It’s been a while since my last post. I was on a roll with the 500 Words a Day and then straight into the Whole30 blog that hit the big time with Melissa. But since then, nada. And it’s because I’m fucking tired. We have been working an ungodly amount in the last few months. Too much. But I can’t say no to projects and I can’t say no to money.
In the last 45 days I’ve matched my annual salary for the previous year.
Money has always been the thing that lingers over my shoulder. I cannot breathe when I think about being broke or “not making it”.
We’re making it. But the anxiety has only gotten worse. Now I need to make more and think bigger and look down the road and make perfect strategic decisions now that will guarantee our financial stability.
Am I really an entrepreneur? I think every week about taking a job as an in-house producer for a large creative firm. Oh, the comfort. The peace of mind.
I used to have my students individually fold the yoga blankets and stack them so they all faced the same way on the shelf. I would tell new students that it was important they did it right themselves instead of me doing it for them. Right now I am alternating feet positions on the stool so each heel gets equal time on the cross bar. I haven’t done the math but I know my right ring finger has touched the keyboard more times than my left and I’m going to have to take a second to even it out. wwwwwwwwsssssssssswwwwwwww.
One of my students said that people who are obsessive compulsive and controlling tend to be very successful in business. I can see it. I think about things that the normal mind might not. Alexis always asks how I think about so many things at once. It’s not something I try to do.
And it has made me successful, financially. But I’m not sleeping. There are so many projects on the deck. And I want to work on them all simultaneously. I woke up this morning at 6:22am because Woody was sick from his flea medicine and now I’m here on the computer. This is a step towards relieving my anxiety. I’m writing for no reason other than to feel like myself again. The last few weeks I would have gone straight to the computer to edit.
At some point I’ve run out of discoveries. At least in the big, moving sense. Part of the obsessive and strategic mind is putting pieces into place before they have actually happened. By the time it happens the actual experience is diluted because I’ve lived it in my head. To the point where if something falls off the table I already know which part of my hand will catch it and how it will feel on my skin given the object’s weight and texture. I don’t know how it stops.
They would tell most people to meditate or practice yoga. Sarah Clark would still tell me to meditate, likely. But that is when it attacks me the most. It’s a tiny, dense, cold, and sharp sphere in the center of my heart that sends jolted electricity through my blood. It has hijacked my veins and used them to run it’s supply of tension, fear, and hyper-reactivity.
I’m losing the ability to be in the moment. I shouldn’t say losing the ability, I’ve never really had it. But it’s slipping away faster than usual. I can only get it back when I watch Alexis and Woody lay in bed. It’s happening now and this makes my eyes well up. Alexis is the definition of presence. So much so that she doesn’t really plan for much beyond what is happening right now. She works at it. She is making lists now. And her work process has gotten exponentially better as a result of living and being in a relationship with a robot. But the reality is that she is just pure life. So I watch her and try to imagine what it would feel like to feel so much. To be so real. I have to imagine it because that part of the human tissue wasn’t installed in me.
I resented being married on and off for the first few months. Maybe up until a few months ago, really. It wasn’t that we didn’t have a catastrophic love and amazing story to get together, because we did. It was more that some part of me – the part that was just me – was dying off. And I didn’t know it at the time but I also had fear of all the work I was going to have to put in as a person.
I’m great at the first few weeks of a relationship. I have great stories and things to show you and places to go and jokes to make and friends to see and I can keep things interesting without showing a single flaw up to I’d say 42 days.
Alexis has always challenged the robot in me. I follow her around the house secretly and plug in all of her electronic devices that are about to die because she doesn’t practice the same charging protocol as me – which is 80% means you’re dead and entirely irresponsible.
There is this thing I’ve learned about called trans-generational rage. Anger that lives in the genetic code passed down from our ancestors. A violent scene in Europe or Gettysburg could be living inside of me. War-driven blood and murder in my heart. I know this is true because there is no other explanation for the anger I feel. And lately, I’ve been able to trace it to the exact moments when it originates.
Yesterday I was walking Woody and he took a poop in front of a friend’s house. I grabbed for a bag out of our fancy leash attachment and saw that it was empty. My brain did some calculations and I quickly figured out that Alexis was the last to walk him. Which would make sense because she is forgetful. Now I’m stuck here in front of this house and looking like I am not responsible and thoughtful and it’s her fault. Who she is is a direct reflection of me right now and it’s an unfair strike against my character.
I saw my friend coming out and asked her for a bag. She laughed and gave me one. On the walk home I thought about how I had a good reason to hold one over her head. Not in a dramatic way, but just a simple reminder that I’m organized and she is not.
But I caught it. Because I’m trying to reprogram my computer brain to locate the moments when my behavior is unnecessarily judgmental or when I’m acting in a way that doesn’t make Alexis feel 100% loved and supported. She is literally the sweetest, most loving thing and for some reason I have it inside of my like a predestined mission that I cannot break the sacred trust we have in each other. I cannot put her in a box and make her think she can’t grow rapidly even though she is in a relationship.
So I made a shift. I came home and made a joke about being out of bags and him pooping right in front of Des’ house. She immediately acknowledged that she forgot to change the bags and apologized. I just smiled and said it was no big deal. Then I gave her a kiss and we joked about something else. This may seem like no big deal to you guys but I know for certain from my observations that these are the little moments that accumulate and determine if a marriage is light and loving in ten years or if people are making jokes about needing a golf trip to Vegas to get away from their wives. I never want to say something like that.
That is the softness that is happening in my life that is contrasting with the growing anxiety.
The way I structure my thoughts is in direct opposition to being an entrepreneur. Control. Order. Efficiency. Those are the things that give me peace. But looking at a spreadsheet and seeing no work on the calendar for August doesn’t make me feel like I’m in control.
So how can I overcome this?
I’ve started to create a spreadsheet that highlights the number of unexpected jobs we get in a given month. The ones that come out of nowhere and weren’t on the projections. I’m determining the % of our total business that is a result of these unexpected gigs and adding that “fate” factor into future projections. It’s quantifying the unknown.
This will inevitably fail. It’s a trick to cover up a systemic fault in my mindset.
As I get older I’m learning to trust good things to come my way. But it’s very unnatural and is taking longer than I’d like.
A few weeks ago Alexis told me that she was my teacher. We both laughed at the time because we knew it was true.
I think on a very big level my ego can stand in the way of a lot of growth. The amount of concessions I have to make on a daily basis – about my own neurosis, my anger, the judgment, and unfairly blaming my own shortcomings on something Alexis is doing in my mind – has taken me down a few notches. No longer the seemingly flawless and charming guy. Now a smaller version of something. Smaller but more integrated. Not as loud but more meaningful.
I’ve missed writing. Because it’s my way of connecting with people. I’d rather not go to parties. I’m not even that big on too many friendships. I find the politics and personal agendas to outweigh the benefits of company. There is a freedom in writing for me. I’m sharing everything about who I am and what I’m thinking without having to feel all of the weight of your reactions. This is more personal. And it’s how I’ve come to learn so much about myself.
I have some more stuff I’m going to be writing soon.