I've just finished listening to the latest Sticks & String podcast and David's title essay "The Guild'" has been very cathartic for me. Not because he said anything that was specifically referring to me or that was deeply profound. Instead it was a matter of fact explanation about what a Guild does and where it originates from, and how people can enjoy and benefit from attending such meetings. I just needed to be reminded of this because over the past few months I got distracted from this fact.
Its a common feature for many Bloggers and knitting commentators to acknowledge the destructive power of negative feedback - how 1 anonymous remark can totally negate a lot positive praise from people who are not afraid to own their opinions.
This happens in other areas such as organising a group of over 60 members, running the meetings with up to 45 people present at any one time as well as fulfilling any legal and social responsibilities inherent in this group's charter. There are many people that could do this standing on their head with a blindfold on (though it may look a bit funny) and not suffer any qualms about whether or not everything is being done just right. I am not one of them.
I have posted in the past about my "inherent anxiety about social interaction" and I am amazed at how this doesn't stop me accepting volunteer roles such as Chair or Convener for the local Playgroup or Knitting Branch. I keep doing it - I think to the best of my ability - but am devastated when I hear, third hand, of disparaging or bitchy comments, never to my face and never with a name.
Such remarks totally destroy any enjoyment I get from being a part of the group and interacting and learning from the many skilled knitters that come to the meetings. I get preoccupied with rectifying the apparent major short coming they reveal and lose sight of why I am there. I feel I can't see the wood for the trees or the Jumper for the yarn.
And that's where David came in with his nicely timed essay. He reminded me of the enjoyment and enthusiasm I felt as a new member on first attending my first 'real' knitting group and the promise of skills and techniques it held.
Over the next 8 months I think I'm going to listen to that essay again and again - just to keep it all in perspective.