Octopus friends and big rock

Seven years ago, I designed a giraffe door-ornament and entered it into a Martha Stewart knitting contest. I lost, obviously. I mean, I was in college at the time, simultaneously trying to not starve while also obsessing over why no one was inviting me to things, so safe to say I was not exactly in the best headspace for the award-winning knitting that Martha deserves. But, as it turned out, I also lost because I never actually submitted the damn thing, which I discovered when I found my application among my ‘drafts’ in my email inbox a few months later (girgaffe).

So, just like when I turned down that scholarship to the S.F. ballet in the fourth grade, this is yet another example of how nearly I was launched into a dazzling life of fame and success (and crazy-ripped quads), only to be taken down by my own thoughtlessness (and mediocre, ill-defined quads).

Somehow, all of that has to do with me knitting a giant wool octopus for my nephew. Something to do with reclamation of past mistakes (octowhoops), working through regret, perfection, and an unhealthy obsession with quads and legs, I think.

Anyway, a few months ago, a friend gifted me some beautiful wool as well as a pattern for a scarf. I instantly trashed the pattern and used the yarn instead to knit a gigantic, multicolored, stuffed octopus (stuffalopod). And, like everything else oversized and ridiculous that I knit (e.g. drag queens), it became an instant gift for my nephew, who has been apathetic towards me for most of his life up until a couple weeks ago when I blew his freaking mind by showing him what a big screen TV does.

And now this!

The pattern is adapted from purl soho, and perhaps because I didn’t try making the pattern up myself, this actually turned out quite cute and inexplicably soft and cuddly (awwctopus). My nephew liked it, at least. Well, more specifically, he called it ‘baa’, which in broad strokes translates to a kind of conditional approval. But he liked it enough to sit still for a picture with it, which I’m happy with. It’s as if they’re just a couple of old buds with oversized heads and ten legs (and no knee caps) between the two of them, discussing life and the state of things over a couple of half gnawed-on Bambas.

Perhaps it’s a sign I’m growing into my age that I can look back at certain experiences and not instantly pull away in embarrassment (an impressive feat considering i once got caught snapchatting a hot person at work). Summer camp, for me, was one of those black-box experiences. It made up so much of my childhood, but only recently have I been able to think back on it and truly consider the experience–what I wanted from it, what I got from it, and what it was that had me going back year after year (spoiler alert: it wasn’t the choco-tacos).

So, read on for my thoughts on camp. And to my future son: if you’re reading this, about half way in is the reason why I make you wear a cup whenever you go hanging out with your friends.

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