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  • Writer's pictureMeghan St. Clair

Ugly Christmas Sweater

Updated: Mar 18, 2020

I hold onto things.  It’s a struggle I’ve become aware of.  A year ago I wouldn’t have been able to recognize it at all.  I had no idea.  I believed that if I did something more or made something greater or worked really hard or just got along I might, someday, be good enough to fix what was broken.  I would be good enough for a nebulous standard that:  I.Cannot.Even.Define.   I have been holding onto this belief like an ugly Christmas sweater.

I wrapped a sweater of lies, woven in the seventies, tight around my chest.  Each yarn consisting of something I’d chosen to believe.  A sweater of the ugliest threads.  Rather than get rid of the thing, I patched it, repaired it, modified it, smoothed it, cared for it.  Over time those threaded lies got comfortable.  I could see it was becoming too complicated to fix.  I should have let it go, but I clung to the familiarity of its fit.  Everyone could see what I was covered in, but me.

I felt defensive towards someone who would say, “I told her to throw away that Christmas sweater”  or, “I got rid of my sweater years ago”  or, “I would never wear something so ugly.”  I tried to throw it away, but before the trash man came I would dig it back out and put it on.

Somewhere along the way I decided I could make something beautiful out of an ugly, lie woven, sweater.  I could make anything work.  The threads started to unravel, unfixable, and I was exposed.  For a bit, I was not sure who I was looking at in the mirror.  My reflection appeared very much like a human in an unravelling, ugly, Christmas sweater the size of a belly shirt.  As the lies fell away, I wasn’t quite ready for the real stuff underneath.

Standing with my Christmas sweater on the ground is terrifying.  It makes me feel big and overwhelming and joyous.  It makes me wonder why I didn’t throw the sweater away years ago.  It was ugly and heavy.  {“I told you so….”}  Out from under those old threads, I feel awkward and light and alive.  Especially on the days I am aware of how uncomfortable it feels to be exposed, I look at the yarn and wonder if I could make it into a comfortable sweater again. Then I remind myself, I don’t know how to knit.

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