Distractions II

This post started back here

I think it started in high school. By my Junior year I was super involved in clubs. I was President of this, leader of that, special member of the other... it helped me get into college but it also required a lot of attention. I would get to school at 7:00, an hour+ before the first class of the morning and some days I wouldn't get home until 8 or 9 at night.

My mother and I are just now growing into a good relationship. From the outset, I have to say that so much of what I've been able to accomplish is directly because of my mother. Period. She was and is not a bad mother. At all. During my teenage years we clashed on a lot. I wasn't necessarily rebellious but I was hard headed. When I decide something should be a certain way, I stick to that. I march to the beat of my own drum, I live relatively unapologetically in my own world (and I have the bumps and bruises to prove it). I get that, actually, from my mother. So when we didn't see eye-to-eye, we really didn't see eye-to-eye.

Our disagreements stressed me. I didn't like the way they made me feel and so to a degree I used school as a distraction. My home life wasn't abnormal, but even still I didn't know how to deal with what was going on in my head so I just didn't.

As I got older and started running into more problems, I began taking that approach to more problems. I ran out of clubs to join and I began using my friends lives as a distraction. If I spent more time talking to them about their issues, I didn't have to spend a lot of time talking to them (or myself) about my own issues.

This worked, but it backfired because my friends began to think I didn't have issues. Hell, I began to think I didn't have issues. On the rare occasion a good and close friend thought enough to ask, I'd either feel guilty for having an issue to discuss or not trust them enough to actually care.

In fact, one thing J (the ex, for those new) was surprisingly good at was knowing when something was wrong and coaxing (read: demanding) me into sharing it with him. Unfortunately for both of us, a lot of what was bothering me during that time was him, but still, I loved the way he wanted to know... I digress...

Sometimes I can't get my brain to shut off. Most notably when I most need it to -- as I'm trying to go to sleep. As a result, distracting myself has almost become an art form. I spend a lot of my day distracting myself.

I know why, I know how... now I need to figure out how to stop. Or at least dial it back a bit.

Dealing directly with things as they happen is one option. I recently read an an article Donna Brazile (a personal hero) wrote for O Magazine called "The Smartest Advice I Ever Got." The first one she lists says,
1. Be the buffalo.
Wilma Mankiller, the first female principal chief of the Cherokee nation, once told me how the cow runs away from the storm while the buffalo charges directly toward it—and gets through it quicker. Whenever I'm confronted with a tough challenge, I do not prolong the torment. I become the buffalo.
In a lot of situations I think I'm like that -- the buffalo. Just do it and get it over with. However, some situations, specifically ones that feel like the storm might last too long, I distract myself -- I run away from it.

Two good examples:

In high school I did a lot of ropes course type stuff. I'll maybe do a post on all that. Anyway, one consistent thing ropes course activities mess with is fear. The point is not to teach you not to be afraid (fear can save your life) but rather to find skills necessary to overcome fear when you need to. Running right into whatever it is that I'm scared of is one of the skills I developed. So when I'm up on top of a pole that's 40 feet in the air and I'm being told to jump, or when I'm strapped into a contraption that pulls me 60 feet in the air and I'm told to let go (and fall), I just... do it. A deep breath and let go. That's my motto.

However, the reason my broken relationship with J went so long was because I was afraid. I couldn't just... do it. I couldn't cut it off even if it was hopelessly broken. I was afraid. I was worried about the consequences. I delayed and debated and delayed and debated until I really had no choice.

On occasion I successfully escape having to go through the storm, but you know what? Eventually it comes back around and you can't run (or distract) forever.

See. I get it. I KNOW the right answer. I just need to get to implementing. ::sigh:: Much easier said than done.

1 comment:

T. Tappan said...

Interesting. This forces me to think about current distractions in my life at the moment. Good post.

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