Get off my lawn

I have a bad habit of seeking validation for my point of view.

I used to be offputtingly defensive, which I have come to understand was a necessary way of protecting myself from harmful and erosive influences. It allowed me to uphold boundaries, albeit it in an overly rigid, dysfunctional way. I used to keep a clear space around me at all times and if someone intruded on the lawn I’d shoot them down without thinking twice. Stay. The fuck. Away.

One day, I guess out of exhaustion or loneliness, I decided to lock up the weapons. When people turned up on the lawn, I just let them stay there. If they asked to come in, I’d reply “if you want”. And so people started indiscriminately trampling all over my space, according to their own desires rather than mine. They stole stuff, they flytipped, they made a fucking terrible mess in the bathroom. And the whole time I was thinking just don’t shoot them, just don’t shoot them, at least I haven’t shot them. Although I’ll admit I pulled out the sawed-off shotgun on a few occasions.

Eventually, when it seemed I had nothing left to lose, I shooed everyone out and started the clean-up. And then I went through the whole cycle a few more times because I still hadn’t learned what boundaries are meant to be.

I have built a lot of skills, and fences, and gates, over the past decade. But I still have much more to do.

Right now, I am noticing a problem when people come onto my lawn, or even just within earshot, and start shouting that I’m wrong, or that something similar to something I have said is wrong. My initial response, without any further qualification, is “oh shit, am I? “and I worry about it until I have the time to go away and reearch the same things that I already researched to come up with my original opinion. Because, yes, I did research it already.

The process of recovery has begun, with a few good stern talkings to when I’ve caught myself doing this inappropriately over the past few weeks, but, damn, do I look forward to a day when living isn’t quite such unnecessary emotional labour for me.

My slothful soul

I fell asleep yesterday evening right after putting my son to bed. I retreated to my room not long after seven, intending to unwind with YouTube for half an hour, and then it was 22:07 and I was groggily weighing up the pros and cons of dragging the laptop over and pushing out some words.

Cons won. I went back to sleep and woke up at about four-thirty with a trapped nerve in my neck as punishment.

It’s the first time in nearly three months that I’ve wilfully failed to post daily. Once, or maybe twice, I genuinely forgot, and a couple of times I technically posted after midnight, but this was different. This was ON PURPOSE. I must repent before the Devil of Lethargy claims my slothful soul!

Or maybe, whispers the Devil of Lethargy, posting once every couple of days works out better for you anyway…

Danger ahead

I’m going to have to be careful, because I’m getting too many ideas. Whenever this happens, I risk disappearing into a soup of half-started projects, entangled in competing priorities and counter-productive overexcitement. I risk making bad decisions. I risk losing what I’ve already built.

And when I read that back, it sounds pretty serious. It sounds like some pretty maladaptive impulsivity. Yeah. I’m going to have to be careful. But, Once Upon A Time, it wasn’t just a risk, it was a guarantee. So I guess that’s something.

Time to level up?

What am I doing?

If I wanted to be a blogger, there are a whole lot of other ways I could be going about it that would be better than this. But I don’t, especially. I want to be a writer.

And I think I only mean that in the most basic of senses. Just that I am a person who writes. Ideally, a person who writes well.

I have always, when allowed to exist unfettered, been a writer. But the bleakest times of my life coincide with the most pages left blank, because I let myself be easily stifled. Part of this endeavour has been to consciously resist my tendency to fall silent in appeasement.

When I started this originally, while pregnant, my aim was just to write something every day. I failed fairly quickly. This time around, my aim was to write something worth writing every day. I confess I’ve actually missed one day, and a few of my posts were maybe scraping the barrel, but, even if I have failed, I’ve failed less.

The thing that is irking me now is this: I’m not trying to get people to look at this. And so not many people are looking at this. And so, I may be writing something worth writing, but am I writing something worth reading?

To find that out, I need more feedback. And that’s going to require me to do work that isn’t just writing. And I don’t fucking want to. But that’s where we are. And that’s my choice if I want to level up. And that’s very inconvenient for me.

So what’s it gonna be?

Ideas lying dormant

I have all kinds of good ideas for things I could do to progress my life, improve myself, and create what I desire. It should be noted that they come from the extensive amount of time I spend studying and exploring such topics, rather than some innate wellspring of inspiration, but that’s beside the point.

I act on maybe a handful from every pile. Because most of them require more courage than I care to exert. They would require me to step far enough outside of expectations that I’d feel very exposed. And often I just don’t feel like I have the energy to process that additional discomfort. Because, from experience, it takes a lot of bandwidth. So I watch myself, in real-time, making sub-par but safe decisions. And I have a conversation with myself about how I should choose the braver option, and yes I know I should, but I’m not going to, no, I’m not going to, and that’s going to mean I still don’t step more fully into who I should be, and I know that, but I’m still not going to do it, I’m afraid not, but one day I’m going to have to do it, yes, and I could just choose to do it today, I could, but I won’t, no, oh well, oh well.

Virtuous qualities cannot be installed overnight. And courage is probably the weightiest of all virtues. I get that this is a long term investment. But I do wonder how much use it is observing this disparity. I know growth often comes in fits and spurts – long periods battling immoveable objects that suddenly dematerialise – and I guess that’s what I’m hoping for, and in some sense putting my trust in. There’s usually a key to unlocking such a miracle, though. So am I hunting hard enough?