in which my head is both a bathtub and a car and I think about stuff.

February 15, 2013

You may or may not have figured this out, but I think I tend to blog the way baths have that little hole in the wall underneath the tap. Y’know, that drainage thing so the bath doesn’t get too full, right? Or do your baths not pack that kind of shiny porcelain technology? It handles the overflow so you don’t get bathwater slopping out across the floor.* Blogging acts in the same capacity; it keeps my brains from slopping out across the floor. I can handle emotion and experiences fine up to about here, and then after that I need to blow off steam (it’s a hot bath and a bad metaphor, okay). Or if something big splashes into the bath, well, I’ma need an outlet for the extra runoff. The floor may get a bit slippery anyway, but whatever. Can mop up the mess afterwards.

Yeah, this’ll do as a metaphor for this process until a better one steps in. Have some runoff.

Right now, I’m in the middle of moving to a mostly-unknown city for a year of study on some kind of ridiculous scholarly quest for The Truth. I haven’t thought about a lot of it a lot, apart from the initial mental wrestling to make those decisions, because there’s only so much emotional wrangling I can handle at once. Right now all my panic and turmoil and terror is focused on getting my pack on and what the hell am I bringing with me oh god and I have less than twenty four hours and is my cousin not driving up to Auckland this weekend what the hell okay how do I and how heavy is my suitcase and what the hell why do we have dinners tomorrow and stuff and can I get someone to drive me and what does he mean pad the edges and corners and why don’t I have enough banana boxes for my books and how the hell many boxes do I have I can’t tell they’re all behind couches OH GOD WHAT and you know, general bright, unformed bolts of panicking like that, all going on in my head at once.

So to all those people who’re all, “how do you feel about moving to another city? Are you excited?” – the reason I keep answering you with “Oh it hasn’t hit me yet, I’m sure I’ll get whacked in the face with OH MY GOD WHAT AM I DOING once I’m there!”, and this very cheerfully, is because it’s the easiest way to not say “I’m Not Thinking About This Right Now, It’s Not Even On My List”.

Mostly because I’m not thinking about it right now. I’m not going to. It’s not even on my list of things to do. One of the things I’m learning about my head is that I have a very limited span of things I can concentrate on at one time, and only a certain amount of emotional energy I can invest in worrying over or caring about things. And right now there are other things I need to think about and do that need all that emotional energy and time, like freaking the hell out over packing and getting my stuff up to Auckland, and thusly have no capacity right now to process how I feel and what I’m thinking about Being In Another City and Studying This Year and Away From Family and Student Heebly-Jeebly! and whatever.

I do love you, people-who-ask-me-these-questions, and I’m sure your questions are well meant, but my head is a limited bathtub. I’ve learned to compartmentalise and look at things in small portions, one bit at a time, whatever is most important and immediate first.**

Which of course doesn’t stop my brain from turning up interesting shiny thoughts on the processes occurring in my head. So aside from the panic, I do have some extra, quick, snippety thoughts:


on inarticulacy.

Was thinking (I like starting sentences this way because I like thinking) about people who are Words People. [Please note, this is not a fully-formed, totally-processed thought. It is merely the beginnings of a theory.] Like, that is their love language, if you subscribe to the love languages theory. I know that’s PM’s, for example; she gives and receives generously in that capacity (I like capacity, it’s a cool word). And I was thinking about mine, and how words happens to be one of my primary love languages for receiving, but not so much for giving. Attempting to talk about things I feel incredibly strongly about, or write people letters about how I feel about them- these things are really difficult for me (as PM may be able to attest, since I’ve written her a birthday thing recently, and all my sentences were buried in Incredibly Awkward). Which is odd, because I’m usually a pretty articulate bunny about a whole lot of things.

I have an image for this (this is why I love analogies; they explain everything better). Pretend my head is a car. Pretend the articulateness of my head is a car, and an awesome car; it goes really fast and it covers a whole lot of rough terrain really well and it handles a whole lot of stuff you can throw at it (although it’s a bit of a gas guzzler, yeah, and needs consistent maintenance, but hey, you get out of it what you put in). You can stuff the boot decently full and it’ll still speed happily along without a hitch.

Now pretend my heart is like a really, really, really heavy trailer piled high with all sorts of stuff. Like five elephants of stuff. Now hook the weighty trailer of my heart up to the awesome car of my head, and try to drive. Up a hill.

This is also one of the reasons why I found praying out loud difficult, when I was more likely to pray out loud, or, uh, pray in the company of other people. If I were monologuing out loud about the excellence of Shakespeare’s prosody or what I think about bacon or how much I fangirl over T.S. Eliot, you wouldn’t be able to stop me. I care about these things, yeah. But they’re not tied to the base of my ribcage. How I feel about God is (for better or for worse). How I feel about the people I care about tends to be.

I’m learning to hold the things I care deeply about, lightly. It can make writing about it easier. We’ll find out whether that’s a good idea or not. And hey, maybe that’s one of my boundaries of how I know whether I love someone or not! I get all inarticulate and incredibly, humungously awkward when I express myself about it. (I mean look at the number of parentheses in this section. That’s either awkwardness or hunger.)

(Maybe I’m hungry.)

I have other things to think about, like the stable voices in your head and on being an unformed baby bird, but I should eat food and think about packing. I like how I’ve mostly written myself back into calm. Less panicky now. This is good. Maybe blogging is more like a safety valve for unformed clouds of panic.




* although google found me this person who seems rather angry and articulate about plumbing, and wants to tell the world that bathtub overflows are a myth. Does this mean my metaphor is also a myth?
** Proof that psychologists are Good For You. They teach you how to prioritise and deal with the messy insides of your head. Huzzah! Sometimes it feels like they’re giving you tools to build drawers and cupboards in order to organise a houseful of inarticulate Elder Gods writhing from the basement, and sometimes it feels like they’re girding you up with sensible armour, a gameplan and a sword to face a wild, dark wood of monsters. Psychologists are the enchanted foxes who tell you how to get the phoenix without setting off alarms, the old ladies you meet by the roadside who give you invisibility cloaks and magic whistles, and cleverer versions of little Red Riding Hood’s mother. Only you can’t pay them in lunch anymore, and chopping off their heads is probably rude.

2 Responses to “in which my head is both a bathtub and a car and I think about stuff.”

  1. Peta-Maria Says:

    so. many. brilliant metaphors. Your bathwater has spilled over onto my floor. but that’s OK 🙂

  2. […] procrastinating from a serious examination of the current contents of my skull. As metaphor’d before, I need to do some variation of this pretty often to keep the brain from overfilling, and at the […]

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