Friday, December 10, 2010

Needing things to be dependable

Sometimes my childhood experiences and the way they have formed me sneak up on me. Today was one of those days. Last night my computer monitor was doing some weird stuff and this morning it just decided to give me big trouble, staying lit only a few seconds before fading to black. It was annoying but it didn't stop me from writing in my journal, getting breakfast, taking a shower, getting ready for a day of writing with friends. And I have a great computer guy, perhaps the best PC guy in Portland, and I was sure he'd know what to do. It would mean a drive out to his place but I could fit that into my day.

Well, it wasn't that simple. When we talked on the phone at 9, he said he had no idea what was wrong but come on out so I unplugged everything and took both monitor and the tower to the car. My friends arrived, we had circle, they settled in to write and I drove to David's.

Of course, both the monitor and the computer performed beautifully there in his shop. Murphy's Law, or one of its variations, isn't it? I came on home, plugged it all back together and the monitor immediately didn't work. I called David who said it had to be in my environment so I spent time unplugging all the devices and plugging everything somewhere else and it just kept malfunctioning. Long story short, the monitor isn't working, the warranty has lapsed, and I need a new one. But it took most of the day to figure that out, a day I wanted to spend in another way. And the problem won't be solved now until Monday.

No big deal, right? I've got a laptop, I can sort out a way to do the work I need to do this weekend. It isn't a catastrophe. It's a mechanical glitch. And on the surface, I was okay, but underneath I was anxious. When my computer doesn't work or my phone doesn't work or the power is out or my car is in the shop, I don't feel right. I can talk myself into flexibility and I can pretend that I don't care but I do. I want to control my environment, I need things to be dependable and when they aren't, I don't like it.

I had several impulses to eat around this, to soothe myself. I knew enough not to try to talk myself out of the feelings of anxiety and disruption. It never helps to tell myself I shouldn't feel a certain way. But I didn't find a good soothing solution. I didn't eat but I didn't know how else to take care of myself.

I feel some better knowing that I just need to replace the monitor and that that can happen easily Monday morning and things will go back to being okay. But I'd like to develop more ease when things don't seem so dependable.


Samantha said...

This thought is encouraging, as it is coming from a person who seems to understand the complexity of taking care of herself. I am currently stuck in Florida, due to the snow storm in Chicago. Many people told me I should be happy that I'm stuck in a nice vacation spot. While I'm happy to have a couple extra days off of work and am glad to not be dealing with snow, I have had a great deal of anxiety. I had plans, which I was forced to cancel. The whole process was very stressful yesterday. I spent most of yesterday shifting my plans and schedule, rather than enjoying the beautiful weather. I also was very impatient and grumpy with my brother, who had no hand in the situation, simply because he was trying to encourage me.

sorella said...

I love what Samantha wrote, about the complexity of taking care of oneself, as well as her acknowledgment of her complex emotional reaction. All those emotions are there, and ignoring them seems to increase the injury and stress. Yes, it's important to not perpetually stew in a tub of stress hormones; but it's also unhelpful to try and paper over how you feel. Jill, you've identified that so perfectly when you write "it never helps to tell myself I shouldn't feel a certain way." Perhaps being able to articulate how you felt and share it with all of us is healing on some small but significant level.