The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Ima Be Me: Wanda Rules

Wanda Sykes' HBO special "Ima be me" is brilliant stuff. Never seen her funnier, more vulnerable and honest, more powerful, more on point, more poignant, or, oddly...more attractive. It's as if "coming out" let her relax on some deep level. Just everything about the performance made me think she was the funniest woman I've seen in ages. She did a routine about how being gay was harder than being black, partially because no one ever had to explain blackness to their parents. God, I was howling. That particular little snippet of comedy was as good as any routine I've ever seen, anywhere, when it comes to socially relevant material, or humor that releases pain. Good, good for her. Wait till you see her bit about the salad bar on the gay cruise. I thought I was going to die laughing.


Every morning I've been doing yoga and meditating with Jason. Pretty much, I can tell which days he's going to have his head together and which ones he's going to get into trouble. On "trouble" days he just can't keep his attention on what he's doing. He keeps looking off to the left rather than holding my eyes, and is easily frustrated. Keep my eye on that.


Nicki is moving out...or "up", actually. She's moving up to Paso Robles to join a theater company with her mom. She'll get a new job up there, no doubt. Sigh. I'ma miss my baby, but I'll bet Toni will be turning handsprings of joy to have her girl close. Good for both of them.


Jason gave me a bit of his cold, and it wakes me up at night just enough to throw my sleep cycle off. Bad bad bad...this makes me vulnerable like nothing else, and I need to jump back in bed until my body feels recovered. If I can do that, I'll probably skate through flu season...but have to be careful indeed.


Going back through "Think And Grow Rich" reminds me of my childhood. My mother used to have that, and "Psycho-Cybernetics" and "The Power of Positive Thinking" and other records playing in the house until I thought I'd go nuts. But they obviously took hold. The most important things I'd remembered were having a Definite Chief Aim and being certain that your inner self-image actually matches your goals. Otherwise, you'll sabotage yourself, and rip yourself into pieces trying to follow two paths at once. Napoleon Hill suggests writing out your core statement of action and reading it twice a day, morning and night. Maxwell Maltz suggests spending a half-hour a day visualizing the new you. I'm not doing a Golden Hour right now--it's generally a half-hour, during which I exercise, do Coach Sonnon's Prasara yoga series, and listen to a Pimsleur Spanish lesson. Perfectly aware that yoga is best done with total concentration, but it's fun to experiment. To, for that 1/2 hour, try to carry myself as the person I aspire to be. Every breath in control, even as I twist and turn. To respond to the Spanish lessons even as I get a bit fatigued. It is definitely a challenge.

I think that the only things about our lives that CANNOT be changed are those things that cannot be changed with behavior. Smoking or drug usage can be ended. Money can be saved and earned. Honesty can blossom in troubled relationships. Bodies can be optimized. Lessons can be learned. Perceptual filters can be cleaned.

It is grimly amusing when I hear adults making excuses they would never accept from their son or daughter (it generally boils down to: "I don't wanna!) , and then blame biology or genetics. Their only problem is that they let the child part of their personality make adult decisions. I suspect that this is why, for so long, parents sent unruly teens into the armed forces: to find them a "parental" figure who won't take crap. On some level, everyone would like to lay around all day, eat sweets and fats, have someone else take care of us, lie our way out of problems. If there isn't a strong parental figure to force us to take action, or help us see that such behavior will NOT get us what we want, people can damn well enter their 50's still operating as if they are 13 year olds who forgot their homework, coming up with some bizarre variation on "my dog ate my report." We look around for an escape hatch from adult responsibility, and fantasy can be a great one.

Busyness is a great way to avoid the things you don't want to do. All you have to do is fail to prioritize, then get busy enough that the stuff on the end of your list never gets done. Oops! There goes balancing the checkbook, working out, having that tough talk with your spouse. Well, there's always Mañana. See? I knew that Spanish would come in useful.

So...what is your favorite method of procrastination?


Bennett said...

Favorite method of procrastination? Apart from wasting time on the internet, which is a rather overt method, I find myself more prey to the insidious lure of illusory productivity.

In other words, I like to just take care of "what's at hand" in the short term--say, working out, getting today's class reading done, etc--while conveniently forgetting longer-term goals. Thus while I can go to bed assured that I "got everything done today" I forget that I didn't do things like meditation, writing or revising my 500-1000 words, practicing guitar scales, going through a troublesome kata, or writing to my parents.

Sure, I'm getting my chores finished, but I'm not taking care of myself on all 7 levels. Yet I can bullshit myself into thinking that I didn't put those things off because I took care of the "most urgent" things.

Self-deception is such a beautiful animal that it's hard to bring myself to kill it. But that hide would look nice tacked up on my wall, too.

Scott said...

Favorite method? Um, overrecovery. ;-)Food, sleep, reading for pleasure, sex... these things should be in my day...

But, to take a G-rated example, reading a novel in a sitting or seeing more than one movie at the 'plex at a time is overdoing it.

Marty S said...

I usually try to be modest, but I have to be one of the world's greatest procrastinators. I don't have the patients to do any one thing for too long. Let's say I am planning to work on a software project, play a computer game, read a book. I will write, a function or two, play the game for a while, then save and go read a chapter or two before rotating back. I used to do the same thing at work. If I had three projects to do A, B and C, I would do a little on each project and rotate through them.

Pagan Topologist said...

I think that is a good approach, Marty. I do much the same, and it means I am always freshly approaching each task. Over time, I get more done with this approach than any other. The exception may be editing and polishing something I have already written.

Steven Barnes said...


I kind of like that approach, as well.

Mike said...

The internet is probably my number one procrastination tool.

Either that or going, "I'll do it after I do pointless thing X," followed by doing X and then saying, "I'll do it after I do pointless thing Y."


Anonymous said...

I'll start procrastinating later.

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