I'm an addict of perfectionism and productivity. It's as dreadful as it sounds. Well, not to me, but to those around me. Until that is I crash and burn. But I'm usually up and at 'em in no time.
I blame it on being an INFJ, on my genetics, on my brother dying when I was just five years old teaching me during my formative years that nothing is in my control minus the orderliness of the non-tangibles around me.
I've come a long long way though.
When we used to get home from traveling I would enter into a complete state of anxiety until everything was put away and the house clean and orderly. Now, our suitcases often sit out until they're recycled for our next trip. Sometimes week later.
I blame it on having kids, growing older, and reading lots of helpful articles and books.
I currently have a box sitting at the bottom of our basement stairs of random items from my office that I had when we lived in Cincinnati two years ago. I need to do something with it all, but it's all so random it paralyzes me every time I pass it by.
There's a book sitting on the top that a few of my pictures were published in in 2008 or so. Today I saw it sitting there and out of curiosity flipped through it until I found which pictures of mine had been chosen for the book.
I found my pictures and Jessica Cudzilo 503photography.com, Cincinnati, OH etched in the far right corner of the page. I retired that site years ago. The URL I found during a search not long ago now belongs to someone else living far across the country from where it was originally birthed. It made me wonder what came of all the other artists I shared pages with in the book. So, I searched several of their URLs on my phone to find that only one still had an active site. One other linked to an Asian site and all the others had their URLs still linking to photography businesses that had run their course.
I wondered why all of those artists hadn't just retired their sites. Maybe they had forgotten about it or maybe they kept it up for posterity's sake or maybe they are in denial that that season is over.
What was once imagined and then daydreamed about, kept you up at night about, scared the shit out of you when you paid the $7.95 for the URL on Go Daddy, taught you that you are capable of building things all on your own, taught you that others are imperative to your success, proved to you that you are an entrepreneur, and a savvy one at that, showed you that you're capable of offering a service that brings you life and makes you money, and trained you that creating art is just as gratifying to you as it is the person paying you.
And then... the sun started to set on your adventurous day - a day that taught you more than you had ever imagined possible - and the sands shifted and the tide rose and the moon high-fived the sun on her way up. And, just like that - maybe unexpectedly, maybe sooner than you hoped for, maybe the sunset wasn't what you expected or the clouds hid the moon leaving you confused and hanging on to what was - the day was over.
Tomorrow would be a brand new day.
Everyone loves new.
What we struggle with is saying goodbye to the days that are behind us.
They remind us that we are finite beings, that we have no control over time, that life-changes rarely happen abruptly and far more often happen so slowly - minute by minute and a big chunk of those minutes when we're fast asleep - that we don't even notice until we can longer deny that nothing is as it was.
I'm a clinger. A big giant clinger. I cling to what was because I'm never quite ready for the day to be over. I take this idea quite literal. I rarely go to bed before midnight. I much prefer to put the day to bed than have the day put me to bed. And of course figuratively. I imagine jobs and hobbies and relationships and my health and youth and our marriage and energetic, happy children to be just this way forever. So, when something requires me to let it go, to close a door, to (and this is a big one) face reality and say thank you, it's time to say goodbye and do a little (or a lot of) grieving ... this can often feel paralyzing.
New equals new, old equals grieving.
We don't like to grieve so we slip into denial and even when a day is long gone we surprisingly and impressively talk ourselves into believing that the moon is actually the sun.
I've been off instagram (my drug of choice) minus bits here and there for over two months now. We had a busy April and I had some things I wanted to personally do and I found that every time time opened herself up for me my natural inclination was to turn on the TV and scroll on my phone. The TV I reasoned didn't occupy my hands so I didn't quit it (not with all the Real Housewives, Kardashians and Jimmy Fallon there is to watch!). But, a lot of apps on my phone I deleted. Just for a bit. My old blog, one that my brilliant graphic designer friend made for me felt like a sun that had set. I needed to create a space that was made by me. I knew it wouldn't be nearly as pretty, but it's been a new day for a long time now so it was worth the exchange.
I vowed not to sign back onto Instagram until I was done. Two months later and a new day has dawned and it feels good. Refreshing. Honestly the only hard part about it has been being off social media and here's why:
It is the perfect distraction. With it we don't ever have to feel bored, we don't ever have to check in with ourselves if we don't want to or make eye contact with random strangers while waiting in line. And, with it we have the perfect excuse to never have enough time in the day for all the things we want to do. Without it I've had significantly more time (because 30 minutes a day times 60 days = 30 solid hours) to think about myself. And well thinking about myself when I hadn't really thought much about myself in quite awhile was quite the doozy.
I noticed - like really really noticed - that I've gotten a bit fat. I'm not waddling, but my shorts no longer fit and I only feel comfortable in loose shirts. I noticed, too, that I had a lot of turned-up corners. And, I noticed that it's true that life doesn't offer me as much time as I wish for quiet hours of music and writing, but I also wasn't putting in the effort to protect that sacred space like it deserved. My phone is just so much more entertaining than a blinking cursor on a big white space. My phone makes 30 minutes go by without noticing. Sitting down to write and feeling uninspired can make 8 minutes feel like hours. I wonder what's happening on Snapchat since I checked it 3 minutes ago!?
INFJs are known for giving to others before they give to themselves. I think that act encompasses far more personality profiles, but regardless one truth remains: giving only to others makes for a breeding ground of resentment.
I had grown resentful and it was all my doing. So, I decided to take my own advice and quit being a victim, quit choosing followers over myself (but boy do I wish I could figure out how to do both like some people do so beautifully well!), and shed some unnecessary fat - literally (I'm 5 pounds down to-date) and figuratively (I genuinely feel calmer, happier and more present).
So, here I am blogging which I've been told is long dead, but hanging on to the hope that the pendulum is swinging backward a bit. And if that's my idealism speaking than I still choose to stay where my heart feels harnessed to. For today.