Saturday, 7 January 2017

A Very Crowded Mind

I’ve watched reality shows about hoarders and wondered how on earth they exist like that. There is no clean pathway from one place to the next in their residence. Their possessions are piled deep in absolute chaos. Long lost as to where or what they have collected, once seeing them again, they become very precious items and cling to them as their lifeline to reality. I’ve sometimes shaken my head at their choices until I realize, that mere millimetres just beyond my cranial protection the same thing is going on.

A crowded, spaghetti-like scrambled place that is made of long strands intertwined, tangled and touching but not directly connected. Visual and thought impulses race up and down these strands to the core, connect and then run off in another direction. Bouncing around, back and forth, up and down they are like a roller coaster mixed with a pendulum ride. There are no neuropathways that cleanly lead with logic from a to b.

This is my mind, which is at least partially ADHD among other things!

My head is full to the brim, layered with boxes of data collected lifetime long. I’m rooting around there in a constant battle to find some lost thought or its distant cousin, possibly a better thought, amidst all the tangle.

It is common in my life to find myself in a social situation wanting to respond to a comment or idea. Often there is a long pause while I go digging. People think, oh, he is struggling with a simple answer, poor guy, let me help him by giving him what they think I want to say.

In fact, I’m a ‘slow processor’, which is not the equivalent of ‘slow’ but rather someone who is decidedly complex and interested in finding a deeper thought rather than the trite so often trotted out. I’m not one for filling in blanks in some study guide for instance. I am interested in finding the best solution to the thought at hand. If and when someone steps in with an ‘answer’, then my search is instantly broken. I shut down. They feel they have saved the day to my supposed humiliation, but I’m left with multiple thoughts and frustration that I haven’t been able to verbalize any one of them.

I have a friend who has often said, ‘how exhausting it must be to live inside your brain’. I’ve never noticed it overly exhausting, but certainly it is a busy place. It is to be sure a rabbit warren of constant ideas, hopes, regrets, dreams, longings, memories and yes, struggle.

I have always been one to take visual photographs of an image with my mind and then visit them from time to time over the years as if they were happening right now. In many ways conversations are like that too as I tend to collect data more or less verbatim and then spit it out when the argument seems to warrant it. Some would say I should have been a lawyer instead of an artist.

The same thing happens when I’m painting. 

I often have 5 or 6 paintings on the go at once. First of all, I get bored with the same old thing or the same technique. Often as I begin a painting, other images emerge and off I go on a different tangent. The bottom line, the painting is never done until it’s done, and even then…I’m often picking up old ones from years before and before long, well, it’s a new day. A painting for me is seldom planned and if it is, I’m usually less than satisfied. 

Going with the flow is much more my style!

In attempting at becoming a healthier human being, the hoarding of negative, legalistic ideas or lies about myself, others or God, are what I’m attempting to drag out of the hoarders heap bit by bit and throwing them in the proverbial dumpster. 

Apparently this is called gaining ‘freedom’. It is however, a challenging journey to find out what that really looks like when the old baggage often leans in and collapses on you over and over.

I’m forever welded in a place of gratitude for the very few intimates in my life, who help scrape off the clutter again and again and give me grace, hope and light to keep on growing and not to give up!