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Posts Tagged ‘thoughts’

When I write, I pick the title first.

I know people who do it the other way around, they write what they want to write and then look back through it and decide on a title that would best describe what they’ve just written and that’s obviously a valid way to do it as well.  I’ve tried but can’t seem to get it to work for me.  Rather I come up with a title, very often just one or two words, and then I just start writing.  Every once in awhile I check back in with the title I’ve written at the top of the page and make sure I’m still on the right track.  I find having the title is like a route marker keeping me on the right path, making sure I’m not straying too far from the thought I was trying to express.

But, that being said, lately all I’ve been able to come up with are titles.

It used to be that once I found the title, the rest just came into focus.  My thoughts would all line up neatly underneath and while I can’t guarantee they made sense to anyone else, they provided some clarity for me, at least.  Now I write the title down at the top of the page and there it sits, alone, unaccompanied by any other words that may actually flush it out into something resembling a clear and cohesive thought.

When I write, it has a way of emptying my head of all of the random, often useless thoughts that I have floating around in my head.  Putting them down on paper, all neat and lined up in a somewhat intelligent way stops them from floating any longer.  They are pinned down, immovable, stuck, which is a good thing because then my head is a less crazy place, at least for a few moments.

But lately, because I can’t come up with anything but a bunch of titles, the thoughts continue to float and dance around in my head.  And now it’s getting crowded in there.  There’s not really much room for floating so they’re all bumping into each other and banging around, making it harder and harder to concentrate and function.  They keep me from sleeping and reading and wasting time staring out the window.  I find myself in the middle of conversations and I’m not sure if I spoke the words out loud or just thought them in my head.

I have tried, really I have.  I’ve started writing a dozen things and all of them seem jumbled, all over the place, meandering from one thing to another, just like the thoughts in my head.  Rather than keeping me on track, the titles I now come up with seem to mock me.  Like ‘good luck writing something about this.’

But I know I have to get out of the rut.  I have to slap the titles back into line and show them who is boss.  I have to force the thoughts to make sense again, before they drive me crazy and I, in turn, drive everyone else crazy around me.  So, in the hopes of jump-starting some kind of inspiration, or at the very least ridding my brain of these random words, I’m going to list all of the titles I’ve come up with over the last week and a half, the ones that have proven to be less inspiration and more hinderance.  And in writing them down here I’m giving myself permission to let them go and start fresh, to stop being bogged down by the things I can’t write and perhaps make room for things that I can.

 

rememberings

uncomfortable

not caring

thinking your thoughts

in the corner

hiding

 

There they are, stuck on the page, at the very least these ones won’t be floating around anymore.

Now we’ll just wait and see if it helps.

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‎I worry about not doing enough.

I worry about trying to do too much.

I worry that I’ve done the wrong thing.

I worry that I’ve done the right thing but for the wrong reason.

I worry about things that are out of my control.

I worry that, in fact, everything is out of my control.

I worry about the unknown and all of the questions I can’t answer.

I worry that maybe I’ve spent my life asking the wrong questions.

I worry that somewhere in the past I made a decision that changed everything.

I worry that maybe I will have to make a decision today that I will spend the rest of my life regretting.

I worry about being too late and what people will think.

I worry a‎bout being too early and what people will say.

I worry that I don’t care enough about how my hair looks.

I worry that people judge me because I sometimes start sentences with ‘and.’

I worry it will turn out that the one thing I always thought I was good at is actually just one more thing that I’m just okay at.

I worry about forgetting something important.

I worry about forgetting something not important.

I worry that I’ll never find the meaning I’m searching for.

I’m worried that maybe I already found it but I didn’t realize that was it.

I worry that I’ll teach my kids the wrong things.

I worry that I won’t teach my kids the right things.

I worry that someone I love doesn’t know how much they mean to me.

I worry that people have tried to tell me things but I was too busy worrying about things to listen.

I worry that I worry too much.

I worry that I don’t worry enough.

I worry that all of my worrying, when it comes right down to it, will neither negate nor solve anything at all, and that, in fact, all I have done is wasted a lot of time, doing a lot of worrying, for nothing.

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I stood in the laundry room, pouring detergent into the dispenser at the top of the machine and realizing I’ve forgotten.  I forgot what it was I was thinking about.  I forgot the troubling thought.

I know I should just be happy that I forgot; that I don’t have to think it anymore, but instead it starts to bother me.

What was that thought I was thinking that made me mad?  Was it a family problem, a friend problem, a work problem?

Was I upset because I can’t find my black and white striped scarf, or was it something more serious than that?

I finish with the detergent and start on the fabric softener, still wracking my brain trying to remember.

What was I doing before this? What made me think the thought in the first place?

And then it hit me.

Oh yes, that’s what it was.

And while I was glad to finally remember what it was I had forgotten, now I was stuck thinking the troubling thought again.

Maybe I should have just let it be forgotten.

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A big thank you to Leslie for sending along this idea!

“List ten things you love and ten things you hate. Celebrate the former and ‘kill’ the latter by writing about them.”

It probably says something about my personality that when I first read this suggestion I wondered how I would only come up with ten things that I hate.  I am the kind of person for whom a lot of things rub me the wrong way.  Maybe I’ll have to do that part of the writing prompt more than one time!

Okay, so here it goes!

I love

1) I love the smell in the air after it rains.  Sometimes I stand outside my front door and just inhale.  I try not to think to much about what my neighbours must think of me.

2) I love getting mail from friends.  I have a couple of great people in my life who send me cards sometimes and I hope they know how much I love them.  I love to see my name hand written on the outside of an envelope when I open my mail box.  I love that someone took the time to pick out a card they thought I would like, write something sweet inside, riffle through their purse to find a stamp, and walk to the mail box to send it off to me.  That says love to me.

3) I love watching the previews in the movie theatre.  I love getting lost in the little stories and picking out which ones I want to see next.  I can’t be friends with anyone who doesn’t want to be there in time to watch the previews.  Sorry.  Deal breaker.

4) I love walking through the office supply aisle at Target.  I love looking at all of the different colour Post-It notes and thinking about all the places I would post them.  I love flipping through the journals, running my hands over the untouched pages and hearing the crack of the unopened spine.  I imagine all of the things I would write in there.

5) I love when my hubby or one of my kids reaches out to hold my hand, all on their own, just because they want to.  The way they do it without even looking because they know that my hand will be there, just where they expect it to be, whenever they need it.

6) I love being in the car by myself on a warm Spring day, the windows cracked, the radio just a little bit louder than necessary, singing off-key to some cheesy boy-band song.  I love feeling grown-up enough to have a car that I can drive and somewhere to go, without having to be an adult, shushing the kids in the back so I can hear the latest traffic report.

7) I love the first sip of a cup of tea.  No matter if it’s first thing on a cold morning, driving to the train station, or last thing on a summer night, listening to the rain bounce off the roof.  The first sip always makes me stop, close my eyes, and just enjoy.  Suddenly I’m eight years old again, home sick from school with my mom and sharing a cup while she lets me watch As The World Turns, feeling so special and loved.

8) I love bubble baths, the hotter and bubblier the better.  There’s just something about sliding down into that hot water and feeling the worries and tension just soak from my body that makes everything seem easier.  I’m sure none of the world’s problems have ever been solved in a bubble bath, but I’m just as sure that none of them were made any worse.

9) I love the feeling when I finish an amazing book and I just want to tell everyone I know to go and read it.  And then I want to sit in a room filled with those people and talk about all the things we loved about it.  I love getting to the last page and being glad to have reached the end but also totally devastated because it means I can no longer live in the world the book created for me and have to, instead, return to real life.

10) I love candles.  I used to buy them and then leave them in my closet to collect dust because I thought it was decadent to burn them.  I don’t think that anymore.  I light a candle almost every night after dinner, whenever I have a bubble bath, and some nights while I read a few pages before I go to sleep.  Something about the smell – I especially love any of the scented ones that smell like baked goods – just relaxes me and forces me to take a moment just to breath and quiet the commentary in my head.  I burn them all the time and when it has been burned all it can, I don’t feel guilty about having used it up, instead I celebrate the fact that it means I get to go pick out a new one.

I hate

1) I hate folding laundry.  I don’t mind putting the stuff in the washing machine and can usually remember to move it from the washer to the dryer but when I hear the buzzer go to tell me it’s time to fold, I can’t help but say a few bad words.  How does everything that goes into the machine right-side out come out of the dryer inside out?  Why are there always socks missing?  I mean seriously, where do they go???  And perhaps the worse part is that I know, as I stand there folding shirt after shirt, I know it’s not the end.  I still have to put them all away.  Hatred, pure hatred.

2) I hate people who walk slowly.  I am a fast walker and I’m not saying that everyone needs to walk as quickly as I do but really, if you can’t keep up can you at least move over to the side??  I don’t care if I don’t even have anywhere to go, I still need to get there quickly!

3) I hate french toast.  I hate that everyone acts surprised when I say I hate french toast, like I just said I hate babies or sunshine.  I don’t like bread dipped in egg okay?  If I wanted eggs and toast I would cook them separately, not together in the same pan, smushed together.  Get over it.

4) I hate the way people order non-fat lattes at Starbucks and then ask for whipped cream.  Really??  You didn’t want all of the fat in your latte, you’d prefer to just add it on top?  Give yourself (and all of us) a break and just treat yourself.  Go full fat once in awhile and don’t make apologies.  It will stop those of us in line behind you from having to roll our eyes at you.

5) I hate fake.  I hate people who hide behind fake instead of letting the rest of us see what’s really going on with them.  If you want to pretend you’re happy all the time, loving every minute of being a wife, being a mother, being a friend, being a daughter, then that’s your own business but I don’t have to go along with it.  Fake is boring.  Fake isn’t even worth commenting on.  If you want to be real, if you want to share what’s really going on and what you’re really feeling then I will be here, every minute of the day, 2 in the morning, whatever.  I have all the time in the world if you want to be real; but I don’t have time for fake.

6) I hate feeling out of place.  I hate not knowing where to stand or what to wear or which words to say.  I hate feeling like I don’t know what’s going on, or wondering if I’m doing it all wrong.  I realize this is a horrible thing to hate because consistent with trying anything new is the idea that there is going to be a period of time when I don’t know what I’m doing, but I hate it nonetheless.

7) I hate being late.  I can literally feel the tension in my body as the clock ticks closer and closer to the time I’m supposed to be somewhere.  I usually end up feeling slightly ill if I end up arriving after the time I’m supposed to.  In conjunction with this, I hate it when other people are late.  I know there are justifiable and unavoidable reasons why people are sometimes delayed but it still completely irks me.

8) I hate feeling like I have let someone down.  I hate thinking that somewhere out there might be a friend who wonders if I care for them, or a loved one who wonders if I think of them at all.  I hate knowing that I can’t be there for someone when they need me, or that there’s something about me that makes others not want to share what they’re feeling.  Because sometimes I feel all of those things and I know it’s not a nice way to feel.

9) I hate pants that gape at the back.  I hate the fact that people who make pants can’t grasp the fact that 99% if women’s waists are smaller than their hips, whether the woman is a size 5 or a size 15.  Why can’t they get that?  Why can’t they make pants that fit?  If it’s a physical impossibility then why don’t they put those elastics in the waists of women’s pants that you can adjust, like they do with kids pants?  We can put people on the moon and make chewing gum that tastes like key lime pie but this, this we can’t do??

10) I hate radio call-in shows.  They physically make my skin crawl.  As soon as I hear the words “Dave from Oakville, you’re in the air” my throat starts to close up and my arms start to itch.  I don’t know why.  I don’t know what it is about them that I hate so much but I do.  And now they even have call-in shows on tv, as if just listening to them wasn’t enough, now we get to see them.  There’s one on tv now where people call in and ask a guy about buying a car.  So now Dave from Oakville wants to buy a 2005 Honda Civic and wants to know how much he should pay.  Oh the agony.

I have to say, this exercise was quite an eye-opener.  I thought it would be easy to come up with ten things I hate but it actually took me way more time than the ten things I love.  It was also interesting to actually sit for a minute and ask myself what I love.  No one ever really asks that, do they?  And yet is there really anything that says more about us as people than what we love.

Maybe next time I’m having tea with a friend I’ll ask them, and actually sit back and listen because if we really love someone, shouldn’t we also care about and nurture the things they love?  I mean people are usually more than willing to volunteer to tell us about the things they hate, I for one know that I share that information more than others probably wish I would, but how often do we talk about what we love?

Thanks again for sending this along Leslie, this was a great one!

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I used to find comfort there, in my head, alone with my thoughts.  It was a place I knew, it was a place I trusted, it was a place I knew I belonged.

But then I started to get tired of it, and scared of it.  I began to think that it wasn’t the place for me anymore.  I was tired of thinking thoughts that were sad and tired and not the least bit helpful at all.

I got tired of thinking them, tired of talking about them, tired of writing about them. So I decided just to stop.  To stop being alone, all alone with my thoughts.  Instead I decided to be just the opposite, I filled up my calendar with things to do and people to see, anything and everything I could think of to keep from thinking.

In the beginning it was great.  I stopped staring out the window and got back into reading.  I burned through books faster than I have in months.  I watched tv shows when they were on, instead of clogging up my PVR with months of programs I would probably never watch.  I met up with friends I hadn’t seen in a while, flipped through magazines that had been gathering dust on my coffee table, I rummaged around in my long-forgotten craft cupboard and felt the creative juices start to flow for the first time in months (years).  I took some time to look up, see the world around me, slip off my shoes and feel the grass between my toes.

I tried very hard to convince myself this was the way to be; the way I should be.

I wanted to believe it.  I wanted to believe that this was the person I was supposed to be.  I wanted to believe I could be this person, the one who was less introspective, less “in my head” and more “in the world.”  Basically I wanted to be someone different than who I was; different than who I am.

But bottom line, that never works.  Wanting to change parts of me works.   Wanting to change a fundamental piece of what makes me “me”?  Not a good idea.

I started to miss who I was before.  I started to feel like I was watching what was going on, watching myself participate in all of these things without actually being part of them.  I realized I was faking it.

And while I may have gained a bit of peace, a bit of exposure to things I had forgotten I enjoy, all the things I gained didn’t outweigh what I lost.

Somewhere in the shuffle I lost the part of me that contemplates, questions and quite honestly, exists.  And, perhaps most painfully, I lost my words.

Because the part of me the contemplates is also the part of me that creates.  The part of me that questions is also the part of me that answers.  The part of me that craves quiet is also the part of me that whispers, that tells me to find the words and share them.  Finding the words gives me comfort, closure and a sense of peace that I cannot find anywhere else, not in any book, in any magazine or in any craft project.

So I will try again.

I will try to find a balance between the thoughts in my head and the life I live outside of it.  I will try to keep time for me, time to be alone and to be quiet, while also keeping time for others, time to be together and to be loud.

I will try to find a way to keep my toes in the grass without losing the words in my head.

I will try.

Wish me luck.

the grass between my toes

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a thought a day

I was browsing in Chapters one day and I saw this journal on the shelf and I thought it was a brilliant (i.e. why didn’t I think of this first?) idea.

I picked it up and flipped through it.  The premise is this: on each page there is the date, i.e. January 1, 20**.  Down each page there are 5 sections exactly alike and each day you are supposed to write one little thought.  Nothing earth shattering (there are only like 5 lines so what can you write that would be that earth shattering in 5 lines)?  Anyway, then the next day you move on to the next page and so on, and so forth.  Then the next year you start back at the beginning and add your new entry to each page.  In that way when you’re writing January 1, 2015, you can look back and see what you wrote on January 1, 2012, January 1, 2013 and January 1, 2014.  Brilliance, sheer brilliance.

This is especially perfect for someone like me who is obsessed with the past and remembering what happened “on this day” in previous years.  Although I don’t admit it to too many people (so it’s a good thing only 3 of you read this blog!), I have kept every calendar I’ve ever used from the time I was in Grade 6.  Sometimes, when no one else is around and I’m feeling particularly nostalgic, I will go down and dig them out of the box where they live in my basement and flip back through a few of the “oldies” and flash back to a different time and place.  It’s like my own little time machine.

But I digress.  So I bought one of the journals.  Actually, I bought one for a friend of mine (one of the three people who read this blog so she knows who she is) and then I decided it was something her and I should do “together” so I bought one for myself as well.  I am proud to say that I’ve written in it every day.  Okay, no need to be mean, I know it’s only January 3 but it’s really about rewarding small steps in the right direction!

However, in the spirit of full disclosure, I should admit that I screwed up when I went to write on the second day.  As I mentioned above, you write each day on a different page.  In order to make this really as simple as possible, the dates are pre-printed for you; about as idiot-proof as you can get.  However, in my excitement over writing consistently for two whole days, I went and wrote my brilliant “thought” for January 2 under the one I had written for January 1, rather than on the next page.

Duh.

Oh well, at least on a yearly basis I will be reminded of what a dweeb I am.  Just in case I forget.  Maybe that should be my “thought” for today.

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