Some mornings I wake up and I don’t want to clean the kitchen.
And I hate it.
See? I don’t do it at night because I’m lazy.
I cooked up a meal and ate it all down into my belly and now I want to burst through a million episodes of a television show and maybe make some art.
But probably just the TV watching, if I’m being honest.
I used to be really twitchy if the kitchen wasn’t clean before bed. To the point where it would affect my sleep.
I’ve since let that go and do it in a relaxed manner in the morning. And that works great for me. The dishes in the dishwasher are clean by dinner time and I can lazily clean up the kitchen in stages.
Some days, I round the corner to the kitchen and heave a heavy sigh. Something inside me just doesn’t WANT to clean up. It’s just not in me.
So instead of leaving that feeling inside me and forcing myself to clean it up, I listened to what my brain and body were telling me and took a step back.
I used to just live with that feeling, and keeping building on it and y’all, that was destructive as all heck and it hurt the people around me for sure.
Realizing patterns like these has been so helpful to my brain.
Cause all the time I’m noticing these patterns, I’m working with my therapist on ways to keep them from going any deeper. I’ve amassed a pretty solid arsenal of tools.
They come in many forms:
Showing myself grace is normally by first step, but it is often not helpful, because while it’s easy to say “Hey, it’s okay that the kitchen doesn’t get cleaned this morning” and it’s even easier to hear it….
That’s not what my brain wants. My brain wants the kitchen to be clean, not permission to not clean it.
Then I’ll try putting on some hype music (I’m waffling between anything by Megan Thee Stallion and “Homeward Bound” by Simon & Garfunkel currently.) and more often than not the ass-shaking or singing along with extreme emotion gets me going enough to start emptying the dishwasher.
And if that doesn’t work? I’ll walk away from the kitchen and move on to something else. Most of the time, the kitchen will slowly get cleaned just in time to get dirty again and I’ll be bopping along fine the next day.
But if I’m still feeling yooky in the evening and the kitchen is still unclean and I have lazily ordered garlic noods or birria tacos or just made OCD nachos, then I know to start the “whys”.
I should probably explain how my brain works in a blog sometime, but if you remember old school card catalogues, it’s kind of like that, but with no visuals.
I’ll expand on that later, but that should help with what I am about to say a little bit.
So, my brain will start flipping through the typical things that are wrong (I call these cards): Am I near my period? Did I ovulate recently? All of those hormones greatly effect my mood and how I interact with the world around me, so I go there first.
Then I’ll look at outside factors that might be affecting my mood (this list can be very long) and then I’ll just chalk it up to having a bad day and that’s okay.
I have some tools for that, too!
I have “comfort” episodes of televisions that I’ll watch, or I’ll go for a float or a walk or a read.
If worse comes to worse I have two last resorts that I use very differently:
Dan Harmon’s Online Writings: (From MySpace) – I use this when my brain is focused on my picking apart something I did or something I’m working on. I’m in a negative space mentally because of something directly related to me. Reading these make me feel better, because Dan is so real and so raw and unfiltered. Knowing someone as creative and successful (in woodworking) as him had these dark thoughts helps me feel better. By the end of two entries, I’m laughing and ready to take on the world.
The Positive Thinking Workbook – I use this when my bleh is more unspecified. It has been instrumental in turning off the negative faucet. Each activity is a little different and by the end of a couple of them, it’s helped me get out of whatever negative thing is sticking in my head.
By the time I untangle whatever it is, it’s often a tiny, insignificant thing of little to no importance.
But, before, I wasn’t able to take the time to untangle it, so it stayed tangled and my brain kept getting tangled until it was matted and then I saw a professional.
She took time with me, didn’t judge me for the mess my head was in, and helped me slowly untangle the knots one by one, all the while arming me with a cool set of tools that’ll keep my head shiny and healthy in the future.
AND, she didn’t judge me for the weird things I found comfort in and just being accepted was HUGE.
Acceptance is so powerful. As long as there are no strings attached.
That means no, “I accept you but…”
The “but” negates the acceptance, you know? Kind of like a “but” in an apology.
Just accept the people you love. They probably know whatever “but” it is that you were about to say and beat themselves up for it all the time.
Wouldn’t it feel amazing to just be accepted? As it. No “buts”. No “You shoulds”. No “Just do ___ and you’ll be great!”.
If you love someone, accept them. That’s it. It feels great.
I know I am very privileged that I have the time and freedom to figure these things out about my brain. I want everyone to have this same space to figure out their own brains to the degree I’ve been able to do it with my own.
That’s one of the things we’ll provide at the Cathedral, whenever that happens.
This used to be kind of a joke, but now I’m confident Woods Creative Community will be mine one day– and that’s something I wouldn’t have been able to figure out without untangling my brain somewhat.
So, I guess when I wake up and don’t feel like cleaning the kitchen, that’s sorta like noticing my hair is knottier than normal and I should take care of it sooner rather than later, cause it’s harder to untangle a whole head of hair than a single knot.