I always have this voice at the back of my head that is constantly saying “don’t move that way, don’t wear that color, don’t do that.” It’s like this shred of toxic masculinity within me that tells me I can’t be what I feel. As I try to understand and define my own queer identity, I have found some refuge from that voice in knitting and the community surrounding it. Knitting is something that has helped me to discover more about what I like and what makes me, me.
Growing up, I was taught that things like sewing, embroidery, and knitting were “women’s work.” Something that only the women in the household did and regarded only for its practical uses. It always seemed like something that wasn’t as respected as trades typically associated with men. I feel that to a certain extent I held onto those same assumptions, until I learned more about myself. In recent years I found myself drawn to fiber arts. I began to remember the embroidery, sewing, and weaving that my aunts and mother would do. It always fascinated me, but it was something that I told myself wasn’t really for me, something I shouldn’t do.
About a year or two ago, I began thinking more about my own gender identity and how I express that. I feel more aware of the fact that I don’t feel or want to conform to typical standards of masculinity, but am still discovering exactly what that means. Knitting in many ways has been a step in this discovery. I wanted to break past those prior assumptions and finally learn something I’ve wanted to do since childhood. Now I find comfort in the craft and in knowing how much women and fem folks are represented in the knitting community. I’m finding I feel more comfortable in these spaces as I embrace my own femininity.
Through knitting, I have found a passion that I didn’t think I would have before. I get excited about gorgeous colors and cozy textures. Hushing that voice that says “those things are too feminine” is liberating. Because of this I feel creative and like I can bring beauty in the world. Most importantly I feel a bit less confused and a little more like me.