How I Yearn to Be Distracted

I made a resolution to write daily and shop less.

So far, shopping less and not buying unnecessary things has been easier. Christmas was just 17 days ago.  So I have more than enough everything and can’t afford to splurge on luxuries right now anyway.  I still browse slickdeals.com, which is a bad sign.  Buying stuff that was a good deal was a big part of 2017’s too much shopping.  And it’s amazing how much a toddler step stool seems like a need if you have nothing else to buy.

But, certainly I do feel a shift away from shopping.  It’s focusing on writing from my often painful interior world that is hardest.  I’d much rather: SHOP, eat, read articles, watch TV, play videogames… really anything else.  After a bad break up 4 years ago, I was miserable and needed to fix my life. So instead of that, I read the entire Harry Potter series almost obsessively.  My therapist viewed it as self care. I viewed it as distraction and avoidance.

Maybe it could be argued that Harry Potter is a very satisfying, fulfilling fiction to read.  I do love those books, even the Order of the Phoenix.

But I definitely see a pattern in my life of picking easy, mundane tasks over big, multi-step projects.  Daily effort towards a goal despite setbacks that come as part of life could be named grit.  I have no grit.

I’d rather do a simple task I don’t think is important than work on developing a meaningful career.  Or learn a language. Or make art.  Or learn and practice a new skill.  I have an ukelele I never plan on learning how to play.  I’d rather do a one-off like mail a friend a package, bake cookies, research something I will never do, go on an errand, than embark on a journey that depends on showing up each day.

Maybe I am afraid of not feeling like doing the work over and over.  Or not making noticable progress even if I do try again and again.  Maybe I won’t make a decision or commit to anything.  Maybe I have a failure mindset and anxiety about failing makes trying impossible.  Maybe I really don’t want to be successful, ambitious, or happy.  Whatever it is, I have no grit.

And I would much rather shop for some item I could live without than write about not being disciplined enough to write everyday.

New Year’s Resolutions 2018

I’ve already failed on my New Year’s Resolutions the first day.  I shopped online and I didn’t journal or write.

Before waking up at 4pm on the 1st day of a new year, I was up all night.  And at the time I was still optimistic about two new goals.

I read about a year of not shopping here and I found it compelling.  I gained weight three years ago and so I know I have enough clothes for any size I might weigh (except more 😲 ).  I could still buy kids’ birthday gifts and do Christmas in 12 months.  Books, children’s clothes, food, household items would all be allowed.  But clothes, toys, shoes, make-up, accessories, furniture and all other sorts of luxuries would be banned for a year.  I could make an exception for tennis shoes if mine fall apart and I kno I need a toddler’s step stool. But I really don’t forsee needing to buy so much of the other stuff I do want to buy.  Although I have bought decorations and paper products for Jake’s past birthday parties, this year balloons and cake would be fine, but the themed plates, napkins, and hanging decorations would not.  

I hope I will see noticeable savings.  It would be exciting in 12 months if I might have a list of items I truly want for Christmas (like tennis shoes).

Honestly, I spent a lot of money last year, even for me, thus I think I have excess of everything.  I shopped a lot.  Probably like the author of the article, I too wanted a distraction from the pessimism I feel so regularly.

Writing is a longterm practice I want to make a daily habit.  Sort of, because I actually feel ambivalence about writing daily since it means I will have to slow down and peek into my current state of being.  I am afraid to deal with my negative feelings.

Which is why I bought myself a pair of leggings and played videogames for almost 12 hours straight.  Shopping and distracting media keep uncomfortable emotions on the peripheral of my consciousness.

So, post one, a day late.  I feel sick and guilty, and don’t want to commit to resolutions I found too hard to keep for even 24 hours.

But I suppose that’s why daily practice matters.  You have to try every day first until you develop  a habit.

Comment

I read the last comment on my blog. Then I  read the post. Then I copied paragraphs of the post and searched them online. My post was the first result. 

Crap. 

I wrote it. It’s tone is so unlike my own.

Well, it’s unlike my own now.  It’s from my days before mood stabilizers and anti-depressants. 

Did I write it for E, who less than a year  later would break up with me?  But we weren’t even officially a couple. Did I write it for the Korean boy that broke my heart, married some other woman, and I have never seen since? More likely.

But perhaps not. The other love letters were to myself. My unloved self, aching for affection.  As through the mouth of the dramatic, romantic lover I wanted and as of yet have never found.

And it is powerfully intense. The writing of one not yet under the stupor of the artificial deadening produced by drugs.  Bipolar is the clinic diagnosis.

The drugs have lessen the roller-coaster, but never prevented it’s descent.  Depression still comes. Joy does not.  And obviously creativity has died. I didn’t even recognize the piece as my own.

My fear in 2006 was that psychiatric treatment would change me. I resisted for 6 years until a suicidal depression that stole my waking hours, extra pounds, and all possibility of happiness.  Then I crawled towards anything that could save me, including therapy and medicine.

Now 5 years later, the evidence is in. I have been changed so thoroughly I can’t recognize myself.  It’s a bit troubling as I have traded that intensity and creativity for periods of low energy, neutrality, and mediocrity.  Only lapses in the reoccurring suicidal depression that causes tears and confines me to bed.  So, I have lost heights to prevent valleys that yet I still travel.  I quit writing.  Maybe I have made a horrible mistake.

Goodnight, Ben

Once there was a very silly boy named Ben. He wore sweaters on hot sunny days, exercised at the wrong times, and took naps right before bedtime.
Clearly Ben is a very silly boy. But he looked very dashing in his sweater and did everything else at the right time except for exercise and naps. But for the latter, Ben took a warm bath, drank a cup of chamomile tea, and listened to a bedtime story. Afterwards he fell quite deep into sleep and stayed well asleep all during the night.
Good night, Ben.

Witty Remarks

Sometimes I say or think something and think, “Wow, that is quite funny.  You should write that down or blog it.” 

And then I don’t do it right at that moment and I forget.

Until I think, “Wow, that is quite funny; you should …”

Cycle repeats infinitely.