting on yourself. Incidentally, I only know how to knit one pattern, a roll kneck sweater. Tried a cable sweater once, and lost my mind.

  2. This is the exact philosophy that I adopted when I first began painting. I am basically a “quitter” and a “defeatist”, and if it weren’t for the discipline that I forced upon myself to never, ever, toss a painting aside merely because I felt that it “wasn’t working out right”, I would have never been painting today. Instead, I work through the difficulty, no matter what the outcome may be in terms of the final quality of the painting. To this day, I have finished every painting that I began, and with relatively good success.

  3. The 4th “P” is prayer. You get inspired how to solve the problem, get your patience back and can persevere with more perspective. Good post.

  4. When painting, I often encounter gremlins that I am sure are from hell: e.g., the ear from hell, the mouth or nose from hell. You’re right — if you keep everlastingly at it until it’s ok, the result will make you smile, and the experience may help you next time. And yes, J. La Vanway, you’re right about the fifth “P”.

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