Are you old enough to remember the aerobics craze? In the 1980s, seemingly overnight aerobics classes sprang up overnight. Instructors were born, VHS exercise tape sales soared, music was created, accessories were required, and a wardrobe of cute outfits appeared. Images of Jane Fonda and leg warmers are forever burnt into our psyche.
The phenomenon was so big that even I joined a class in our small town. I’ve forgotten a lot in my lifetime but I do remember that traumatic time. Feeling insecure, I purposely picked the back row in the high school gym. Despite my best efforts, I could not follow the steps, the sequence, the flippin’ choreography of it all. Oh, you mean my other left? Step right, lift, turn, hold, bend, poke yourself in the eye, I certainly wasn’t alone in this failure but I was turned off and away. Who would consciously subject herself to weekly proof that she is a klutz?
Maybe it was struggling to follow the mirror image of the instructor. Whatever.
Even though there isn’t any ’uniform’ or fast paced music to set the rhythm this same mental block has applied to macramé and sailor knot tying. Or anything else that requires following several, detailed, this-order-only steps. Origami, anyone? Knitting? Crochet?
I was reminded of this sad truth when I tried to recreate a particularly lovely scarf configuration from a year or so ago. It was snazzier than the no-brainer infinity scarf loop-de-loop. It was warmer than those that leave your neck bare because the tails come down near your armpits. It was more interesting than the simple pull this end through this loop approach. Like those men who slip their neckties over their heads (after a friend has tied a Windsor knot for them) rather than risk untying and retying the darn thing themselves, I, too, slipped the masterpiece over my head until it finally came undone.
I should tell you it took lots of trial and error and multiple sets of watching, pausing, re-watching of a YouTube video to get it done in the first place. I have dozens of scarves in every conceivable colour, shape, and weight. The light, summery ones are more a splash of colour near the face and no-fail accessory than anything else. In winter, the right scarf can save us from hypothermia and frostbite.
Googling scarf tying reveals Pintrest pages, blog posts, how-to videos, books, and dozens of confounded diagrams. The Holt Renfrew video is both a commercial and instructional. Of course, I’ve also ripped out pages from the newspaper or women’s magazines for reference purposes.
Growing up means acknowledging what we can and can’t do?after giving it the good old college try, that is. It also means using whatever tools are at our disposal for getting the results we want. For me that means using videos, diagrams, and trial and error. And if all else fails, there’s always the infinity scarf (or yoga) to fall back on, from where I sit.
Hazel Anaka’s first novel is Lucky Dog. Visit her website for more information or follow her on Twitter @anakawrites..