Monday, 28 April 2014

How to Make Good Days

Today was a good day. Though you might have already guessed that. Bad days do not coincide with much more than me feeling miserable and burrowing from the world with a book in front of my nose and an inordinate amount of negativity and snark to anyone who brushes my metaphorical (and literal) shoulder. (Though I can't stand shoulder brushes on good days anyway).

What constituted my good day was, after the morning work/school chaos, getting the entire house to myself for the next three hours. Absolute heavenly bliss. The only sounds were the ones I chose to make. I got to finish reading the amazing Tom Stoppard play "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead" and then mull over the Meaning of Life while staring at the cracked paint ceiling (there is a whole universe of stories up there).  My wrist is finally healing to the point I can play mildly intense piano pieces and I ended up in musical flow which lasted for 45 minutes before I had lay on the ice and ibuprofen.

In short, I had a brilliant morning. And to anyone reading this, yes there was a point to me possibly boring you with all the things I did earlier today.

You're good sort of day might not have anything to do with existing in a quiet space where you get full control of the type and volume of sound produced, mine however, does. I've always wondered if my oddities/issues could be explained by various psychological labels, beyond that of an extreme Introvert but then again who's to say I even have problems? Maybe I am just a nasty grump who gets irritated by people easily and finds touchy/loud children to be especially upsetting? At least, that is how people who occupy a significant portion of my life see it. Thereby I continue my process of believing myself to be an abnormal and potentially bad person who doesn't get to have tidy psychological explanations for drastic mood swings and extreme sensitivity.

Maybe you have or do feel the same? Maybe?

Well, regardless of where you are on the spectrum of what society deems normal, what society labels as abnormal and what society labels as just unpleasant individuals who cannot get along with others, I did want to share how I am working on making Good days out of my larger portion of Bad days.

A Bad day for me? 

Cue a blare of little kid television shows, the bass to all other sounds. Over that, lays the shrieking/shouting of two year olds and a four year old. Now add an augmented melody of any person trying to stop or tame that chaos. The drum beat of this symphony of chaos comes in the form of the general noises of shutting doors, cupboards, dishwaters, dryers, talking, cat meowing, or stair-stomping that comes from having nine other people under one roof. Add the piccolo solos of other people practicing their music or blasting from their computers/iPods, and there I am; hiding in my room at every interval to escape it. (And that's not even really Bad, just an everyday one).

Well, except for the constant interruption of being yelled at to let out a cat, crying downstairs somewhere, to watch little children inside or out, to deal with whatever issue is not getting resolved, or to come help with whatever current cleaning project needs to be done (because spring cleaning doesn't end until winter, and then you get winter cleaning).

A Bad Day: A bit like this endlessly repetitious and overwhelming image of ivy. Except less pretty.
Alright. Fine. So it doesn't seem half so bad as I read it back here on my laptop, however, at least to me it's all together too loud and too busy. Like headache inducing extremely.

Give me a tidy list of things to be done, or very direct orders, and I'll happily do them around other people. Ask me to navigate the same things without a tidy list and in direct fire of the chaos of nine other individuals; not happening. I'm going to hide in my room. 

I'm still horrible at the whole, making those Bad days good, or trying really, really hard to keep the Good days good. (The post-naptime, pre-dinner time is probably the most difficult time of the day, aside from attempting to wake up in the morning). Nonetheless, as the overused saying goes, nothing and no-one is perfect. If it was, we'd all be in a play, following a predetermined plot line that allows us nothing but heads, no matter how many times we flip the coin. Cheers to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern for that new perspective (Reference). And even then, in a play, we have utterly no control, and thus, that is why, despite having Bad days, at least we have the power to make them better ones.

So what do I do to make my Bad days better or keep my Good days, happy?

I go through a series of steps; starting with one or all of the following four options throughout the day. Call them my coping mechanisms.

1) I imagine. A lot. Sometimes I'm wandering through a thick forest with fog pinpricked by shafts of sun. Other times I'm floating through the sky in a hot air balloon or dirrigble. Because everything is better with steampunk. Sometimes I'll imagine my characters and think about what they might do next. Other times I just have to imagine little dancing numbers and do something mundane like counting in French.

2) I hum a random melody in my head or it's really bad, I'll sing under my breath.

3) If I'm near proper music, I'll turn it on. If I'm doing it to drown out other noise it'll usually fall some category of epic, metal, or steampunk; though I never quite drown out the other noises otherwise, I'd give myself a headache. If I'm doing it to fall asleep however, the music will probably be a soundtrack or Baroque/Romantic piano music.

4) If the above fail, or I know it's going to be a bad day that isn't going to turn sunny any time soon, I'll wear ear plugs for the day (and still manage to hear everything going on anyway, but it's less headache inducing).

To actually make the Bad day a better one, along with the coping mechanisms, you need to find and hold on to the things which will make you happy. For me, as you probably have guessed, those things that make me happy revolve around a lot of solo time. I might do things such as:

1) Writing and finishing something in a short period of time (like writing prompts or these blog posts).

2) Grabbing a fanfiction prompt from Tumblr and writing, or reading what someone else wrote.

3) Editing the multiple year backload of photographs, fiddling with Photoshop and perusing DeviantArt.

4) Going for a walk or going to the gym.

5) Eating chocolate.

You'll notice with those five things, I did not include lliterary reading, writing longer works, poetry, watching movies, tv series or anything that I need to give my full, uninterrupted attention without impulsively shouting at the person/thing interrupting my flow. Those above things are short, shallow or silly  (in the case of the fanfiction or chocolate) but give instant, quick gratification that later help in self-reminders (or sign-posts as I like to call them) when I find myself labelling the day as one of my "Bad" ones because of all my negative lash-outs and how people respond to me in turn. Instantly, the "Bad" day, looks brighter and I try to hold in any further irritation.

It doesn't always work. A lot of the time it doesn't. Lately, I've really failed at not having Bad days, but I put it down to the rhythm and schedule I got used to in the past two months, being turned sideways by my mom taking on a gardening job. Meanwhile I still remain an unemployed creative person who really should just leave for England to live for a while, as I've been wanting to; without planning things to the tiniest detail for once.

So in that, and those lists (of sorts), all I can say about how to make Good days, comes from a character in a movie who has since become my Good day avatar with her catch-phrase of "just keep swimming, swimming, swimming." In other words, carry on wayward child of the universe, keep trekking, get through the day, but make sure you don't miss the sign-posts telling you how long you have to travel, the places you could go, or what's coming up ahead.

Also, sometimes, all you have to do is step outside, take a deep breath, bend down and touch your toes (or at least do the latter bit if the weather's bad).

In the end. Making Good days is all about noticing the sign-posts the universe makes for you and making a few of your own (like eating a bar of chocolate).

Currently snacking on dark chocolate with almonds.

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