Theory of Gifts

As the Holiday Season rolls around, I thought I’d share a theory I have about the giving and receiving of gifts.

The day before I headed out to an Eating Disorder treatment program several states away, a good friend of mine came over the day goodbye. In addition to well wishes, he brought with him a sort of care package, containing a mixed CD, and a copy of his favorite book.

The concept of gifts has always been hard for me. In my family, there’s a lot of stress around gifts, and I’ve spent most of my existence despising both giving and receiving them. While getting gifts still makes me anxious, I’ve gotten better at giving them. Enjoying crafting has made me take joy in giving someone something that I’ve made just for them. But until recently, gift giving has largely been me having fun making something, and them enjoying it.

And don’t get me wrong, a lot of times that’s what gift giving is, and that’s great! But sometimes, gift giving is deeper and more connecting than that. It’s taking a little piece of yourself, things you love, things that help you, that’s that are important, and giving them to someone that you care about. Gifts like this are saying “I can’t be with you right now, but here’s a little piece of my soul for you to keep until I can.”

When it’s framed like this, it actually takes a lot of stress out of the whole gift-giving process. It doesn’t really matter if I like what someone gives me, because I like the fact that they wanted to give me something. And it applies in the other direction too, someone I’m close to will recognize the act of gifting as special, no matter what it is.

 

Snapshot: Knit and Purl

Something I haven’t outgrown from when I was younger is the need to fidget. I didn’t know the word ‘stim’ back then, but that’s definitely what I was doing. When I was in high school, my parents got really annoyed because whenever I’d watch TV, I’d take apart the remote controls, which inevitably broke, and they were tired of fixing them. So in order the keep my hands busy, I decided to learn how to knit. I figured old ladies did it, so it couldn’t be that hard, plus, all the yarn I saw at Wal Mart cost $3, so it was a cheap replacement!

Oh how little I knew back then. Sixteen year old me couldn’t have known that I would pay $30 for a skein of yarn, or that I’d make lace so complicated it would take a day to do a row, or that I’d end up owning a spinning wheel. She also couldn’t have known that her fidget replacement would be her very first hobby.

When all you have are special interests, hobbies can be hard to come by. Something that you enjoy, but you’re not obsessed with. Knitting became this for me. I found the process of using my hands soothing, that following complex patterns stimulated my brain, and that giving away things I’d created was very satisfying! I’ve never found a hobby that hits as many areas as knitting does, which is honestly ok with me. It means that I can keep looking if I want, but if I don’t find one, knitting will never leave me.