How Becoming the Crazy Ugly Dog Sweater Lady Inspired My Future Coping Mechanisms

Who knew that one step could have such a deep meaning?

I was literally transported back in time the other day, 14 years back actually. What a crazy time it was for me. I was happy to read a recent post by someone I’ve been following, but sad to hear that she is struggling with trying to be happy and in a funk. I can completely relate when she spoke about being in a funk. I get my funk on way too often, and wanted to share with her but was just too damn afraid to do it. Now, I’m still learning about all this blogging stuff, so I have no idea how to mention her or if she even wants to be mentioned, so I am just going to hope she’s okay with this because it’s the best I can do right now…I’m learning…slowly.

So! Instead of plugging up her comment section, she inspired me to write about it here. I want to thank her for writing because I appreciate her sharing her journey with the world, you are in my thoughts. What most people don’t understand, is that her story, should have deep meaning to every human being out there because this will likely become your future or someone you love’s. Read and connect people! Thank you for inspiring me to look back and reflect on my past and I don’t know if you’ll ever read this, but I hope you find it entertaining at the very least.

The throwback I am remembering, took me back to a time where I couldn’t possibly get my brain to shut off, even for a moment. I am in no way trying to even compare experiences but I just wanted to share one of my ‘funkiest’ moments and how it became the root of my future coping mechanisms.

At the time of said throwback, I felt like I was going insane because Clem and I had been trying to start our family. Supposed to be fun, right? Well, it eventually became a daunting task …even for Clem ha ha! My timing is probably off, but I believe that around the one year mark of failing to become pregnant, is when it really started to break me down. It didn’t matter what was going on in my life, my brain was constantly running in the background, highlighting every hopeless concocted possibility of horror relating to infertility.

I decided to run like a mother fucker toward my uncertain future

The brain is an amazing thing, and mine is particularly interesting. It LOVES to create alternate realities, unbelievable story lines and it also LOVES to make me anxious about being ill prepared. Especially for the most astronomical and outrageous outcomes it cooks up for me. I could make some really fucked up horror/thriller movies.

I have to admit, there were many days that I had contemplated digging my brain out through my nose, using the spoon I had just finished using, to plug my pie hole with a bucket of ice cream. I just wanted to yank that mother out, toss it into a glass full of water on the nightstand at my bedside, like a pair of dentures being plucked for the day. All that, for just a few moments of peace.

Not glamorous. If you’re sitting there nodding your head, agreeing at being able to relate, I am thrilled that I am not alone in experiencing this type of insanity. If not, well, there’s no denying what I just told you. I’m okay now, and the reason I am doing alright, is probably worse than the insanity itself. Hey, we’re not all perfect, we all got a little screw lose somewhere.

Did someone say intervention?

Anyway, it got to the point, where I staged my own intervention and decided that I really needed to get my brain out of the swirling toilet and try to deal. I had finally reached the point where my fucks were no longer flying and I had no shits left to give. The thing is, I knew that I may have to accept the fact that I wouldn’t have kids, but life would be moving forward and me with it. It wasn’t the end of the world, mine maybe, but I would still be here in the end. I was either going to be dragged forward or was going to have to learn to ditch the weight and run to the future ahead, it was my choice. I’d rather be proactive than reactive, so I decided to run like a mother fucker toward my uncertain future. I knew that it would take some doing, but I’d survive. I was only 25 years old then, and still had my whole life ahead of me!

For me, new things can be both completely exciting and excruciatingly terrifying and exhilarating at the same time. I can be easily excited by the very smallest of things, to the point of being completely overstimulated by the happiness of a crafting item color, for example. Think joyous jumping, but it’s rare. Other times I am completely unimpressed. I can watch someone jump over 20 buses on their sparkly purple moped, covered in biting white geese while on fire and be quite ‘ho hum, yeah, that’s amazeballs’. Yeah, I’m not everyone’s type of pickle.

Anyway, I decided to run forward, and when I mean run, I mean full force, balls walls, take no prisoners kind of action. All or nothing baby. So, I decided to teach myself something, and really commit. Something I could really sink my teeth into, you know? Something that I’d have to put my mind to and block out all distraction and really pour myself into the intricacies of it all. Something that would get me out of bed in the morning, and give me the drive and focus to help hold my head high and carry on. I needed something to help me feel triumphant in overcoming life’s obstacles! So, I bravely stepped out into the world, and made a decision to commit fully. YOLO!

Wait for it…

I decided to teach myself…

How to crochet. Yes, crochet.

And there it is! Yes! My crazy is showing. High hopes, aim high! I know, you’re laughing and thinking OMFG, this gal is the nuttiest nut bar on the planet! Indeed, I shall see your crazy, and raise you a billion. Yeah, I bet you were shocked to read that!

No, honestly, I did just that. I went out to Wally World (my loving name for Walmart), and I purchased a crochet kit that had the book to teach me, complete with crochet hooks and other interesting things that I still don’t know what the hell they’re used for, and ‘some’ (as in every color that caught my eye was purchased that day!) yarn.

I am truly not a very brave person, but this was out of the box for me at the time. I don’t think many people understand what happens when you go through some of these different hardships and what it does to you as a human being. You become a completely different person, unrecognizable even to yourself. I had been sadly reduced to a puddle of piss…but you should see me now! Just kidding! Who am I kidding!! I’m just an even bigger puddle of piss. Sad.

Some shit, does things to you that you probably can’t imagine, and changes you in much the same way. It’s all different for everyone, so trying to compare, isn’t even remotely possible. We all have our thing, and how we survive is unique to each of us. That’s the beauty of human beings, although; waking up one day with super powers and a nifty costume would be a totally cool transformation. I’m down for that!

I am ashamed to say, I became the Oprah Winfrey Giveaway Lady of Dog Sweaters.

Anyway, I threw myself into learning how to crochet, and became absorbed. I had many epic fails full of strings of frustrating knots and crooked, ill formed pieces but I persevered. It took a little time and patience, but before I knew it, I was able to make some shit. It wasn’t pretty, but it was exciting and challenging and engaged a part of me that I hadn’t enjoyed in a while. It made me feel alive. I also had something else to focus on besides dealing with the infertility shit that had overtaken my brain. The more challenging the project, the more I was engaged. I finally had some peace and solace. It was my therapy. I started out making afghans and blankets and before I knew it, other fun stuff.

The fun stuff, is really where my insane obsession finally peaked. It wasn’t until I was trying to have a third child some years later (after trying for nearly 2 of the 3 years we tried), that this occurred. I am ashamed to say, I became the Oprah Winfrey Giveaway Lady of Dog Sweaters. EVERYONE I knew, whether they had a dog or not, got these ugly ass dog sweaters because I thought they ALL needed one.

I made one for my mom’s dog,and I had two beers while working (I am a lightweight so 2 drinks goes a long way) and got up the next morning to find that had I made a sweater big enough for a fucking HORSE! He was no bigger than a Jack Russell Terrier. Lea’s dog is the size of a horse, so of course, he got one too. I got a little carried away. I’m betting, my dog probably has one of the most extensive collections of ill-fitting, ugly ass dog sweaters anywhere. And you know what? She fucking hates them. (Insert exasperated sigh here). In her defense, my dog sweaters were painfully ugly.

So, yeah, not my finest moment. And let me tell you, I owned that shit. I was running a one woman sweatshop, featuring me and my obsession with all things ugly ass crochet dog sweaters. I would eat, sleep and constantly LIVE for crochet. I’d get up in the morning before the girls and try and sneak in a few ‘rows’ before they got up (I sounded like a cocaine addict, instead of doing ‘lines’, mine were ‘rows’). I’d hurry through chores and getting my kids what they needed, just so I could do a few more.

I eventually devised that our fur babies needed to have fleece liners sewn into these damn things, and really got into the fabrication process. I had literally thrown myself, ass over tea kettle into this thing and soaked up every moment I could because it helped to distract from the misery I was feeling. I was quite the shit show then and I tell ya, my yarn supply has never been bigger! I haven’t crocheted in a while because I moved on to quilting…my poor husband. Not to worry, I will go back.

Finding purpose

In hindsight, I now realize, that I needed purpose. I needed a purpose outside of my everyday life, one that made me want to get out of bed in the morning and look forward to. I had all of that before I entered the infertility arena, and after that, the one track goal was all I focused on. Nothing else mattered and that’s where I lost my way.

I needed something to be really passionate about that gave me a reason to keep moving forward. I think this is one of the keys to surviving the many ordeals that life throws at you. We all need a purpose, no matter how big or small. If it’s something you’re passionate about and it makes you feel like you’re contributing or it just makes you feel good, that’s how to survive the shit parts in life, I think.

My sister, Lea, did the exact same thing in order to cope. She loved to paint, cook and bake. She always had something she wanted to learn or do. I even managed to get her into lifting weights (light ones) to aid in her recovery after she nearly died the summer before her passing.

She was always reading and researching, much like I did, and she often reached out to others to help. She was passionate about helping others, and those moments distracted from her own journey while enriching her life. My mom got her into knitting just before she passed away. I think the very last photo Clem had taken of her, was Lea knitting in the E.R. one very long night shortly before we lost her.

If I could make one suggestion about funks, allowing yourself to be absorbed and consumed in something different than the norm, might be just what’s needed. It takes a bit of soul searching sometimes, and other times, it’s just taking that first step to get going. It can be anything! I’m all over the map, and there’s no telling what I’m going to tackle next! Yodeling? Yellow snowball eating…making them might be more fun, or maybe even naked downhill sled-less sledding? Only time will tell.

Sometimes the choice of doing it, and being brave are the hardest things to overcome, but it’s worth it. Many times, my crazy antics, have been the only thing keeping my head above the water

Sitting and not doing anything is what kills us, our happiness and our very being. We can all do something, even if we can’t leave our bed. I feel like we can still find a purpose. Sometimes the choice of doing it, and being brave are the hardest things to overcome, but it’s worth it. Many times, my crazy antics, have been the only thing keeping my head above the water, so whatever floats your boat, feel free to jump on in head first. I won’t judge you.

I’m certain that anything I do with purpose, will continue to be my coping method of choice. I’m still going to run toward my uncertain future, no matter what hardships may lie ahead, while dragging my yarn, paint or sewing machine (there are so many other things I could mention ha!) behind me. Watch out future!

So, if your fucks are no longer flying and you have no shits left to give, look inside yourself. See if you can’t conjure your own Crazy Ugly Dog Sweater Lady persona and embrace your nuttiness.

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