I spend hours thinking about how much I procrastinate instead of doing those tasks I put off. I’d like to blame it on what Yahoo calls “too much TV watching as a child induced ADD” or lack of attention or ability to focus on any one thing for very long, instead I’m blaming this one on my abundance of nervous energy. Even when my body is tired and my brain needs a rest I have anxiety that hangs like a cluster of fluttering wings pulling at me ever so slightly. The current bleeds inertia into my thoughts and actions requiring change.
One of the more embarrassing manifestations formed as a picking sort of tic. I comb my fingers through my hair searching for follicles and when I find one I eat it. The searching motion and process soothes and calms my busy hands and antsy jaw. I’ve had a hard time sitting still since I was a kid. I remember watching horror movies with my dad and not being able to remain glued to the set despite the impending drama. I’d usually be on the floor and he’d be sitting behind me eyes catching every movement from the couch, “Shannon, be still.” I’d try so hard by sitting on my hands and feet but inevitably I’d be vibrating again. “Shannon, stop moving.” The problem persisted throughout my childhood and followed me to the present.
I’m constantly chewing gum, eating or drinking, cracking my knuckles, picking at the skin around my fingers, rubbing my nails against neighboring fingers and any form of fidgeting I can do or make with my hands. I used to bite my nails but luckily I spit that habit out a long time ago. I was a smoker for a few a while too but I extinguished that nasty cancer-fuel when I started running, and now like most former smokers I can’t stand the smell or taste of cigarette smoke and I’m highly judgmental of smokers. However, it seems like it’s more acceptable to smoke rolled second-hand killers than it is to openly admit to munching on head debris. I’m just saying, and making myself feel better.
I remember when I first admitted my tactile and oral vice to Susan. (Sounds juicy, huh?) I tried to hide it for as long as I could but my urge to preen was unavoidable. It happened during one of our morning coffee-talk times when we first started dating. After an intense conversation about the kids etc. she went to the kitchen for a second cup and I went to digging through my strands. I was determined to find something and then it occurred to me to tell her knowing she’d catch me sooner or later. I yelled into the other room, “Babe, I have something to tell you. Hopefully it won’t gross you out or turn you off too much. I dig in my head and eat the goodies I find.” She laughed and said, “So what you’re telling me is that you enjoy a hair follicle every now and then?” I said, “Yes, it relaxes me when I’m feeling stressed or anxious and it also helps me focus.”
For a while she tried grabbing my hand whenever I reached for my hair, but my steadfastness wore her down. In addition, she found numerous ways to tease me about it saying things like, “Did you find a good one?” Or, “How was that one, did it pop in your mouth?” For the most part she’s comfortable with my grooming unless it becomes compulsive due to changes in any one of the anxiety laden side dishes of my personality.
For example, I started pulling weeds from my scalp over an unopened card my mother sent me for my birthday, and because of a birthday text from my younger sister, “Hey Shannon, happy birthday. I wish you would make an effort to reconcile with mommy. People make mistakes. I hope you have a fun birthday.” She also mentioned how upset she was that I was writing in my blog about our mother and how she thinks I live in the past and that I should forgive my mother. What hurt the most was when she compared my experience as a child with my mom to how my children will be affected by my divorce and gay-lifestyle. I was reminded of how family ties can hack away at my sense of security and how quickly I can come undone.
I don’t own anything my sister said, but I toyed with her words like a child with putty just to make sure the imprint was hers and not mine.
If I could go through my to do list the way I do my skull I’d have more accomplished in one day than hairs on my head but I’m easily sidelined by events concerning family. I’ve been at the center of my issues and taking it out on the shafts of my hairs. However, I think I’ve come up with a solution that will both nurture and motivate my spirit, and ease my nervous hands.
I was too afraid to do this in the past but I’ve decided to view the answer in a way that benefits me. I’m going to write my mother a letter-which I’ve never done before-as a closing thought or as an entry in my book. I don’t know how else to process and relay my feelings in regard to her, but I think its time. I’m not sure how it will read, but even the thought of writing to her makes my legs shake. I’ve never written to her but I’m thinking this letter could be the missing piece in my outline. What do you think?