Another Sunday 

I awoke this morning rather tired from not having slept very well last night. Sleeping through the night has been one of the more difficult things for me to do lately. I am not sure why I can't; I suspect some aspect of my health is part of it. The older I get, the more my physical health seems to be creeping up as an issue. I feel like it's an unkempt garden, charming early on perhaps, but increasingly a problem later.

Sunday is my day for going out to a study group. I won't say what or why at this point because some things are going to be just for me.

Anyway, I got ready and organized and was out the door by 9:30, time enough to make it to the group if I went straight there, but I decided that I should visit my mom at her shop first. It was a check in. I am concerned about the amount of work and stress that she seems to be constantly under. I don't know how to help alleviate any of that, so I keep checking in. She said that she would like to have an unsweetened iced tea from McDonald's. It is one of her minor indulgences that she allows herself, and I am not going to be an insensitive jerk and discourage it. It is also hard not to see it as a stress reliever. And as a demonstration of care for someone, there isn't anything quite like treating them to food, or in this case, tea.

The wait in the fast food line was really long since they had not made the tea for that day. They were in full-blown breakfast mode, selling their breakfast sandwiches left and right. I indulged myself and ordered one, and later, after having eaten it, wondered how something so remarkably tasty could leave you feeling so unsatisfied. It is one of the oddities about that particular form of fast food.

I delivered the tea back to my mother, all while worrying about how inordinately late I was going to be. I drove in an mild panic thinking about the interruption that I was sure I was going to cause with my late arrival. However, without speeding (a minor point of pride), I was only a few minutes late and relieved to see that they had not yet begun.

As for the group itself, overall I enjoyed it and am already looking forward to next week. I will say that the group dynamic was a little strained during the middle. There are some real gems of knowledge that come out this meeting for me. However, at times, some of the other participants seemed to get bogged down in their own ideas and people start to get frustrated. If I do speak, which I try not to, I only try to point out what I find personally illuminating about what it is we are reading.

Afterwards, everyone decides that they want to attend a buffet lunch downtown, which is where the real heart of the meeting emerges. With ten people, I imagine it to be something like the large feasts you see in period movies where guests try to engage each other with interesting anecdotes about their own lives. The cool avenues of knowledge that are explored during the earlier meeting finally dissolves into the broad paths of warm feeling. I was very worried that the one participant who seemed to be the focal point of the earlier strain during the meeting wasn't eating, and yet to bring up the issue might have caused embarrassment.

After it was done, I made my goodbyes and left. I wandered to the bookstore and made a half-hearted attempt to look for an engaging book on design, but left without a more full exploration. Most of the books there, seemed like ones I had seen there before. I did some more walking downtown before finally getting to my car and calling a former college colleague about a debt I needed to repay.

During my video class, I was in a group that needed an actor. So, I asked a friend from the photography class we shared if she would mind helping out. Because the project involved a lot of on location shots and travel, I was seriously worried that I was asking too much. Therefore, I promised her that I could give her a nine by nine sheet of muslin to use as a photographer's backdrop. I knew that she and another friend had already painted one, and that she might like to make another one. However, that video class was one of the last ones of my final term, and then I was out of school when I finally got the muslin. With it finally in hand, it was difficult trying to figure out how to get it to her. She was working overseas for a few months I had it. I knew that she acted in the video as a favor and wasn't at all concerned about getting anything in return, but I was seriously worried about leaving this promise unfulfilled and debt unpaid.

I finally called her up and asked if I could deliver it to her, to which she said yes. I felt relieved it was finally in her hands. We talked for a bit in her driveway before I left.

I made my way to Value Village to look for some blue jeans and possibly a shirt. And it was there among the racks of used clothes that I started to have some trouble. I saw myself in the other patrons of that store and realized just how poor and out-of-shape I was. The financial poverty I have struggled with all my life has left some deep social scars that seem difficult for me to repair. For one, I would like to dress more attractively, but I don't know how and, worse, would feel uncomfortable in anything other than jeans and T-shirts. Under fluorescent lights, I mentally went down the list on how deficient I felt I was in regards to my appearance, a process which ultimately leads me to same unpleasant mental place again and again and again. My imagined solution to the problem of this bad feeling is irrational, somewhat selfish, and unpractical. Intellectually, I know this. And yet, I want it so strongly anyway that it forces that knowledge to the side where I do my best to ignore it. The real solution to problem is not removing the consequence of these bad feeling through distractions, but controlling the conditions that cause the bad feelings to arise. Strike at the root cause and not its effects. Easier said than done.

I went home and took refuge in bed, trying to catch up on that sleep I missed. I was probably a mistake to do so, but it made me feel slightly better. The empty feeling of not accomplishing something more tangible during a day is preferable to the misery of berating oneself for conditions that cannot be alleviated overnight. I awoke, had a chocolate cereal dinner, watched some television before writing this post. As it is more of the proper time for bed, I am going to resolve to do better tomorrow.

12 February 2012
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