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Confessions of a knitting psycho

By MONCHET DIOKNO OLIVES, The Philippine STAR Published Oct 24, 2021 5:00 am

Close to 600 days of abnormality (I have 59 years of it, join the club) have allowed us, or me, to dig deep in my soul to see what I am made of. The old MDO was really a hard-ass: I worked and partied hard and seemed, more often than not, aloof. I have had my fair share of pain and anguish.

And after I retired from the behemoth that taught all that I know better than an MBA (to which I am thankful), I messed it all up — my life as I was. You know, like Jack Nicholson’s character in About Schmidt who, after retirement, faced an uncertain future.

I got my stroke, gained tons of fat and simply lost my will. But I found things I like to do, and had the help of my North Star, Margie, who took me back despite all my flaws.

Find your passion, have the best of intentions, and keep your needles well sharpened; there are still those that take pleasure in a stab in the back.

So who cares, right? I do, because this pandemic came, and honestly, it brought out the best in me. I have never been busier with my consults, and thank God, the Grim Reaper has decided to spare me, perhaps to do other things — allowing me a new sense of purpose. You are where you are as you are meant to be, right? Who would have ever thought I would be writing for a newspaper for such a gracious editor? (DO NOT CUT THIS hahahaaha)

 The author Monchet Olives: Yes, he is a well-knit man.

So I would like to share a secret. I am a fully functional individual who has been diagnosed with severe depression and anxiety (I guess I join the rest of humanity at this point), and I have found a way to channel that iota of slight (okay, just cushioning the blow) evilness (I feel like Gru) in revealing my new hobby: knitting.

Face it, the idea of having two stakes in your hand can bring you a lot of thoughts. I share what my mom says is a dark Diokno trait (okay, don’t use it against my cousin who is running): we forgive, but we never forget. The knitting needles are in my hands — on an off day, weapons of mass destruction.

Schooled by YouTube University, and with the help of Lazada, I went on this peripatetic rage to learn a craft I only saw Mommy do when she was upset at something.

I, on the other hand, want to learn the craft to make voodoo dolls.

To quote the Bard, ‘The web of our life is of a mingled yarn.’

Witchcraft isn’t in my family, but I am sure research will show that my ancestors, who drove the Moors during the Crusades, may have dabbled (yes, we have royal commendations that allow our lineage not to abstain during Lent, as we should we be well fortified in Battle… I thought: Such a farce, fish is more expensive than meat today).

Dad collected anting-antings and had an affinity for them, and he was a water diviner. So, perhaps there is truth to this mumbo-jumbo about my lack of many screws. And I have this ability to sense doom and gloom and wish for things to happen. (Sorry, some of the things I wished for didn’t work. They are still there, abominable as ever.)

I have not yet arrived at the mode of forming objects while I knit, or shaping dolls — just like Victor Frankenstein, creating his modern Prometheus. I am making scarves, though, and have made a few. But the idea of making dolls beckons.

But don’t look at it as evil, with knitting stake in hand ready to pierce the frailness of humanity — I leave that to the incumbents in power to do, as they have been doing. I want to create little toys for children and sage them with Ces Drilon’s smudge sticks and wish people well.

The author knits scarves, finishing off a few rows each night.

So every evening I do a few rows and I’m getting the hang of it, and I have a knitting guru in El Nido who will help these pudgy hands craft my happy voodoos because everyone needs an effigy of kindness in their lives beyond the saints we revere.

As an aside, knitting is catching on, inspired by British diving Olympian Tom Daley. But in maximum security prisons (sounds dangerous) in the US, it’s been the new thing, but not really. Actually, it was the Arabs that invented knitting to create what we now know as the fishing net, forming loops with yarn. Then came the sweaters.

Then the Middle Ages came and knitting spread like the plague. There were guilds which were labor unions — and again, this is men we’re talking about. Nice stuff, right? Big men knitting, and we thought only of little old ladies and lolas.

But that is the past, and my dark secret is out. I am a diehard bitch of a knitter, which allows the most evil of thoughts to channel away in the hope that I can make my happy voodoo dollies. And my nieces and nephews and their children cannot wait for LoMO (Lolo Monchet)’s first cheeky-saged, positive-vibed voodoos to arrive.

We have time, don’t we?

And I close with Shakespeare, which is apt for this little treatise.

“The web of our life is of a mingled yarn, good and ill together: our virtues would be proud, if our faults whipped them not; and our crimes would despair, if they were not cherished by our virtues.” 

Hope that stabbed at the heart, did it? Perhaps a knitting spell in the offing?

Find your passion, have the best of intentions, and keep your needles well sharpened; there are still those that take pleasure in a stab in the back.