17 October, 2011

The writing is on the wall

Lately, in my spiritual quest to quiet my inner voices, I have been trying to balance them out with a little more attention paid to what is going on outside my head.

Obviously, I have the internet, and that is technically outside my head, but everything I see goes right into my head, and it might be getting a wee bit crowded in there.

And as an aside, being diagnosed with a mental problem is not as stressful as you might think! On the one hand, all your concerns are legitimate. Yay! On the other hand, you have a lot of concerns. ugh.

Speaking of legitimacy, I feel like I got to race through the steps of working through being diagnosed in record time because I was once informed that I was the victim of a conspiracy of kindness. My 2nd ex-step dad cornered me one day while I was eating lunch on my summer break in a local cafe, the Last Exit on Brooklyn. I was 14 or 15.

The day started out so promising, and I was actually feeling very self-satisfied. I think because I ordered a salad? I didn't usually eat real food there, just bread and butter (oh the healthy honey bran loaf, how I mistrust your label. I invite you to betray me again!) or chocolate sundaes.

And I usually didn't go there alone.

He had a theory. My 'real' father was not my mother's husband at the time of my birth, but no, another man (also now deceased). Talk about a bummer! This kind of 'revelation', accurate or not, is very disruptive to your world-view.

All the other parties, when questioned (separately) agreed that the official story contained all the facts of the matter. And, frankly, in the subtext I learned far more about all three of them than I EVER WANTED TO. But I believed them. Mostly.

And who cares? I am here because some people made the ultimate sacrifice for evolution, and if wasn't my mom and her husband, I am willing to be grateful for the contribution of persons known or unknown.

My understanding of what other people do, and why, was immeasurably enhanced that day. I didn't want to hear it all, and as I am pretty much an untrusting soul, I decided that a) I didn't much care about facts, b)I couldn't see what difference it would make in the future, given that everybody BUT my ex-step dad #2 had their stories straight, and c) I can't put the worms back in the can.

I was somebody's daughter before my lunch, and I was somebody's daughter after my lunch, and no matter who that somebody might, biologically, be, I am always GOING to be me.

So getting diagnosed replayed all those reactions of hurt, self-doubt, disappointment, acceptance, and in record time. It might not even be the right diagnosis, but I like my doctor and if I can't fix what's broken, maybe she can help.

But back to what's going on OUTSIDE my head. I try to remember the phrase 'live in the moment', because I can worry ahead all the way through the rest of my life, and hardly any of my worries have ever become a problem. And not because I prevented them, but because I was worrying about hypothetical, not actual scenarios. My bad.

And, in the moment, if I remember to go outside, I see a lot of birds and dogs lately. The birds do their bird thing, away from me, but occasionally seem to be trying to get my attention. If I become lost in thought. Since I am trying to live in the moment, I start paying attention, though I do not for one moment believe that birds care if I pay attention to them.

Dogs, on the other hand, adore me. They seem to be way more friendly for a couple of months. I don't quite get what's going on there, maybe I am more friendly now that I am saying, in my head, "live in the moment"? Maybe when I am living in the moment I look more relaxed and approachable, instead of uptight and anxious?

Frankly, I am beginning to think that EVERYONE knew I was uptight and anxious, except me! But I did spend a certain amount of effort pretending to be self-confident and trying to relax, so I also can not blame them if they were fooled. Heck, I was fooled too!

And I digress.

What I want to get to is the part where I say: The writing is on the wall.

And I mean that literally!

I was riding a bus and just after it went past a beautiful pond with turtle statues (no water, but the tiles were blue), I saw a slogan postered or painted, officially or unofficially on a wall down the street:

It was really uplifting, that day, a couple of weeks ago. I felt so strongly about it that I whipped out my notebook, which I take with me almost everywhere, and I wrote it down, along with a few other notes.

I don't usually write in my notebook on the bus. I like to pretend I'm way more normal than that, plus it's not that smooth a ride and my handwriting gets jittery.

At any rate, that public art was a quote from the 1968 student riots in Paris.

And on my way out of Tacoma, a few days before, I noticed an officially inspirational quote, painted on the bus station wall:

The City of Tacoma transit authority is certainly not afraid of the people! Or The Man... it becomes a little confusing when official art seems revolutionary.

And the last two quotes I did not find out in the world while I was trying to live in the moment, but I'll make up beautiful placards for them as well.

The ambiguity in this quote makes me week in the knees. Is it an endorsement of conservative values (not that I have anything against that), or a criticism of... I'm not sure what?

And the other:

I think I found this quote on a poster for one Awesome project (theater) while looking for another (philanthropy). It makes me numb in a good way.

Maintenance is progress. But it is not ambitious.

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