Smokescreened fears

I promised myself I’d write something tonight.

I have no grand illusions of it being well crafted or even well thought out. I would like to do more well thought out writing, employing more rigorous self-editing and/or peer-editing processes. But tonight, I simply write.

That was the disclaimer. You have been warned.

Fear is a funny thing. Some fears are obvious to us. Great phobias or maybe tiny irrational things we can usually reason through for ourselves. Often fears are wrapped up in the unknown. But my least favourite kind of fear is the one I don’t know I have.

Every so often (and likely more often than I recognise!) I get absolutely hung up on something. Sometimes I get stuck on some aspect of something, usually when trying to make a decision about it, and can’t seem to get back on track or shake it off. Now, I am definitely known by those close to me for my over-thinking and my analytical way of processing some things. (Not all things, though, which is part of what makes me absolutely fascinating.) I think this problem and this trait must somehow be related.

Whatever it turns out to be, that which I’m over-focusing on ends up being a smokescreen. This is news to me — I didn’t know that until this evening. (Thanks to the analytical thing, I do now!) But the pattern does follow back through a wearying timeline of events spanning over three decades.

So the crazy smokescreen goes up. For made-up example, “I don’t see how I have time for lunch. There is no possible time I can go out now for lunch. I’m not sure I feel like Chinese food today. “. And usually people look at me very oddly. But when it came right down to it, I had lots of time and I rarely pass up Chinese food. It turns out that it’s always about something else when I get in a state like this. So, following my made-up example some more, maybe it’s an underlying fear that the people going don’t really want me to go and I fear I won’t be comfortable. Or maybe it’s the fear of what somebody else will think if I do go, because I’m out for lunch again. Or maybe it’s the fear that I won’t have anything interesting to say if I do go.

Oddly enough, when things present themselves like this for me I don’t see it at the time. Ah, the unknown, underlying fears… fears that I would usually be capable of talking myself through, if not out of completely. But instead are somehow hidden by what pretends to be reason or thoughtfulness, or, even worse, as “making the tough decisions”.

Somebody stop me… I’m afraid I’ve written too much. ;)

Anyway, my big fear (which I fully recognise) is that I’m the only one on the planet who does anything at all like this (or is silly enough to write about it) and it just makes me stranger than I was before. But, ah well. Too late now.

Donna defined?

Tonight I am thinking about the idea of redefining… things… self… whatever…

In thinking about redefinition I find myself needing to consider the present definitions.  Maybe that’s the problem.  What is the definition of Donna?  ‘Things’ around me are being defined and redefined all the time and, except for my initial reactions to the uncomfortableness of change, this is usually good in the end.  Somehow.

But what of the Donna definition?  At the risk of being my stereotypical self and being super analytical, who the heck do I think I am?!  What defines me… or rather, what things do I allow to (erroneously) define me?  What patterns, habits, thoughts, etc. keep me from being the best Donna ever?  I won’t list these all out here (sorry) but maybe I’m not the only one needing to consider such a list these days.

Ultimately, the love of Jesus defines me.  Or at least it ought to.  And because I want for it to, wherever it doesn’t quite shine through I know those are some of the areas that need some redefining.

I’ve never been one for “breaking habits”… I have always preferred to replace bad (already ‘broken’, perhaps!) habits with new, better habits.  But I’ve never really given myself much credit for my better habits either.  Upon reflection, this may have been an oversight that has lead to the occasional breakdown of these same better habits.

Now, I tend not to do formal New Year’s resolutions anymore.  I think goals and good choices and changes can be made at any time and waiting for the new year to place them in effect is counter productive in many cases.  But it’s definitely true that the end of a calendar year often comes with times of reflection and re-assessment.  Maybe because some of us actually take the time to stop our crazy busy lives and relax or spend time with family (or both if we’re fortunate!).  It’s often a good time to “reset” and start fresh.  So I’ve set a goal or two, and am always clad with one dream or another, but I’m really stuck on this idea of the “definition”.

Yup – I can get all melancholic and wonder if anybody will take a chance on me… but perhaps herein lies a fault in the present definition?  Maybe it’s time that I take a chance on myself.  That would be an example of a redefinition if I ever saw one.  Too bad I have no idea what that would look like… but I do like the sound of it.

Defining Donna… Redefining Donna… Finding Donna?  Oh Donnnnnnaaaaaaaaaaaaaa????!  Where are youuuuuuuuuuuu?

Try Typing Before You Speak?

There are many things I am not. I am not really a phone person. (Although because I can be a people person, I can sometimes seem like a phone person. But generally speaking, I hate phones.) I am not a conflict person… I may create some, but not intentionally. And, whether I caused it or not, I don’t like dealing with conflict-y things. I am also not often what one would consider a clever or particularly helpful conversationalist in person. Perhaps that is just a self-perception but most of the time that’s one of the few perceptions I have, so I deal.

Anyway, one thing I am almost too good and too comfortable with is online chatting. Not emails as much as instant messaging, where both parties are present, although often in two distinctly different locations, and sharing in a real-time conversation via computer. Note I said “often” — this would be because I spend 5-days a week at the office sending various instant messages to people who sit within a stones throw of my desk. Actually less than a stones throw… I can throw a stone pretty far.

I have had a number of very deep, spiritual, personal kind of conversations over the years via one instant messaging program or another. One might call it “mentoring”. Or maybe “available”. Or better still, simply a friend. But nonetheless, that has become part of what I do and how I communicate with people who are geographically located all over the place.

There are many things about instant messaging that are less than perfect. You can’t tell how somebody is reacting for certain — only with a sense of who the person is in real life, or by discernment, can we get an idea of this. Also, some things literally get lost in transmission. I’ve had messages critical to the ongoing discussion never get to the recipient… the messages before and after, yes, but not the one that had the meat in it. If I’m lucky and catch on, I can resend it, but not always does it work out.

BUT… (apart from the obvious advantage of talking to these people in the first place) to me the best thing about instant messaging is the “think time” that it can provide. Granted, I am a fast typer and can let my response messages get sent off a lot quicker than I intended, sharing stellar remarks such as “that’s so goo” or “okya!”. But most of the time, the “think time” does apply.

I don’t take “think time” nearly enough in real person to person conversations (either on the phone or in person). Maybe I always feel the pressure to respond immediately, even without thinking something through. But when online, I can craft a somewhat witty response, or (on the other end of the spectrum) take a moment to pray or listen for the best response.

We’ve all experienced receiving a message where our out loud (negative) reaction is along the lines of “OH, come on!!! You’ve got to be kidding me!!” and our filtered reply is “oh really?” or “ok, that’s fine”, usually because there is absolutely nothing we can do about it. For some of us, we do this in person too… although many people don’t.

I like “think time” because it allows for a more quality response. By the time I finish typing my reply, having already re-read the typed out parts many times while typing the rest, I can immediately assess whether it is a good response… whether it is clear, kind, appropriate, spelled correctly…. any number of things. It’s just that smidgen slower (even for quick typists) in process time that it allows for the “think time” that is so easily discarded within the structure of in person exchanges.

Maybe I need to start typing my comments, questions, replies out in my head before sharing with the auditory world?

Having shared all of that, I don’t think I’m going to proofread this tonight. Hahahahhaa! Just more typing out loud.

Till another time, O live, people!!