I had this awesome plan. I was supposed to have some time off over the holidays that were going to leave me rested and recharged. That worked about as well as most of my plans.
As a parent, the holidays are really draining. Maybe there really are some parents that are as happy and shiny about all the festive stuff as their FaceBook pages would lead you to believe. Personally, I don’t buy it. Maybe it’s a function of the fact that I’m a single parent. Although the years that I wasn’t single were equally draining. (I think that was a function of being married to Harvey – but whatever.) During the holidays I’m expected to be less of a bitch while undergoing extreme personal and financial stress. This is a very tall order for normal people. And we all know that I’m not one of those.
Now the holidays have passed. It’s a new year. Yay. The idea was supposed to be that things would be neat, organized and ready for back to school. I would have got some rest too and feel more centered. Naturally, that’s not a bit of what happened. The Christmas decorations are still up, including the damned 10 foot tall, bodged together 100 pound monstrosity of a tree. At some point about 250 pounds of Christmas shit has to hauled back up the rickety ass attic stairs. That should be fun. Someone should video it.
The house is also a disaster. Due to a series of unforeseen events, all the planned housework got scrapped. The little errands and foraging for necessary information also got scrapped. FUCK. So here it is… already the second week of January and I feel like there’s a big black cloud of unfinished business hanging over my head. I know I need to tie up a metric shit ton of loose ends. If I could just get started I would find that each task isn’t a big deal. I could blaze through the list. If I could just get started.
But I can’t. Get started. Why?? Because I’m fucking crazy. (I really thought we had already established this.) The combination of unforeseen derailing events and the post-holiday let down has me in a mental fog. I WANT to do stuff. But when the time comes to actually do it I get irrationally frightened.
The amygdala is a motherfucker. Look it up (It’s part of the brain.). That little shit is responsible for the fight or flight response. This is a fantastic mechanism if you’re being attacked by lions. But when your attacker is a bank account with a low balance, running away isn’t a very effective method of coping with the situation. But this is the brain I have and I have to work with it. When it gets overwhelmed, my amygdala interprets that as life threatening. Does that make sense? No. You have your brain pumped full of hormones that are telling you that you are about to die unless you RUN and then get back to me about getting my shit together.
I need a catalyst to overcome the activation energy of this situation.
What the fuck am I talking about?? I know all both of you that read this blog just asked yourself that question. I’m talking about this:
The relationship between activation energy (Ea) and enthalpy of formation (ΔH) with and without a catalyst, plotted against the reaction coordinate. The highest energy position (peak position) represents the transition state. With the catalyst, the energy required to enter transition state decreases, thereby decreasing the energy required to initiate the reaction.
That makes perfect sense, right??
The idea here is that in a chemical reaction, it takes more energy to initiate the reaction than it does for the reaction to continue. Once the activation energy is overcome the reaction will continue (barring other intervention) until it reaches equilibrium. And I could damn sure use some equilibrium. Let’s relabel this graph to apply to life:
The relationship between Effort to Get Shit Started and Change in Effort Required to Not End up on ‘Hoarders’ with and without a catalyst, plotted against the Life coordinate. The highest effort position (peak position) represents the mobilization state. With the catalyst, the effort required to enter mobilization state decreases, thereby decreasing the effort required to get shit started. The minimum energy state is the subsistence state. The subsistence state for this particular Life is defined as the minimum effort required to keep yourself and your children fed, clothed and out of state custody.
Suddenly it’s all clear to you. (Probably.) The activation energy (Effort to Get Shit Started) is basically a fucking mountain. I’ve been climbing, but then I slide back down. It’s steep as hell. If I could just reach the mobilization state then things would be good. What I need is a catalyst. A little something that would make it easier to get started. I don’t have a clue what the catalyst is though. A lot of bona fide reactions use platinum as a catalyst. I’m pretty sure some platinum jewelry would get me going. Problem is candidates to buy me expensive shit are thin on the ground. I do have a list of things that I know do NOT work as catalysts: beer, junk food, watching sports, checking my bank balance, going to work, opening the mail, browsing Pinterest.
So that’s where I am: being followed around by a black cloud, browsing Pinterest and comparing my life to chemistry while I search for a catalyst to help bring me to equilibrium. I’m blaming my amygdala.