Clutter Nutters (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Clutter. All around I see piles of clutter. First, and always the mental. The master To DO list that never seems to go down. My creativity at adding all my thoughts onto a piece of paper does provide some relief, yet some items just languish there for ages. It’s as if I hope time’s dust will bury them, and I won’t have to do them. There are several I have been avoiding for a long time. I know donating old clothes from my overflowing closet would relieve me, yet I hesitate to go there. I realize that my library needs to be organized, and I need some breathing room in my work space. Currently. I am typing gently so as not to disturb the stacks of the books I have placed all around me so they don’t fall on me. Yeah, the height of irony, me buried under words. Everywhere. I see clutter in my life. Words fill inside me, and I don’t make room for new ones, instead I push them down under more unsaid words and actions.
Behind me, I sense my pacing dog who anxiously, but patiently, waits for me to take her on her daily walk. Back and forth, I heard the skitter of her feet. Each day is a choice of actions. Each day. I can remove or reduce the clutter or I can take care of some other pressing problem. As I type this. I wonder if I should take the garbage cans in first or ensure Bella can get her morning walk in. Each clear moment has become about decisions that make my day. I resist the pathological need to check my Facebook account or the FML website. Each passing minute, I make decisions that create my day for me. And so lies the dust in my life. Some days, the dust seems to far spread that I don’t even feel like trying. Then there are the other days where I begin to pick up something, and the whole weight of what lies ahead feels so suffocating that I rather just aimlessly roam over Spotify and keep creating playlists.
Each moment is a decision, and some days are just spent in whimsical searching of my past. The To Do list glares at me, and it becomes part of the clutter in my life. Each time I glance at it, the enormity of it just gets to me. It has gotten so bad that I have been put taking my meds as part of my life. I am drowning myself in to do items, and it hits me that I have cluttered thinking as well. So the past weeks, I have been doing Morning Pages from The Artist’s Way, and suddenly even the smallest thoughts are written, and I begin to see patterns. Sadness and anger and regret at the thing I needed or wanted them to be. So much regret, so much longing for how I want things to be. So I put the thoughts down on paper, and suddenly I feel a bit lighter. The clutter no longer seems suffocating.
I move the books, and the words are no longer threatening to bury me. One day at a time. One thing at a time.
Anokha – Soundz of the Asian Underground (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
These past few weeks, I have started to delve into my playlists again, and realized that I have become stagnant. Each playlist is a compilation of the same songs as well some new albums that I thought were interesting. My playlists are the height of my laziness. I no longer hand-pick the songs. Instead, I am content believing others that this is relevant music. Worse, I have even tried to convince myself, yet the playlists have become dustbins of music that I wish I liked but don’t really. Just like me to rationalize that all recommended music is something I want to listen to.
Are they all bad? Of course not! It’s my lack of willingness to sit through music so I can fall in love with it. Instead, I rather cursorily go through it, and added them nonchalantly. So there the music has languished and so has my willingness to engage with it. In the process, I completely stopped listening to music. Period. I didn’t quite miss it till much recently as I began writing. I felt something was missing. Music has always been my soundtrack, the thing in the back that goads me to keep punching these keys. It takes me on flights of fancies, and remembrances. Listening to some of the original playlists, I see how each track meant something to me, a bookmark for a particular person, time, or event. Some had instrumentation that shook me like A.R Rahman‘s theme music for the movie “Bombay” while others like Talvin Singh‘s “Jaan” featuring the ethereal voice of Amar hit into my soul. Each song had personal meaning or connection. They were friends. They were there when I needed them. Yet. I had abandoned them so thoughtlessly. So now I am back on Spotify, You Tube, Podcasts, looking for music that will feed me. That will make me dance across this page, keep me sustained as well as entertained.
A tad romanticized? Of course, what would music be if we didn’t add our own meaning to it?
Jaan By Talvin Singh Featuring Amar
Kehnde Ne Naina- Devika (Reshma Cover)
English: Man with a turban, Bhopal, India. Français : Homme avec un turban, Bhopal, Inde. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The music fills the room and my soul. Silence is my best friend while I pray for the music to enter me. I wait for inspiration. Nothing. Silence. I keep waiting.
No words come to mind. I am blank. The heart is too full of hurt and regret to allow anything out to anyone. Time passes. The coffee cools. Outside, I see a few old couples power walking. Usually one is ahead of the other. What is it about doing things as a race? But that’s not true either. I know that’s my perception. My need to compete with anything. Always me. The “I” never lets go. Me. Me. Me.
I notice the old man. I have been seeing him for years. He is an old turbaned Indian, clean shaven, riding a bicycle. Slowly. Methodically. Sometimes he is a carrying a child but mostly he is alone, chugging along. I often wonder who he is, but really the main question I have for him is: Why the turban? I want to ask “Are you from a village” or “Are you a Sikh who does not believe in keeping the hair?” Where are you going, my friend? Do you realize you have become a staple in my life? A quiet one. Someone who seems to ride by me whenever I am struggling with who I am. You are a sign, but I just don’t know about what. I watch you slowly go by me, and I am tempted to run out and stop you and ask “who are you, my friend?” Yet, I know how crazy that is. s
So I sit here, watching you go by while the coffee has gone cold, and the words still seem to be eluding me. Silence. The music keeps playing…
Lately, I have been on auto-pilot for a lot of things. From drowning in noise on Facebook, to not reaching out to my real friends. I have let others and other things determine my days. I have let too many things to lead me rather than me grabbing life by its throat, and getting things done. This year has started out rough. A few days after my 41st birthday, I suffered a relatively serious illness due to my condition. I have Antiphospholipid Antibody Syndrome conveniently called APS syndrome (what is it with doctors and their long ass disease names?!). Simply, I have an auto immune disease where my blood thickens and creates clots. It was discovered several years back when I woke and could not talk out of the side of my mouth, and drove myself to my primary who immediately saw the signs of a stroke (surprise, now I am a stroke survivor! Who would have thunk it!), and admitted me into the hospital. So I am sick.
Now I have had two choices. I could either roll around and moan that I am sick, or I could keep moving. Anyone that knows me knows what I picked up. Yet, it hasn’t been easy. I cannot take my days for granted anymore. It is something that I have to remind myself that although I look and mostly feel 100%, I am not. That’s hard to take for me. Each morning, I have to wake up and be reminded that I have to work towards being well. Not just physically, but in my thoughts and actions. There is too much I have allowed to build up. Too many thoughts and feelings towards people and myself that I have left unsaid.
Yet, it is not easy starting over. In fact, it sucks. I hate the fact that I cannot work out or that I tire easily after 6 to 8 hours. I hate that I have to parcel out myself to others because I have a nasty habit of blowing up at inconvenient times. I have to relearn a lot of things. The main thing I have to work on is the word “I.” I am constantly struggling between just focusing on my pain and being there for others. I have failed many recently because I have been too caught up with myself. The word “I” rules my world and while some days it is justified, it does not make it OK to NOT see others and their pain. I know I am better than that. I have to be better than that because there is no point in life if you cannot contribute to others. So each day starts with a TO-DO list. A list of things I need to do, and be. A list of reminders that there is more to the world than just me.
So each day starts with the reminder that I am sick. But each day also starts with “I can be better.” I will be better. There is no middle ground.
English: Icon of Law Firm–owned by user. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Yesterday, I attended the LACBA’s annual wage and hour symposium, and the first thing that struck me was the amount of lawyers who showed up the millennium Biltmore, but more than that, how almost all of them dressed alike. Men in suits, and he women in business outfits with some calves showing and business appropriate beige or black low heels. A majority of them with the obligatory iPhone/blackberry, and/or laptop, the low light of the devices making it feel as I was on Krypton. Of course, there were some outliers. One wore a Hawaiian shirt, and another came with a hat, suspenders on blue jeans. I was in the middle, no jacket, business shirt with no collars and almost too tight pants (that’s what I get for eating all the chocolate I can at night). The glow of the devices filled the darkened conference room, and I only felt one feeling: Glad.
I am glad, I don’t work as a lawyer. I am glad that I am not in uniform. I am glad that I don’t have to report for duty. Yet, there was a nagging feel that perhaps, just perhaps, I was missing something. And then it hit me that I missed law school. The camaraderie, the kosher food with my friend Elias, and the nick name “The Three Wise Men” that was given to us by our class mates. Well, I was Indian, my best friend was black, and the third was an orthodox Jew. We made quite an impression when we walked the aisles. Yet it was more than that. I missed knowing the law as an intellectual exercise, but more so I regret never getting actual practice at a law firm. So I know why I was looking down at the attorneys now, I was preempting my insecurity before it got the best of me. In some ways, I couldn’t help thinking that they were REAL attorneys while I played one at my business.
Yet as my best friend pointed out, I am selling myself short. I know the basics, and been around issues at my workplace to have a good grasp of employment law as it relates to my industry. The nagging feeling left after I finished the conference, but I can’t help feeling that I missed out on some parts of being an attorney. My only consolation now is that I can learn as needed, and I don’t have to punch a clock. Some days, that has to be enough.