don’t throw that out!

lunchtime message

When I open my packsack to get out my lunch goodies, a battered, blue post-it falls out. I read it for the fiftieth time, smile, and tuck it back into a pocket where I know I’ll find it tomorrow.

It’s only two words, a simple directive from my husband who makes my lunch for me every weekday morning. “Eat sauerkraut!” is all it says. It’s a reminder from two weeks ago, when we’d both forgotten to buy any during our weekly grocery trip. Since I work at a health food store, it’s pretty easy for me to pick up extra supplies anytime. So why won’t I throw the worn paper away, especially since it’s already done its job?

It’s become a talisman. It’s in my husband’s handwriting, which I rarely see these days, and it’s specifically for me!

He and I both have our own computers, more like two or three each ctually. Since we live together and talk with each other a good deal, there’s mostly no need for written communication. But occasionally, when we want to share a website or a piece of writing or some purchase confirmation, we’ll e-mail each other. Otherwise, we operate pretty much by spoken word.

When I’m far away and his post-it appears, it startles me with its vividness. When I recognize his characteristic ‘R’ and merry exclamation mark, instantly I hear his chuckling voice and feel his concern whether I have enough of the right stuff to eat. I’m connected to the moment he wrote it, when we were discussing my lunching options, and I find myself looking forward to returning home.

I adore technology, the internet and all the brave new things it brings. At work, I’m the first one to suggest using a computer to create reports, signage and social media communications. So I find myself a little embarrassed by my treasuring of this scrap of ancient technology. His handwritten message, only for me, seems a rare, precious proof of a moment of love.

attack of the killer inner critic

It’s absolutely amazing how foul a mood I can get into when I’m about to put myself “out there”.

Last night, I decided I need to take a picture of myself, a “selfie”, to use as avatar for a particular service I was interested in. I’ve avoided putting pictures of myself online for a few years now, something to do with privacy but more to do with lack of self-esteem. It hasn’t really mattered before, but the more I read about developing a successful brand online, the more important it appears to be to let people know what one looks like.

So I made the decision late last night. On the way to bed, I crashed into a chair that has been in the same room in the same place for about ten years. I really bruised my toe, but thought I had just been hurrying too much, and that once more, the clutter issue was making itself felt. I went to sleep still smarting and grumpy but not really getting it.

This morning, I found myself kicking things viciously out of the way, clattering dishes while I tried to make my tea, spilling water, dropping lemons and positively hurling spoons. I felt so venomous towards the world I could hardly bear it. By the time I escaped the kitchen, with, amazingly, no broken crockery, I sat myself and my sore toe down before the computer and wondered what on earth had triggered such an intense bad mood.

And I remembered my project of the selfie. Rage and despair loomed up, black and impenetrable. How dare I think that the world would be interested in me or in what I have to offer? How could I possibly believe there was a need for what I can do? Don’t I realize that no one cares? Worse, how much longer is it going to take me to learn that I have absolutely no right to express myself when my elders and betters could not? How dare I think there was room in the world for me? How dare I think things could be different for me? On top of being ugly and untalented, unneeded and unwanted, I think I could try something positive and public anyway? I should be ashamed of myself, and finally, I recognize my poisonous inner critic demanding I crawl back instantly into mute subservience.

Phew.

As my toe still throbs I begin to come back to myself. I can feel the house return from quivering anticipation back to its normal quiet comfort.

I sip my tea in relief that I’ve figured out why I’ve been so angry. I’ve triggered some old dramas, old dynamics that stand in the way of my creative expression. Unveiling them is good, yes. Hooray for revealing the truth.

But I wonder what will happen if and when I try to actually take a photograph.

#inner critic #selfie #creative block #bad mood

drowning in stuff

I’ve been working hard at learning to use Joe the iPad and at making an absolutely huge shift in my diet, based in large part on “Cure Tooth Decay”.

So what happens? The house seems to run amok.

Without my consent, Clutter has invaded and taken over. We are stepping over books on the floor, homeless boxes of bulk-purchased dry goods and the odd dead plant. Every flat surface is covered with beading or knitting projects, ailing computers, project plans and unread flyers. Chairs hold extra shawls, tissue boxes, scissors, nail files and notebooks. The weed whacker stands in a corner beside the extra fan and the mittens basket is open to reveal what we’re going to be needing soon. And let’s not even peek into the kitchen!

For some reason, it seems easier for us to sidle past in narrowing corridors, and shift things from one chair to another, rather than just find homes for these articles and put them away. It might have something to do with the weather, which is unseasonably cool and rainy and feels like the dead of November. The furnace is on already, I’ve a zillion projects in my mind I’d like to attempt, and it’s much more appealing to break out another ball of wool for a new set of mittens rather than figure out where to put the old ones.

It’s a nesting instinct gone horribly astray.

In the joyful accumulation of things to make life comfortable, Nick and I are squeezing ourselves in and around things and really, when it comes down to it, not actually noticing how much we are contorting ourselves. The only time I really thought about housecleaning was after I’d spent four hours trying to get Joe the iPad to play nicely with EBSCO audiobooks – they didn’t – and frustrated, I walked into the kitchen and had a meltdown about not being able to find a clean spoon. Well. Nick and I discussed my downloading issue, resolved to contact tech support and try a workaround, and we left the kitchen happier. I was re-energized and motivated to try another gambit with Joe, and Nick went to watch a cricket game.

And the house quietly continues to absorb stuff, and surreptitiously makes plans to take over the world.

#clutter #homeless projects #nesting #autumn

painful but worth it!

Such an adventure I’m having. A brand new i-Pad has arrived into my life and turned me from a fairly mild-mannered normal person into a screaming shrew, an ecstatic believer, a shell-shocked survivor, an uber-excited toddler, a terrified mute, an ecstatic believer again, a frenzied downloader, an exhausted invalid, and finally, a mild-mannered normal person once more.

I hope.

The thing is, I wanted this so badly and for so long that I really didn’t understand the impact actually attaining my goal would have. When Nick and I finally decided our finances could absorb the shock and actually placed the order, I went into a state of nervous anticipation that on many levels seemed totally unjustified. For someone who had worked as an associate director on the 6 o’clock evening news, dealing with the high-adrenaline, tension-filled TV control room daily, placing an order for a piece of technology is very small beer. You order, it arrives, you pay, you take it home. Very straight-forward.

Unless, as a kid, you were trained to find out the things you were passionate about were either forbidden, broken, substituted or ultimately taken away. Then the whole process becomes a re-enactment of your worst fears.

From placing the original order on-line, for an i-Pad mini, when I really wanted the full-sized i-Pad, to exchanging it for an in-store one so I could have it sooner, upgrading to an i-Pad Air with cellular functionality,to finally downgrading to an iPad 4 with retina display, this new purchase has had me going back and forth to the store, fretting about costs and features, worrying about return processes and making too many uncomfortable appearances at the Customer Service desk. Before this, I’ve returned maybe one item in my life, and felt badly about it. Now I was a basket case.

On some level, I could see I was creating a lot of the confusion myself. Instead of taking the time to do the research first, I practically ran to the store to get my hands on an i-Pad in case some person somewhere would come up with a reason why I couldn’t have it. And throughout the week, I was on tenterhooks thinking some reason somewhere would force me to return it.

Well, my final choice has been with me more than 24 hours, and it’s beginning to feel like he (of course it’s a male…it’s much easier for me to get along with males, just ask the pets I have had!), and I are settling down into a comfortable relationship. I was actually able to leave him alone for an hour or so to do some beading.

As I learn to fold him into my life so he can step off the ‘god’ pedestal and become the tool I need to help me achieve my creative ends, I find myself amazed at how powerfully I revisited my past. The physical nausea, the tears, the manic good spirits, the fear…it was all real. In a day or two, when I truly feel back to normal, I’ll probably try to write my way into understanding and dealing with this emotional baggage, in the hopes that my next technology purchase will be a much less exhausting process.

In the meantime, there’s another neat app to download!

#major purchase #hopes and fears #i-Pad forever!