wordjunkies

from one junkie to another!

Reality vs Fantasy (part 3) May 4, 2012

Filed under: Life — Annie Maier @ 9:09 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

May 4, 2012, oh, and May 7th. 

Previously on wordjunkies: blah blah blah blah blah, blah blah blah blah. Blah. Blah and blah, blah blah. 

Critical

adjective

  1. expressing adverse or disapproving comments or judgments
  2. having the potential to become disastrous (!!!)
  3. having a decisive or crucial importance in the success or failure of something
  4. expressing or involving an analysis of the merits and faults of a work of literature, music or art (more on this later) (perhaps much later).

Stay with me, the definitions/connections should become clear.

While writing/blogging/communicating, do you ever just want to say screw it? You write and parse and ponder, trying to come up with the perfect word combination/s, only to realize that despite the care you’ve taken, you’re somehow still missing the point. That’s how I feel. I wrote a sequel to last week’s blog, or at least the first few paragraphs, but even as I worked I knew it just wasn’t gelling. My words were factual, but not, technically speaking, true. Because by then, I’d lost my way. Cosmically speaking, what does it matter that I was late for an appointment? What do black holes, red undies, and uptown traffic have to do with anything? At least anything truly important? Not a damn thing.

My point, several hundred empty (and now discarded) words later, seemed to be that after decades of being me, I’d come to a conclusion: OCD may be controllable and anxiety familiar and perhaps inherent to Rizz0-dom, but juggling two personalities (Reality vs Fantasy) had become unsustainable.

But now, that is, a few short days, many bottles of wine (red, white, sparkling) shared with my lovely sisters-in-law (sister-in-laws?), 16 family members (beneath one roof), a dozen trips to and from the ocean, a message from a friend that I had to read 12 times to understand (thanks Drew) later, my conclusion has shifted. This moment, with my head and heart snuggled in the comfy throes of an alcohol-induced universal awareness, it seems to me that only thing crazier than my current state of having two people reside in my head would be undertaking to banish either one of them. Pragmatic and stubbornly delusional, I need them both.

So, forget the full brain overhaul. What I should do instead is focus on uniting the disparate sides of my personality in a way that is acceptable to both me (them?) and those I come into contact with. I need to be on time, yes, but I also need to maintain whatever quirks identify me; I need to control the bursts of smart-assed sarcasm that act as my only defense against the outside world, but without losing my (PG County born and bred) edge; and I need to accept that functioning as a “normal” adult may not ever fall within the ven-diagram chaos of my comfort zone. I can get up early, check the mail, and return phone calls in a timely manner. I can lay out my clothes the night before, make sure the gas tank is full, and keep  spreadsheets on debits, credits and receipts. But I can’t do any of those things simply because that’s what “responsible” people do. I’ve never been interested in being responsible (just as I’ve never believed in hell or obligation).All I want is to be a decent human being. If setting my alarm aids that process, then I’m all for it. But if clinging to a conventional ideal of normalcy is the only way to be accept-ed/able… well, I’m just not up to that particular task.

Nonetheless, I do want to accomplish a dozen or so things over the next 90 years, and one or two of them most certainly will require collaboration with other human beings, some of whom may have only one person tucked beneath their skulls. Yet another task that I have, up until this point, found if not impossible then damn near so.

And this, patient reader, is my point:

Think of my head as a plastic paperweight, filled with decades old water and in need of a good shake. Unsure of how to go about such a thing on my own (remember, I’m trapped in the paperweight), I sent an email to friend and not so long ago Qi Gong instructor, Jackie Burleson. Jackie is a life coach specializing in EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique). (You can read about Jackie/EFT here: http://www.eccoaching.com/bio.shtml ) This wasn’t a particularly inspired decision, nor was it made overnight. As a serial vacillator I’ve often considered seeking out someone possibly cheaper than and/or less socially stigmatized than a psychiatrist to assist me in approaching such matters as getting dressed in the morning, making dinner, and/or leaving the house each day without simultaneously provoking a nervous breakdown. Fortunately, Jackie was amenable to the idea. Our first appointment is in a week. Before then, I have to complete a few simple tasks meant to address my most pressing issues. These are, as I determined during our initial phone consultation, releasing my book to the world, launching WordJunkies Press, and learning to “connect” to and with my fellow human beings. The first two are pretty clear cut. That last one may prove a bit more problematic.

Back to my initial point of (critical) contention: is any of this truly important? No. Not in the scheme of world peace, hunger, disease, and whether or not Demi is a drug addict or Madonna has had work. But I don’t live only in the greater world. I live in my head as well, and after all these years I’d like to escape, however momentarily. Because hitting a wall is no excuse for stopping.

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Reality -vs- Fantasy (=wall) April 29, 2012

Part 2; April 29, 2012

Previously on wordjunkies: Stubbornly rooted in the fantasy of an anxiety-free, socially well-adjusted existence, Annie Maier prepared for an appointment with a client. Dressed and ready to go, she climbs into her car only to see:

There in my lap, south of my naval, northeast of my thigh… a bright swirl of white and red. But wait! What was this curlicue of color doing in a place that should, according to all calculations, contain only black? As my perfect world doesn’t include someone to remind me to zip my fly, and so I often don’t, I hastily patted my nether regions, all the while assuring myself there was NO PROBLEM. A quick tug and I’d be all set. Except there wasn’t anything to tug. Jumping from the car, I bent double to get a better view… of my underwear.

Rent:

Noun

  • rip, tear, split, hole,slash, slit.
  • gorge, chasm,fault, rift, fissure, crevasse

Damn damn and damn. I sprinted back into the house and up the stairs to my closet. Like many women, I have several pairs of black pants. Unfortunately one was on my body with a gaping hole where there should be none, one was downstairs waiting to be ironed, and one was dirty. That left only one other pair, bought at Macy’s 15 years ago. I remember because I lived in Arizona at the time and I’ve forgotten nothing about that period in my life. (Unlike the years spent in Connecticut, details of which I’ve spent a fortune on drugs and therapy trying to forget.)

Balancing on the side of the tub to get a glimpse of myself in the mirror, I realized that age wasn’t the only problem facing my geriatric drawers. They were also gray, not black, and of an indeterminate material reminiscent of polyester. Vowing to start a new Goodwill bag, I ripped them from my body, praying for a miracle as I ran back to the closet. But no miracle awaited. Spinning about in a swirl of indecision—different pants meant a different shirt. what shirt? maybe the white one? what about a skirt? too cold. brown pants? okay but what shoes? sandals? no boots. then what about socks, are the good ones clean? undies? they’d have to go, can’t wear red with brown. earrings, oh no I’d have to change the black earrings and then the bracelet, that would have to go too. could I wear black jeans? I’ll call bill, he’ll know. didn’t the website say “business attire” only? Sydnor wouldn’t care, but everyone else might. what if they refuse to seat me? they might—my bubble finally, irrevocably burst. Ten days of anxiety and 40 odd years of dueling states of existence crashed around me in an audible burst. It was 11:55. I had exactly 35 minutes to get dressed and get uptown. Pulling the tacky gray pants back on, cursing the entire time, I ran back out to the car, this time grabbing only a towel to wipe my sweating forehead. It might be 60 outside, but inside my head it was about 107.

Needless to say, I was late. Made later by getting lost not once but three times. And by driving the wrong way in the parking garage, which understandably upset the attendant.

At 12:45, I panted my way up to the lobby, finally found Sydnor, made my apologies, and then set about the business of enjoying lunch.

All of this is to say, I hit a wall. Not suddenly, but in slow motion. I saw it coming toward me, like a barricade at the end of a crumbling, blacktopped street. Getting larger and more solid with each step I took, until there it was at my nose, and I was suddenly bleeding.

(to be continued)

 


 

Reality April 23, 2012


I live in a perfect world, where clocks never stop, traffic never snarls, and pants never, ever get holes in them. I wake up to a neat house each morning, eat my Kashi in a clean bowl, read the newspaper, complete sudoku without cheating, and let my kitty in and out only once. The washing machine never jams, the dryer never stops spinning and there is always hot water. My car starts every time I place the key in the ignition, my phone only rings when it’s convenient and no one comes to the door unexpected. Even if they did, that would be fine because my hair is always in order and I never smell funny, not even when I tumble, eyes half-shut and jammies still warm, from bed. Neighbors stop to say hello, but only when I have the time, and inclination, to talk. Clients arrive on schedule, as do I, and doctors see me within 10 minutes of my scheduled consultation, during which time I am not at all disgusted by climbing onto and off of the enormous, porcelain-white scale with numbers so large Mr. Magoo could read them from 15 feet.

Hang on, I think something just exploded in my head. Do you hear that ringing? And what’s that cloud of blue dust? Let me check my manual…

Yes, it’s just as I thought; I exceeded my brain’s capacity for delusion. That last bit about the scale must have put me over my daily limit. Way over. Because, as you may have guessed, I don’t actually live in a perfect world. I live in an average world. Things are not tidy and clear. They are sticky and snarly and surprising. I just act like I live in that other place. I do indeed wake up each morning. And I do eat my Kashi in a clean bowl with the newspaper spread before me. That, however, is where the resemblance ends. Because, there’s

Fantasy:
Noun

  1. the faculty or activity of imagining things, esp. things that are impossible or improbable
  2. the product of this faculty or activity
  3. a fanciful mental image, typically one on which a person dwells at length or repeatedly and which reflects their conscious or unconscious wishes (my personal favorite!)

and then there’s

Reality:

Noun

  1. the state or quality of having existence or substance
  2. a thing that is actually experienced or seen, esp. when this is grim or problematic (hahaha!)
  3. the world or the state of things as they actually exist, as opposed to an idealistic or notional idea of them

I’m a big fan of both words/worlds, as each has it’s own charm. Fantasy (mine, I obviously can’t speak for yours) is exciting, dangerous without being threatening, and, often, colorful. Reality (also mine), on the other hand, is solid, finite, and, often, reassuring. As number 2 above would suggest, however, reality has its downsides. I mean, existence is all well and good, but toss “grim and problematic” into the mix and it’s suddenly not so rosy. Maybe that’s why I tend to prefer Neil Gaimen to Stephen Hawking (though Hawking is way cool, too.)

Still, I’m not a total dreamer. I do surface from my subconscious (read: delusional place of cute puppies and a nest of chickadees in every tree) from time to time–mostly to see what’s for dinner, but occasionally to make an attempt at writing (living) from/in a state that remotely approaches nonfiction. This isn’t really a problem, as I’ve lived my entire life on this earth flopping between various states of being, not all of them as clear cut as fantasy and reality. The fun starts when I am not allowed to surface on my own but am instead jerked, hastily and unceremoniously, from that lovely, warm refuge where everything runs and goes and happens on schedule and with comforting regularity and then tossed into the slightly more foreboding, infinitely cooler pit of chaotic happenstance.

For instance, last Friday I had an appointment with my best client, a man with whom I’ve worked for the past six years on various projects. He is an angel. A LOM with about 8 hairs on his head and eyebrows that spring in 13 directions. He’s also amazingly well-spoken, Oxford educated, and professionally/politically/socially successful. All of which render me damn near speechless every time we get together. To say I need to be on my toes for our meetings is a vast and unfortunate understatement. Usually, I start stressing about a week in advance. Last week was no different. At least not until he left a message suggesting we meet uptown at the City Club. Two things: I hate driving uptown, and I’ve never stepped foot in any place that ended in “Club.” Stress doesn’t come close to describing what went  on in my head as I dialed his number and heard myself say, “Perfect! I’ll see you then.”

Friday morning came. I set my alarm for 8:30 for a 12:30 appointment. Pretending I wasn’t nervous about driving uptown and didn’t feel like throwing up at the idea of having to act ladylike and professional, I relished the crunch of my oaty ohs, read the paper from inky cover to inky cover, worked the puzzle without cheating, and called my daughter, all with due diligence. (I also let the cat in and out about a hundred times, but we won’t go there.) So steeped was I in the fantasy of not being anxious, I decided I had time to clean the not-so-neat kitchen, which led to scrubbing the also not-so-neat bathroom, and straightening my seasonally confused closet. Then, remembering I hadn’t printed directions to the Club, I sat down at my computer, checked facebook and email and only then googled places where people not me eat lunch. At 11:15, I noticed the time. 11:15! RUNNING up the steps, I jumped in the shower, scrubbed, shaved and rinsed all the important parts, jumped back out and dried my hair.

Now, this is the point where I often slip from my reverie. I can, on any given day, spend upwards of 15 minutes trying to decide which of my unsuitable garments to place upon my equally unsuitable frame. But Friday, the reverie held. My favorite gray sweater was clean, my red shell had just arrived from the hotel in Chicago (where I had inadvertently left it behind), and my black pants–the ones I hadn’t worn in about 5 months–still fit. I pulled my shoes on, poked earrings into my lobes and headed out the door, grabbing keys, purse, and directions in one swipe.

Climbing into the car, I checked the time. 11:45. Perfect. I had 45 minutes to get uptown, get lost, call my husband, get more directions, get found, and find Sydnor. Phew. I pushed the key into the ignition, took a few deep breaths to center myself, and reached for the seatbelt.

That’s when I saw it. There, in my lap, south of my naval, northeast of my thigh…

to be continued. 

 

 
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