Stream of Unconscious

Often I wake in the middle of the night with thoughts and visions that must be written. A lot of it may seem like mere rambling, but I am a born writer; I need to see what happens to my words once they stare back at me from the pages of my computer screen. Since I am ususally more than half-asleep when this happens, I jokingly entitled the original document: "Stream of Unconscious." Now that I am finally starting to publish in a blog (as so many people have suggested I should do!), I thought the title remained appropriate.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

The Fine Art of Procrastination

Some people do not realize that procrastination is an art form. If you are one of those people (usually A types), go ahead and get back to whatever the heck you really need to be doing. I can guarantee you that all of this is just a waste of time. For those of you who welcome a good waste of time, please... read on! :)

I spent the entire day Saturday procrastinating. It was fantastic. I had not realized my procrastinistic maturity, however, until it was about 5:30, and not only had I not accomplished anything I had intended to, but I was simultaneously going to be late for hanging out with my friends. Awesome. I am more skilled than I had realized. It's bad when you can't even make yourself do things you want to do!

Wikipedia says this: "Procrastination is a type of behavior which is characterized by deferment of actions or tasks to a later time. Psychologists often cite procrastination as a mechanism for coping with the anxiety associated with starting or completing any task or decision."

Yeshh. I must agree. The anxiety associated with cleaning and rearranging my entire apartment before Thursday has proven itself to be one tough beast. It is now Sunday, and I am still hard at work, doing anything I can possibly do... except clean.

Here's what I did accomplish throughout the day:

Saturday morning, 9:00am: Called my mother.

10:30ish: Started to unload the dishwasher (I say "started," because the first item taken out happened to be a bowl, making me realize I was hungry).

10:32: Abandoned worthy task for a bowl of cereal. Left freshly used bowl with the other dishes in the sink, therefore creating more work for myself for later. *sigh*

11:ooish: Scooped the cat litter (no matter how much anxiety I have about anything, this is a neccessary course of action for obvious reasons).

11:15: Called my sister to hear about her trip to Disney.

12:30: Wandered into my bedroom and thought about hanging up my clothes. Noticed that the dimples in the rubber handle of my hammer had gunk in them. Got gunk out using a metal nail file (I was getting desperate by this point).

1:00ish: Called my other sister.

1:30: Repainted my toenails.

1:40: Sorted through some of my old makeup. Decided to try it out.

2:00ish: Looked up the word "procrastination" on Wikipedia and decided to blog about it... :)

2:30 - 5:30: While online, I remembered an old online cartoon that used to be one of my favorite forms of procrastination in college. Went to where I spent nearly 3 hours doing nothing but amuse myself by reading SBmails. Good stuff.

So you get the picture. Of course I accomplished many more meaningless tasks, such as showering, putting on clothing, and probably all kinds of other things that I've forgotten by now, but this is just a general overview. If only I could turn this talent of mine into some sort of career...

I would end up a rich, rich woman! :) And I could also introduce myself as an Artistic Procrastinator, which would just be awesome. I could have weekly workshops, where on-task, A type people could get help and learn how to spend an entire day doing absolutely nothing of value...

Now I've got my imaginative wheels turning. I think I'm going to go make myself a cup of coffee and get to another day of preventing myself from cleaning...

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Coffee Grounds and Cat Litter

Don't judge me. I have never claimed to have my life together. But I can honestly say that I am doing the best I can...

It all started on the way to work this morning. I was supposed to stop by the trash compactor and throw my trash out. Seems simple enough. One would think. But I forgot. I have been forgetting all kinds of things lately. I haven't quite reached the fearful "turning into my mother" stage, but I am coming dangerously close. Which reminds me... I think my electric bill is due on the 23rd... which was yesterday...

So anyway, I accidentally left my bag of trash in my car. All day. In the heat. So after a long and somewhat stressful day at work, I re-entered my vehicle to the overwhelming smell of stale coffee grounds... and cat litter. Let me just tell you, ladies and gentlemen, do not try this at home.

It is times like these that I wonder very seriously where my life is going.

Needless to say, I've been trying to set some realistic goals. And I do mean realistic. I am finally convincing myself to get my head out of the clouds and accept some things. Not to say that I'm selling out on my dreams. But by now I am certain that I will never have all of the things I want, so it is reasonable to take a good long look at what I am capable of achieving, and shoot for something attainable in the near future.

I decided just a few weeks ago that I want to get something published in the next year, and that's what I'm going to be putting my off-the-clock efforts into. What a scary, scary thought. And yet, it is something I have wanted for nearly two decades, and doesn't really depend on anyone but me; unlike most of my other dreams, which either require a rich husband or the winning of a large sum of money. :)

Watch out, world. I'm finally stepping outside the box...

Monday, June 16, 2008

A Life Lesson in the Little Things

"Are you kidding me??" I screamed aloud, having come back from a very short trip to the bathroom to discover one of my kittens having a boxing match with my keyboard. And, of course, the paragraphs I had just been working on were deleted, and a lot of gibberish had taken the place of my attempt at creativity. As a former English Major, I hold myself at fault for not having saved my work before leaving the computer unattended. But still...

It's amazing the things that come out of your mouth when you've had a typical Monday. I find myself yelling a lot these days. Things like: "What were you thinking?" and "Can't I just have ten minutes to myself when I get home??" and "Are you kidding me?" if cats are quite skilled in the art of comic mockery. There are times when I am convinced that they have nothing better to do than piss me off. Just for the heck of it.

So why, you ask, do I even have cats? That is a very good question. I think they're here to teach me something. I don't want to be one of those annoying Pollyanna-type people that tries to make a lesson out of everything. But in this case, I really think it's legit.

See, the thing is, I wasn't ready for cats. I know that by now. I've been wanting a cat for a long time, now that I'm out making it on my own, but I hadn't purchased one yet because I didn't feel like I was quite ready. But the problem is, I have this soft spot in my heart for the abandoned, and they were about to lose their home... I guess I took them in as a kind of foster care service, to try to find them a good place to live. But of course I got attached, because I always get attached. And now I have no idea what I'm doing. Which just means I come home to whatever new mess they've made and get angry at creatures that have no idea why I'm upset. And that's not a good situation for anyone.

Just a few weeks ago, a guy I sit next to at work told me this very thing; that I wasn't ready for cats, and I got very upset with him. Did he really think I'm so incompetent a human being that I can't care for a couple of kittens until I find homes for them? I was quite insulted. But now I'm starting to see the wisdom behind his words. I don't think he meant to be offensive. It's just that I've had a rough couple of years, and things are finally starting to get better, and I really think this season of my life is about learning to take care of me. I wonder if having kittens is going to prevent that at all?

My problem is I put my whole heart into everything I do. It's a blessing and a curse, all wrapped up in one package. I stress out at work if I think I haven't paid a claim correctly. I want to get it right and do my job to the best of my ability. I want to be there for all my friends, right when they need me. I've found it difficult to be creative lately, because I just want things to be perfect. And Lord help me when I get into a relationship, because I give it everything I've got, whether or not it's worthy of everything I've got. I guess if I can't do something wholeheartedly, I find it hard to want to do it at all. And it's exhausting, let me tell you!

It's funny... because what I just said makes me sound a little perfectionistic. And I wouldn't really consider myself to be a perfectionist. If you look around at my messy apartment, or know anything about my messy life, you would think the same. But when it comes to matters of the heart, it's all or nothing for me.

If nothing else, I'm learning a lot from my crazy cats. I guess it's hard to have too much regret in life if you choose to learn from your mistakes and disappointments. I haven't decided yet if taking them in was really a mistake, or if this just means I need to let them go and admit that I'm just not ready to be taking care of anyone but me right now, or if I need to make room in my life for them and choose to give them what they need whether or not it's what I need...

I suppose there are very few people who would put this much thought into the decision. :) But I've committed to discovering the secret of living a full life, and this is just another attempt at it... even though it's just taking care of a couple of cats, I want to do this well. And if I can't do it, I want to find someone who can.

Just for the record, they're both acting crazy right now, running around my tiny apartment like maniacs, attacking each other, my couch, or my feet, whatever they happen upon first. In a minute or two, they will be attempting to climb onto my keyboard and my lap, purring deeply and ready to settle down for the night, simply wanting the affection I am anxious to give. It's these times when I think giving them up will be impossible. But time will tell. I want to learn all I can while they're here with me. Maybe they're supposed to help me appreciate the silence when they're gone...

I thought I would be up for hours tonight, because I drank an iced coffee just a little while ago, but a nice warm bed is starting to sound pretty awesome right about now. So I think I'm going to say goodnight for now... I'll write again soon.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

A Dragon's Job

Donald Miller says that having a Dad is like owning a dragon. To take something so great and powerful and strong, and to know that it is truly yours, that it is there to protect and defend you... who wouldn't want that? It would be amazing.

I never got a chance to own a dragon. But I always wanted one.

Then there are all the fairy tales, that paint a picture of the horrible, cruel dragon guarding the princess in some lofty tower while she awaits her brave knight to come rescue her. I know girls who still operate under this type of system with their fathers. She's "under his authority" until her husband decides to show up, and then they pass her off like some antique heirloom. Nice.

I'm hoping there is a third category out there. My knight must have gotten lost somewhere along the way. My dragon never cared enough to guard me from anything. In fact, if anything, he took it upon himself to cause me a lot of grief and heartache that I am still attempting to mend. The sad thing is, these days it is far from uncommon. My struggle to survive simply confirms the statistics.

I am, at least, grateful for our ability to adapt. I am trying, anyway.

So it is Father's Day. And this holiday is weird for me. It cuts much deeper than, say, Valentine's Day. And I guess that's because I can see somewhere in my future having some semblance of a Valentine. But I will never, ever get to have a Dad.

Perhaps I am not being fair, though. I have had a few father/daughter relationships with men who took me into their families simply because they cared that much about my broken heart. I called one of my "adopted Dads" yesterday, in fact, because he has been more of a father to me than mine ever was. And there is still another that I need to call...

But I'm thinking of calling my biological dad, too. I know. I must be crazy. I have no expectations. He could do or say anything. Honestly, I could say anything as well. I've got a lot of pent up anger I've never taken out on anyone. Lord help him if he sets off that minefield!

But I've got one of those scenarios playing out in my head where, in the movies at least, there is distance between the father/daughter, and then one day before she knows it he's dead and she's standing there at his grave wondering why she never picked up a phone and called him. If my father died, would I regret never having said something to him? This question has been bugging me lately.

The problem is, my life was not scripted by Hallmark, and the things I will probably end up saying are not the lovey-dovey, just-in-case-you-die sorts of things. But what I will say, I do not know. I could really freak him out by telling him he was supposed to be a dragon, and didn't fulfill a dragon's job in my life! :)

But life is just like that, because there was a garden and there was a forbidden fruit, and there was a decision, a fall, and a sinful world followed. We all have our set of obstacles to overcome, decisions to make, and battles to fight. This one happens to be mine. I never had a protector as a child, and I will probably have a hard time letting a man assume that role in my future. I want it, for sure, but I don't know if I'll let it happen. I'm pretty awkward when it comes to dating. I hope the next guy is pretty brave...

I guess I'll post an update if I get up the courage to call him. Say a prayer for me, if you're the praying type. And Happy Father's Day, to all you who choose to use your power for good...

Saturday, June 14, 2008

A Day in the Life

Another slow Saturday morning, and now I've come to the part of the day where I have to figure out what I'm doing for the rest of the day. No one has called with any invitations yet. Sometimes I find that situation depressing, but right now I am glad to have time to get my thoughts in order, before greeting any other humans.

Oh yeah, I have cats now. And internet. In fact, there will probably be much greater consistency in my writing from this day forward. So that's a good thing. My cats are crazy though. Much more so than I ever thought possible. I'm not entirely convinced that I am ready to be taking care of anyone but myself right now. So whether or not I'm keeping them is still up for debate. I change my mind every day...

So much has happened lately, and I'm certain not all of it gets to be written out for the world to see. Just take my word for it that I have grown up a lot since I last wrote. I learned some very difficult and valuable life lessons recently. God allowed some stuff to happen, because I was being stubborn, and then I paid for it, because we have to live out the consequences of our decisions, and now I'm on the road to recovery. And that's that. I'm glad it's over and done. And maybe next time, I will be a little more cautious about jumping into something with my whole heart like that.

But really, that's the only way I know to live. I don't know if I was designed that way or not. But it's the way I am, and I haven't figured out how to prevent it from happening yet. Maybe I really am supposed to throw my whole heart at something, but I just haven't found the proper context for it. I've always felt like I would be great for an orphanage or a ministry that needed truly committed people. I tend to invest everything I've got into relationships that are headed nowhere, and that's not what God wanted to do with me, I'm sure. But I've yet to figure out what God wants, so I continue to be a little bit lost.

I guess this post is about nothing in particular. I don't feel very inspired at the moment, to say anything of utmost importance. It's just another Day in the Life of Jo. I guess we all need some days to just chill.

I think I'm going to do some shopping and errands, and just try to take this day as it comes.