Saturday, July 27, 2013

Five Things

I can't remember what day it is, most of the time. So I'm not sure how many posts I've missed already, but since it's technically Sunday, I'm going to count this for Sunday, since I'll be gone a good portion of tomorrow and probably won't get around to posting.

I have always been a list maker. As a kid, it was Christmas lists, birthday lists, general "wish" lists. In high school and college, I was almost obsessive about my school work, writing and rewriting if the lettering didn't look just right - and making lists. The work I had done, the work I had yet to do, and everything else besides school work I had to do. I think some of this must come from my mom - she's a list maker too, if for no other reason than that she has a myriad of things to remember and do. I make lists to remember things, but I also make them because it's soothing. For all my messiness and oft-chaotic workspaces, I need - crave - order, and making lists is a way to find that. I catch myself writing lists of things that I already have solidly in my memory. It's not to remember them. It's for my sanity, if you will. 

I've also always been a journal-keeper. Growing up, I can't count the number of notebooks and diaries I went through. In high school English class, we were required to write in a journal, daily. This drew some opposition from some, but that was always my favorite part of the day. I kept journals through college, and even up until a few months after I was married. I can't remember why I stopped, but just recently I've started keeping one again, and I guess this blog is a journal in a way, although not so personal as the cute little notebook I bought at Target on a whim. It seemed like a good idea at the time, and I guess it is - again for my sanity. A journal doesn't laugh, doesn't judge, and if you complain too much or obsess over things too much, it doesn't tell you to shut up and get over yourself. 

Combining the two, I remember for a few months in school I would write in my journal a daily list of ten things - ten things I was thankful for, ten things that made me happy that day, ten things that upset me, and so on. So the point of this post - Sunday is my Five Things day. Five, instead of ten, because I tend to elaborate on things, and I don't want this to go on for pages and pages. I write the way I talk, and if you know me, then you're preparing to quit reading halfway through anyway. ;) Today - Five Things About Me.

Five Things

1. I am afraid of the dark. Not necessarily in a little-kid way, although I do like to have a light somewhere in the room where I sleep, but that's mostly so I can see if I have to get up with a kid. I am fearful of not being able to see, and I have an overactive imagination. Pitch blackness sends me into a panic, even if my hand is on a light switch. And it's not just what I can't see - I fear the things I can see, as well. And this is more like a kid, I think - but things look different in the dark. I don't have very good night vision, and when the dark distorts anyway, well ... my imagination can take ordinary things and run wild. I am thankful for my kids and their night lights, because it gives me an excuse to have one.

2. I really do think I have OCD, at least mildly. I touched on this with my list making, and I do think it's more than just a few behaviors. The thing is, I'm aware of it, and lucky enough to be able to talk myself out of whatever I'm doing - sometimes. I'm a hand washer - not constantly, but if I touch something I deem "gross", or pick food up off the floor (and this happens frequently, with a toddler), even with a napkin or a tissue - I need to wash my hands. They feel different, somehow, until I do. Maybe that's weird, but I've done that for as long as I can remember. I'm a counter - I remember, starting in middle school, counting the steps I took across a room, and if it wasn't an even number, depending on where I was, I would go back and walk across again, or do a little stutter step at the end just to make sure I got that even number in before I got to the next room or hallway. I still catch myself staring out the window while riding in a car, counting the number of car lengths between telephone poles or road signs. I like things to be even numbered - odd numbers itch my brain, or something like that. If I run my hand over a row of things and miss one, or rub lotion on my hands and don't spend an equal amount of time on each finger, it bothers me and I have to correct it. I'm thankful that most of these behaviors are small enough that they don't disrupt my life, for the most part - they don't annoy anyone besides me.

3. I'd like to be "known", but I don't want to be famous. I'm too shy to be famous. As outspoken as I may seem sometimes, I'm considerably more reticent online, which is probably the opposite of a lot of people - and probably a relief to the people who know me. I know I'm not anonymous. I don't want to be, but then I'm aware that I don't have that freedom that I might have with anonymity. I'll be honest, here - there are things I would like to say, that I won't, out of tact, respect, and my own reputation with those who know me that I'd rather not have ruined. And even if I were anonymous, my own sense of who and what I am wouldn't allow me to say everything I'd like to. But I would like to be known. I just don't know what for. I wish that I were wittier, or more talented, something to set me apart, get me somewhere. I don't know where. But I know I want it.

4. I'm not as ambitious as I should be. Starting in elementary school, I got branded "Super Genius", the good speller, the smart kid. I had my own spelling list in the second grade; more challenging than the "Challenge Words". I was in Gifted Ed. I was given permission to go to the library pretty much any time I wanted to, because I was "smart" and "well-behaved" and "trustworthy" and all that stuff. I'm not mocking those adjectives, and I appreciate the labels, to some extent. However, high school took some of the wind out of my sails, and college finished off the rest. In high school, I had a lot of smart friends. Very smart friends. That was the first time I wasn't at the head of the pack, and it was a bit disconcerting. College was the first time in my life that I'd actually had to study material, and I didn't know how. As "smart" as I may be, I was not well prepared for it. Consequently, I think, I have a tendency to underestimate myself, and I don't try hard enough. I don't break promises to others, but I don't always follow through on my own goals. I should have that same regard that I have for others, for myself...

5. I'm vain, but I think self-deprecation is (part of) the key to confidence. I'll admit it. I'm a vain person. I don't take any great pains with my appearance - there are many, many days that I don't even brush my hair, and I'm not one of those people who can get away with that. I don't follow fashions by any means - I have no idea what's "in style" right now, and quite honestly, I really don't care. Jeans never go out of style, and they're comfortable. But I like to look good, and be told I look good. I like to feel like I'm prettier than I think I am. At the same time, I take compliments awkwardly (I'm probably just an awkward person), and I downplay a lot in public. It's not modesty, really. It's just that I feel uncomfortable saying that I do something well, or being told I do - even if I know I do. But some of that self-deprecating humor I have, some of the tendency I have to keep quiet about my talents - it's made me less shy, more confident in myself. I might not tell people I can do a certain thing well, but I have the satisfaction of knowing it. 

Maybe it's a smug satisfaction, but that's okay as long as I don't vocalize it, right? ...right?

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