Sunday, May 14, 2017

What makes you dream?


Image result for HAL
"Will I dream?"
"Of course you will. All intelligent beings dream. No one knows why."
Arthur C. Clarke: 2010 - Odyssey Two

I began podcasting on a whim just over 6 months ago, with no idea what a journey of self discovery it would become. It was something I had wanted to do, but really didn't have a cohesive concept for. I knew that I wanted to share my love of knitting and dyeing, the projects I was working on, and techniques that would be helpful to the knitters and dyers I met along the way.  I watched a lot of podcasts and paid attention to what engaged me, and sorted out the things I didn't want to include in my own. Then I jumped in.

My podcast has evolved a lot from that first pilot episode. I've refined the "look" of my podcast over time from still photos of yarn and a variety of title presentations to a professionally recorded theme song and opening title sequence that I can consistently use in all future episodes, making my brand more recognizable, as well as, changing my location slightly to a more visually interesting setup. I've added more elements, and take more time to share my thoughts on a number of related topics, and even started offering a number of giveaways.

Throughout this process, I've been very fortunate to have viewers contact me with requests for help with techniques which I've been able to demonstrate. I've also found a supportive following that volunteers to test knit my designs and helps me keep on task with my longer-term projects. This has fulfilled a void in my life. My LYS closed a couple of years back, and I've not been able to find a "knit-click" in my area to join, nor a venue to continue to teach knitting and dyeing at. My knitting community has become entirely digital, and I'm very grateful to have the technology to make this a reality. Often, especially when I'm talking about sensitive topics or I'm feeling vulnerable, I reference that I've got nothing to be nervous about because I'm having a private conversation with a close friend (you the viewer). I truly believe that. The relationships I have developed and friends I have made over the past 6 months mean a lot to me, and when I'm making topic notes pre-filming, I'm often mindful of the interactions I've had, and how to honor the private relationship I've developed while sharing with the collective the points of interest and giving the group expansive opportunities.

This being said, a digital existence can be a lonely one, and a girl can never have to many friends. If you're taking the time to read this post, and have never reached out to me before, please, just say hi. If you knit, or dye, or play with yarn in any way, we have something in common and I like you already. I make a sincere effort to respond to EVERYONE. There is no exclusive inner circle or private group. Feel free to correct me when I make mistakes so that I don't continue to look the fool. Ask me questions - I never expose your personal information without your permission. Or simply share something you are proud of - I did some sewing yesterday that came out exceptionally well and my dogs are non-plussed, but you might have an appreciation for how many times I had to rip out stitches without giving up.

I enjoy creating my podcast and look forward to it each week. I have a lot of other ideas for things I'd like to do in the future, building on the basics I've already shown, but am always open to new ideas. I like that my podcast can be reactive to the needs and wishes of my viewers, and I've angled it in such a way that every episode is a little different. There is no set formula or routine. I have certain things that I try to be relatively consistent about, such as discussing new acquisitions as they occur and progress on projects I've shared, but outside of that, my podcast is a representation of viewer response and personal whims, like a box of chocolates and hopefully providing delightful surprises.

Beyond the experience of creating and hosting my podcast, I've enjoyed a journey of self discovery. This is an unexpected benefit.

I've learned a lot about how my brain works. There have been episodes where I thought I was speaking so fast that I might be incoherent or appeared out of breathe. I wasn't, it was just my inner excitement mixing with anxiety, and I've learned not to be fearful of it.

I've learned I still love to teach, and still have something to offer the world. I've learned you can teach an old dog new tricks and conversely, that new dogs sometimes come with fancy new tricks of their own you can learn.

I've learned to be kinder to myself. There were times where I presented things and felt like I could have offered more or been more detailed. This happens when I present things on a whim and don't prepare. I know I can do better, but instead of beating myself up, I try to see it as a topic I can expand on later and spend more time developing my filming plan before turning on the camera.

And I've learned about emotions. Emotions are scary. It is hard to have the courage to make yourself openly vulnerable. Not everyone has the bravado to brazenly turn the camera on themselves and them publish to the planet. I certainly don't. It get's easier as you go along and become more comfortable with it, but it takes time and courage. I'm interested in learning more about vulnerability and courage. There is a lot of hate in this world, and a lot of people comfortable with being blunt, mean and worse with the pretense of anonymity the internet provides. (Please see my previous post: Privacy Alert.) It is easy to let these voices in, allowing them to color your perception of self. It takes strength and energy to overcome negativity. And support.

Support; I've had the wonderful pleasure of learning about support. I have a fantastical vision of all fiber enthusiasts crafting a giant emotional support net/wrapping blanket/enveloping sweater that refuses to be exclusive. I've met wonderful loving souls on this journey, from all walks, who reached out and offered encouragement, strength, love, guidance and support - selflessly. Thank you. You are each an example: Do unto others as you would they unto you. Return in kind. Pay it forward. Each of these a pillar in my creed that I rarely found reflected in the public, yet brought into vibrant fibery color by you.

Support is a self-feeding machine, a living cycle - if you reciprocate.  There are support situations that can be sapping, especially if one gives without receiving, but when you find even the tiniest way to give back the support you've received, or pay it forward, we ALL become stronger, better and more unified. Blessings to the fiber community for teaching us all how woven together we really are.

And finally, I've learned this makes me dream. My fiber Utopian vision of unity feeds the dreamer in me. I dream of the day I announce my 100th episode. I dream of new things to share, enhancements, more enriched community interaction, meeting viewers, guest hosts, off-location filming in your shops... I dream and I dare to do more.

Have you discovered what makes you dream?