Sometimes people ask me how I get ideas for blog posts. Really, the question is how do I find enough time to let everyone know about everything that bugs me?
For example, here are photos I've been holding onto for a while. It's a series of the dumbest engagement photos ever. But wait. Before you click I'm going to tell you that they are actually someone's real engagement photos. And if you thought it was too mean to call out David Dellifield for being an asshole to me, then you are probably not going to like that I'm linking to real-life photos to dis them. So if you feel high and mighty, don't click.
Really, though, I encourage you to click. Because first of all, these people liked their photos enough to let their photographer put them on her blog. But also, these photos are part of a trend where people do completely stupid, out-of-the-ordinary things for their engagement photos, so they feel that they will have a special, extraordinary life.
But newsflash to all you newlyweds spending too much money on engagement photos: You will not have even an ordinary life. But you will wish you did. You will dream of an easy family life, and easy marriage, and a dog that is housetrained even when you're gone the whole day. You will not get that. No one does. And everyone wants it.
So the engagement photo trend is terrible. Horrible. And the corollary to that trend is the tablescape trend.
Maria Killam, who is great, and who picked out all the colors for my house that I love, came to my house to visit and started talking about tablescapes. She said they are a huge right now and I need them.
As far as I can tell, they are tsotskes draped all over the surfaces in one's house. They are arrangements of objects that could not withstand normal family life, for people who do not have a normal family life. Tablescapes look like wishscapes — that is, a melange of junk that someone thinks expresses why they are special. (Country Living is full of this stuff, overpriced New York custom-made furniture capped with farm-fetish crap to give a room a rich-but-down-to-earth feel.)
The whole trend reeks of fakery. Just like the staged engagement photos. I often get on my high horse about fakery. I call everyone out on it because I think I’m the queen of coming clean about everything. But the people closest to me are able to call me out on my own fakery.
For instance, I’ll use Xanax for my problems, but I can’t do Xanax all the time or I’d be a narcotic addict. And anyway, I have to save Xanax for when the Farmer wants sex and I’m stuck, curled up in a ball.
Don’t tell me I shouldn’t take a Xanax to have sex, okay? I’m still very fun after just one pill, and I don’t even know if the Farmer can tell the difference. And don’t tell me to meditate instead, because the best meditating I ever do is when I’m on Xanax. Time really goes by fast that way. I can really sit still.
So I’m trying to decide how to manage my problems best: Meditation or medication? I have tried a wide range of medication, but I miss having a mind that races. Do you know how many blog post ideas I have in one day? Ten. Twenty if you count the bad ones. It’s just that I’m too scattered to write one every day.
In hindsight, my racing brain is a big reason I moved from New York City to a farm. Here\’s what I took a photo of the last time I went to New York City: It’s me trying to get visual peace so I can think.
I think I chose to have calmness around me on a farm so I can focus on the craziness in my head.
You can say that this is not functional, but I think this is how most people have wild success in their career. By letting their brain be wild. It’s a choice.
But the people around me might be getting sick of it. And I have had enough comments on this blog from kids whose parents were crazy for me to know that no kid wants a parent whose mind is racing about stuff that is not the kids.
But it’s so hard to give up having a brain that goes nonstop through rants and tirades and ten hours of work in ten minutes. It’s hard to give that up to be a medicated, normal, kind, accommodating, person.
And now, we come full circle. Because I’m telling you that I like being different. Like the people in the engagement photos. I don’t really want that; anyone who thinks they are special is on the road to hell. Because feeling special is just a way to avoid doing the things that most people do to fix the problems that you have.
One way to get ideas about how to do what others do to fix your problems is to find a coach. The New Yorker has a great article about how everyone needs coaching. It’s a surgeon writing about how weird it is that surgeons don’t have coaches and what he does in order to find one for himself. (I honestly feel like the undertone of the article is that, like most surgeons, he has too big an ego to get coaching, and what he really wants is a writing coach, because like most surgeons, he wants to be great at everything.)
But the article is instructive in that we each need a coach in order to get what we want. He has good evidence about that. And I can see that when I coach people it’s so easy to see what they should be doing, so I can understand how I should have a coach for myself, as well.
If I were my own coach, I’d look at the discrepancy between what I say I want and what I’m doing. I say I want to be calm, but what I’m doing is getting worked up about engagement photos and making a living linking to stuff I hate. This is not really the action of someone who wants to be calm.
I want to be calm for my kids but not so calm that the rest of my life is boring.
You must be wondering what I’m learning in couples therapy. I mean, we go there twice a week. We must be learning something, right? What we are learning is how to calm ourselves down in the moment.
The guy is Don Ferguson, and he wrote this book, and one of his specialties is couples who have some sort of post-traumatic stress disorder attached to them. I think we have that. Probably in both of us. I mean, the Farmer worked on his parents’ farm for 40 years and then they gave their farm to their daughters’ kids instead of the Farmer. While he was still working on the farm. I think that’s a sign that he has had a hard time for a long time.
So, in our therapy, we learn how to calm ourselves down in the middle of whatever we are doing. And while I like to think that the Farmer is emotionally retarded and I’m just going to couples therapy for him to get his shit together, the truth is that I have a lot of the same problems he does.
One of which is that I can get worked up about anything. Because I think it’s interesting. But I need to be able to stop it quickly if the people around me don’t like it.
So I am choosing meditation over medication. I like the idea of being able to calm down for people I love, but to be not calm for me. I have had my head racing for so long that it’s sort of my comfort zone.