A friend of mine posted this on Facebook today and I've been thinking about it a lot. Although some people may be actually doing new things and accomplishing things they've never had time for but have always wanted to do, that is certainly not the case for all of us. And to realize that no, this may not be the time to become the self-actualized person you've always wanted to be, achieving one's full potential including creative activities but that's all right.
Don't get me wrong. I'm definitely doing fine here. In some ways, I am feeling far less stress than I do in my "normal" life. I've talked about this a lot. For someone who has anxiety when faced with doing things outside the home from shopping to going to medical appointments, to meeting up with friends, being told NOT to do these things is just a huge relief. And I even rise up to that third level there with my relationships with my husband, my family, a few good friends, even if I can't hold and hug most of them and I sorely miss that.
But when it comes to accomplishing anything or doing creative activities, well- the thought of trying to do something that's more complex than getting supper on the table or making the bed or taking a walk is overwhelming. Even making the few masks I've made has required a lot of effort on my part. My brain isn't working like that.
Hell, I've been working on the same potholder for six weeks. Which is to say- I do a few stitches and then set it down. If pressed I could probably crochet a potholder in two hours. And yet- my balls of cotton wool, my scissors and my crochet hook sit on the couch waiting for me to come take them up and use them and I just don't have it in me.
Even reading can be difficult.
I started listening to a different audio book today which is not fiction or breezy memoir but basically history. "Guns, Germs, and Steel. The Fates of Human Societies" by Jared Diamond. It's heavily researched and filled with dates and facts and theories and all the things that require attention and some actual thinking. In other words- if I don't pay attention there's no use in even listening to it. It's not like listening to a crime novel about a nanny in a far-from-anywhere mansion in the wilds of Scotland and not ever really getting the names of the kids in her charge.
I'm not sure I'm up to this although I keep telling myself that this is exactly what I need to do right now to keep my brain from atrophying entirely.
But I tell you what- if I simply can't stick with it, I'm not going to beat myself up. I'm just going to let it go and move on to something that simply entertains and that will be all right.
And in other news, here's Jack sitting by an empty food bowl. He sits there by that empty food bowl for sometimes hours at a time when about ten feet away there's another bowl, a bigger bowl, filled to the brim with cat food.
Why does he do this?
Because awhile back I started feeding Maurice from a different bowl in a different location in order to try and cut down on the amount of squabbling and possessiveness and bloody fights about the food. That bowl. That location.
Which worked out for a few weeks and then Jack decided that he will no longer eat his own food but instead will stand by that bowl, beaming me with his mighty, silent cat powers to try and force me to give him his friskees in what he knows to be Maurice's bowl.
And I refuse and so does Mr. Moon and I have even possibly called Jack a jerk a few times and now he won't sleep with me.
I guarantee you that if I filled up that bowl for him he'd cuddle me all night long.
Oh well. I'm just going to let him be a jerk. He can damn well walk that ten feet across the floor and eat out of the blue bowl if he's so hungry. And if he doesn't want to sleep with me- his loss.
Okay. This is where the pandemic social isolation has led me. To a place where I am having trouble listening to books that actually contain INFORMATION and to having fierce imagined psychic quarrels with my pet cat.
It's been a day. The only thing I even halfway did of any use was to try and free my hydrangea from four different invasive plants. This is the mostly before picture.
Underneath the croscomia, Virginia creeper, and the chenille plant is a nice covering of liriope which, instead of roots seems to have a nylon net that could restrain the Hulk holding it into the dirt. The only way I've figured out to pull it is to start at an edge, dig with a trowel to try and loosen the net and then use your hands to get in there and your arms to pull like hell and if you're lucky, you might get a clump about the size of a teacup's diameter free. So I did that for awhile. It'll all grow back by next year so I don't even know why I'm doing this except that on weekends I don't walk which means I need to find another form of suffering.
So that's it, I guess.
I'm going to go make a supper and get through the rest of this day. It hasn't been a bad day but it certainly hasn't been a self-actualized one either.
Food, water, warmth, and rest sound very good to me. And enough.
I haven't been reading much since the library closed and it's not because I don't have books available to me. but I didn't pick them out and I'm usually too damn tired to concentrate by evening anyway. it took me over a week to read one short story that wasn't even 200 pages. my cat Emma wants fresh food in her bowl everytime she feels like eating and she is vocal about it. meh meh meh, it's never ending. at least Jack sits there silently.ReplyDelete
I will NEVER not be reading but damn- I sure have gotten slow about it.Delete
Jack hardly ever makes a sound. That's one positive thing about this situation.
I think the most of us don't find our days "self actualized". I know at the end I often think through what did or did not happen, think "uh huh" and go to bed. My cat knows to wait til morning, and make it last all day. I don't know how he came to this realization.ReplyDelete
Exactly. "Uh-huh", and go to bed.Delete
You have either trained your cat (doubtful) or else he is just an agreeable and fairly content guy.
Haha. In fact, he's a rotten bed fellow and I close the door on his backside every night. The times he has cleaned out his bowl I hear him scratching and whimpering on the other side of the door. Now I see he has learned from all these months, and there generally are a pathetic six or eight kibbles on the bottom of the bowl.Delete
I tried to read that book years ago. It looked like the kind of book every well informed person should read, possibly writing notes in the margins. Could not get through it. My brain is so soggy at the moment I had to ask Jim what the white space to the right of the words on a book page is called. Sad, so sad.ReplyDelete
I think I'm going to give it up too. The narration alone is rather, uh, dull. It's sort of like listening to a textbook being read by someone who isn't that interested in it.Delete
Soggy brain. Yeah. I got it.
I am having a hard time reading. Writing--well, I can barely string a sentence together. But argue with my cats? Hell yes. I spent my Saturday rebuilding the chicken run because after one of the hens got out and into the neighbor's yard for the 17th time today I'd had ENOUGH. She's been yelling at me ever since.ReplyDelete
I'm sure she'll figure out a way to get out tomorrow.
Chickens are determined little critters, aren't they? And persistent, too. Not to mention wily. Do your neighbors dislike it when she comes into their yard? If they don't, I'd just let her go.Delete
That Jack is one handsome fellow. What is it about pets that makes us want to do anything in our power to make them happy? I would fill that bowl up in a heart beat!ReplyDelete
I caved this morning. I think he's probably still mad at me though.Delete
I'm starting to worry your cats are reincarnated humans carrying on a pointless feud across the centuries.ReplyDelete
That's at least a theory that makes sense. Perhaps yes, they are working out some weird karma right here in my house.Delete
Cats are so weird! You have to admit, our animals keep us entertained during this whole stay-at-home thing.ReplyDelete
I wish I could come visit you in Florida and help you out when you're working in your yard. I'll bet I could find all kinds of cuttings and cast-offs to bring home and plant in my yard! And it would be see much fun to see your lovely house and your wild property and your chickens. Sigh.
I'm sure you could find some cuttings and cast-offs! Most of the stuff I have though you don't want- too invasive! But perhaps some things that are invasive here would be more containable there.Delete
And perhaps some day you'll make your way down to Lloyd.
Well you are still Creating great Blog Posts that we all can Connect to, so that is Creative AND Accomplished! I think our regular Lives being so interrupted and changed has affected us all in various ways and not all of it is good... and not all of it is bad. I know I will come out of this Changed and I'm thinking, perhaps, for the better for having experienced it and gotten a pregnant Pause. I have trouble being Still since I'm Bipolar and Hyper, this has caused me to Exercise Stillness and being able to Rest more than I'd usually try to. That is good for a Racing Thoughts slow-down... tho' Lord knows I'm Blogging like a Maniac to have a Release! *Winks*ReplyDelete
Blogging can definitely be good for the mental health. I'm grateful to have this outlet.Delete
Cats are such jerks. Our will push her dish onto the floor, it's up on the kitchen table so the dogs don't eat it all, if it's empty. And then it breaks.ReplyDelete
Self actualization, I'm just trying to get enough sleep. We have the little guy here since last night. He has such a bad diaper rash he and I were both crying by the time I had changed his diaper. He's better now. I don't know what to do except provide him with a safe place to be once a week.
Sending hugs and stay safe my friend.
Get that cat a tacky plastic bowl! I'd say a metal one but the noise would make that little guy cry.Delete
Oh, man. Diaper rashes are the worst! Have you spoken to his mother about the situation or is that too tricky.
You stay safe and here's my hug for you!
We have spoken often about his diaper rash. Last night I was slightly aggressive about it. Change his fucking diaper. Don't let him sit in his shit for hours. Buy some fucking cream. Without all the anger and expletives of course.Delete
I believe that whatever feels right to do in the moment is the thing to do right now, and if that means dreaming through the moment while watching a slant of sunlight or listening to the tapping of rain, then so be it. I think that chart you posted makes so much sense.ReplyDelete
I agree with you and today, as I sat here on my porch doing a crossword and mostly just enjoying the view and sweet cool air I read this and nodded.Delete
I'm not on the guilt train right now.
I can't read right now...drift off after a page or two and have to shut it. I managed to watch a movie from start to finish the other night, a first in a long time. I did figure out (another pet moment) that our poodle is a bit ocd. If you mix his wet and dry food he won't eat it. If you keep it separated in little piles in his bowl he will eat everything. I rarely get a decent night sleep, even with sleeping pills (not taking them every night and only taking half a pill when I must). I have chest pains, so much so talked to the Dr by phone appt on Friday. He thinks it is anxiety in combo with seasonal allergies. I've never had much anxiety or chest pains before. Yeah, so each of us is reacting in different ways. I did sew us some masks but they didn't turn out great (hadn't sewed in 40 years and am doing it with a toy sewing machine lol) but we are wearing them when inside in a store. I guess at this point it whatever will be will be and do what feels right for you (and for me)ReplyDelete
Hello Cheapchick! Thanks for finding me and stopping by. I appreciate that. Dogs can be fussier than two-year old kids, can't they? That's hysterical about him eating his food from the separate piles but not if it's mixed together.Delete
I'm sorry you have trouble sleeping and have chest pain. That must be so scary! Your doctor's probably right. You're probably not the only patient he has who has anxiety. I don't quite get the allergy-connection but I'm not a doctor.
A toy sewing machine? Damn! It must be a pretty good one.
Fuck the self-actualization shit. It feels so good to come here and curse, so I thank you for the freedom. I don't know what I feel lately. A weird malaise and ennui, interspersed with intense anxiety. That's actually my self. I hit a wall yesterday where sadness seemed to permeate every thought. Sigh. Thanks for this post and all your other ones. True balm for the soul in so many ways --ReplyDelete
Girl, you can fucking curse your damn ass off here and you know it!Delete
Emotions sure can change these days, can't they? And let's face it- we don't have the usual distractions to focus our attention off of them. So we probably feel what we're feeling even more deeply than usual.
I hope you're not so sad any more. I feel that way some days too. And the malaise and ennui are constant companions.
Why don't you simply change Jack's name to Jerk? You won't need a lawyer or anything - you can just do it. Then at night when Jerk is absent you can stand on your doorstep shouting "Jerk! Jerk! Jerk!". Hopefully, sitting comfortably in his testosterone den, Mr Moon won't misinterpret it as a wifely instruction aimed at him.ReplyDelete
Only you, Mr. P.Delete
Have you tried just putting Maurice’s bowl away when she’s done. Then there would be nothing to stand beside. Just a thought.ReplyDelete
Oh, we've done that and Jack just stands right there, waiting for it to reappear.Delete
Well then.... I’d just have to give in and tell Mr. Jack that he was the cutest and funniest cat that I ever knew. That he was doing an extraordinary job as a supervisor, obviously supervising things that have never needed supervising before. And thank you very much. And then I would ask him to come and get me if the floor moved in any way at all.Delete
Cats are so peculiar. I guess it's a territory thing?ReplyDelete
"Guns, Germs and Steel" is a great book. I also really liked his book "Collapse," about the collapse of societies. (Maybe that would hit a little too close to home!) I know what you mean, though, about concentrating. I have trouble too -- more than I would normally, I think.