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Life is not a ladder.  You’ve heard this before.

And you may have scratched your head at why I made such a strange observation.  I could have opened with Life is not a pin cushion, but admittedly, would have had a more difficult time making that argument.

Ladders-as-a-metaphor-to-life is a recurring theme in my household at the moment.  TallGirl is in the high school marching band and this year’s program is entitled Ladders of Life.  Their performance is dotted with snippets of a soliloquy comparing our friends and family to the braces and rungs and our collective and individual journeys in life to the climb.  Be it competition or halftime show, I’ve attended every performance this year.  Each time I hear the spoken piece of the performance, I mentally launch my side of the debate as to why this just isn’t an effective metaphor.

But mostly, I watch in awe.  What I cannot argue with is that ladders – especially thirty one of them in varying sizes from 2 to 16 feet – do make for pretty impressive show props.  And I have corroborating support on this opinion.  My daughter’s band tied for Outstanding Visual Performance in Class AAAA at Bands of America competition in Towson, MD last weekend.  They placed 2nd in the class in preliminaries and 5th overall during finals.  To say I’m proud is an understatement.  To say I’m exhausted is wasting time I should be sleeping.

Friday morning, my mystery allergy (which I’ll probably write about in gross detail some other time) woke me up at 4am.  By about 7:30, I was headed back to the ER with tightening chest and stabbing pain.  There was a repeat of necessary ass-covering precautions, yet more medication, and I got to leave around 10am.  By 3, I was in the car on the long road to Towson.  Sleep didn’t happen again until sometime after 1am.

Saturday was spent milling around Towson, watching the competition, walking in foolishly chosen shoes the equivalent distance of from here to 2/3 of a mile beyond what you’d consider uncomfortable while in search of a restaurant serving crabs, watching more competition, and cheering during awards ceremonies.  Camaraderie ensued.  Sleeping did not.  At least not until about 4:30am Sunday, when my tired head hit my soft pillow back home in Raleigh.

I’m not sure if it’s the exhaustion, or the combination of Prednisone and 3 different antihistamines, or maybe both, but the last few days I have been in a state of euphoria that knitting an ugly sweater, removing most of the skin on my torso with my own fingernails, two drunk dials from the ex, and backing over a Honda just cannot diminish.

Oh yeah…there’s probably a blog about backing over a Honda in the near future, too.

Life is not a ladder.  It’s a web.  There is not one straight forward path to traverse towards one’s goals.  There are sections that connect here and there and sometimes, seemingly nowhere.  There are life lessons that must be established and learned, only to be left alone again until another time when they are needed.  And sometimes the trick is recognizing when they are indeed needed again.

The last year has felt like blindly stumbling through a forest laden with pieces of web that keep getting stuck on my face and arms, not succeeding at holding me down, but making the journey just that-much-more annoying.  Lessons I’ve learned, and then ignored, have come back to induce some mighty impressive forehead slapping moments, and I stumbled into another one just last night.

Sometimes, a thing can’t be fixed.  Sometimes, one must know when it’s appropriate to call the time-of-death on an endeavor and try their hardest to harvest another important lesson from their experience spent with the donor project during its more viable existence.  It’s not an easy fulcrum to recognize, especially when one is sitting squarely on the thing.

You see, all I wanted was to build something that I could call my own; something whose essence could not easily be discerned from my own, something that people would look at and say, with neither a hint of negative nor positive energy, “That’s just so Serena.”

I wanted to take it for granted.  I wanted it to fit like, well, an old sweater.

It was fun in the beginning; maybe even addictive.  When I held it in my hands, it was heaven and when it wasn’t, I couldn’t wait to touch it again.  But there were some signs along the way that maybe this endeavor might not be all that I’d hoped and dreamed.  I found myself looking past the what’s here and what’s now and wishing the time away to the next phase, and then the one after.  My imagination wandered and I daydreamed about what something else might feel like.  I tried to squash the guilt by keeping my eye on the prize: this was going to be wonderful one day and what was turning into hard work and drudgery, well, that was going to make the end result just that much more sweet and enjoyable.  Even as I began to see that it was never going to be what I yearned for, I found ways to convince myself that it was still good enough.   My resolve to remain faithful and see this thing on through is quintessential Serena, just like my Marriage 2.0.  And that’s the thought that sent the needle screeching off the spinning vinyl in my head last night when I came to a sad and startling realization:  This just isn’t going to work.  No matter how hard I pretend, this isn’t what I dreamed it would be.  It is what it is, and what it is still isn’t anything that I want or need in my life.  Or in my closet.

My needles finally reached the bottom edge of what was supposed to be the Slinky Ribs sweater by Wendy Bernard and I carefully pulled it over my head.  I adjusted, tugged, and visualized it with the neck edge finished and the long sleeves in place and realized that the  best I could hope for from this sweater was for me to gain another 75 pounds to adequately fill it out.  I accepted the sad fact that all of my hard work was going to be frogged and quickly turned my thoughts to what I was going to do with these 8 balls of Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool.  I do so still love this pattern and want very much to have this Henley-esque pull over for the chilly autumn days ahead.  But frankly, I don’t see how that’s possible.  My guage was good and my measurements were spot on.  No matter how hard I pretended, it just.wasn’t.a.good.fit.

It is time to unravel my weeks and weeks of hard work (ok, technically, some of those weeks belong in the barely looked at it category) and use my fiber to rebuild the dream.  First, I think I’m going to need a rebound.  Maybe that nice pair of lacey, knee high socks I secretly fantasized about when the day in and day out knitting of 2×2 ribbing became mind-numbing will do the trick.