Squishing About in My Brain

Archive for August 2010


2005 Recovery Fine Arts Festival: Best in Acrylic

I had an epiphany today at 12:47 p.m.








I was cleaning my room, never a favorite activity, even less so now that I only have a room, but even more necessary…and I was suddenly struck by an epiphany.

Yes, an honest-to-the-gods epiphany.

As I cleaned, my mind was going a million miles a minute, filling in all the things I had to do, had to get done, to fill my day.

My little Jellyfish Brain (or Squish Brain, as I affectionately call her, until someone informs me that I sound like a multiple personality, at which time I pretend I do not call her anything at all) was trying to pipe up in the background: “I WANNA KNIT! I WANNA WATCH A MOVIE AND KNIT!”

Silly Squish Brain, do you not realize that human beings must fill every moment of their days with activity, ESPECIALLY IF THEY HAVE NO JOB TO GO TO?!, my Societially-Correct Brain replied.

I could HEAR the Squish pouting, but kept cleaning.

Suddenly I had finished two boxes of clothes-hanging, and in my moment of complete and utter pride of accomplishment, heard the Squish Brain murmur, “Nuh uh.”


“Says who? You do NOT have to fill your day with activity. Even IF you have no job.”

Excuse me?

“Humans do not have to be on the move, DOING all the time. It does not make you a better, more worthy a human to deny yourself rest and joy and just DO WHAT YOU WANT at any given moment.”

WTF, SquishBrain?! Quit undermining my cleaning! It will make Mom less stressed if I clean my shit up, anyway.

“You have cleaned enough that YOU feel better being in the room. You can be done.”

I have to take these empty boxes out.

“No you don’t. You can take them next time you go downstairs for something.”

Crazy talk.

“You do not HAVE to fill your days. You are allowed to relax and make yourself happy. You are 41. If not now, when?”


And then…The Blast of Heavenly Light.


It IS OKAY not to do what you think is expected.

It is OKAY to please yourself.

The only judge of your behavior that matters is YOURSELF.

Stopping to knit, read, paint, walk, FIND JOY, even for hours at a time, is NOT WRONG.

It’s called taking care of your own needs. It makes you a stronger, “better” person.

Most of us live our lives so concerned about DOING all the time that we forget that sometimes the best thing to do is NOT STRIVE.

Sometimes, the most NECESSARY thing in life is just to do what you want, when you want, and NOT FEEL GUILTY ABOUT IT!

Please do not take this as support of anything like choosing to rape, murder, or give money to the Extreme Religious Right (you know the ones I am talking about—not so much religious as holier-than-thou)…but today, my friends…



And don’t set a time limit.

Just do it until you are ready to do something else.

Call it enlightenment.


Thomas Wolfe was wrong, although it did make a great title for his book: you CAN go home again.

The problem is that Home-Then and Home-Now are completely different species, in ways you could not have prescienced.

But you can go.

Part of the difficulty, of course, is that after being Away for almost ten years, you are not even close to being the same person you were then. The sun keeps rolling through the sky that entire time, time moves in a forwardly direction, and while YOU are evolving, others are changing, too…and not necessarily in the same direction. While we all have different life paths, that doesn’t change the fact that some people’s changes just irritate us no end sometimes.

With all the high-adrenaline months leading up to such a huge move, you don’t have time to think about how the changes may go; you just have time to organize and GO! And then when the move, for all intents and purposes, is DONE, you get to ride the adrenaline for as long as you can until you crash.

It takes until the crash to start to recognize and cope with the changed universe you now inhabit.

It’s rough.  And necessary. But rough, all the same.

As a 41 year old woman who has been raising teenagers for the last years, this is a harder adjustment than I imagined. In some ways, coming back and needing to live with your retired parents makes you suddenly feel less like an adult, despite the fact that you are still that same mom and woman you were before, with the same responsibilities and worries (plus new ones, unless you LIKE not running your own household!)

The problems just seem more weighty when you find that your journey has left you so incredibly far away from where the other people around you have ended up.

I have an almost completely different personality than I had ten years ago–in a good way, mind you. I am a more thoughtful, less judgmental, more relaxed, more understanding, calmer and less grumpy human now. And I am glad of it.

But I am not finding that everyone in my daily life now is like that, or can see that in me. It is hard to be talked to like, and seen as, you were ten years ago, even by people who know exactly what hardships and trials you have had to deal with, let alone by people who do not have that knowledge.

Admittedly, I did not expect the shock to be so powerful.

But I am not complaining, either: just trying to find my way through, to where I can be who I really am again, and not be frozen and limited by the actions of other people.

I never thought I would have such a hard time defending or defining myself at this point in my life. It is bewildering. My reaction and attendant paralyzation is more bewildering to me than the attitudes that surround me, to be honest.

I think right now the name for what I feel is “at sea”.

And that is okay. I have to accept it to get through it.

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