Let me tell you about what my day looks like most weekdays. You may or may not know, but I have a four year old son, Henry, and a one year old daughter, Eliza. Henry starts Junior Kindergarten next week and Eliza will be home with me for the foreseeable future.
Everyday, I’m woken up by Henry and then Eliza gets up around 8:30. We slowly get our act together and we head out the door. We go to our local YMCA every day and I check them into the baby-sitting room at 10am for two full hours of blissful solitude. As a work at home mom, there isn’t much solitude in my day, and these two hours, from ten until noon are a daily gift. It is my self care. I can’t do housework, no one is asking for snacks and the time is just for me. Some days I get a workout in, others just a steam and a shower. And my most indulgent days I sit in the cafe area with my iPad, a cup of coffee and my knitting - these are my most favourite of all.
Today started as any other day. Henry waking me up, Eliza up at nine and out the door around ten. But today is different. Today while I sit by the pool with my coffee and iPad, I don’t have a knitting project in my bag. When I get home, there won’t be one sitting on my table accidentally forgotten. Instead I have nothing to knit, because I just finished a sweater and my projects that were next in my queue, with yarn dyed and patterns purchased, and swatches made are from Boyland Knits.
I’m guessing if you are reading this I don’t have to explain to you why this is so problematic. I’m guessing you have seen what happened on instagram the last two days and the last nine months. I’m guessing you have been wondering, “Why hasn’t Carla said anything? Where does Carla stand on racism?” The answer to what you have to ask is honestly, I have been afraid. I have been fragile.
And that is unacceptable.
I have been telling myself that I have been doing the work, been looking inside before I said something out loud. I’ve been telling myself that since I have been taking a break while on mat leave that no one would notice, that I didn’t need to say something. But that is an excuse and me being cowardly. That is the definition of white privilege. I have been hiding behind my screen, lurking, biting my nails and then closing the app and going on with my day.
Because of that I am sorry. I am making the commitment right now to do the work. To put my voice out there. I am allied with those that don’t have privilege to put away their phones and move on with their day. I support BIPOC. And I will not allow my space to be a home for racism, micro-aggression or silent avoidance.
I started this business in 2014 from a place of necessity. I had recently experienced a extremely traumatic situation in the workplace and needed something to do. I was unable to consider re-entering the traditional workplace and needed somewhere to feel safe. Georgian Bay Fibre Co. did that for me. But I was just hiding from the trauma of my experience and living a daily reality of crippling anxiety. In late 2015 I had my son and postpartum anxiety coupled with a traumatic birth and postpartum period and my existing grief gained a grip on me so hard I entirely lost who I was. By the time I stopped direct sales in early 2017 I couldn’t receive a customer email without nearly having a panic attack about what the contents might be. I couldn’t continue to live like that and I couldn’t allow myself to run a business in that way. So I stepped back. And I wasn’t honest about why I was stepping back.
Life started to feel calm in the fall of 2017 with our move to Sudbury and the opening of a new chapter. So we decided it was time to add our second child. Eliza was born July 2018. She was the easiest most delightful baby. Henry was an empathetic and excited big brother. And I started to feel myself re-entering the darkness of pain and trauma. The anxiety began to cripple my every day.
I decided that it was enough. It was time for me to do something. I went to my Nurse Practitioner the next day and left with a prescription for an SSRI and a referral to their therapist. This step was the biggest one. Most days now I feel better, most days I feel ready to get back into my business and inspired to share my yarns and myself with you. But my fear and anxiety are ever present invisible friends. I don’t talk to them most days, but when I consider stepping out of myself they are there shoving my back inside. Telling me that I won’t be forgiven, that I won’t be accepted, and I can’t move forward.
Since the knitting world ripped wide open this past winter I have spent every day wanting to say something. I have written this post in my head every day while I changed diapers or made lunches. But my silent friend has told me to shut up. I told myself it wasn’t necessary anyway so I just continued to push it aside. Today that ends.
Henry recently told me that he isn’t brave. And that cut me to the deepest part of myself. I am not brave either. And I haven’t needed to be brave. That is white privilege. I have been afraid to say the wrong thing.
I have work to do. My mental heath cannot be an excuse to not confront my own white fragility and privilege. I am sorry for not doing the work. I am sorry for not being brave. I am sorry for not being here.
I hope you will forgive me. I hope you will let me back into your lives and your knitting bags. But if you aren’t ready yet. I will understand and be with you regardless.
More soon dear friends.