I've been away from the Internet since Tuesday. School and all its attendant meetings and report cards and classroom clean-ups was over at 4:00 pm and, by some cruel twist of fate, our neighbors decided to move their wireless hub or forgo wireless for the summer or some such nonsense, because there is currently no 'Net Chez Frick. It took a few deep breaths, but then I realized that this could be a good thing. While I'm NOT obsessively checking your Flickr streams and my Ravelry friend activity, I can, say, potty train my son. Finally de-clutter the dining room table. Learn to quilt (!) And make good on the promise I've made to Ms. Kingsolver to become part of the solution. To that end, I've planted three varieties of heirloom tomatoes in the past three days (Cherokee Purple, Hillbilly, and Green Zebra) and brought home a whopping haul from the farmer's market on Friday:
It's nice to know you're a part of a movement. A real, honest-to-gosh change taking place in our culture (taking the optimist's view here). Like this blogging/photo/knitting/crafting space we've created for ourselves on the Internet. People talk about friendship and community and getting back to the roots of handcraft when they reference blogging as a movement, but there's something else about this craft movement that I think is really special and I haven't seen folks talking about, and that's beauty. Redefining beauty. Taking beauty BACK from the magazines and the movies and the Botox parties and the red carpet. Taking it back into our own hands. Have you noticed how we're doing that?
First of all, there's the power inherent in having the ability to make beautiful things with one's own hands. As I've grown as a knitter, I've honed my aesthetic sense. Every pretty, flirty skein that winks at me from the shelf doesn't automatically end up in the basket. I'm choosier about colors in some ways, bolder about them in others. I'm less likely to second-guess my gut when it comes to style. Knitting has both expanded and refined what I think of as beautiful because it's put the creation part into my hands.
Lately, though, maybe because of all that stuff absence does to your heart, I've been thinking more about how being a part of this community has reached all the way back into my pre-adolescent, Barbie-torturing, running-wild-in-the-woods childhood and revived my sense of what makes a truly beautiful female. Back then, I thought my mom was the most gorgeous woman alive. Consciously or not, I thought this way about my friends, too. Scraped kness, twigs in pigtails, crooked noses, dirty feet- it didn't matter. At the end of the day, I still wanted to be rolled up in a sleeping bag with them, just staring at each other's faces and giggling. And I thought I was a pretty hot mama, too. Lip synching to Sheena Easton with the hairbrush and the bottom of my t-shirt pulled through the neck, insta-kini style? You know you did it, and you know you were thinking, "I am hawt." Right? Then came seventh grade.
That's what I love about Project 365. Folks will tell you it's narcisistic, but I don't buy that. How many of us are really initially comfortable with putting our faces out there, day after day? It's taken me almost two years to show mine on this blog. But all over Flickr you can find these amazing photographs of beautiful women whose stories and knitting you know. And if you look at them enough, you start to think, "Where's my sleeping bag? My hairbrush? My Sheena Easton tape?" Screw mass media's idea of what beautiful is. I mean, Rolling Stone's got nothing on Carrie. Want to jump-start your workout? Forget Shape- check out Brenda for inspiration. Want to read a great parenting story? Move over, Angelina, Jen, Madonna, JLo. Diana's got yer heartstrings right here. Jen Aniston's shag is SO out. Get the Ashley. Betcha haven't wanted Jell-O this much since you were five. (Erin can sell me just about anything.) Pigtails! Oh, and Pam? Anthropologie called. They want their mojo back.
Blogging has spolied me for the slick mass media version of beauty. Kind of makes me want to get all the girls I teach a Typepad account.
The photos in this post are of my best friend Adrianna. She's a farmer and an artist and a mother and one of the most gentle, graceful, beautiful people I know. I wouldn't trade her as a model for anyone. In fact, she looked so beautiful in my Sheltland Triangle that I gave it to her on the spot. That's another thing blogging has taught me. Generosity. But that's for another post.