The Ego Trip

My mind doesn’t quite see reality as it is.  This isn’t new, and it is something that I have simultaneously struggled with and revelled in for most of my adult life.

Friends in high school gave me the moniker Oblivia as I tended to be ignorant and naive about certain things.  I’ll go out for a run, but because I can be such a space cadet at times, I get messages like this:

I just had my mind blown over the reason behind the large indent you can find on the bottom of a wine bottle, this last weekend.  It’s to allow the person serving the wine to pour the bottle without actually warming the wine up by holding the bottle itself.  Did everyone else know that?

As I am currently eating, sleeping and breathing the reflective and pondering mood that has taken over my headspace for the better part of the last 4 months, it only makes sense that I go back and try to figure out when this disjointed perspective between my brain, or more specifically my thoughts and beliefs, and reality took shape.  I think, ultimately it stems back to my disordered eating patterns and my on-going fight with my body, which started when I was about 13.  From there, as I am discovering is the case with many of the different approaches I have, it sort of bled out and tainted many things.   I don’t think I have ever seen myself, from a physical perspective, accurately.  As many people experience themselves, the second I am confronted with my physical appearance, be it in the mirror staring back at me, or in a photograph, instead of taking an objective stance, I instantly dive into the criticisms and judgements.  Don’t even get me started on my eyebrows, or lack thereof.

I am seeing this trend continue on into my present state of mind and how I am adapting and learning in my new and foreign situation of taking some time for myself.  Despite constant and daily reminders to take things one step at a time and one day at a time, there is still a part of my mind that is expecting (perfect) results.

This part of my mind is also, I should point out, not seeing any results and there are tiny incessant reminders of this which oddly sound very much like an ear worm you can’t get rid of.   This is my favourite ear worm.   I recently shared with a friend that each time I fold my pyjamas, this song comes into my head.  I don’t fold pyjamas often but each time I do, without fail it creeps in.

It’s like my mind is singing this song, on constant repeat, but instead of Manamana, its more like “you’re not growing” or “this should be happening faster” or “why aren’t you getting it yet”.  I’m 3 weeks out into this journey and while a part of me is trying to settle in and take it as it comes, my hardwired brain is demanding results.  It is a space that is full of shoulds.  I should be starting to figure things out by now.  I should be starting to sleep better.  I should be experiencing less anxiety.  I should be breaking my old routines and enjoying new ones like a pig enjoys rolling in mud.  I should be more present.  I should be more compassionate.  I should be loving myself more.  I should be able to react to stressful situations in a far more controlled and healthy manner.

 

That last should came up and drop-kicked me square in the nose this morning.  A few months back when I was just entertaining the idea of taking some time off, I had to, of course determine whether it was actually feasible from a financial stand point.   I won’t get into the specifics, but I had savings that I have been white-knuckle holding onto for the last 3 years.  It’s a pot of money I received when I sold my house in Kenora and I had been saving it with the full intention of using it as a down-payment on another house here in the Ottawa area, once I got settled.

 

If only my then 34 year old self had an inkling of what the next 3 years would entail.  I digress.  I didn’t really look into the details and how-to’s of using this pot of money, but rather just assumed that because it was MY money, I should be able to access it when and spend it how I wanted to. This morning I learned the hard way about non-redeemable GIC’s.  First my face did this,

then I sat for a minute like this,

and then my face did this.

For the uninformed, or obliviously burnt out like me, a non-redeemable GIC is essentially a locked account that gains interest.  Provided it is locked in, or non-redeemable, you’re not really supposed to break into it and access it until its maturity date.  I ended up driving over to my bank’s branch location that I most often use, and was able to sit down with Amy who unlocked the fund, with a wink, and deposited the money into my savings account and instantly became my favourite person ever.

While right now I’d like to marry Amy,  the 20 minute drive over to the bank was an interesting one filled with an intense internal dialogue between me and myself.  “You should have looked into this before you decided to up and quit your job”, and “those 3 weeks off were nice, but it’s TIME TO START JOB HUNTING COME ON DOWN”, and finally “it’s not the end of the world.  It’s not the end of the world.  It’s not the end of the world” cycled through my thoughts.

I was able to talk myself down a bit, and was also able to calm the vein in my forehead from its anxious pulsating appearance, which is no small feat.  There were a lot of shoulds in that 20 minute drive, and while I was still my own worst critic, I’d like to think there was a small victory in the fact that I recognized I was shoulding all over the place.  I’m finding that while the results aren’t necessarily what my mind is demanding, I am more aware of my thought patterns and can at times, almost step outside of myself and see it happening.  In that ability, I know, from a logical perspective that there is growth and change.  A year ago, I would have been consumed by the shoulds, and bitten off all of my nails in the nervous and anxious process of self-blame, and then maybe made my way through an entire carton of ice cream in a pity party for one.  I’m learning.  I’m growing.  It may not be the changes that my mind is used to or familiar with, but that’s sort of the point.

With Love,

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Olivia Shaw

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