Tuesday, September 4, 2012

It's All About Me: Life on a Tightrope

Look, here's the thing:

I've been working on this painting for the last few weeks. It's an experiment of sorts, because I don't often allow myself to paint with such abandon. I'm trying to loosen up, to let things happen more organically without being such a control freak about it. And that's what led me to the following musings...

This has been the most unproductive long weekend for me ever. I hope you can hear the bile in my throat when I use that word: unproductive. For some reason whenever I know I'll have an extra day off work I generally assume I'll use that time to Get Stuff Done and working on my Plans For World Domination (though those Law and Order marathons beg to differ).

So when instead of painting, frustratedly navigating the Internets and writing I spent the weekend sleeping til noon (gag), spending time with my family, playing disc golf and shopping for Buddy Holly's birthday, my uber-critical Virgo looks back at those days in disgust as if I've slept through midterms. Or something else college students care about -- glow in the dark party? What do I know, I'm a lowly dropout (<--see! I told you to watch out for her!)

This something The Mother and I argue about constantly. She, in all her psychic-wisdomness, can't stand when I complain about being unproductive. It goes something like this:

ME: "Oh Mai Gawd, I'm such a lazyass. I woke up at noon (gag) again and now I'll never get anything done. What a waste of a Labor Day.

TM: "Mol, it's Labor Day. You're not supposed to get anything "done." Stop berating yourself and just enjoy being restful. And do the dishes.

Can't you just hear the irritation in those italics? And they continue, in various colors and combinations in similarly various situations, such as:

- when the Scarlet River is flowing and I spend the week exhausted, furious that I haven't ran in five days;

- when I'm nearing an entry deadline and still pissed that in between taking images and writing applications I haven't painted ALL WEEK;

- during the holidays, when -- DUH -- my regular routine is disrupted and I blame my lack of productivity on uber-laziness.

And the list goes on.

My therapist and I had a similar discussion last week. While intermittently filling her in on the week's happenings since moving back home (oh yeah, That. More on That later) and despairing over What Am I Doing With My Life OhMyGawd, she paused to note my delusion:

ME: "I feel like I never get anything done. My life is going nowhere. There's too much to do and not enough time and if anyone else asks me if gluten free is safe for their cat at work I'm afraid I might bitchslap them. (I would actually never say "bitchslap" to her. She's too nice and I would feel too young and immature (<--obvi)).

HER: "Hold on. You're telling me that since you've moved home, you've started two new paintings and a blog, transitioned into a totally new space and not taken a single day off work?

ME: "Yeah sure. I guess."

Now some might say I need to get over the Drama Queen syndrome or maybe I have Distortion Disorder -- I prefer to blame my parents. But it would be all the same mechanical soft of delusions; the Real Truth is that most of the time I'm just way too hard on myself.

Because sometimes it feels like I'm carrying all my baggage across a tightrope. Between maintaining my relationships, working full-time, writing and keeping a (somewhat) diligent studio schedule, there's no way I could make it across without having everything balanced perfectly. But on occasion -- like this weekend -- the only way to get across is to drop it all for a few steps, and hope you can pick it back up on the next pass.

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