My mother called last week, right before I had a melt-down (and Oats gave me the lorazepam). I told her that I was having trouble sleeping due to anxiety, and she was sympathetic yet very firm about my need to get over it. She’s been known to phone me around 11 pm or midnight just to chat, which is 2 or 3 a.m. in her time zone: Yes, the insomniacal anxiety is hereditary.
Part of the problem, according to my mother, is the double-edged sword of who we are as people: Both she and myself, as well as her other daughter, my older sister, have an infinite capacity to entertain ourselves. Long travel trips? Not a problem… We’ll happily stare out the window, or read books, or write things, or chat with complete strangers, for hours and hours and hours. As much as we all are planners, we also love having nothing to do. Take away our responsibilities, and we will come up with a million and one other ways of occupying our minds.
I vividly recall all the occasions upon which my stepdad said to us, in a voice that dripped with contempt, “Only boring people get bored.” With that pronouncement came a rarely-spoken but long-communicated list of things that are boring: Watching teevee while doing nothing else (knitting + teevee is okay, apparently), shopping without a specific goal, making any kit according to the directions, cooking pre-packaged foods… I’m actually having a hard time coming up with these, so ingrained they are to the way I was raised!
My older sister has been quote-unquote unemployed for two years, partly due to mental health and a niche job market but also, quite frankly, due to the fact that it’s awfully hard to find a job when you’re busy all the time. She’s an extraordinary fibre artist, knitting and creating the most exquisite (albeit sometimes bizarre) items, and also reads a great deal, and bakes, and paints, and really doesn’t run out of things to do. That’s the problem, she says: If she were bored, she’d be more inclined to seek work.
I’m wary of falling into this same lull, and enjoying myself waaaaaaaaaay too much during this post-school, pre-employment time. Which is causing anxiety, as silly as that sounds: I don’t want to have too much fun because then I’ll miss it when I can’t do it every day… But then I feel bad about not taking full advantage of this time, which most people I know would absolutely love to have. Oats is super-supportive, which is hard too, because she deserves to have so much more time for her art than she gets at the moment, what with working full-time. Of course, that’s part of why I went to trade school in the first place, and what I’m waiting on here: To hear back regarding employment that will set us up for eventual financial freedom, so that one day Oats *can* be a full-time artist.
Fuck, capitalism really has a strange affect on our choices and emotions, doesn’t it?
If there’s one member of the household whose enjoyment of me being around the house all the time is unequivocal, it’s Mo. In his perfect world, this is how we’d always do things. Except there’d be more peanut butter involved.
As promised, here’s a photo of the new painting of me that Oats did this past weekend… Apologies for the terrible quality of the pic! I love the painting twice over: Once because it’s bright and fun and interesting, and then again because it’s me and I’m excited that she loves me like this.
Also, here’s Ballou on my latest crafty project:
She’s saying: “Where the hell is MY new bed?!”
Such accusatory eyes.