My Noodle

Out of Control

Door lock with text "is it locked?"

I glance over at the front door. I look at the lock. Yes, it’s still locked. Good.

This is the third time I’ve looked at that lock this evening, and I know that when it’s time to go to bed, I’ll look at it again.

I’ve tried to not look. I’ve told myself “Karin, you’ve looked at the lock three times already. You know it’s locked.” But still, there’s this nagging feeling that maybe it’s unlocked, and I can’t relax until I check it one more time.

So, I get up, turn the lights on, and look at the lock, feeling like some sort of idiot.

My logical mind is watching all of this knowing that this is the start of obsessive-compulsive behavior but that doesn’t matter to my emotional mind.

It also doesn’t help that twice, count them, twice, I woke up and found the front door unlocked. Apparently, I can’t trust myself to lock the fucking door.

Out of Control

I feel completely out of control. Yeah, I know it’s the apocalypse. I know that I’m not the only one who is losing it. I know that there’s not a lot I can do about it. There’s just too much going on that I’m not in control of. I feel helpless.

When I was younger, I was a cleaner. If I felt like things were out of control I’d clean. I’d clean a lot. It’s very soothing to know that at least my environment is under control.

But then I lived in a group house during the recession. I was out of work and trying to do websites on the side. One of my roommates juiced a lot and left the vegetable refuse all over the counters. It’s hard to keep a place clean when you have roommates that don’t care. Since it was the recession and I didn’t have a job, I felt stuck there. I couldn’t leave. And like a cat who lives in filth, I quit cleaning. I miss it. I would like it back. But part of me knows that it wasn’t healthy, at least in that form.

For the past decade, my workplace has been a source of order and control. I knew my place, I knew my job, I was surrounded by people who all had the same goal. I knew what was going on. My actions directly contributed to the mission. With the exception of Devs trying to talk me out of bugs, I was in complete control over how I did my job. Once I even told the CEO “This is my safe place.”

Well, we got acquired and I haven’t known what the hell is going on since. We had an insane CEO who caused more problems than he fixed. We had three different teams with different ideas and needs. It was madness. I’d even gotten to the point where I was convinced that success was not the goal. That the real goal was to fail. You know, for tax purposes.

The insane CEO was replaced by a saner CEO, finally, but I still feel vulnerable and tender. I know it’s going to take a while to straighten out the mess the first CEO made, but part of me doesn’t believe things will truly get better.

I have no safe place anymore.

The world is out of control. A world where people are going after Mr. Potato Head, Dr. Seuss, and Peter Pan is not a safe world. Next thing you know, books will be burning. Nazi Germany all over again. And here! In the U.S.!

I need order! It’s probably the German in me. But I don’t want history to repeat. When I was in college, I knew a few Germans. The shame of that time has been inherited by their children, and their children’s children. I don’t want that for the U.S.

A World Out of Control

For me, the world started getting out of control during the 2016 elections.

People just seemed to lose it. Victimhood mentality swept the country as people bonded in the #me too movement. People finally had it with racism. In Seattle, there was a protest every single day. While many of them were legitimate, other protests were staged with paid protesters.

Most of this didn’t work, mainly because they didn’t really know what they wanted. Or what they wanted was impossible or unreasonable. A lack of leadership led a lot of people down the wrong road.

This went on for 3 years. Strategies didn’t change, so nothing really changed.

Then came the Apocalypse. And people went crazy.

Rioting in Seattle and Portland. Protester/rioters occupying parts of the city, scaring residents and business owners. And then leaving the area to go home to their safer neighborhoods. People were killed in CHOP. There was one rape that was swept under the rug. They had control of a couple blocks yet were incapable of keeping the peace.

The Seattle Council also lost their minds. Some of them actually participated in the riots and protests, especially the protests that put them in front of people’s homes, waving bricks, and scaring families. They seemed to think the rioters were representative of the city. They were not. The Council failed this city.

Where was the Green Arrow when we needed him?

And now, now they are going after Mr. Potato Head, Dr. Seuss, and Peter Pan.

And people are actually listening to them! Mind blown!

If that isn’t a clue that the world is out of control, I don’t know what is!

History, and the Past, happened. You can’t rewrite it to you’re liking. Things happened according to how things were at that time. We learn from it. We can appreciate and yet can say to our children, “yes, this is funny, but this is also no longer appropriate. And this is why…”

Denying the Holocaust will not bring the people who were killed back.

Denying the Earth is round, will not give you control over your life.

Denying that Dr. Seuss’ children’s books are, on the whole, fun for kids, will not make your kids safer.

We can only learn from the past and do better in the future.

But I guess that’s really the issue. It’s hard to see the future. How can we make plans when we don’t know anything?

But see the future, we must.

Gaining Agency

All this craziness is in reality an attempt to get some control over our lives. To have some agency. To make a difference and not feel like we don’t really matter.

I get it. Part of me also thinks that it’s also about power, that if they can win when going after Mr. Potato Head, they are going to want to do it more and that’s why it’s been escalating.

But then again, I have a bad background and trust is not high on my virtues.

The point is, there are other ways to gain agency.

Volunteering

Yeah, it’s a little scary to volunteer at the moment due to COVID-19, but there are things we can do.

  • Mentor Kids via Zoom
  • Deliver meals to seniors
  • Take care of senior and disabled peoples lawns
  • Use a skill for the benefit of a charity
  • Become a volunteer on a peer counseling site

And many more…

These are all of more use than worrying about Mr. Potato Head.

Learning

We may not know what the world will look like, we can still prepare for it. We know, deep down, what we need or want to learn. Maybe we want to learn how to do Public Speaking better. Or learn a language or how to play an instrument. Maybe we want to explore different careers.

Now is the time to do it.

I have a LinkedIn Learning account that I pay for because I want the exercise files, but there are many free resources to be had.

In Seattle, you can get free access to Lynda.com and other free services through the Seattle Public Library.

https://www.spl.org/online-resources/online-learning

Now’s the time to figure out what resonates with you. And when you know, you can start planning for the future.

Since things have been so out of control for me, I’ve been thinking about a second career. I’ve been taking bookkeeping classes. I like it because there are rules and there is order. Yes, some people might be able to take advantage of the system, but I don’t have to be one of them.

If you have a computer and an internet connection, why not?

Closing Loops

Another activity that can be beneficial is “closing loops.” David Allen in “Getting Things Done” talks about the concept of “Open Loops.” These are things that are not finished, things that the minds keep thinking about. Like if you have an idea for a new product or service. If you just leave it in your noodle, it takes energy from you because you keep thinking about it. If you write it down, you have it written down and your noodle can relax.

It works really well.

It can be used with chores around the house or calls that need to be made. But I think it can also be used to deal with personal issues.

I have a lot of personal open loops, traumas, some of which I may never be able to resolve and others that I’ve been putting off due to fear.

Why not take this time to resolve some of them?

Some might not be able to be easily resolved, like my doctor issues. I tend to think my issues with doctors are legitimate. But I would like to ease it a bit. I can reach out to a doctor friend who may be willing to counsel me.

Others are easier.

I have an issue with pedicures. So, tomorrow I’m going to go get a pedicure.

Side note: I’ve had two pedicures in my life. The first was so sublime that I cried. The second one was filled with moaning from the nail tech about how bad my feet were. I can’t do anything about that. It shamed me and I’ve never been back.

I have an issue with Central Co-op on Capitol Hill. I can go and just become a member. I’m going to do that today.

Side note: When I moved to Capitol Hill, I tried to become a member and the person at the counter wouldn’t let me. She told me “no” and that I should think about whether I really wanted to become a member or not. I took it as a personal rejection. I mean, you have to be pretty bad to be denied membership to a food co-op!

Even though I don’t live on Capitol Hill anymore, I figure that maybe becoming a member would close that loop. It doesn’t hurt anything to try. Except for my pocketbook. It will be worth it if it works.

While I’m there I can walk around Capitol Hill for a while. I haven’t been up there since the riots and it scares me to death to think about going up there. So, why not walk the neighborhood, go to the bookstore, and have lunch in an old favorite restaurant, if they’re open.

Today is all planned out.

I’m sure there are even more suggestions that would be more useful than going after Dr. Seuss.

Is the Door Still Locked?

My goal is to close enough loops and get enough agency in my life that the front door lock is no longer tickling my noodle. Really, looking at the lock at bedtime should be enough.

And I don’t want it to spread any more than it already has. I’ve noticed a tendency to look at the rugs to make sure they line up with the tile. I’ve had a preoccupation with angles. Really, why should it matter if the rug is not lined up? It’s ridiculous!

And why should I wonder if the height of light switches on the wall is standard? That’s an open look. I think I’ll go look that up right now.

Light switches are between 48 and 52 inches from the ground. That height is comfortable for people who are standing.

There! A closed loop! It is on purpose!

See? I can have enough agency in my life to not have to resort to attacking Winnie the Pooh! (I’m sure he’s next)

And just to show I’m putting my foot down in the face of all this insanity…I fart in their general direction…and now I’m going to go watch Peter Pan again…

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