15 April 2010

Acting on Impulse

I love that you've checked in on me here. That you're a reader. Thank you.

I have a new blog. I'd really like you to go take a look. Please be sure and start from the bottom: April 13, 2010, then work your way up. It's different and it's specific. It's purpose is deliberate and will prove itself or not. We'll see.


Feels like I've been treading water in the same place for so long now, maybe this other blog journey will be the current I'm meant to catch and float away on.

I hope to post three or four days a week at this other site, so myscarletletters may continue to be sporadic. Please keep checking in on me here. Often.

I hope you'll read Less is Bliss and let me know what you think......see you soon. Love you!

01 April 2010

Solve for X and Why

I was born without the Relief gene.

The capacity to fully feel relief eludes me.

I noticed this phenomenon years ago. I experienced a couple of notable personal accomplishments with which I had struggled for an obnoxiously long time and then indeed managed to fully accomplish. "Whew!" Right?

No, instead of feeling that whole body rush of “Holy Shit! I’m done. I did it!” that I anticipated, I felt nothing. Nothing. Flat. Without emotion of any sort. Why is that?

I went back to college in 2000/2001. I did the Barbie-predictable thing; I took the classes I dreaded most, first. Math classes. Two of them. They were both lab classes so I was riding completely on my own motivation. Yikes.

I did not look forward to the math classes. Although I am pretty good at math, there is no joy in it for me. Okay, there might have been a little tiny bit of joy in it for me. Well there it is, I said it. I get math joy sometimes. So what?!

The thing that gives me a little shiver about math is: either you’re right and it’s done.
Or you’re not and you’re not. There is a peaceful place at the end of every correctly worked math problem for me.

I struggled with those two classes. They were set up so you work at your own pace. There were some weeks when my pace could have only been captured by time-lapsed photography. And aside from those regular weeks, it was an especially intense and eventful year.

  • In February 2001, our latest, local earthquake occurred as I sat in that class. Or more accurately, stood at the teacher’s desk begging for help. (This was just prior to the campus being evacuated and me sprinting to my car and driving QUICKLY to get to my kids. They were about forty minutes away and intellectually I knew they were okay, but I’ve never felt so far away from anyone in my life. Before or since.) And now back to our regularly scheduled program…
  • In June of 2001, my son and I were rear ended and pushed into the car ahead of us. Totaled our burgundy, angular Buick La Sabre. (The saddest part of that day was having to down-grade to a stupid, 4-cylinder Pontiac Grand Am. I hated, hated, hated that car!) Both small but stressful traumas.
  • Then September 11, 2001. It was such an emotional year.

I plugged away at math through out. I worked hard adding, subtracting and other fancy math stuff. Near the end, I could taste the relief ahead. I fantasized nightly about it. I planned a little personal celebration purchase. Something to commemorate.

After the final test, I picked out some pretty hippy dippy dangly pink earrings at a local Crafter’s Mall. I knew I’d think of my accomplishment every time I wore them.

I still have them but now when I look at them, their color seems dingy with negative association.

The wash of relief I longed for, I worked hard for. I trudged through quadratic equations and stupid story problems where people riding trains were headed straight at each other for that anticipated joy. But it never, ever came.

I knew what it should have felt like, what it was supposed to feel like. Intellectually I knew, but emotionally, nothing. I had worked so hard. I was robbed. Who do I talk to about that?

It wasn’t like other things in my life where I'd had the clear sense that I was repressing something and not allowing myself to feel. No, this time I stood still and looked all around. Inside and out. Under stuff. Nothing. The relief was no where to be found.

I don’t wear those earrings often. The memory of non-relief comes flooding back. The flat void of lack. Absence. Disappointment.

I’d noticed it before those math classes and I’ve recognized it many times since. Over time, it's worn me down and I’ve come to allow that it's just the way it is. Some people are born with the capacity to feel the genuine joy of relief and I’m not. When I finish some momentous task that has weighed me down for a prolonged time, I simply move on to the next thing under which I am to be weighed down. I just get dressed in the stress of whatever is next up on the list. Isn't this a terrible system? Man!

I hate when I start a blog post thinking there is going to be some lighthearted, humorous slant to enjoy in the words to come but instead it morphs into a "Look Mom, the brakes must be out in that dump truck that's flying uncontrollably down the curvy mountain road and headed straight for that small woman waving her hands because the bridge is out over the wild river below!" slant instead.

Do you think feeling relief can be a learned behaviour? Do you think spelling some words with an unnecessary 'u' makes me cool?