I have skipped writing for the past three days, even though I’ve had plenty to say. I’d fallen into the habit of writing in the evenings for the reasons I’ve already mentioned – mainly the quiet, the more alone – but then there was that one evening we went out and didn’t get back in until after midnight and I was so very very tired and I thought “one day won’t matter” and then it turned out it did and I couldn’t get myself back into the swing of writing down thoughts again.
So I’m here trying to break that cycle. It’s morning now, but it’s a later start than I really need to be doing if I’m going to get words done in a non-stressful way. Oh. Couldn’t I start in the morning and finish in the evening? I’m giving major side-eye to that thought though. Okay, there’s a part of me that just wants to rush through to the 750words of magic and get it all done because that’s the therapeutic dose and if I split it, what am I doing.
And there is something in this whole therapeutic dose idea because I’m really really good at avoiding anything but the superficial, even when it’s just me and us chickens in here. But I also know that I get hung up on systems and rules and getting things done in a particular “perfect” way, and failing to do that robs me of some of the joy I experience in writing this blog.
It’s not just medicine after all. It’s also part of my life now.
Speaking of random numbers that seem to have a power by virtue of reaching them, I’ve been wanting to write non-stop for 100 days. I did it last year before I came around to my desire for an alcohol-free life. I have this notion that there is some kind of power in 100 days of repetition. I guess I just made that up myself – the science supports approx 30 days as being the minimum time required in order to ingrain a new habit, but I know that even now, even after writing most days (with one or two small gaps) has more that a year of history behind it, I still have the capacity to drop this whole endeavour like a hot rock.
Forming new healthy habits is all good, but I don’t think they’re half as sticky as I might have expected – especially when countered by the huge gravitational pull of 40 years of repetition on the other side. In fact it’s not even the repetition I think – it’s the when. There’s something about beliefs that I constructed when I was very young and how they feel hard-wired into my psyche. Beliefs I’ve built as a (so-called) logical adult are ironically way less ingrained because I just don’t have the same level of faith in them. Ha! I’ve logically thought them out rather than just reacting to circumstances I didn’t even have the capacity to fully understand, and yet it’s the adult beliefs that feel less real to me.
Take things like appearance. I’ve got society’s message that there’s a perfect weight that’s not too fat and not too thin and a small margin of acceptable variance within that – vs my own truth surrounding knowing when I’m doing healthy stuff with and for my body and being proud of how it carries me around and not needing it to be smooth and firm in all its places.
Guess which one wins out every. single. time? Oh, I talk a decent talk and make plans to draw myself and rant about self-acceptance and all of that. But do I feel it? Do I believe it? Uh … maybe one time in 20 or something like that.
So, despite the fact that I think I’m reinforcing the habit of self-acceptance, the other voice gets in there first. The other voice is still working on burrowing in. It’s attached to existing and it doesn’t want me to remove it.
My therapist would say to think about its purpose, think about what it’s trying to do, trying to help me with or protect me from. And I think, ironically, it is trying to protect me from feeling bad. Because if that voice can whip me into society’s acceptable mould, then I won’t have to face the terror of walking around in the world being all weird and gross and unacceptable.
But that’s just the surface stuff anyway. Nothing would ever be “fixed” by “fixing” that. And it doesn’t need fixing anyway!
I don’t know of any immediate solutions here. Everything’s going to take a long time. But it’s probably a good idea to keep writing while I try and figure it out.
(Day 1 /100?)