I may or may not have mentioned it here before but I regularly take some medication that requires the oversight of a psychiatrist. Mostly this is because I also take some meds for my seizure disorder and it’s good to have someone in charge of all brain medication who knows what they do. This is the theory anyway.
In any case, I was meeting with my psychiatrist the other day in order to check on all my meds and how I’m doing and I told her that I’m feeling very unfocused. It’s something I have been struggling with for several years now, but lately it’s been almost overwhelming. She asked me a couple of pointed questions about current events in my life and pointed out what some side effects were for some of the seizure meds I take and said, “I don’t think you’re unfocused. I think you’re distracted by what’s going on with you.”
Um. Really. So what’s the difference? It made sense when she said it, now I’m wondering.
1. the act of diverting from a specified course
2. ( Brit ) an official detour used by traffic when a main route is closed
3. something that distracts from business, etc; amusement
4. (military) a feint attack designed to draw an enemy away from the main attack
1. the act or an instance of distracting or the state of being distracted
2. something that serves as a diversion or entertainment
3. an interruption; an obstacle to concentration
4. mental turmoil or madness
Sooo … it looks to me as though being unfocused (or diverted) is makes me the subject of my own sentence. But being distracted makes me the object. Or is it vice versa? I’m not sure … but I think that’s the difference between the two. I don’t think knowing which is which really matters either. I just needed to know what was what.
There was an ad campaign for something (I can’t remember what) not too long ago that went, “Life is messy. Clean it up.” For the record, all the ads for cleaning products bug me. More than that, they piss me off. Who can live in those pristine houses? Life IS messy. It’s gross and kind of disgusting down here in the trenches of our own stuff. I’m not so sure we should clean it up. I wonder about that sometimes.
Do you wonder about that? Is just cleaning it up a distraction? Or a diversion? What if what we are supposed to do is get rid of that stuff? What if we are supposed to make it new again? Redeem it or reconcile it and by swiping it with some magic eraser, we’re diverting our attention to something else? Have we got “stuff” in our lives that is like that old family room carpet. It’s old and grungy because it’s in the most used room in the home. People are always in and out and yes, they eat in there. Yes, they eat dinner in front of the television on more occasions than any of us would like to admit. And popcorn during movies and sporting events. And snacks at other odd times. So there are probably bits of food ground in there somewhere. Years worth of pets and children going in and out the back door have ground in bits of mud and grass and heaven-knows-what. This carpet has seen better days. We keep vacuuming it and occasionally cleaning it because we know that replacing it is going to be time consuming and expensive. Eventually we won’t be able to avoid that time and expense, but for now we get by.
We all have stuff in our lives that is deeply ground in, musty and yucky that needs to be replaced with good new and clean stuff. We want to get at it. We know we’ll be better off for it, healthier, more well-rounded, and we might even like ourselves better. But … there it is. It’s going to be time consuming and expensive. I don’t mean money. I mean it’s going to be hard. It might hurt. It might cost us some friends. It might cost us some intangible things that we don’t even imagine when we set out on that journey. We know that … somewhere in the remote places of our hearts. So we divert and distract by vacuuming and dusting and saying it’s okay for now. It’s really okay. I’ll get to that later.
Life is messy. I don’t want to clean it up. I want to embrace the mess and understand it. I want to own it and then. I want to redeem it. But I don’t want to just clean it up with a whitewash of pretty paint. Because that’s just a mask and I’m done with that now.
This post is part of October’s Synchroblog – Down We Go. You can read other, insightful, posts at these links:
Alan Knox – How Low Can You Go
Jeremy Myers – Seeking The Next Demotion
Glenn Hager – Pretty People
David Derbershire – Reaching The Inner City
Tammy Carter – Flight Plan
Leah Randall – Jacked Up
Leah Randall (her other voice) – How Low Can We Go
Liz Dyer – Beautiful Mess
Maria Kettleson Anderson – Down
Christine Sine – There Is No Failure In The Kingdom of God
Leah Sophia – Down We Go
Hugh Hollowell – Downward
Kathy Escobar – We May Look Like Losers – Redux
Anthony Ehrhardt – Slumming It For Jesus
Marta Layton – Down The Up Staircase
Wendy McCaig – A Material Girl