Today was good. I realize in reflection that I should have spent some time earlier doing a grounding technique my therapist taught me. I’m starting to recognize when I slip into autopilot. I start thinking like an old search engine. I’ll start by thinking of something I saw or heard earlier, like Carter Pewterschmidt losing his driving privileges on Family Guy. Something about that bit of the show set off an internal red flag. I watched him drive carelessly with Stewie centered in the back in a car seat. That’s what it was. Wow, typing it out helped me figure it out straight away.
Now I know what triggered me into going on autopilot. I just want to be able to recognize it in real time, so I can consciously face whatever triggers me, rather than losing several hours to repetitive motion, and cryptic thoughts strung together by random pattern classification. I hate wasting time by accident. I’m seeing now how different my life is when I’m not on autopilot most of the time. It’s like sitting in a theater, watching the same movie for years, when one day someone invites you on stage to play the role of one of the lead characters. I’ve stumbled on stage and I’m familiar with the scene, but I’m still feeling nervous.
If that makes sense to anyone but me, I’ll be pleased. I am to metaphors what tone deaf is to singing. (They say admitting you have a problem is the first step…) I have a melody that has played in my mind since I was in primary school. I used to sing it over and over while on patrol duty. I don’t forget music, and there’s usually music playing in my mind. Every so often, that melody plays, and I remember standing on the corner a block away from my school with the fluorescent pink patrol belt wrapped proudly around me. I remember the smell of car exhaust. I remember my fear that the cars wouldn’t stop for me. They always stopped.
That melody is important to me. I created it before I knew very much music. It was before I had any semblance of self consciousness. I sang constantly as a child. I did it quietly while rocking, and it was like breathing to me. When I began school, I learned that it was generally considered an odd thing to do. I didn’t stopped doing it. I just learned how to do it when I wasn’t around other people. I created this melody before I knew I was odd. I liked that odd me. She didn’t survive intact, obviously, but I have a few good memories from when she existed. I wish all of us who were considered odd children had a vault somewhere safe where we could store our original self, and visit later in life. I guess it’s a good thing we have memories stored in our minds. It’s not as reliable, but it’s far better than nothing.