Connecting Hearts Around the World with FPK Knit Hearts
In 2018, when I was working on our updated brand “look” for FPK, I was asked,
“What symbol comes to mind when you think of FPK?”
And, seemingly out of nowhere, but with confidence & excitement, I blurted out-
“A knit heart!”
Over the years, I’ve learned that that “seemingly out of nowhere inner voice” is my intuition, my inner knowing- my “true self”.
For years, anytime I heard the phrase “true self”, my stomach would do this strange flip-flop. Not only did I not understand why it did this, but it became a major source of anxiety for me to try and understand. It was like I didn’t trust myself to know what my “true self” was and after decades of seeking to understand- I feel like it’s starting to make sense.
In last month’s blog post, I talked about not feeling like I belonged as a child What I’ve learned is that a lot of that came from feeling like there was something wrong with my “true self”- I was too sensitive, too emotional, too talkative, too worried about the world and things that had nothing to do with me. And I don’t know about you, but when you’re constantly told you’re too “anything”, you try to change it, fix it, and turn that “wrongness” into “rightness”.
What sounded like BIG feelings of empathy, compassion and love to me now were clearly things that were uncomfortable for other people to see coming from a small child and things that seemed like too much for me to be feeling in ways that didn’t seem to make sense.
People in my life would always say things like “just be happy” or “let it go”...things I guess Bobby McFerrin and Elsa also heard a lot too- so I’m glad I’m not the only one. But, instead of turning those feelings and messages into award-winning songs, I tried to change them- make them go away. And that’s when I began to lose pieces of my “true self”.
The good news is that I’ve made my way back to my “true self”, the one overflowing with feelings of empathy, compassion and love for myself, my loved ones, my community and all of humanity. And I’ve learned how to balance that love with the darkness that often accompanies it in a way that feels at peace with my true self.
One of the biggest ways I’ve learned to embrace these overwhelming feelings of love is to accept them not only as a part of me, but as one of the best parts of me. And you know who’s helped me do that the most? My son, Matteo.
My son Matteo is close to 7 years old, and he has BIG feelings too. We started to notice these big feelings around 18 months old as they expressed themselves in bursts of explosive energy- before he had the language skills to communicate how he was feeling. Now that he does, I see lots of things in him that remind me of me as a child. And I do my best to validate and honor those feelings in him, so that perhaps he won’t dim as much of his true self to fit in, like I did.
OK, thanks for the multi-paragraph tangent but…
I’m sure you’re wondering what all this has to do with knit hearts? Well, everything.
While I didn’t understand at the time where the idea of a knit heart originated, I now know it was from somewhere deep within, from my true self. When I was sent the first prototypes of the knit hearts, they resonated with me and other members of the team in a deep way, even if we didn’t yet know or understand how they would be used.
The way they looked, in all of their brightness, brought feelings of joy and love, and the way they felt in my fingers and hands brought feelings of calm, of connection.
As someone who feels emotions intensely, I can become consumed with the emotions that others are feeling- regardless of their proximity in the world to me. And when I feel those emotions, I also feel like I want to do something to show support for the person or people experiencing them- whether they’re feelings of joy or sadness, elation or grief. I’ve done a lot of work on establishing boundaries, not only for myself but for others, around what are safe, healthy and appropriate expressions of support and for me, the knit hearts have become the answer.
About a year ago, I started sending the red hearts out to people in my life when I want to express love, to let them know they’re in my heart.
I’ve included them in packages for birthdays, to welcome new babies and just “because”.
I’ve given them to people experiencing hard things, like families experiencing illness, death and life-changing tragedies.
I’ve left them at memorials and installations honoring events that impacted the world in a big way.
They are my way of doing something. Not to fix, to erase or minimize. But to honor in a way that says “I see you. I hear you. I honor you. I love you”.
Some people send cards and flowers in this way. Others send stuffed goats and potatoes… (what IS this thing with spending money on sending potatoes to people?!? Ok, I’ll admit it’s kind of funny.)
And it’s starting to catch on. Ok, maybe just with my Mom, but she’s now asking me to send them out for her, when she wants to send love to someone in her life experiencing both joy, and/ or pain.
While hearts are certainly popular in the month of February for celebrating Valentine’s Day, we want our hearts to be something that can be sent and used the whole year round.
Our knit hearts are also a great thing to introduce to our kids- as a way for them to express their feelings too!
With our Keep One, Give One Knit Hearts Bundle, we include both a large knit heart and a small knit heart, so you’re littles can keep one for themselves as an expression of self-love and give one to someone else as an outward expression of love and compassion.
After all, Connecting Hearts Around the World through Play & Wonder, it’s kind of what we’re here to do at FPK.
Whether our hearts start a movement or just exist as a way for my family to express love and compassion in the world, I’m so incredibly grateful my true self knows what it’s here in this life to do. But it’d honestly be so much more fun if we can start a movement…will you and your family join us? We hope so.
PS- you may have seen on our Instagram an image with our knit hearts in a FULL RAINBOW of colors. Can you imagine using our soft knit hearts with your littles to identify and inspire a full range of emotions such as bravery, joy, wonder and empathy? Us too and we wanted to let you know we’re working on it, so stay tuned.
I love the hearts that you have shared with my grandchildren and me. I think of you, Misty, and your kindness, whenever I see them. The kids love them too!