Counting and other Past-Times

“I’m tired of being inside my head. I want to live out here, with you.”
― Colleen McCarty

          Ten – yes, perfect.  Tumultuous, excellent.  Ten letters all fitting on the fingers of my left and then right hand – counted out and nothing left over, neither letters nor fingers.  Profundity works very well but rigor mortis is a problem with an extra space and letter, so improv is required.  Remove the space, it is completely unnecessary and the second ‘r’ is just bragging so let’s try again and yes, done.  Rigo’mortis – well done. 

          This conversation runs in my mind constantly, no matter what I’m doing, whom I am talking to, where I am going.  Count count count – make it fit – ten is perfect – and if a sentence has ten words even better.  I remain undaunted by numbers of syllables or superfluous letters or words.  I cram and shove and insist and in so doing, my mind is calmed and I am at rest.  I can’t remember anything and have little scraps of paper and notebooks with me at all times, but I always remember the number of syllables in a word. I drive everyone crazy but myself.  My ever patient and indulgent husband and children most likely roll their eyes but have come to accept this as a cross to bear which has one too many letters in this three-word recognizable phrase so I remove one of the ‘s’s’ since it doesn’t help pronunciation or understanding. 

          I count.  I cannot remember a time I didn’t count, but I do remember when I started typing on my steering wheel all the letters and numbers on the license plates in front of me.  I guess it is my mom’s fault since she insisted that I learn to type on an old punch key type-writer in her bedroom at the age of 12, which I found exhilarating.  Chunk and push and jam – like a cadence in determination.  Each punch of the keys seemed to remove one small alarm bell in my mind, something that went off every few seconds of my child-hood.  I have never fully rid myself of this, leaning toward anxiety but fingering the ‘breathe’ stone my youngest daughter gave me years ago which I carry in my purse at all times.   

We humans live life through a prism our mind’s eye creates for us and often this is for survival purposes.  We are frightened so we freeze or run depending on our nature.  We are shocked by the raw emotion displayed by a skilled actor so we cry unbidden.  But we also control these emotions through a variety of tricks we teach ourselves.  I have pinched my thigh in order to not burst out laughing inappropriately at an event, and don’t ever let me sit by my sister as our sensibilities are identical.  We learn to hold back tears, muffle the sob, shove down a gulp of sorrow and this often leads to cemented versions of ourselves when it comes to expression.  Doesn’t this lead to the ‘what are you thinking’ question we ask those we love?  Reading expressions can be difficult and untrustworthy so we ask and often receive nothingness as the answer.  We know this is not true, since when we are thinking nothing, we are thinking something.  We fear exposing our natures so we tuck and roll with stoicism and remain unknown to even those to whom we are the closest.  The opposite quest has been my nemesis as my emotions were right there for all to see.  Hands flailing, eyes wide, tears cascading, mouth open laughter has been the descriptive of my whole life.  And yet I felt unexpressed for all that remained inside clanging around as ricocheting marbles careening off unsettled information.  Counting allowed me to put something away.  This word goes there and that syllable fits here and suddenly I could think. 

The corral I have set up for myself and my outrageous nature, is to organize all verbal communication into neat metric categories.  Much like cleaning out a junk drawer, we all get to the point where something has gone too far so we set up a system.  Small containers set within a larger space and the pens go here and the coupons go there and we feel better for it.  Zip boom bang done.  On to the next project or in my case, on to the next thought.  Whatever your methodology for navigating the storm of emotions crossing your sky every day, as long as you take a good and real look at them, don’t shove them into the bottom of a drawer only to be lost like dropped utensils behind a stove.  Organize them in zip lock bags if you must, opening them carefully as the treasures they are, folding back the tissue paper and seeing the beauty of your own personality, ready to be shared as re-gifted and new. 

5 Responses to “Counting and other Past-Times

  • Jenny Clay
    7 months ago

    Love this. Your sensible sister.

  • Where DO you find the time to write these blogs that speak so clearly to my heart, my mind and my spirit?

    • Thank you for this kindly remark – the inspiration comes from you and me and all and life itself. Have an amazing day.

  • superb! As neat and tidy as the 22 corners of every room… if you include ceiling and floor, and don’t forget that “2” can sometimes count for an unspecified multitude.

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