Scarlett thinking…

When my Mother says:  “Okay, Scarlett”  I know that she is giving up yet another valiant attempt at convincing me to take care of something that needs to be done in a timely manner.  Usually, it is something like taxes or car tags.  Things I call “administrative” and am notoriously guilty of not doing at all, much less with any consistency.  To me, administrative means it will require one or all of the following:  paperwork, payment, phone call with multiple transfers and menus, snail mail, and/or stamps.  Hence, my bills are not usually paid on time, even though I might have money in the bank.  Yes, I am aware of scheduled payments and automatic drafts.  These are amazing tools!  For me, they’re like power tools:  very cool, for everyone else.  I do not know how to make them work for me, yet.  (Although, learning how to use power tools is in the top 5 on my bucket list!)

So, yes, I exhibit what I have come to know as Scarlett thinking…

When my Mother calls me Scarlett, it means I have succeeded in procrastinating for another day.  Or, as my mind processes it, I have successfully escaped torture for another day.  Sometimes, I worry about the state of my brain because I am not able to engage in whatever task is necessary to complete these seemingly innocuous tasks.  By the time I quote the familiar refrain that “I will think about it tomorrow”, my brain has been long gone.  It is truly surreal, an out-of-body experience.

After being diagnosed with ADHD, I read everything I could find.  It was a huge relief to discover that the primary impact was the Executive Function area of the brain.  The part of the brain that performs the administrative tasks.  These simple and important tasks that 90% of the population can perform without much thought are often overwhelming for those of us without the Executive Functioning tools necessary.  Imagine that 90% of the population has the proper tools and instruction needed to change flat tires.  Now, imagine that the other 10% had the instructions on how to change the tires, but not the tools.  Stretch a little further to imagine that even though there is not an equal distribution of tools, the expectation is that 100% of the population will complete the task with similar results.

All of this leads back to Scarlett thinking… I get overwhelmed and resistant, consequently shutting down my brain.  I will commit, again, to at least thinking about it tomorrow.

Cancel Goals!

It has occurred to me that since I am having such a difficult time meeting my goals this summer, maybe I need to step back and try a different approach?  Like, stop setting hard and fast goals.  For some reason, I’m just not willing to apply myself and do the work.  It’s crazy because it is to my detriment if they are not done by summers end.  Maybe due to the lack of an immediate deadline?  I’m so used to being under the gun to hurry and finish an assignment that the idea of having “all summer” seems like a really long time. Ironically, this is one thing I commented on throughout the year as “having learned my lesson” and know to start early on projects! This kind of thinking does not work for me. Although, I am usually not able to identify it until it’s too late.  Does this mean there is still time for me to successfully complete THIS set of goals??  Maybe the fact that I’m writing about it NOW when I still have time to complete them without negative consequences, means I have actually grown in this area?!

Okay.  Maybe I should wait and see if any action follows this epiphany?  It took me three tries to pass algebra in college because I kept trying to cram everything in the night before the test.  In retrospect, I was probably aware that I “should” be working on my assignments, but kept thinking I would catch up on them tomorrow.  (Scarlett O’Hara!) I seem to be incapable of planning step-by-step for the long term. I definitely live in the “just for now” state of mind.  Inevitably, I am surprised when the deadline nears and I have not done a damn thing.

Why? How am I still doing this at 51 years old?  I feel like knowing what is behind this way of thinking might help me figure out a solution.  ADHD?  Addiction? And, my all time favorite:  “Am I just lazy and not wanting to do the work?” I do not want to even consider this option since it would not justify it in my favor.  Who would?  Now I have to consider it, of course.  Grrrr…

So, the things I am supposed to be doing:

  1.  looking for a job
  2.  research for a professor
  3.  teaching myself accounting principles
  4.  the gym

(common denominator = nothing with immediate gratification or of interest)

Things I’ve actually been doing:

  1.  coloring in adult coloring books with titles like:  “the art of not giving a fuck”
  2.  listening to prepper fiction, political power books, and biographies
  3.  lots of stepwork with sponsees
  4.  home organizing (started but did not finish…looks awful)
  5.  cooking regularly

(common denominator = rewarded with immediate gratification and all are of interest)

Well, based on the common denominator outcomes, I know this is my addiction, working away, even after all of these years…  I am not doing the work because I do not LIKE the work that needs to be done.  It is not fun.  It is not instant payoff (read dopamine)!

This disease of addiction is fatal and fascinating.  It is so bizarre how intricately insidious it works itself through the mind.

Thank you, God, for providing the answer in this brief post.  I have the tools to help myself now that I am aware of what is behind the problem.  Help me put them into motion.

Amen

9 years clean

So, today is my clean date.  It’s been 9 years since I came back into NA after a 6-month hiatus for “more research” on whether I am really an addict.  After almost 9 years, I decided that I would rather pursue my church life instead of always trying to balance church and NA commitments, friends, etc…  I was so fortunate to have only lost my sanity.  Not my home, job, friends, family, and dignity, like the first time.  That’s not to say that the loss of my sanity did not eventually lead to loss of job, home, and friends.  All of these things changed over the course of the 6 – 12 months following my relapse and it took me several years and a lot of stepwork to realize that it was a direct result of my actions and attitude, again.  As usual.  Lol!

Today is kind of a big deal.  I do not regret my relapse.  In fact, the depth of my recovery this second time around has been so much more…substantial.  I am more.  More forgiving.  Compassionate.  Most significantly, I’ve lightened up on myself.  I am not afraid.  Not afraid to make mistakes.  Not afraid to try something new.  Not afraid to see another part of me that I might have avoided before.  I see myself living another 30+ years!  I was in my early 40’s before realizing that I might just make it to the 50-year mark after all.

I attribute all of this growth to the program of Narcotics Anonymous.  Never alone, never again.  I have come to know a power greater than myself.  I have learned how to love unconditionally, even though I did not give birth to the recipients.  😉  I know that the world will keep on spinning exactly how it is supposed to even if I think it should do it a different way.  I’m not a big deal.  I’m as good as I can be, most days.  I’m a good parent.  I have the same human faults that others have, and more, but I also have extra good characteristics that some other parents do not have because they have not walked the same path.

Today, a friend in recovery that uses me as a secondary sponsor asked me why I do not judge and am so open to hearing her tell the truth about she REALLY feels when struggling with the prescription meds.  A couple of weeks ago, a former sponsee that moved away called to tell me that she was so proud to be sharing the most important part of what she learned when we were working on her steps:  how not to beat up on herself!  I KNOW that I did not teach these things or do anything special.  It was absolutely my higher power speaking through me.  The only thing I will take credit for in both cases is the fact that I seek humility and open-mindedness so that I CAN be there as a go-between.  I am so grateful for all of those that have come before me and paved the way to a freedom that is greater than anything I could have ever imagined!

(no preview on this one or I’ll spend the next hour re-writing!)

 

Stream of consciousness.

Ideally, I will be able to jump on here and write as if nobody will ever read my thoughts.  I will still go back and correct the errors (I always think of “the diary of Anne Frank” and how she never expected anyone to find her diary!).  I will strive not to strive for perfection!  Lol!  I will do my best to remember that this whole exercise in blogging on a regular basis is an attempt to find out if it works the same as journaling on a daily basis.  Does it help me sort and organize my thoughts resulting in serenity, clarity, and compassion towards myself and others?  The thing about journaling regularly is that I tend to always journal when I’m angry and do not write much at all when I’m simply grateful.  Fortunately, I’m not angry very often these days.  There it is!  I did not realize that until it was in front of me.  This is a good sign that the blog will work as well as a journal.  Wonderful!  Now, if I can just not get lost.

Directionally challenged.

It has been months since I last posted.  This was supposed to be my new journal that I would post on regularly.  Unfortunately, I could not find my way back after the last post.  I’m pretty sure that I inadvertently unchecked a box on the Gravatar profile page.  I still don’t know how it’s all connected, but the most important thing is that I finally made it back!  I have an underlying fear that I might be tossed out, again, and not be able to find my way back without multiple phone calls and emails to the help desk.  Fearful because there is no help desk!

I was finishing up my first year of grad school, which was a success, and each time I would open the site and click on “Write” up in the corner, only to be told that I did not have a blog site, yet, asking if I would like to create one.  I just did not have time to follow rabbits.  I’ve been out for 2 weeks now, though, and have been chasing rabbits ever since!  Now that I have found my way back, I’ve been wondering if I should make this a private site.  I’ve not told anyone about it, and am fairly certain that no one is going to look for me, either.  I’m really not a big deal.  It’s just that I’m going through some mind fucking about my relationship.  I will have to resolve that part of my life in the not too distant future.  I don’t want to, but I know from experience that it’s going to have to be done.  I intend to work out the details right here.  If, by some weird chance, you happen to be reading this, feel free to offer your feedback.

Missing lamination.

I once heard a speaker tell a story about why some of us are so super sensitive to life.  I’ll paraphrase for you:

When our Higher Power is mass producing us in the human-making factory, the final step on the production line is to add the laminate.  Although each person comes complete with the physical body, a soul, a brain, emotions, and feelings, a special laminate is applied as a final measure of protection for durability.  This laminate is also known as perception.  It works the same way as laminating a refinished coffee table.  If it is applied to the newly refinished wood, it will keep the table from scaring or staining as easily as it would if left without lamination.  Unfortunately and unbeknownst to the Maker, there is a glitch in the factory line.  It seems that the lamination process only works on 9 out of 10 humans.   Approximately every 10th person is released without lamination.  The missing lamination is, therefore, the missing perception that some folks are lacking.  This explains why there is a small part of our population who perceive danger and conspiracy lurking behind every door, around every corner.  

Yes, yes… I realize it seems a bit fantastical.  However, to hear it as a storybook tale is much easier on the soul than to go on believing that maybe it’s just me.  Am I just defective?  Yes, in a sense, we are defective, but only mildly so, if we take care not to let it get the best of our minds.

All of this was brought about by a single phone call to the credit card company to find out why I was unable to use my card even though I had paid the payments and owed nothing.  I was trying to tell my sad tale to the guy on the other end and he kept talking, getting increasingly louder as I kept talking, getting increasingly louder.  This was after I had been on hold awhile, twice because the first rep disconnected me after only a few minutes of discussion.  My underlying anxiety was increasing by the minute as I thought:  they could cut me off, again, and there’s not a damn thing I could do.  EPIPHANY!  There it is:  a lack of control over a given situation.  See, it wasn’t a conspiracy after all.  I was not disconnected on purpose just because the rep did not like what I was telling her…the 2nd guy was probably not talking louder to drown me out, well, okay, he was, but probably because I may have interrupted him first.  Anyway!  Point:  it’s about my perception of the situation, not the situation.  Every single fucking time.  It always comes back to me.

Nearing the end…

Just a few more weeks and I will be about 9 hours shy of my Masters.  Unfortunately, I have contracted a severe case of the “fuckits” over the last 10 days.  I’m just exhausted.  Every assignment feels like a conspiracy.  Lol.  Which, I guess goes back to “I’m just exhausted”.  I’m looking forward to Spring Break in a couple of weeks, of course, but feel like I need to take a break before then to somehow rejuvenate.  One of my sponsees suggested that I practice some of that “self-care” I’m always recommending {simultaneous sigh + eye roll while resisting the urge to say “I know, I know”}.

An interesting new connection on LinkedIn was the highlight of my week.  I had to do a presentation on the Internet of Things for class and in my research, I came across the guy that originally coined the concept and the term back in 1985.  His name is Peter T. Lewis.  I found him on LinkedIn and extended an invitation to connect which he immediately accepted and event sent a nice note.  Among other things, he said that I have a “strategic education mix”… hmph.  So, there ya go.  I like how he put that and told him so.  It’s nice to meet nice people who do not mind just talking.  Like, sans the business-speak.  Kind of rare on LinkedIn. 😉

I’ve also started another “prepper” book series.  This is about the 5th one since the elections.  I’ve seen about 3 hours TOTAL of the news since 11:00p.m., November 8, 2016.  Probably 8 hours of Facebook.  Instead, I’ve built my audible collection and recently attained “Masters Level” listener status.  I think I can even get a badge or something – maybe I will now that I have my own site to post it. The series I’m listening to now is about an event that takes place in 2020.  Ironically, my IoT presentation opened with “there will be 50 billion devices connected to the Internet by 2020”.  I wonder if…  I’ll think about that later.

Goals:  Hamm radio license, finish grad school, overcome fuckits, buy guns to start up old hobby.

I used to love shooting.  My stepfather was an ex-Marine and we shot targets and cleaned guns and learned to ride horses as kids.  He was an amazing Dad.  When I moved to San Francisco, I left them behind, then, never got around to replacing later.  It’s past that time.

One thing about grad school that has really paid off:  I was looking for something that would keep me focused and grounded (read=distracted) when my daughter went off to college.  It worked!

Night all…