I’m doing it all wrong.

whatever pen

I don’t know where this sticker came from, but it stuck itself to this pen in my purse, and just yes.

I have been trying to make vacation plans to visit New England next month.  I am not a planner by nature.  My retirement situation will be anyone’s guess.  I think my plan was that Armageddon would take care of it, but here I am at 46 and if the world as we know it doesn’t end in the next 20 years, then I’m going to have to snag the nearest wealthy elderly bachelor.  *fingers crossed*

Anyway.  Vacation.  That is one thing I miss about my ex-husband.  He would ask me where I wanted to go on vacation, would completely disregard what I said and make plans for elsewhere, but at some point we would end up in another state or country and I didn’t have to do anything but pack.  It was magic.  I miss vacations that are arranged by someone else (and also way more posh), although I’m getting fairly good at organizing smallish trips and it’s kind of satisfying.

So. New England.  The week before Thanksgiving.  People tell me that it will be too late for the leaves and it’ll possibly be snowing and be a kind of a dreary no man’s land as far as scenery.  Not the point of this trip.  I’m going up to see family and friends and have the Significant Other experience an area he’s never seen before and the flights and hotels are affordable.  That is, so far, unless my S.O. dawdles around past this coming Tuesday, when they could shoot up about $600 each.  He is even less of a planner than I am as far as fun stuff, but I bet his 401K looks pretty good.  And to add to the little puzzle in progress, I invited my mom (indecisive) and sister (non-committal) to join us.  In their defense, I said something like “I need to know by around tomorrow”, but I could have given them months and gotten the same reaction.  Current status:  Mom would like to go and is asking her employer, S.O. is on board (good, because he’s paying for most of it), sister is unable.  This trip is a castle built on sand.  Fortunately, I learned as a child not to count my chickens before they hatch.  It was a real bummer of a learning experience, but it comes in handy as an adult.

Funny not funny
I read a post by my favorite blogger today; mimismartypants.com.  She is smart and funny and observant and all the things and can put it together perfectly.  I often have to Google terms, events, products, books, artists, etc, that she writes about because she is so much cooler than I.  (Of course I want to say “cooler than me”, but that’s not proper English and so I can’t leave it like that.  Sigh.  I can hear my teacher/mentor telling me to pretend-finish the sentence in my head like “she is so much cooler than I (am cool)”.)

Back to Mimi.  She referenced someone in her latest post who I am now obsessed with.  If my coworker would leave me alone so I could concentrate, I would write this blog entry and stalk Ruby to my heart’s content all day today.

So I referenced before, maybe in my first post, that I take some mild anti-depressants to take the edge off and allow me to not want to die every day.  So helpful!  I love how much I love my flat-lined emotions.  I am unflappable, I tell you.  I spent my childhood either raging or crying or rage-crying and now this is quite the respite and I revel in it.   So-and-so died?  That is a bummer!**

Years ago, I worked with a woman who could have used some meds but didn’t want to lose the highs with the lows.  I get that, but I also feel that the decisions I’ve made while on highs weren’t that good for me, either.  I still get moderately down sometimes and I still laugh a lot, so I’m good at this level.

My point, finally, sort of, is that creative people seem to have some angst and they use that to create.  I have never been creative, but I want to be, and now my angst is waning and so I don’t even have that little step-stool toward creativity.  This Ruby person obviously struggles and is hilarious.  She is also from England, so I find her comments extra hilarious. My dad has that, but he doesn’t put it on paper.  (The angst, not the being from England.) He should, but he hasn’t so far.  When I was struggling, I didn’t have the capacity to make it funny or the talent to draw or write about it.  Kudos to those that do that for the rest of us.  Maybe if I dig down deep, I can come up with some old memories to use when I learn to sketch.

But what about me
I’m trying to study up on boundaries.  I don’t really have any and never have.  If you ask me a personal question, I will answer it.  If you do something I don’t like, I won’t tell you about it.  I’m discussing this with my therapist, but I figure if something is not a big deal, it’s not worth making a thing of it.  Also related:  saying no.  I have been practicing this a bit more, but still have a long way to go.  It feels so selfish to put myself first.  The analogy of putting on my own oxygen mask before attempting to save others on the disabled plane helps somewhat.  I think of people (women in particular) who work full-time, are married (or not), have kids, take online classes, work out, cook, clean, take care of their elderly parents and still have time to volunteer.  I’m doing only a fraction of those things and so why should I say no if someone needs something of me?  My parents helped everyone when I was growing up and now they suggest I do too much for others and should say no.      Confused dog

No offense to my therapist, but she seems like a person who might draw boundaries before they even needed to be drawn.  Like, strike one, you’re out and I don’t mind being the baddie that calls you down.  That seems a little harsh and I don’t want to be totally unapproachable.  Or ‘nice to meet you, here’s how it’s going to be’.  Also not my style.

I should probably do some actual work, so here’s a quote to ponder from the app called We Croak:  “When it’s over I want to say: all my life I was a bride married to amazement.” – Mary Oliver


**This sentiment does not apply to family members or other select people close to me.  I can’t even imagine their passing.  Literally cannot think of it yet because that abyss is way too deep.  There is also a good handful of famous people that I would be sorry to see go.  The S.O. says it’s silly to mourn for famous people because we don’t know them personally, but I think we can value their ideas and talent and be sad when they die.  They are people that exist and then are gone.  That leaves a hole in the universe at least temporarily.

Creativity is not out of the question

creativity bulb

I’ve long lamented that I don’t have any creativity.  I also didn’t get a solid left brain set of skills, either – I’m kind of floating out there with no land in sight.  I cannot balance my checkbook the old-fashioned way, nor can I draw a puppy on your kid’s placemat at Applebee’s.  My sister is cool and can make things and decorate and wear vintage shoes and Jackie O sunglasses and twist her hair in a messy bun.  She can write poems and knit scarves and sew tote bags and cook the best pozole and hang a homemade curtain on a pipe with some brackets and make it look perfect for the room.  She seems to throw things together and it all works and looks great and is generally irritating for the rest of us.  I happen to know that she is modest and does not think her work is necessarily great and that she might try on seven outfits and then finally disgustedly settle on one and then confess that she didn’t wash her hair that day (which looks fabulous anyway; annoying) and maybe try and fail in making seven journals by hand that ended up flung out the door and strewn across the yard before she got the hang of it and proceeded to dazzle the world with her creative genius.  But that’s all behind the scenes.  We don’t witness the struggle, if there is one.

I listened to a podcast* this morning that talked about how successful creative people aren’t necessarily born with the skill.  Yay for the rest of us!  Things can very well be learned and developed even as an adult.  This was the good news.  The less-good news was that one usually has to pretty much hyper-focus on the activity to really become good at it.  This explains part of why I may not have cultivated any creativity.  Number one, I like to be good at something very quickly, if not sooner.  Number two, I am interested in SO MANY THINGS.  A person usually either develops their own interest in something and immerses themselves totally, or their parents choose an interest for them and make them practice and do the thing, and sometimes it sticks.  (Apparently Mozart’s dad really had a vision for his piano playing and made him practice several hours a day.)  So maybe if I can just focus on something more than the rest of all the things I want to learn to do, then I can become halfway decent at it.  I’m setting a low bar on purpose right now.

Also a bit of good news – a lot of what is made is a spin-off of what someone else has done already.  I had viewed this as lame.  I haven’t wanted to make anything unless nothing like it had ever been touched on in the history of the world.  I didn’t want to plagiarize someone else’s idea.  It appears that it’s ok to kind of do something similar to what’s out there already and just tweak it and make it your own.  I’ll think about it.

I have to also break myself of the rule-following/color-inside-the-lines thoughts I have.  I’m really one to follow directions – dance steps, recipes, how-to manuals…….. I’m into those.  What I need to do is try something that my brain feels is wild and crazy and know that it’s not “wrong”, but just “another way of doing it”.  And it’s ok to fail at it a few times.  Just try it.

*The podcast was on iTunes and I don’t see it listed on the website yet, but this is the link, and the title of the episode is “How to Unlock Your Creative Genius and the Fascinating Connection Between Health & Happiness”.  There were two topics, both interesting. Check out the link here.

“If only we could pull out our brain and use only our eyes.”  – Pablo Picasso