Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Secrets and stitches

This Saturday brings about one of my least favorite days of the year: the work day of three high school graduations. This is a day tailored for knitting as I will likely have little to do but minor troubleshooting and major trying not to be bored right out of my skull. At the mention of this looming day of misery, a friend asked if I might break the secrecy that is my knitting stock in trade.

My first impulse was to say no, absolutely not. I know how chatty and gossipy the students can become, and I know that me knitting in the middle of a crowd of a few thousand would ignite the grapevine. Thanks but no thanks. I don't feel like subjecting myself to the scrutiny and whatever other blowback there might be.

I've thought about this off and on since. In moments of weakness I have considered shedding this secrecy in the workplace and among students and co-workers, but then I snap to my senses and remind myself that such ideas are lunacy.

But why? A list, which I state at the outset may have the sheen of rationality but is likely irrational:

1. I fear what others will say and how it will make me look.

Yeah, yeah, who cares what other people think? That's true to some extent, but it's also so very untrue. Working with a small group of college students (and among a small campus population), word gets around pretty quickly. I do think that if this were a bigger place or I were smaller profile in my corner that I'd be less resistant to revealing the knitting secret. So in that sense it's not about people knowing but about specific people knowing and having to interact with them and whatever assumptions that an unconventional hobby for my gender leads them to make.

Actually, I think that's the issue in a nutshell. I would continue to blog anonymously even if it is unlikely that students would come across this place. So it isn't a list of things but one (or two) similar things.

I suppose I've always been a relatively private person, which fuels the secrecy surrounding something I expect could or would make me an object of ridicule. In one instance a few years ago at work I was burned pretty significantly regarding perception and the associated whisperings that I became all the more protective because of it. That complicates the matter quite a bit.

Saturday I don't plan to knit amid my students and a co-worker--never mind all the graduates and their families--and I doubt anyone could convince me to do otherwise. I'm not looking for persuasion, but I am curious to hear what you think about this.

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At 8:43 AM, Blogger Karen said...

I know you're a private person and you're concerned what other people think. The flip side is that by seeing you knit, you might inspire many others to knit; male and female.

When I was knitting at school - before I was asked not to - several of my male students asked me to teach them. I still keep knitting supplies in my office and they knit when they come in to see me. Junior high boys. Athletes. They have brought other friends of both genders by to learn.

You may change your mind at some point. In the time that you've been blogging and knitting, I've seen you learn and do things you never thought you would accomplish.

At 1:09 PM, Blogger the secret knitter said...

I appreciate your confidence that it wouldn't be a negative experience, even if I'm inclined to believe otherwise.

In the end I suppose it goes back to self-perception lingering back to the junior high and high school years. How others see me isn't necessarily how I think they see me or how I see myself.


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