And the dish ran away with the spoon

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I am perfectly capable of finishing this scene.  I have this chunk attached from the first iteration and I’ve been clinging to it in hopes that I can so

Having the day off and the day off tomorrow for the holiday is glorious.  It is helping my brain reconnect with the rest of me.  I am hoping in some way that the intensity of the organizational aspect of my little retail job will spur me into scullery mode back here in the privacy of my own chambers.  All day long, you leap up to thoroughly review the racks for singles, mismatched hangers, sizing out of order, anything amiss.  If those are suitable, your eyes are meant to searchlight the rest of the shop for any paper, any fingerprints on display cases, the gift wrapping shelves need a restock.  You are meant to correct imperfection.  Imperfection is gross.

As one co-worker explained, everything has a place.  There’s nothing that needs to be left out.

It is funny how my mind wants to chastise them for this.  No one is asking for perfection. No one takes a severe tone about it.  It is just normal for the clothes to need to be put back on the rack so that someone else can find them and buy them.  It is just good business to be ready to make a sale, to have the view clear and unobscured.  In my mind, I take it as though I am being asked to maintain a glass bottom boat.  That a thing wrong risks everything.  It’s carryover from the other job where I was told we can’t seem to get anything right.  I want to not pollute it with my wrongness.

It’s laughable how strong that statement feels, but it also rings true to me.

My mother used to be as these mothers I work with are.  She’s also someone who does what we do, albeit in a massive retail chain and not an individual store.  Looking around the house, wanting it to be like the pictures in Better Homes and Gardens, and encouraging us to clean things up. All the while, my head was in fifty feet of cloud.  Always just around the bend from another cleaning binge because between them, I just leave this wake of unattended crap. But thinking back, slowly over time as we grew and she had far more pressing issues to attend to, she gave up on the severity.  She cleans her place because she wants it clean.  She doesn’t focus on the minutiae in corners.  She maintains her glass-bottom vessel because she lives in it and she’d like to see the fish.

It’s not about drowning.  It’s about happiness where you are.  Would that I could come down for a minute and stop the all or nothing thinking and just…breathe in my boat.

That’s weird.  I didn’t really want to write about cleaning…there’s plenty of other things to talk about, actually.  But I will save it for the morning, friends.  Save myself.

And Every Muscle Rested: Day Nineteen

Starting, my friends, first thing in the morning.  Change of pace, kind of a bit of encouragement for the desire I am feeling to rebuild my personal universe, and a reminder, I think, that I can do so much without demanding I do everything right now, this very instant.

Work and rest and play.  That’s how I want my life to go.

As for place, I’ve always had this dream of a little, arts and crafts, English bungalow, tucked away behind the trees, with flowers, and inklings of the dichotomy I’ve struggled my whole life with, a little magic and a little stability.  Fairy footprints, a wooded backyard to wander through, flowers both wild and weeded, and yet, neat as a pin, with signs of real domesticity, a place where all the Martha Stewart, Betty Crocker, Good Housekeeping strains of madness that run through me could be honored.

A cottage, like something you’d see in the distance of some Maxfield Parrish painting, but of course, warm, safe, and with internet access.

That’s where I dreamed of living.

But that’s, obviously, not the arrangement at the moment.  Still, I want it to be and I am trying to train myself to believe that even if it’s unlikely that I’ll ever be habitated in such a spot, I can move in that direction.  I can get closer than I am now, staring at piles of clothes and messy bookshelves and things forgotten simply because they’ve been hidden away behind other things I care less for.   My guitar and ukulele. CD’s.  Organizational lists.  It becomes, while not monstrous like a Hoarders episode, functionally the same.  It becomes another wall between me and a relaxed, fulfilled self.  It keeps me from saying, come over and see me where I dream and write and play games and eat.  Because I’m not in this perfect cottage in the woods with dried lavender hanging from the rafters and until I flip the invisible, unreachable perfect switch and move there, I’m not worthy of visits.  And the mess proves and demands that belief.  

You can get so caught up in your own false assumptions that it causes some sort of deep rupture when you try and realign yourself.  I’m always afraid of bringing that pain to myself, that I’m betraying something by calling the lies I’ve invented to protect myself by what they are.  Fear can make you behave in ways that interlock with one another until you can’t get back in one leap of thought to the porch of that bungalow and call it your own.  But it’s just right there.  Same as comfort and faith in yourself.

And it feels ridiculously good to spend even half a day pushing in the the right direction, not piling on guilt, just doing, putting away, giving away, giving up the anxious thought and moving one’s arse.   This is my agency, my choice, to not be a sour patch kid and to rally for a while. Even if rallying means just breathing in and out.

 

Neutral Good: Day Fifteen

Okay, so here’s the five hundred word dash.

I’ve had a very good Saturday and I want to squeeze the last little bit of juice out of it before I have to collapse into bed, so I know you’ll forgive me if I rush along and make perhaps less sense than the typically tiny iota of reason that I provide here.

It was good because I cleaned like a madwoman for a while and got the massive wads of clothing in my room sorted a bit – winter clothes out, summer clothes put back away. There is a great deal of floor visible in my room.   Now I have that second level cleaning that is so hard for me to do for some reason – the detail work, pulling books out of the bookshelf and organizing them so everything isn’t sideways and full of askew paperwork.   But a major chunk is done, with lots of clothes set aside to give away that I don’t care about whatsover and were just bulk in my closet.   The cleaning, too, was really physical, and given that I was at it for four hours or so, I feel like that I got something of a workout in.  Even if the Pandora 80’s Cardio channel did not live up to the hype.  Come On Eileen is not exactly going to get your heart pumping.

So I’m proud about that.  Also proud that I did not eat terribly and I did not cave to hunger and make a bad decision and actually ate vegetables today which were fresh and delicious and filling along with some sugar-free teriyaki sauce.  I added in some carrots because it’s been two weeks without them, so we’ll see if some carrot apocalypse will come down on my head as a result.   Unfortunately, I’ve been so home-bound and stuck-in, cleaning and watching the Broncos fight it out and win over the Cowboys, that the grocery store trip I needed to make didn’t happen.  So I’m telling myself I can just get some and put it on ice when I get to work.  Or just have coffee, though that doesn’t exactly make me super happy and I think will lead me to gnawing feelings in my stomach and Monday stress + hunger typically leads me into bad places.  So, we’ll do what we can to avoid that.

I have played some games in here – to distract me from all of this work that depresses me and interspersing the two actually has made me relatively productive.  But I apparently killed the wrong rakshasa in Neverwinter Nights: Hordes of the Underdark and I’ve spent way too long trying to figure out how to get around that without having to go back to a way earlier save point and now I have the item code that should be a good workaround and that’s the reason I’m putting so much haste into today’s post.

Suffice to say, I am good.  I feel like a very industrious Anna Bates, you know, before she fell in love with Mr. Bates.  Just neutral good.

Effort—and disappointment and perseverance

Whoa.  Again, but differently from yesterday and its cathartic energy.

I think some kind of spirit overtook me today.

I turned into a scullery maid.   I turned into a cabin girl and swabbed the decks.   I ran my ass off and ate as much as I could force down my gullet…admittedly not as much as I would want.  My bed now has fresh clean sheets on it, the pile of junk in the corner is now in its place, new curtains that have been sitting in their boxes under my desk are now hung and replace the perhaps excessively feminine dusty pink sheers with heavier, woven gold and off-white ones.   I’ve moved out all sorts of unneeded and unwanted things.  A lot of the clutter has found a home.

It’s weird.  I feel like a switch has been flipped.  I don’t want to use that analogy if it makes anyone think that it can or it can’t be flipped back, because obviously, it can, and obviously, that’s so not my intention right now.  Right now, I’m grabbing kindling and newspaper and blowing all the good favored winds I can on the fire.  To mix the metaphor.

Enough.

Part of what I did today involved consolidating notebooks and papers and some of them go back a long ways like to 2001 or earlier.  And it’s interesting to flip through the pages and see what you were thinking about back then.  Mostly, what you’d expect or perhaps, mostly what I’d expect to see.   Lots of teen angst.  Anguish about things that are nebulous and undefined – not unlike what you see here on a daily basis.  Cartoons, some of them sort of a cross between an inept, frilly Kate Beaton, only with huge knowledge gaps and no interest in anything outside of my own two eyeballs.

And of course, of course, the diet notes.   What was I eating a decade ago?  What was I doing but struggling along in much the same way.   Every time the question gets asked, by my mother, by myself, by some casual passing source like SparkPeople.  They want to know what makes it different this time.

This time I have my aptly, oddly named therapist.   I mean, the help she’s given me has saved me from a shadow lately and knowing I can talk about the things I sometimes do so inexplicably, and figure out why I and re-frame some of my bullshit instead of just struggling to diet and exercise and face temptation and recrimination and the resetting of the cycle will be great.   Having her help me deal with the self-esteem that I seem to perhaps have absolutely none of (maybe? that’s not right…but sometimes.) will probably circumvent me stopping all of this great effort for something as penny-ante and blase as a pizza.

This time I also have the trip to Salida pushing me forward.  As well as some other rewards I’m starting to come up with now that I’m in the groove enough that it sounds appealing.  I really want to go.  Traveling makes me feel alive.   It makes things fresh and good.  And being with my aunt and mom makes me feel special and stronger internally.   It’s a power boost and given how this cutting carbs and a better mood and a shift in hormones has made me feel like the Energizer Bunny, a power boost might be just what I need to go to the end with this.

More tomorrow, along with my spastic, uninformative review of Les Miserables.