Saturday, May 26, 2007


I've entered a new phase lately -- complete obsession. I've done this before. It's not really good for me. I have about three things on my mind, and they just won't leave me alone. They're all big, serious, important things in my life which means that they're trivial issues as far as the larger picture goes. My weight and diet, my job and relationships: The first two ultimately mean very little, yet like the last issue, they define the quality of my life. This is dangerous, tricksy territory. They hold as much sway over my mind now as the Ring of Power did over Gollum.

I don't like it. I want the rest of my life back. I don't want my life defined by one or two issues. I'm sick of the selfishness involved in this type of obsession. I hate thinking about myself all the time. After all, just how boring can one person get? In my worst temperament, I don't think I'm all that interesting when the full array of me is engaged, much less one or two issues. I'm tired of other things being neglected because I can't discipline my mind to go where it ought to go. At the same time, part of me is whispering that this is just preparing me for action. I'm sick of the preparation, but I do want to understand these things.

There is part of me that loves mystery and knowing that I only have a partial understanding. There is both a thrill and a calm that comes with sheer acceptance of what's happening without having every detail pinned into a logical place. It can keep the mind open to possibilities. It can keep the spirit humble, flexible and able to grow. It can also lead to a passivity that can be dangerous. It can trap you into not taking command of your life. There's a wonderful balance to be struck in realizing that one has very little control in life, but that the control one has makes a huge difference in how one enjoys life. That's the balance point I'm trying to find, and the little issues are cluttering up the landscape, obscuring the fulcrum point.

With my job, I've got the issues of financial security and planning, using my talents to find some sort of personal fulfillment, issues of loyalty to people and place and how far loyalty can go before it's twisted into negative rather than a positive quality. I don't know if I should just find a different job with less stress, more security and far fewer mental challenges which can be both good and bad so I can focus my real energies on writing or take the more practical route of seeking higher income and better benefits in a job which will more comprehensively engage my mental abilities. Should I move away from an area where professional employment isn't all that easy to find and uproot the lives of several people, not just myself? Am I letting loving, well intentioned people who are control freaks have too much power in my thought process?

And relationships! That's even tougher. The marriage is stuck, neither moving forward in healing or towards dissolution, and that's wearing me out. I've been forced to look at myself in the coldest, harshest light. It would be easy to say this is all his fault, but that's neither honest nor fair. I love being a mother, but raising an intelligent, quick thinking, teenager who's just as stubborn and verbal as I am isn't easy. I know that this is also a time of being stuck for me. This is a phase that will only pass when it's ready. Looking at the primary relationships in my life has forced me to look at others and how I relate to people in general. I'm good to the people in my life, but a lot of the time, that hasn't been so good for me. It's a challenge to look at a situation like that and decide what to keep and what to discard. It's another issue of balance, keeping the qualities that make me a good, loving and kind person and discarding the ones that set me up to get used, put down or taken for granted.

Because I am taking real action on weight, this issue is the one that's eating up most of my disk space. I get so hung up on the little details, what I'm going to eat and when and where. I want to make sure I enjoy it and that it's still healthy, nutritious food. I get obsessed with the numbers -- pounds, inches, points. The practical demands of changing my lifestyle is nearly a full time job in the hours of planning and actual work involved. I don't want to be that hung up on my body. It's only one aspect of my life, yet it's consuming so much energy, and the changes are thrilling. Spending this much time doing actual work has also opened up the gates to some self recognition I'm afraid to touch. Food, sex, sensuality, love and approval are are tied up in one big knot at the core of my identity. In one form or another, these issues are touching every other area of my life. I'm afraid to unravel it and afraid not to.

I want to empty my mind and have it as a calm as the surface of a lake at sunset. A ripple here. A splash where a fish leaps for a mosquito there. I want to stand in that clear water and just be. Instead my head feels as in need of cleaning as my home. There's clutter everywhere, and I don't where to stop or start.


Blogger Gannet Girl said...

The Cleopatra thing was a lot easier.

May 26, 2007 12:44 PM  
Blogger more cows than people said...

Instead my head feels as in need of cleaning as my home. There's clutter everywhere, and I don't know where to stop or start,

speak it sister... i hear you. i know of what you speak. i know this obsessive tendency. i know the cluttered mind/house. i know... Amen. and bless you.

May 26, 2007 1:25 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

So you just throw out you discards on the blog? If that was a first draft, remember me when you are a multi-millionare author.

As to one point of the post:

"It can also lead to a passivity that can be dangerous. It can trap you into not taking command of your life."

I've spent my life dealing with that danger. It is much too easy to go with the flow. To seek satisfaction in external stimulus. To not change. To, when the thought comes that what I am is not the best I can be, to mentally block the thought, and move to something more pleasant.

Thanks for the post.

May 26, 2007 4:29 PM  
Anonymous laura said...

Geez, girl... you're one of the reasons I blog and then drink! Or is it the other way around?? ::genuinely confuzzled:: You really pull out all the stops - puzzle something out, and make it look simple when in reality I know you're working hard at what you do. Like Dave says... where are your first drafts?

I don't know what the answer to your questions are. I remember this time in my parents' life... they held things together for the sake of me and my brother... and it was an unmitigated disaster with the one bright spot that they didn't pull me out of my high school. THAT much made sense - I stayed in the one place that made sense to me, even when everything else was falling apart. Ask C what *she* needs, and go from there, maybe? She's just adult enough inside that lithe little body to tell you what she's ready to face.

In the meantime, keep up the good work - you are doing what needs doing, even if it feels as though you are spinning your wheels. From here I can see you coming out of that chrysalis, and your wings are just starting to unfold. It's a slow, sticky process and it'll take some time for those wings to spread and come into their own. I do know one thing, though: I can't wait to see you fly free.


May 26, 2007 10:00 PM  
Blogger emmapeelDallas said...

Just do keep writing...I know what you mean about being stuck, and on several levels...oh, I have been there and will be there again, I'm sure...but this is a great essay on the directions in which we're pulled when so stuck. You're a terrific writer.


May 29, 2007 11:50 PM  

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