I figured out why my brain churns out ideas for writing and art at inconvenient times, when I can’t actually devote time to making my ideas a reality. Besides the underlying fear I wrote about here.
See, automatic activities that occupy my brain without requiring excessive thought, such as driving, getting ready for work, and even working itself (since my job is torturously mind-numbing) actually free up part of it to think about ideas. The paradox is that I then have no ability to sit down for hours and convert my ideas to reality, because I’m too busy doing these mindless activities. This is why I peck away at my tiny phone keyboard on my lunch break, or at stoplights, or in the midst of other activities in a furious attempt to quickly record my ideas before they flee from my brain forever.
I think it’s also my mind’s attempt to capture my thoughts before I subconsciously sabotage myself with those underlying fears in whatever form it takes – whether it be procrastination, lack of motivation, or the lack of ability to think of creative ideas when I actually do have free time. So, when that neurotic, underachieving part of me is occupied with mindless tasks, the creative part of me that’s driven to fulfill its potential says “Okay, she’s busy now. Lets inundate her with ideas before she blocks them again.” Because it knows that another aspect of me – the compulsive, perfectionist, detail-oriented side – won’t be able to let it go, and will pull into a store parking lot on the way to work to type out a thought before it’s gone forever. (Forever?! OMG, NO!!!)
Meanwhile, yet another aspect of my brain is watching all of this impartially, the casual observer of my life who has no power and is just along for the ride.
This makes it seem like my subconscious mind is in a battle with itself, unbeknownst to me most of the time. Which is kind of creepy. Like my underlying mental processes are more in control of me than I realize, in some kind of host/parasite relationship, or like I’m some kind of automaton – a slave to my own programming. Which is interesting to ponder, but also makes me shudder a little and ask the various parts of my warring brain, my own internal contradictions, “What’s going on? This is ridiculous. Can’t we all just work together, here?”
If the parts of my brain were forced to answer back, the creative part would say, “Of course! We all just want to be happy and creatively fulfilled in life! Isn’t that why we’re here to begin with?”, all idealistic and exuberant and starry-eyed and shit.
The procrastinator/perfectionist/scared asshole would then say, “No! We can’t do anything with ourselves, because then we’ll find out how awful we are, and so will everyone else! Moreover, we can’t handle being happy or successful, because what will we worry and obsess about then? OMG, we’ll die!”
Another part of me, my main personality supposedly in charge of all this madness now must try to gain control of these warring aspects of myself. Like a mother forced to wrangle two toddlers who try to run in opposite directions in the grocery store parking lot. Or intervene when the one always tries to trip the other, and shrugs when she falls on her face and cries. Then says, “I told you you’d fail. I don’t know why you even tried.” I’ll have to pull that one aside and say, “She only failed because YOU tripped her. Go sit in time out for the afternoon.” But it will be too late because the enthusiastic, creative one who tripped and fell will then be physically and emotionally wounded, rendered unable to do anything good for the rest if the day, even with the instigator out of the way. So the instigator still gets to sabotage things and gain attention, even if she’s out of the picture. What a little bitch.
Then I would turn to the observer side of me and say, “Thanks for making me aware of this situation, but do you think next time you could maybe do so a little sooner, or try to address the situation yourself? Stop sitting on the sofa of life eating Cheetos for once.”
And it would reply, “But this is prime reality TV right here, and I’ve got a front row seat. Remember, there was once a time when I didn’t tell you shit. Be nice to me, or see how quickly I can return to silent mode.” Then it would remind me of its role as an observer, and gently suggest that I take better control of these various aspects of myself. “If you want me to do it, I’m going to need a bigger paycheck and a more impressive title. I won’t hold my breath.”
Then I would apologize and walk away with my tail between my legs, vowing to do better next time.
Yes, these contradictory, warring parts of my brain resemble petulant children, even the conscious part which I consider the main aspect of my personality, the one supposedly in charge. No wonder I have problems.