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Entries in personal growth (11)

Sunday
Nov042018

Anxiety and Handwork

I'm not sure when it happened, but in the past five or six years, I've found that I am unable to do one thing at a time effectively.

This is how I explain why I'm always on my smartphone. I need something to do with my hands. It's not all social media stuff either. If I'm watching TV for example, I have to play a game on the phone while I do it. I feel like this makes me focus better. It probably doesn't, but that's the way it feels.

The problem is the smartphone feels like it's relaxing my mind, but it's actually winding me up. Making me get more amped up instead of letting me slide into whatever experience is before me. I've been thinking about this a lot lately... about this need to do something concrete and real with my hands while engaging in some abstract type of activity (watching something, listening to something, etc). Why doesn't the smartphone suffice?

We want to move our hands because human beings have an instrinsic need to work. We live in a world, though, where few of the things we use are the things we have made. I think food might be the last thing that we both make and consume on a regular basis. From the clothes we wear to the sofas we sit on... our hands aren't part of the equation when it comes to fulfilling our needs.

I personally think there's a connection to be discovered between the collective level of anxiety members of the industrialized world feel and the alck of opportunity to make useful, concrete things with their hands. I have been plagued by anxiety of late. A lot of that has to do with the nation's Fascist in Chief (herein referred to as FIC) and his unwavering dedication to keeping the brown woman in her place. But even there... we have a connection. Producing work... concrete art... it requires problem solving. And it is also engagement in problems that you can actually solve. I cannot solve the problem of our FIC not having a freaking soul. But. I could sew some unique linen napkins that are stylish in a way not determined by Target or Pier One. Solving little problems makes me less anxious about solving big ones. Confident, even.

(Right now I have "How do you solve a problem like The Donald?" running in my head a la The Sound of Music which interestingly like our lives features Nazis).

All this to tell you that in the next week, while I will still be producing content HERE, I will be going on an iPhone fast. I will only use the phone for work and I will not work after 6. Instead I will: sew, paint or knit. 

You should know that I am novice level on all of those things. 

I will take pictures and post them for your amusement.

Friday
Nov022018

Hahaha... consistency.. not.a.thing.

I love how on the very first day of NaBloPO (I don't even know what the frickin' acronym is , okay?)... I totally dropped the ball and DID NOT blog on the first day of November. 

I am tired, y'all.

I have so many things to do.

Do you have a lot of things to do? 

What are these things? What are the consequences if you don't  do them? 

So curious to hear from you.

Tuesday
May102016

This One is Out of the Way.

There are just going to be those days when you simply get through it. I know you know this, but I think one of us needs to say this out loud. A lot of days are just going to be holding one's head above water and hoping that the people who don't matter don't notice. Because, you know, the people that matter don't mind that you're holding your head slightly above water. It's those pesky people who don't matter, right? They're always over there not mattering and ruining everyone's self perception.

Anyway. Some days are just going to end with a long sigh that says, "Well, this one is out of the way." I'd like to think that I'm doing a-okay if the number of days that are "out of the way" are less in number than the days that end with "Ahh, today was a good one."

I don't really have much more else to say than that.

Except. Maybe.

This one is out of the way.

Wednesday
Apr132016

Creativity, Usefulness and Moving to Selfish

I read an interesting article yesterday about the effect of family life on creativity. Here. Go read it.

Back? 

You didn't really read it, did you? 

Anyway, this article is by a writer and she talks of how her artistic life has been impacted by family in what seems like a negative way, but, then, in the end, there's a semblance of bittersweet conclusion about how things are really just different now and not necessarily worse. Or something.

Don't like that summary? Well, that's what you get when you don't read shit for yourself. They're called consequences, Beav.

As my children get older and as my vocation is increasingly child centered (teaching, running a school - which is not the same as family centered, but still relies on this idea of maintaining order not disrupting it), I find myself less and less able to be truly creative. Like, in an artistic way.

Now, it we're talking about "I have a piece of pita bread, some sketchy looking turkey and a third of a tub of cream cheese and it's 7:20a.m. and I have to be at work in fifteen minutes and I need to make two lunches -- TURKEY-PITA-CREAM-CHEESE-SURPRISE-VOILA," then I'm freaking Picasso. This kind of creativity is not enough. This is really problem solving. This is an outflow situation. It doesn't renew. It takes.

I really just want... Just to be alone in a space for a while where I can disrupt the normal cadence of life and think about things in a new way. I want that fire and passion of looking at reality, saying "this is not the only way things are -- they can be like this, too! Aren't we all uncomfortably energized and ready to live it all in this new way?" 

But I have Life stuff. Stuff that has to happen so that we can, you know, eat and maybe wear clothes that don't smell. And, then, there's the stuff going on inside my head. This brings to another point and by "point" I mean "tedious human struggle." I have this horrible thing of believing that worth equals usefulness to others. Well, wait, this is true thing -- to a degree. It is important to be useful, but it's equally important to be self serving.

When I was growing up, I had a parent that told me I was selfish, a lot. It damaged me. Not in a terrible way that's unrecoverable, but in an innocuous way that shows up when you're forty and you're like, "well, isn't this some fresh hell I thought I had dealt with already?" I've got to tackle this demon that clutches at my throat every time I think of doing anything that doesn't directly benefit someone besides myself.

I'm not selfish. I've proven that to myself. I am now the opposite of selfish. I'm specifically a martyr like that other parent who didn't call me selfish. Isn't that something. You know, the only time I'm not benefitting someone else is when I lay down in my bed to sleep or watch TV. I think I even rationalize using the bathroom as a general public service. Backed up people with urinary tract infections are not good for the planet. Just saying.

The problem with working to the point of exhaustion is that you end up in bed watching a Netflix/Hulu marathon. Although, I did change it up this week by diverting to a Serial marathon.

(Oh, Adnan, BRO, why did you smoke the pot that day? You can't remember where you were because you were too HIGH, dawg.) 

I have to work on this whole being creative, taking care of myself, redefining self worth stuff. Who else is annoyed by the prospect of having to figure something out when when you've reached midlife? That is some serious CRAP. I really thought that forty was taking the red pill and realizing that we're all in the Matrix so we can all just chill. Or maybe it was the blue pill. Or, damn, maybe I took the blue pill and that's why we're having this conversation.

I have plans of attack, though. Maybe I'll share them with you. Maybe. I am planning to start listening to Season 2 of Serial now, so best laid plans and all that.

P.S. I just typed and retyped the word "download" three times. It went down like this:

Downloud.

Downlowd. 

Download.

I thought you'd enjoy that.

Hey! Mike Scheinberg and I have started producing Hey! That's My Hummus! again. New episodes to download. Check it out on our website. Or you can download from iTunes.

 

Wednesday
Nov052014

Compulsory "Here's Why I Left, And Now I'm Back."

It's difficult to do something without a definite purpose. At least, for me it's difficult. 

I have no idea why I still want to type words into this space. I want someone to read them, but not lots of someones. It's been two years since I wrote in the space where lots of someone's read what I was reading. 

I'm a fan of being vulnerable, but not when I don't know why I'm doing it. From the very start, all I wanted this space to be was a place where you could find some love when you expected to find passionate stands and moral certainty. I surprise people every day with my flexibility. There are walls that tell them that I am otherwise. That I'm tough. When, really, to be misunderstood as condescending, rude or rigid is one of the few things that will actually make me cry. I think, "It's okay if you don't like me, but you have to NOT like me for the RIGHT reasons!! I am not stuck up! I don't think I'm better than you! I have a thousand real flaws and you should pick one of THOSE as your deal breaker!"

A few years ago, a few people on the Internet said some things about me. People who didn't know me or what I was about and it impacted me far more than I thought. It's not being disliked that's eviscerating to my will to write. It's being misunderstood and being judged on qualities which I do not possess. But the waslking away has left me empty. It is not just here that I've stopped writing. It's everywhere. Other than an e-mail updating a friend or a facebook comment, I no longer write.

And this is not okay because writing is part of who I am. It's time to let go of that small moment where I was misunderstood. For someone who doesn't hold grudges, it's unsightly -- dare I say pitiable -- to hold on this long. I don't know who's still here, but thanks. And I'm sorry. I shouldn't have walked away for so long. You mattered to me and I didn't even tell you why because I felt like it was a silly reason. People said mean things! They called me a racist! They said I was condescending! Rude! WAH!

But that's it. And, now, it's not it. And I'm back because I can't really not write here. It's too much of who I am and it's felt very wrong to pretend it's not.