What If My Favorite Thing to Do Is Nothing? (Notes on Slug Life)

nothingnobody

It’s hard for me to make blanket statements, especially to complicated questions like, “Do you condone violence?” Well, are we talking about someone I do or do not despise? This isn’t my admission that I go around hitting people. Cornered animals, including humans, will often fight back, and I have delicate bones, so I guess the short answer is no, I do not condone violence. I’m important to me and one of my top priorities is looking out for #1.

You would think that with such a bloated level of self-importance, I would use my time wisely and set big goals for myself. When you achieve big, you can brag big. I don’t fritter away precious energy humblebragging; I just brag.

But my favorite thing to do is nothing. It’s hard to brag about nothing. For so much of my life, I did shit I didn’t want to do. After careful thought, I realized that some of the things I didn’t want to do weren’t even things I actually agreed to do, just, somehow, I got dragged into another person’s mess, and eventually, it became my own burden to bear. When I made the commitment to stop saying “yes” to every request, freedom came immediately and the power of “no” was so delicious that it bled into every crevice of my waking hours.

When my zeal for “no” mixed with depression, I stopped doing anything. I didn’t want to get out of bed. I had no goals. I would start a task and forego the satisfying rush of finishing it because, fuck that shit. At the end of each day, I couldn’t recall what I had done with my time. Doing nothing feels both long and brief. And doing nothing is really goddamn boring.

Since it’s hard to change your ways when you have no idea what your ways are, I decided to keep track of an entire day during my 102-day break to assess where I might be able to shift my behavior or focus. Reading over my notes at the end of the day was fucking horrifying. If I were a deity, I would most likely smite myself for my ridiculous and wasteful abuse of life.

A.M.

6:40 Wake up. Immediately shut my eyes again and pretend I am sleeping. Hope my body gets the hint.

6:42 Hear incessant chirping. Google “How do I find a bird I can hear but can’t see?” on my phone. Already Googled “Is it illegal to kill a bird in Los Angeles County?” when the bird moved into our neighborhood late spring but haven’t taken action. Mental note: purchase slingshot.

6:55 I need to pee.

7:05 I really need to pee.

7:13 Fuck it. Fine. I will get out of this fucking bed. Fuck my kidneys. Fuck my bladder.

Harv leaves with Cal to drop her off at school.

8:15 Harv is home again. He has a dentist appointment in an hour. I am still in bed. “Wow, you’re exactly as I left you.” Not true. I am now sitting up.

8:15-8:25 I spend 10 minutes of quality time with Harv even though I am in the middle of a Candy Crush level that I was probably going to beat but not anymore because disruptions break my flow. Show Harv a picture of Jay-Z’s murdered out Tesla because the look appeals to me. He immediately frowns and shakes his head.

jayztesla

“Just because I’m married to you doesn’t mean I can’t be married to the streets,” I argue. He says it draws the wrong kind of attention. “You know I don’t fuck with felonies.” My upstanding behavior falls on deaf ears.

9:00 My Any.Do app reminds me that it is 9 a.m. and I need to plan my day. My day has not officially started yet, so I ignore the reminder. I’m really killing it in Candy Crush. Level 617 is my bitch. Wait. How did I go through 4 lives so fast? I switch the time on my phone to get more lives and promise myself that I will stop playing when these 5 lives are gone or if I beat this level, whichever comes first.

9:15 I’m so hungry that I’m starting to feel nauseous. Also, my eyes are getting tired because I have not yet put in my contacts and when I play Candy Crush with my bad eyes, I have to close one and only look out of the other to focus. It is causing both eye and facial muscle strain. I will get out of bed. As soon as I finish these 5 lives.

We have lots of delicious leftovers, but all of those require microwave action. Waiting 45 seconds for my meal isn’t really my style. It really chaps my hide that I bought regular Cap’n Crunch cereal instead of the Crunch Berries version. Colorful food supposedly has more vitamins.

9:52 Eat breakfast. Check Complex Magazine’s website. Repeatedly. Brush my teeth. Think about taking a shower. My feet are cold but I refuse to put on a pair of socks until I take a shower because, hell no, I will not waste two pairs of socks in one day. I’m not going to live like an animal who reuses socks that have previously been on unwashed feet.

I will turn off my phone and start writing at 10 a.m.

10:02 Fuck. Missed it. I will start at 11.

11:23 My feet are going numb because they are so cold. Turning purple even. I have bad circulation because I don’t move very much. Our family doctor says I need to get regular exercise, but fuck that, I do what I want.

I am feeling extremely tired even though I have not done any actual work yet.

11:23-12:18 Text with a friend about procrastination, low self-esteem, fear, feelings of worthlessness. Think about telling my friend I need to take a shower but the conversation has a rhythm, and I don’t want to be rude and cut her off. Attempt to multitask by making the bed and folding the laundry as I text. Spot a Werther’s Original underneath the dresser. It’s a little dusty but wrapped. Lick it a little to see if it tastes “off.” Decide to just eat my unexpected treat and not think about the possible consequences. I’m not trying to be reckless, but I have excellent health insurance, and that’s pretty much the same thing as being unbreakable.

P.M.

12:18 I wash my face instead of taking a shower so I have time to eat lunch. I can’t skip meals because hunger gives me excruciating headaches. Also, when my stomach is empty, my heart is full of rage, and I’m trying to care more about myself and other people.

1:30-2:30 Therapy. We mainly talk about procrastination and why that’s ruining my life. I mention to my therapist that I am on level 618 of Candy Crush so she knows I’m not just doing nothing with my time.

3:15 Pick up Cal. Except for that one year dismissal time overlapped with reruns of Cold Case, I try not to be late for pick-up. Feel like it shows my kid I got her back. I’m mostly doing this for myself so that when I get old, Cal will give me money to shop at Whole Foods.

3:45-6:30 Lie down. Allow myself a few minutes to grieve over never seeing Tupac rap live. Think about Biggie. Does God allow beef in heaven? I keep my Tupac on the west side of my bookshelf and Biggie on the east.

tupacbiggie

6:30  My brother and his wife come over for dinner. They’re outdoorsy people and often leave the country for extended scuba diving or hiking trips. Harv went to Tibet and then to Everest base camp a few months before we got married, so my brother, Marshall, is asking Harv about his experience. Marshall hopes to summit at least one of the Seven Summits, the highest points of each continent. I bet I could climb a mountain. I climb the stairs in our house all day long, and I never even stop or anything halfway. They are talking about a mountain in the Himalayas called Annapurna. Maybe I will do that one. My brother says it has a 41% death rate. “No wait, I think it’s down to 38% now.”  I scratch that one off my list.

7:50-11:30 I watch multiple episodes of Everest: Beyond the Limit, a docu-series chronicling the two-month journey of Everest climbers. If I can climb a mountain with the same devotion and concentration that I have for watching this show, I will be unstoppable.

Questions about climbing Everest:
Is it okay to cry on Everest? Will my tears freeze?
Is wifi available?
Will I be able to maintain my skincare routine?

11:30 I am extremely spent after watching hours of Everest. It’s been emotionally draining and I’m physically maxed out after being in a sitting position for over 4 continuous hours. Get up and stretch. Call down to Harv and ask him to bring me a glass of water with a lemon wedge. I need to rehydrate, but I just can’t see myself going all the way downstairs right now.

11:40 Think about Neil deGrasse Tyson. I wanted to become an astrologer when I was 12 but made the mistake of saying “astronomer” instead of “astrologer” to my parents. For 3 years, my Christmas gift was a subscription to Astronomy magazine and monthly deliveries of Voyage Through the Universe, a Time Life series that cost my parents $20 for each book. I still have them today even though I’ve never cracked open a single volume. They can now be purchased for $1.99 online. If I meet Neil, should I mention my collection? I bet it would earn his respect. Those Time Life books ain’t nothing to fuck with.

11:50 Harv says I’m probably not going to meet Neil deGrasse Tyson in the near future so I need to stop rummaging through boxes looking for my books. He also suggested I “go to bed right now.” How am I married to such a pessimist? He’s really lucky to have me in his life.
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This was a powerful, eye-opening exercise, and it’s helped me understand what a profound impact depression had on my behavior when I allowed it to overtake my day. Well, if I’m being honest, depression, sheer laziness, and apathy. I’m embarrassed that this is who I can be sometimes, but now that I know what rock bottom looks like, I can be better. Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger.
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DOES MY BLOG LOOK JACKED UP? Please clear your browser cache, reload, and it should look normal (but better cuz I’m working on blog revisions with my developer, Lindsay of Hello Monday).

Holler at me:

Flourish in Progress on Facebook: Liking this page will change your life. Ha. No. Be real. Sometimes I post semi-fun shit on there, but that’s about it.

Instagram @flourishinprogress: Yes, my profile is on lockdown. But I accept most follows unless we used to do bad shit together.

I Choose Me (Notes on Facing the Truth About Addiction)

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Ask anyone who’s ever hit rock bottom about the moment they finally realized the truth about themselves, and they can tell you in detail when they stopped believing their own bullshit. Usually, the story involves extraneous details that take a long time to recount. You start hating yourself for asking and then wonder how you can become a heartless fucker who doesn’t care about anybody so you never have to listen to this kind of drivel again. This has never been a problem for me because as my kindergarten teacher, Ms. Lefever, once told me, my listening ears are broken. Maybe she told me ten times, but my penchant for underachievement has saved me from listening to a lot of shit that would only clutter my pristine, unused mind.

I’m bad at being good to myself. I don’t understand love the way I think someone my age (33) and in my position (mother and wife) should understand it. More importantly, I lack the ability to recognize pain as a sign that something is wrong. Actually, I’m uncomfortable being pain-free. I don’t feel like myself. That weight helps me know that I exist.

Even with a tolerance as high as mine, I’ve been feeling an unbearable amount of pain lately. I thought it was because I lost the sudoku book I got at the dollar store that I refuse to replace because there isn’t another dollar store close by, and the ones at my local bookstore start at $5.95. What am I? A rapper with limitless income?

Instead of buying two sudoku books as I had originally planned, I decided to spend my other dollar on a foldable map of the United States. It’s always bothered me that I’m not able to immediately identify the 48 contiguous states (Alaska and Hawaii are freebies, and if you can’t identify those two states on a map, then you’re totally fucked in life and don’t let nobody tell you different).

Since I’ve been going to therapy again, I used my session the week I lost my sudoku book to lament about my haphazard organizational skills. I don’t know what you consider a good use of time with a therapist, but my heart felt a lot lighter after spending 20 minutes recounting all the special items I’ve lost over the years, especially the Louis Vuitton bracelet I lost in New York while I was not sober.

The session started out with a list of lost items and moved into my therapist claiming that I was an addict. I’m not one of those people that lets anyone with a mental health workbook and a feelings chart tell me about myself, so I regularly dismiss any label I’m given. “I’m not an addict, you stupid fuck. I can stop any time I want.” Actually, my mouth said “Ms. Dee,” but my eyes said “stupid fuck.”

It’s been difficult to face the truth about myself. I just kept pretending that I was fine. I would smile and make little dry jokes and turn the attention back on the other person so I wouldn’t have to answer any questions.

I was also confused for a long time because people told me that I looked “so put together” and happy, so if I felt any other way, I chided myself for being delusional. I learned not to trust my feelings. Since I’ve been told countless times that my thoughts aren’t the truth either (especially ones that involve self-hate and self-sabotage), I began to believe that every single thing that went on inside of me was a lie.

I lean on my addictions when the pain becomes overwhelming, and it takes my breath away every time I try to deal with it. Now, after all this time, the one simple truth I know about my weaknesses is that they don’t even really mask the pain I feel. They amplify it. My addictions bring in a new level of agony that I can only reach when I am knee-deep in my secret habits. Being in therapy has helped me realize that many elements of my day-to-day routine are actually addictions.

Yesterday, on the Flourish in Progress Facebook page, I wrote:

I was scrolling through my FB feed just now and saw these words from my friend, Laurie White: “I recommend asking for the help you need to do the things you think you cannot do. That’s the part I was missing.”

 I hate crying because it makes me feel weak and I refuse to do it if at all possible. But Laurie’s words made me cry and just this once, I knew that it wasn’t because I was weak.

 I hate that being an addict is something I’ll never not be. (That probably didn’t make sense, but y’all know I struggle with my English on the reg.) Addicts are either letting their addictions take over their lives or running away from them. Both are exhausting and sometimes I feel like a loser. Asking for help in either phase is what usually makes the difference for me. I hate asking for help though. Because that makes me feel like I’m not capable of helping myself. Which cannot possibly be the truth because we all know that I’m pretty goddamn perfect.

I am finally able to face the truth about my addictions, and I’m going to spend some time getting help. There are some things that I just can’t do on my own. I can choose to let my addictions flourish or I can choose me.

I choose me.

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P.S. My ability to estimate the amount of time anything requires is real, real bad, but I hope to be back on the blog before too long…fingers crossed that with some serious effort in July, I’ll be back in August. In the meantime, I’ll occasionally be rolling by Instagram (@flourishinprogress) or the Flourish in Progress Facebook page. I’ll still be posting Rap Lyrics + Tree pictures on my passion project, Hood Plus Good on Instagram, though not as often. Y’all be good. I done enough bad for the whole lot of us. Thank you for being so kind to me.

tupacbox(flourishinprogress on Instagram)

P.P.S. Creating something has always been therapeutic for me, whether it’s a string of words that convey a thought or a scrapbook (my scrapping skills are fucking legit). I started making these boxes again. I make each from fine silver which is 99.99% silver (vs. sterling silver which is 92.5%). Each box starts out as a lump of precious metal clay (fine silver particles and binders) which I shape, mold, carve, and assemble, then I throw into my kiln at 1,650*. The binder burns off leaving just the precious metal. Since silver is a market commodity, the price of this clay fluctuates all the time, and it’s gotten expensive as fuck to make each one. But, like, YOLO. This one was inspired by Holler If Ya Hear Me, the Broadway musical based on Tupac’s work, that I just saw in New York last week.

Did u hear about the rose that grew from a crack in the concrete  -Tupac Shakur

I’d like to try creating other objects besides boxes. Any thoughts? The box pictured above is only about the size of a quarter (due to precious metal clay prices), so I’d like to keep other projects about the same size. Thank you for your help.