It’s a slow process, the unraveling of the human soul. In theory, it takes our whole lives.
I have witnessed it in the sudden times of crisis that that seem to destroy everything around us. When the whole world has unraveled and nothing makes sense. I see it currently in the faces of people waiting at a bus stop or counting quarters at the gas station for enough to make it home. When the weight of the world seems to heavy to bear, I can hear it in their sighs. I feel the weight on their shoulders and sense their unease. I know that they are at their end. I see it in the broken and the damned…and hear that song in my head the black parade that I so often see.
I know that I too, am unraveling. In many ways I am coming apart from end to end, to what end? Thats’s a hard phrase to find the history of.
I am reminded of the balls of yarn the cats kidnap and toss around the house with kitty laughter. Yes, cats laugh if you listen closely. Sometimes I think that I am a ball of yarn and the fates are just flinging me around watching me get tangled and unraveled. I hope they are as amused as my kitties. I hope I make the fates happy.
But something is different. It’s not an unraveling I am not expecting. I have a sense of knowing. I think I am finally starting to understand that there has to be an unraveling. This time, I am allowing myself to revel in the unravelling that has been done and laugh.
Monkey brain grabs me and reminds me of time travel. Yep, real monkey brain here. A long, long time ago there was a TV show Quantum Leap. If you don’t know it you can’t quite call yourself a nerd as far as I am concerned. There was a moment from that show explaining time travel that stuck with me. Time travel is just a ball of yarn where you could slip from one place to another in a mere moment, moving through time and space in a different way. Yes, simplistic. Or the Wrinkle In Time explanation with the ant on a string. Lost in the idea of time traveling on string for a few moments. It seems that time is a yarn in so many ways.
I am unravelling and spinning a yarn. Spinning a tale. We’re all stories in the end make it a good one.
I am frayed at the ends. I am a tangled mess. But this time, I know we all are. We are all messy yards of yarn waiting to be woven.
Sometimes a scattered ball of yarn just doesn’t seem worth it to take the time and effort it takes to wind back up again. Sometimes, a skein of yarn is just a bit too scratchy, or the color doesn’t quite perfectly match the others, or you remember you only paid 99 cents for it digging through the bargain bin with hopes of checking another thing off the to do list that you secretly just added to. I know the great wool that still smells like sheep is worth trying… but this mess?
Do it anyway. Take the time, try to enjoy the process of changing the chaos that was created. After all, sometimes, that ball of yarn unravelled across the floor, behind the couch, under the bed, down the stairs, between the banisters and into the kitchen offers a surprise smile that slides on to your lips. How did this mess even happen, teleporting ninja kitties in the night? Begin to play with the tangled mess. Retrace the steps of the kitties that created this visible chaos and chuckle in confusion of how that could’ve even happened. Laugh at the chaos, mindful of the mess.
Wind it back up. Pick a place to start from, twisting the tangles between your fingers ever so gently creating order from chaos once again.
Retracing the steps, find a third end to a ball that should only have two. A break. Dammit. Then another. With a moment of frustration and fear, realize that what should be one big ball of yarn has been severed, broken. More than one ball, then another. That ball of yarn that should be whole isn’t anymore. The playful chaos has cut, torn or chewed on enough that it became three. This time, the unravelling was too much to be held together.
With each unravelling little bits are lost, tiny little bits you can’t see or find. Sit and stare at three new, separate balls. So much smaller than they would be together, three new little balls of yarn worth saving. To get back to what it once was, to become again it will need work. Each little end could be tied together, knotted at the disconnected ends always an option. Or, they could be seamlessly woven in eventually when the time is right. Knots will be visible and tangible if you were knit them into place so you… wait. You can make it whole, and make it beautiful and no one will ever see the unraveled mess it was before. In due time. Time.
I am unravelling.
I don’t know how to even begin to wind myself together. I have to find an end to even begin. To what end. It doesn’t matter which end you find, but where you end usually depends on where you start.
So I sit within the beautiful mess that is unraveling me with Whitey Ford singing the blues in my head and on the tip of my tongue. I take a step back and observe my self as the Universe has forced me to do so often as of late.
Unraveling. Sometimes we do it on purpose. Sometimes we have to.
I think of knitting a new project. The excitement that comes from starting something new, creating. The ritual that for me, begins with getting a new skein and unravelling it with purpose. My yarn has to be unraveled and transformed into a little ball before it can be knitted into something of useful beauty. Pull from one end, dig deep to find the center, as it pulls up a slightly knotted mess that needs to be untangled. The excitement of a new project keeps me focused so I sit patiently twisting and turning to find the end to begin.
Roll it up into a ball, not too tight. A sweet little old lady in the most beautifully color coordinated knitting store once told me not to bruise the yarn. The yarn moves through time as each new twist wraps around the ball, around itself. It takes time. Monkey brain pulls me back to time traveling. Ants, the magical blue police box with a heart and the good Doctor.
What if unravelling, the process of becoming undone, of unlearning is secretly just mental time travel. Reflecting on the past that holds you prisoner until you jump back to the present and toggle a thought to the future. What if those moments we spend unraveled and in the past are really what change our future or place us on a different path, on a different spot on the same big ball? That can’t be it. We nerds know we aren’t supposed to interact with any versions of ourselves in our timelines after all, it would be a disaster. Spoilers, Sweetie.
Unraveling thoughts of time as a string, listening to music without words because there are so few moments that don’t generate a lyric of song for me. Time has been associated with strings for so long. On the notes of Bach and the Kronos Quartet, Monkey brain takes me to the fates. The proper Fates, the ancient Greek women of time.
The Fates, they weave the strings, the thread that builds life. I wonder, did the Fates themselves ball up our lives too as they pulled from the ether? What do the fates actually weave, more than passing time itself? I dive into the Fates, so many stories so many stories. One who pulls the threads, one who spins threads to a spindle instead of a ball and one who cuts when our time has come to an end. The process begins at birth, because birth means death. The threads of gods, the threads of mere mortals. The twisting of time into threads.
Side track almost complete, let’s be honest they are never complete. I could spend hours researching the fates in all the cultures, truly. They are all women, they all play with thread and time, and it is them who unravel us from somewhere.
According to the Fates of the world, our lives are simply an unraveling.
Unraveling is actually the gift. Unraveling is actually the point of the whole thing. We are simply meant to unravel to be, to grow, to change to transform. I found no mention of what the fates weave with the threads of time other than time itself. I choose to believe that it is up to us how we use the time the Fates have given us, how we choose to bring beauty into the world. What better use of our time could there possibly be?
Walk away from the words for a moment or two but not from threads. I can’t let go of the idea of creating beauty from the unraveled.
So sit to knit.
I find a mistake in my current piece. A dropped stitch or something that just doesn’t look right. I’m not sure anyone would actually notice when the sweater is finished, but I know it is there. So, I begin to unravel it, maybe just a bit until I undo the mistake that was done. Each pull gives a subtle pop as it comes loose, a tiny soft sound that I’m pretty sure I imagine and can’t really hear. I can’t grab the rows of stitches that I’ve undone despite my best efforts. The hours and hours of work are lost. I sit and I decide to start over, because I can.
I unravel and start over to make it the way I want. It is never to late to unravel and start over.
I count. I count again. Stitches and rows. Rows after rows. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy…not the thoughts I want. Repeat a new phrase, words are what we become. Count my blessings instead with each loop. Pray the rosary of yarn, needles and thread to put happy thoughts in my head.
Weaving and stitching as so many of the Fates of mythology do, I remember that this too had to unravel to begin. Twice. Every stitch a subtle intentional binding that brings all of the moments together with purpose, I begin to knit myself together with every stitch in time.
Gratitude for the unraveling sets in, then laughter.
We are all unravelled messes, aren’t we lucky?