Nineteen eighty-three found me floundering. Appropriate for my Bostonian roots. Absolutely Nothing was going well in my life. I was in a relationship that only caused both of us to drink too much. Little did I know that she was cheating on me, but as I said I tend to cherish ignorance, especially if I don’t want to make any major changes.
Yet, I knew deep down that I had to make some changes or I wouldn’t make it out of my twenties. I got to ring 1983 in with a double shift at the Tufts New England Medical Center. I was at the cush assignment: monitor the Biewend Building while totally empty. My biggest challenge was not falling asleep after already working eight hours, but back then I had a sure-fire method of staying up all night.
I had always wanted to be a police officer, my brief experience as a security guard in the heart of the Combat Zone in Boston, other occupations attracted my attention. I also knew that if I didn’t get away, far away, it didn’t matter.
With plenty of down town, journaling had a better chance of becoming a routine. It didn’t take me long to walk the thirteen floors, keying in two a floor, didn’t take much time, especially when I ran the obstacle course of desks. I kept track of how quickly I could do the course and tried to beat my personal best. I had to come up with something that made the job worth while. The pay was okay. The benefits great. But the powers to be and most of the “force” didn’t want me or any females to wear the uniform, and they certainly weren’t going to give any of us a gun, which was fine with me. We all knew that I was short-timing it until it dawned on me as to what I needed to do or where I needed to go.
I had always loved to write. Off the wall stories kept myself entertained. I don’t recall sharing them with anyone. Journaling and stream-of-conscious writing was taught in school.
All through high school and my first year or so of college, I tried to become addicted to writing, but I was busy getting addicted to everything else, all the things that would help me to stay lost and confused. I yearned to get my act together even though I didn’t really know why or how or what it even looked like. I kept trying. For my constitution, sometimes I have to fail at something a few times before I take it seriously and dig in to do it to the best of my ability.
January 1983 I was ready to put single sheet writing paper aside and my old ways of journaling and get down to serious business with a spiral. Narrow Rule. 80 sheets.Maybe I didn’t want to overwhelm myself or perhaps this was all I could find at work as I borrowed office supplies. I considered a notebook and pens just a bonus for my making sure no one stole anything from them.
It wouldn’t take much discipline to not rip any of the sheets out. And it’s not like I couldn’t add single sheets. Sometimes I didn’t have my journal with me. If I were stationed to a tour that didn’t allow me a desk and a chair, I would write myself letters and then mail them to myself. I just made sure I kept stamps in my wallet. There may be letters in my journal that I’ve refused to open, like my own time capsule.
It took me six months to fill the pages of the spiral, but was able to find the identical spiral to have volume II. I felt like I was creating a owner’s manual for this life. Until I figured it out, I practiced putting my life on hold as if I were treading water. Treading water was my best stroke.
Avoidance is another stroke that I’m really good at. June 17, 1983 shows me how well I could avoid a subject even when it is staring at me and is larger than life in my face. I was reading a book about Imagination. I’d been told many times what a great imagination I had. Some of my favorite people had vivid imaginations. My Godmother, Barbara Clifton, was an amazing artist. She talked to the rocks that she brought to life as she painted them. Cats were known to stalk the rabbit she painted and put out as a door stop. On this date, I was reading the similarities of neurosis and creativity. At this point, I didn’t have any experience with anyone who was neurotic. I didn’t know that my grandmother was institutionalized at a young age and lost her hold onto reality.
It’s possible that by writing about Sigmund Freud and Psychoanalytic theories, this was a fool proof way to keep people reading my journal. After a page or two or three of note taking, most people if not all, would declare this boring and put it down. This wasn’t my strategy back then at least not consciously. It’s so boring that I can barely re-read it myself. It’s rather ironic that I’m reading about unconscious processes and unconscious motivation while attempting to find out what makes me tick. This is my main purpose of journaling.
In 1983, it was as if I were stepping onto the Yellow Brick Road and on the path to Get My Act Together. When anyone asks me why I moved from Boston to Eugene, Oregon, I simple state that I wanted to get my act together. Thirty-three years later, I’m not there yet. Either I’m really close or perhaps it doesn’t even exist, like the Bermuda Triangle or Sasquatch.
According to this book, which I probably borrowed from a psychologist at the hospital, creativity and neurosis both originate in conflict and the human’s natural nature of needing to solve the problem. Natural instincts steer our behavior. My life was stretched to the limits and the best I could do was act on survival mode. Every time I patrolled the streets, I had to keep fear in check. Being petrified took all of my energy as I tried to put it out of my mind as I knew that my radio and heavy Mag flashlight was not as useful as keeping my wits about me.
How many times have I re-read this page and skipped over the word sublimate. I used to take words that I didn’t know and write them in my journal with the dictionary definition. Now I just have to click onto my computer screen and get the definition, but the words that stick with me are the words I write down. How many mannerism have I altered in order to match what I perceive as social acceptable behaviors. More times than I can count and more times than I will admit to. I could have used this book when I was reading The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” with all of his daydreaming.
I’m surprised that I kept reading this book after reading how Leonardo da Vincis creativity came from his conflicts over his homosexulaity. I did have to stop for that shift when I got wind the Sergeant on duty was gunning to catch me with my dog. I didn’t always bring my dog to work and it did help to have spies planted to tip me off. It never occurred to those trying to catch me red-handed to look on the roof of the building, but they were probably scared of the gargoyles up there.
The threat of a surprise inspection never came to be. The wild Boston night life can keep a hospital security department very important, much more important than a girl and her do dog.
After my friend Steve, Steve Yeoman, left to patrol his area, I returned to the book of creativity. From the looks of it, I need to refresh my memory on where the ego and id and super ego fit into my life since the notes I wrote about the book have absolutely no meaning without that background information. I’ve always been interested in how my life has unfolded, the influences, the choices. Makes me think of the Robert Frost poem, a poem that was put to song that my choir, Soromundi Lesbian Choir of Eugene, recently sang. Making choices and making the best of said choice.
Choices that I made even before I was born. For a long time, I thought that I was born a month premature was to get away from the alcohol my mother was consuming, which could have been part of it, but most likely it was the blood differences. Back in 1960, the blood type of my mom and dad played a critical role in my sister’s and my survival. How a days a shot can be given to the mother, preventing the body from wanting to expunge the baby or what was seen as a foreign body. My main running joke is that I came a month premature so I could be born a pisces instead of an Aries. My non-Aries friends find this funny.
Maybe when I look at his 1983 journal again, I’ll have written about something other than this Psychological non-thriller and see if I had a game plan on how I could Living a Life with My Act Together, though right now I’m starting to think that it doesn’t exist; I’d have an easier time finding the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow than Get My Act Together. Until then…