Habits. It usually comes with a negative connotation, as if I habit is always bad. Not all habits are bad, but most all good habits have the potential to become negative.
I don’t think I have habits, I mean, I’m not immune to the age-old addage, “the road to hell is always paved with good intentions. I’m not unaware that neuroscientists repeat almost like an anthem, “neurons that wire together fire together,” and I am keenly aware that a study revealed how to foster a habit it and make sure it sticks; you have to do the activity, hobby, diet, exercise, or stop being a hermit (and thusly ignoring everyone and isolating herself in her apartment for two weeks because…DEPRESSION, fuckng duh haha) for 60 days in a row. I believe once you are passed 62 or 63 days specifically, the old neurons that once fired every time your wife asked you a question that sounded TOO much like something your mom would say to you, the neurons connected to that behvior will no longer fire, because you have either dealt with the underlying issues of how and why you immediately become angry with your mother, or (as is the case with almost every guy my age and is around me just enough for me to form a case study the moment he hits 25-years-old, and if he’s even older? The interviewee isn’t nearly as indoctrinated in the toxic and unrealistic expectations we have for young men when it comes to masculinity. I’d argue that these wiser more experienced men who prove the younger mans naivety and ignorance to be aginst the very nature of humans themselves.
Obviously, these men have “been there, done that,” and found that their tough-guy egos and endless amounts of pride (both of which I assumed the military just beat out of you like a Rambo movie, hoowever I could be just entirely making it up haha) only got them scolded by those who were above them in rank, discharged from the military entirely (either for desertion, rape, or disobeying a direct order as a subordinant.
These men claim that no amount of civilian re-integration will ever prepare them for what their fmilies will inevitably need from them emotionally, nor will it prepare them to start families and meet women. Me personally, I could only imagine what it would feel like, being taught that your emotions can put everyone in danger, and then 10 years later being expected to pretend as if you have never been interrogated by a forign government before and as if any bit of vulnerability puts not only the men he fought in combat with at risk, but also his family’s safety, depending on the circumstances, of course.
I bring this up because I don’t really look at anything I do as a habit, as it can be picked up and put down and never given a second thought. I have routines. Routines for getting my daughter into the bathtub, routines for the different types of moods she may wake up in, routines and distractions are my bread and butter, and I think those improve my (and everyone else in the house, apart from maybe my husband because he is perpetually miserable) quality of living quite a bit.
Being organized to me IS a quality of living increase. Just making your bed is immensely helpful when you are depressed and have anxiety, and that’s not even an opinion that’s a scientific fact haha. If one is depressed and they live in a depressing environment (I mean the floors aren’t clean, dirty dishes, and maybe you haven’t even bothered to change your sheets or shower in this manic depressive episode you’ve found yourself in for at least two weeks), in a dilapidating industry towns, no ability to buy a home and start a family, no retirement money, all while being too afraid to ask for help for fear of being labeled as “weak,” unable to take care of himself or his family, and most importantly, the biggest insult you can make to someone who fought so rigorously for this country; a freeloader, bum, and probably a drug addict (despite the fact that he’s most likely decorated) that’s always in need of something, despite having sacrificed much to his country and his citizens.
My answer in short, is that my habits that impact my quality of life, is how well we keep the systems that are in place currently adaptable, organized, and up to date. Always being adjusted for every possible contingency. It may not be good for me, necessarily in the long run, but my family will benefit and if there is a chance that anything would happen to me, this house, my husband, and mostly my daughters schedule, well, it would go on without me, and that’s all the “infamy” I wish to go down in.
I’m going to go ahead and answer yesterday’s “daily prompt” because I’m NOT much of a movie watcher? I mean, I like complete brain-dead movies because as a stay-at-home mom (not the ones who can drink wine all day and watch Ellen, those women are almost mythical, and probably take stimulants.)….well I’ll describe the experience as watching a quarter of that show that was coming out on ABC (that you were way too excited to watch in the first place, especially for someone who “heard” the promo over the vacuum cleaner and the child screeching), recording it (and by default all of the upcoming new episodes with reruns spprinkled in there like candy just to make it complicated), ultimately forgetting about it entirely for the better part of 6 months, have a rare 35 minutes to finish that FIRST episode, only to come back once again to your DVR, realize its full, and somehow that show you wanted to watch has turned into 5 seasons, you recognize not ONE of the characters from the first one, you frantically search your DVR while covering your ears and screaming “NO SPOILERS” like a lunatic, only to ggive up, go back to your quiet broing existence, blink, and now your daughter is 3-years-old.
Yes, that is an accurate depiction of my household, I would literally cut off my right hand to be able to drink wine and watch reruns of America’s Next Top Model, while silently awaiting that gem of a gif that is the most iconic thing that’s ever been given to my generation. It features Tyra Banks with a really bad wig from the early 2000’s (you know, the lighter brown, straight wig, that has those awful red highlights through it, because that was a thing?), wearing a tight fitted black dress, screeching at an ungrateful black woman, “I WAS ROOTING FOR YOU!!! WE WERE ALL ROOTING FOR YOU.”
100% sign me up for that shit hah. I think that’s what my husband thinks I do all day sometimes, but like anyone who works I have days where I’m lazier than others, I mean, hell just look at my insights, I was NOT feeling it the past few days.
I apologize for having the attention span of a literal squirrel but this is kind of the reason why I love writing and find it so enjoyable (I also believe it clenses the soul) because it’s the only way I can actually paint a picture of what’s really happening around me. Sure, I could take pictures, but I lack the creative ability to anything more than to color. For the artist, picking out a brand new set of paintbrushes with fresh acrylic paint, browsing your options, reading every label, and feeling through the crinkle of the plastic as you run your fingers back and forth to HOPE to aquire some bit of hidden knowledge about the softness of the brush. That’s what it’s like for me, when I begin to write, and I choose the words that paint the picture. My body is is there holding everything together like the sturdiness of an easel. The audience my canvas to put my impression upon, and the ords, oh god, the words are like choosing the colors of the paint. It’s incredible the kind of vibe, atmosphere, or environment one can create with words alone. There was a time when humans had no choice but to rely upon word of mouth. What do you think we did to solve the boredom problem?
We told stories. We became masterful orators and storytellers. The cave drawings don’t even capture the full scope of our ability to tell stories. It’s akin to a children’s book, with no words. Could you imagine the facial expressions, illuminated by firelight? Or maybe on a brisk hike through the woods for essential resources? Or maybe they were a tribe of warriors like the Maya, telling stories to keep focus and attention in the heat of battle? Or they could have been quietly spearfishing, talking in gestures, facial expressions, and hand motions over a glossy stream or river, careful not to scare away the fish? Or it could be a mother, singing her child a lullaby or telling them a bedtime or naptime story?
I think at times we still rely on stories to keep one foot in front of the other. Nowadays we rely on fantastic orators to make interesting the impossible; the often unfathomable story of who WE are. We have Rob Chernow, whose 48 hour audiobook about General Ulysses S. Grant would bore a normal person to tears if it were presented as plain facts in a book. Chernow told a story. As far as General Grant? Probably the most underrated President of the United States, and the one who did more for African Americans than even Abraham Lincoln (despite being extremely good friends with him). He was the first General to enlist African American troops, well really all African American platoon’s, even encouraging Lincoln to allow freed slaves from the North to Enlist in the Union Army as a whole, even commenting on the fact that they’re the most loyal and brave fighters, and was the first President to invite an African American to the White House. His wife DID own slaves, but Grant had always been an abolitionist. Don’t listen to Malcolm Nance on that one, President Grant did more for the slaves and advocated for them more than almost any other President to this day. That was literally in the mid to late 1800s. My husband and I for our wedding that never was, had planned to stay in a bed and breakfast in Chilicothe, that was frequented by Grant and his family. I think we actually stayed in his room or the one next to it. Grant preferred privacy, by Chernow’s description I could have went over the back veranda and witnessed General Grant himself smoking a cigar, reading a newspaper while enjoying the sunrise.
That’s what I most enjoy about writing. The simple fact that stories not only make up the fabric of our lives, but that our lives aren’t nearly as meaningless or hopeless as we think it is. No matter how big or small the issue or problem is, there is an opportunity to gain what we have lost, and possibly be better off for it. The fact that two people can witness the same thing and come away from the event with two completely different impressions or feelings. It’s fascinating how diverse humanity really is. And while I hate to end an article the same way twice, we are robbing ourselves when we hinder progress and exclude people for how they look, where they come from, or how they got here. It would be wise if we stopped obstructing the change and just accept everyone for who they are, who they desire to be, and who they will end up being. The future really is limitless.