Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Bottom of the List

It’s not a surprise anymore. I know this about myself. I wish it wasn’t true. I wish I were more ‘normal’, more adult, more productive, more….something. Regardless, I fall to the bottom of the list no matter what. The second that there is anything to-do, fun gets blacklisted and any item that is laced with pleasure or self-fulfillment magically gets deleted. I started a new job. And by job, I mean that I have hours I am expected to show up somewhere, tasks to complete, and the dress code doesn’t include pjs. By job I don’t mean actually making money. But still, I like it more than I thought I would.

There’s something satisfying about showing up when I say I will, keeping my word, and applying my perfectionistic dictator as I write the article, re-write the article, re-re-write the article. I get a thrill from the smiles of approval, and I’ve managed to locate a twinkling of inner validation that lifts my chin as I walk to my car knowing I did the best I could, even if I’m going home to write yet another draft. So it’s not the job that’s necessarily making me anxious. I like the job. Rather, it’s the idiotic schedule.
It’s my rigidity and compulsive cleaning and ritualistic manner of life that crams every free minute with panicky dusting and errands and pruning my plants. That’s all fine when my entire day is my own. However, with less time I can’t seem to shake off the useless rituals I created to ensure boredom never appears on my list. I seem to have a phobia of stillness. Ironic since I crave relaxation and the peace of lying on the couch cuddling with my dog, calm with no deadlines hanging over my head. In other words, fantasy land.

Hence the flutter of anxiety is my constant companion, speeding home overflowing with the guilt of a puppy left alone. I review in my head while drumming fingers in traffic: first play and shower with love, walk her, brush her, vacuum, mop, do laundry, don’t forget the run to Smart and Final and also Vons because they have the best 4% cottage cheese, get gas, return library books due by Friday, oh and there are those ace bandages I bought yesterday at rite aide that I need to return – obviously today. We’ll ignore the fact that I’ve already returned two nail polishes two hours after they were purchases to the same rite aide. I’m going to need eggs in two days so I better run in and get them now. Oh shit. It’s already 9 pm. But I still need to shower and walk Gracie two more times and make dinner and cut out the coupons from Sunday’s paper and water my plants and respond to that email and call the unemployment agency and remember to add tasks to my phone to get Gracie’s nails clipped tomorrow…maybe I should wash my sheets so I don’t have to do it tomorrow since its been three days already…and the basil needs to be transplanted NOW and fuck now I’m shaking over the time and how little I’m going to get to sleep before I have to wake up and do it all over again.

This is the way I drop to the bottom of my list. Where is the time for my own writing? Where is the time to breathe?

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