I don’t like being told what to do. Not even by myself. If I commit myself to doing something, I can pretty much guarantee that I’ll come up with some (usually exotic, occasionally painful) way to not do it. A couple of weeks ago, I committed to writing 2,000 words a day. God knows why. Why would I commit myself to something when I know that the minute I absolutely confirm, absolutely commit to something, you could put money safely on the fact that it is never, ever going to happen? Based on historical data, a betting house would offer less than even odds on me completing something that I told everyone I was going to do. I have no problem, less than zero trouble, writing 2,000 words a day, in fact 2,000 words would be considered to be an easy day, kind of what I’d do when I was on holiday, so why on earth would I bother COMMITTING myself to writing 2,000 words a day?
This week I’ve lounged around, I’ve shopped, I’ve cleaned, I’ve met with friends, I’ve watched movies, I’ve researched recipes, gone to the gym, I’ve whinged, moaned, bitched, griped, searched my soul, sulked, been bored, slept, meditated, asked my ‘sacred spirit guides’ and invested literally DAYS of my time ‘trying to sort out my Facebook feed’, which I knew all along was a totally pointless exercise.
I don’t know what Facebook think they’re doing with all their algorithms & fancy technology, but what appears on my newsfeed is not at all what I’m interested in. The only reason I go on Facebook now is to see if I can get it to look the way I want it to look. I don’t ever catch up on what anyone’s doing because it doesn’t show me; it only shows videos & photos that people have liked and shared. Not their own videos & photos, some other page’s. I’m not interested. Plus it shows me stuff from maybe 6 or 7 people, and they’re the ones who share the most things, not post their own things but share other people’s photos, quotes & videos.
See what I mean? I’m focused on unimportant stuff and totally avoiding what I need / want / ought to do.
Two days were taken up this week with driving Keeley back to school, followed by several hours another day that were taken up with sending the inevitable parcel to her later on in the week, filled with all the things she’d forgotten to pack. Okay, it was only one thing but time, but it was fairly important: her sports shorts. Once she forgot her blazer. And one memorable time, she forgot her bedding. It was a difficult decision for me: make her sleep under her dressing gown for the term or buy her bedding? Ooh, the temptation. I decided to forgo stretching out my ire across the entire term and satisfied myself by yelling at her… loud enough for the rest of the boarding house to hear.
I know, I know, I shouldn’t embarrass her in front of her friends, it’s not good parenting, I’ve probably given her a defining moment, she may never recover from it, she’s going to make it mean stuff about herself, etc., etc. What can I say? #badparent
She was reminded what to bring, she has lists, she has plenty of time to get ready, she’s done all this before, there was no excuse. I have to fork out the money to buy new bedding, she needs to get responsible and understand there’s going to be a consequence, said consequence in this case being, she’s going to get yelled at in public. And it’s not like it would be a completely unexpected or unpredictable consequence, either; she’s lived with me for all of her 15 years and then some, she knows how life with me goes.
Getting right back to the story… Halfway to Armidale, at one of our scheduled toilet stops (isn’t that one of the joys of life when you travel a lot, especially as you get older and especially with kids? You have to plan your route based on the toilet stops. Not that there’s many toilet stops available on the Armidale run: there’s a 2 and a half hour stretch with no toilets! No coffee before that one!), Keeley decides to get in the back of the car and stretch out across the seat, headphones in, comfortably leaning on her pillow and snuggled up in her blanket ready for the really bendy, twisty, hilly stretch as we head up into the New England high country. I’ve got Robbie Williams blaring away, I’m happily singing (albeit massively out of tune) along, when BANG! Someone crashes into me.
The road is very narrow and winding in that stretch, and very dangerous. It’s cut into the side of a hill and there are big drops off to the side and lots of trees. It was also raining. I saw the car coming towards me as I went round the bed, but she was on her side of the road, so I just put my focus back on to the road. I don’t think she saw the corner at all. I don’t know what she was doing, but like my friend said, if she hadn’t hit me, she might have either hit a tree or gone over the edge or both. When she got out of the car, she said that it was all her fault and, true to her word, she’s told the insurance company that, too. And thank god she’s insured: the quote for repairing my brand new BMW X4? About $25,000.
Talk about a good excuse for not writing: I’m a bit shaken, my neck’s sore, I need to recover, I’d just like a bit of ‘me’ time, I’ll just take it easy for a few days, I’ve got to sort out the repairer, insurer, claim forms, better get a massage, go to the chiro, have a bath…
Let’s face facts: I like drama. My life is filled with drama. Drama and busy-ness. Everyone wholeheartedly believes that I’m SO busy, busier than anyone else could ever be, so much is always happening. I like it like that. For several reasons, not least of which is people tend not to ask me to do stuff because they know I’m always flat, chat busy, and it keeps me occupied. I don’t like being at a loose end, I need Purpose. So, this week, because I hadn’t created my own purpose to avoid writing, I unconsciously gave myself something else to do: a car crash. Then I had lots to talk about and a great excuse for doing things other than write.
Am I being hard on myself here? Judging myself harshly? Yeah, probably not.
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Hi! I’m Karen O’Connor, hormonally-challenged, menopausal writer, blogger, self-confessed sarcasm enthusiast, mother of 4, wife of 30 years, destroyer of souls... no, wait, that's just in the mornings...
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