Showdown II: The ugly nitty gritty

This is a moment when I could get stuck.  I have just walked in the house after seeing my morning student and there are messes everywhere.  There are many things I need to do, and most of them do not have to do with the messes.  To be honest, I’m starting to feel a bit panicky.  How can I help myself?  For now, I’m going to ignore the list and go with my gut.  I can not feel good and be productive with visual clutter everywhere.  Let me start by allowing myself 40 minutes to just focus on clearing clutter.  Okay, go.

That wasn’t even 40 minutes of clean up, but now I am not feeling panicky.  Surfaces look much better now.  They’re not screaming at me.  I can do some things that need to be done.  Walking in the house and seeing (and hearing) the disorder was enough to cripple me.  It was important to blow off my list and follow my instinct of impulsivity.  Today is a day I can see that I will wrestle with getting things done.  What is happening?  Thinking back to my rules, let me check my list.

The list has been checked.  There is not too much on it, but the problem is my head.  Those items I formerly would have written on the list even though I can’t get to them are now swimming around in my head, unkindly bumping in to my skull.  Deep breath.  Do the next thing I need to do and focus only on that until it’s done.  Listen to music while I do it to distract the swimmers.  Okay, go.

I did the thing I was dreading most, (NOT THAT IT WAS A BIG DEAL.  Why do I make small tasks much bigger than they are in my mind?) which was smart because now it’s done and I can enjoy that fact for the remainder of the day.  Now it’s time for lunch.

Lunch was easy.  Then it was time for some of those “life” tasks, the ones that “interfere” with the list.  Now here I am with a half hour before I need to leave to see a student.  Time for the creative task.  If it doesn’t happen now, Mrs. Roboto wins.

I am still in the lead.  I just played the piano.  Can I keep it together for the rest of the day?

It is now almost 9:00 p.m., and if keeping it together means continuing to be responsible, I kept it together.  There has been a lack of joy inside of me, but some days are like that.  What I have done, by doing what I must, is the right thing.  In spite of how I was tempted to shirk, I did not.  That doesn’t make me feel less powerful or worse about myself.  That means I feel slightly more powerful and positive about the fact that I have used grit.

Having re-read this, I forgot about how I had allowed the unwritten to-dos to bother me.  Apparently, writing that down helped me to refocus.  See how deliberate it can be to follow through?  The effort has exhausted me.  It doesn’t feel like an effort toward enjoying my life, but it is.  It was I who stepped in (against you-know-who) to allow myself to clean up the messes.  That was actually a kindness to myself, even though it might have appeared to be obsessive.

Reading this might be dull and tiring, but it is an accurate reflection of what this day has felt like.  I am allowing myself the lack of joy because my mom is in the hospital.  She is okay for now, but I can’t blow off my sadness about the bigger picture of her declining health.

I was still able to engage in my life, even with my sadness.  As I acknowledge my sadness, it seems to be shrinking a little, lightening me up slightly.  Deep breath.

It has been a successful day, and laughing a few more times would make it more so.  It’s not too late.  Off to seek the company of my humorous husband before I get stuck here and self-critically delete this vivid peek in to my very human brain.



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