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Saturday, May 9, 2015

Prompts and Misunderstanding

So you all know by now that I also blog on the Wordpress platform. Part of the Wordpress experience is the education and writing support that comes with the whole "expand your horizons" philosophy. I follow the lady over at the Daily Post and was cruising through some of the ideas for some help engaging my brain this morning. I am a little distracted and thought it would help. Nothing really jumped out at me until I ran into this prompt. I don't know if it is because I am listening to Spotify and found the Police section of my Teen Beats playlist. Or because the coffee hasn't kicked in. I am also currently being distracted by my personal Dark Hunter­™ (thank you for the term, Sherilynn Kenyon)... but I digress.

When I read the prompt, my first thought was "OMG who would let blogging take over their life?" and then I read the article. Blogging complicates things when you over share or share without permission. I thought it was talking about obsessions. And maybe that is Annimotion's fault since I was listening to that song before Sting showed up in the queue. In either case, I did get to thinking about my own interpretation of the prompt. So far, running only on a couple of cylinders, here's what I came up with.

Gnothi Seuerton Is Overrated
"Know thyself", he said. Know your self and set your course, they said. Ok. So I know myself. I know what the Kersey-Briggs model (which I will love and defend forever) says about me. I know what Numerology says about me right down to why I LOVE LOVE LOVE onions and garlic. I know what Astrology says about me and why sometimes it doesn't make any sense (the 13th sign). I know how God built me. I know what all of my tics and quirks are; where they come from, how they help, how far that help goes and where that help turns into a hindrance. I know. I know. I am the most introspective person that I know.

I am an Observer and Problem solver first. I make a lot of observations. Sometimes those observations make some straight lines from Prologue to Epilogue with few points and sometimes there are a lot of points to explore. Other times those observations wend through a mountain forest full of twisting logic, murky grey truths and faint glimmers of logic with steep drop offs into an abyss of illogic before coming out into the daylight of reality and plausibility, One of the biggest problems that I have in my interpersonal relationships is that I don't always have anywhere to go with the observational processes or conclusions.

My brain learns a lot and wants to preserve it. That is part of why I am here. To learn for me and them disseminate the information. I can hold many of these thesis in my head for a short time. But if I hold it too long it turns to mush and makes my whole body sick. It has to go somewhere. And where it goes when it can not go into art is into writing. Why?

I am a Communicator second. Art was my first medium because the language is intuitive. Writing takes longer to learn. I can chose either medium to suit my situation. Pen and paper are never far from me for convenience's sake. Art supplies come out when I have time and space to work. I have to take what happens in my head and put it somewhere either in words or pictures. When I learn something, experience something that I need to remember I need to write it down. It is a method of learning something. Not just so you can regurgitate it for a test though, that isn't real learning. That is making your production quotas (shame on the American school system). Observe. Write it down. Teach it to someone else and you have ingrained your new found knowledge deeply enough to make it part of you. I have to write.

Sometimes it is silly stuff for humor. But I have to write to keep information. When I was a kid I filled notebooks with random bits, derailed trains of thought tucked into the short stories and research papers I did for school. In the Summer I went through as many single subject notebooks as I did during the school year. There is a lot to see in the world. There are a lot of emotions to process in the internal landscape. When the Trivial pursuit game exploded on the Family Fun Night scene I started to write dedicated notebooks to my own trivia questions. Some of it I still remember even though the notebooks are long gone. I don't want to lose information because it is so easily corrupted in the mind and digitally. A hard copy, properly fact checked, is the only way to truly preserve information. repetitive study keeps it accessible.

Writing puts it somewhere that I do not have to carry every minute of every day. It is preserved without being an active and open window in my Grey Matter OS. A lot of people do not understand that. I've yet to date someone who can appreciate this. Even protecting their anonymity with code names (which, given the average boy's desire to be James Bond, should be kinda flattering) riles them. When they assume a post is about them (when it isn't) there is no end to the nagging and the crying foul. When the post is about them or an experience that I would never have had without them and they are not in the pics, named only as the generic "We", they still get all weird. This foraging trip created so much havoc because I posted about it... But I had too. First to remember where this patch is. Second to remember what I should look for. And third to be able to cherish this memory with out it tacking up active brain space.

But that isn't the only reason I write. I write to be able to communicate with myself. I need some way to sort the protective me voice, the ego me voice, the victim me voice, the healer me voice and get them all wrangled onto the same platform and function properly. I can not get anything done in the external world when they are clamoring to be pacified or appeased. It takes time. But if you don't want an absolute nutter to deal with if you are dating me, working with me, living with me or at a family reunion with me, you should let me have my writing space.

Thirdly, I am a teacher. Active or passive, one of the reasons for writing is sharing what I learn or the creative expression of observing life. And when I share these things here it is so that you guys who visit can see that the random shit is normal. EVERYONE has strange and bizarre thoughts, cock-eyed internal dialogue and fantasies about being someone/thing other than themselves. It is not normal to not wrest control of your life from the internal chaos. Not a lot of people take control or responsibility for the thoughts in their head. So it seems normal to just willy-nilly live an indiscriminate life. But there are consequences for everyone when that happens. Communication brings order to chaos.

So I know myself. I know myself really well. And in knowing myself this well there is less and less room for everyone else in the inner most inner sanctum. Do you know how hard it is for people to deal with me on a deeper level? On a daily basis? I just don't have the tolerance for a shallow existence. But I also haven't the heart to keep doing this alone. So in knowing myself, I have come to a standstill in the center of a pretzel knot of choice. And I could be sitting here a long time.

The blog has complicated things in that I am sitting here at a cross roads with too many options but absolutely nothing tugging at me in one direction or another. I can not sit in the center while life and everything swirls around me. But there is no place else to be and no one who can sit here in the calm center of the maelstrom of life without giving in to the need to DO something. ANYthing.

Programmed Guilt
When you are furiously scribbling across pages and pages of notebook paper during the school year no one really bothers you. When you do it during the Summer break people start to notice. Then worry. Then they get mad because you are "wasting time". I am not sure why this is so. I know there were a lot of Summer chores that had to get done. But they got done. When it was just dad and I rushed through chores, made our process efficient so I could get the stuff in my head out. It always made my dad mad. But I wasn't going to make money doing those chores. We never had a plan for making the garden a business. I could make money as a writing and needed to keep writing to get better. It was a long shot. But the odds on writing paying off were still better than the garden.  I could make money at art but that was a long shot to my family so keeping at that was kind of insulting that I kept at the art. And it was insulting to keep at the writing. The whole family seemed to always want me to stop because it would never pay off. I needed to learn how to work hard, to appreciate sweat.

And every time I sat down to write I had to deal with the guilt of knowing I was doing something that upset people. Every word slapped someone in the face. Every page felt like a betrayal. And every writing session was a battle. One the one hand I had to be successful in school and get good grades to appease one parent. So that meant practice. And on the other hand, it is important to be able to work hard. And that had to happen to appease the other parent. The guilt came in knowing that one or both would be disappointed. I always felt guilty because I was writing while I was trying to figure out if they were in fact correct...a.  that I would never make a living doing either. And b. that improving either skill was a colossal waste of time and resource because those skills would not translate into the job market that they figured I would enter.

What usually happened while I wrote is that the subtext of this running debate would eventually bubble up to the surface and interrupt the writing process. And I would feel so horrible about the dialog that I would quit mid-project. You can not write well when there are such battles raging in your head. I never learned then how to overcome and focus. So I would quit. And each unfinished project was another bullet point in their arguments that I should quit wasting time.

How can you when it is part of you? I resisted the pen for a few weeks after every failure. But the things in my head that needed out before I burst demanded freedom. So I wrote again. I learned to be sneaky and got caught "wasting time" less often. But I never could finish my big projects because the guilt crept in and ran all their arguments as a constant soundtrack. That is how I got to be such a music junkie. I was always trying to find the right music to drown their voices so I could finish. It takes time to write. I takes away from chore lists and interpersonal time to be sure. As it should. As does your work schedule. When work takes away from family and friends there are hard feelings. Add to that your "time wasting" and the hard feelings turn into a kind of butt hurt that guilt likes to attach too. "Look what your choices are doing to someone else.", it demands. And everything in your head is paralyzed while your social responsibility button ignites the people pleaser in you and then you're off living for someone else again. Writing is just another way to complicate your life by giving guilt a foot hold.

I blog now. Blogs are cool. Blogs are also a more compact platform for self expression, story telling, sharing information. Blogging also has an ability to generate income if you invest time learning the tricks of search engine magic. So blogging looks like a way to get around the accusation of time wasting so that you can fulfill your primary social directives. Writing is a directive. It is the fulfilling outlet for the primary impetus of being a learner and communicator. Writing is what I do because it is what I was made to do in addition to making art. The blog post is a small platform, as I said, cranking out a post and discharging excessive mental energy, closing all the open tabs that slow down your processing capacity to get through the job, social interaction and demands of house hold chores should leave you time for all the other things. It shouldn't require more of your time away from others than writing a novel. Novel writing requires periods of hermit like existence.

At least that is what I thought when I started. The blogging life gets complicated when you are around people who don't understand. A blog post can be short. But I can crank out a lot of posts when I'm on fire. It can take a lot of time. And that is just the writing. Blog maintenance for the coding impaired can be a serious time drain. I find a lot of things fascinating. I crack myself up a lot. I care about and am interested in a good many things no one else in my immediate surroundings care about. So I write. And it is getting complicated again. The people who don't understand why I write don't read my writing. So it is an auto-accuse thing. I am wasting time, again. I am taking myself away from people who want my attention when they want my attention for however long they want it.

Blogging complicates social obligations because I do not have strong enough boundaries to reply with the need to have my own time to myself. To heal. To change gears. To remain the person that they want me to be. I need to have a lot of time to process because there is so much that I am processing. I have taken to writing while we are all in the living room with the TV on. Lately I've been getting "Are you blogging again?" as my keys clickety-clack through the onscreen drama or gore fest. It sounds antagonistic. It sounds like I need to beat back the voices in my head, echoes of things my parents and siblings and boyfriends have said.

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