Turned Upside Down

Today has been a no-good bonehead day of a Monday for this girl.

On days like today, I seriously question how I have the same brain as I did 3 years ago when I graduated suma cum laude from my university. (Suma cum Laude is a fancy – i.e. pretentious – French way of saving I graduated with the highest distinction of my class.)

Two rows of cubicles down from me sits a coworker named Brad, which is not his real name because I haven’t decided if I’m comfortable using the real names of real life people who don’t know I write about them on the internet to entertain myself and others.

“Brad” has a barren file cabinet next to his cubicle. Barren until last week, that is. I guess the barrenness bothered him as much as it did me, so he added a new miniature office golf game atop the file cabinet. It’s one tiny hole, a stretch of green turf, bunkers of sand on both sides of the tiny baby hole, and a golf ball about 10x smaller than a real golf ball.

I have no picture of said golf game. So I am including this picture to prove that I do work in a legitimate professional environment to add context to my story 😉

When I visited Brad’s desk today, I noticed the golf ball was lodged in the hole. The hole was designed so deep and snug, that you could not grab the ball out once it had been sunk in the hole. Apparently other people had also made this discovery….this room for improvement…..before I walked up.

Nevertheless, I thought I had outwitted them in un-sticking this tiny ball.

“Why don’t you just dump the whole game upside down?” I said, as if it were so obvious. I swiftly turned the patch of grass over. Obviously gravity will drop the golf ball out of its little nest. Problem solved.

Yes. The ball did dislodge itself. And so did the sand. Sand from the very real bunkers poured from the turf and covered my co-worker’s file cabinet and surrounding floor. I went from feeling like I’d solved a mystery to feeling like a turtle who lost its shell in 0.7 seconds. Then I spent the next few minutes scraping up baby sand and pouring it back into empty bunkers on a six inch golf course.

And this is where I remind myself that I once had the brain power to write university-level essays and pass calculus classes.

So how was your Monday?

I don’t even have a legitimate excuse to blame my brain fog on. It’s just the same combobulation of life events we’re all facing. (My word processing software is telling me that “combobulation” is not a word. Is that true? It’s been said millions of times (probably) and we can’t add it to Webster’s dictionary yet? But we can add ‘bootylicious’? Jeesh.)

So I have to tell you about the outlet I’ve discovered for myself that I’ve been escaping to in the evenings for the past week.

Every Word Doc I ever created since 2004. And if my blog hasn’t given you some sort of indication, I’m a big fan of typing for therapy. I have hundreds of documents saved from Microsoft Word, starting when I was 11 years old and all the way through college. I journaled about VERY REAL things with real people and my real reactions. I also used fiction as an artistic outlet and started dozens and dozens of fiction stories. I only actually completed a handful. Most have a decent beginning, an intriguing hook, and a cliff hanger around page 20 when I got bored or distracted and started a new project.

I’ve been re-reading these passages each night. I haven’t even made it through all of them yet, but I’m going to be completely honest with you. Sometimes I read work I created in high school and think “THIS came from MY imagination!? Really?” I am genuinely impressed by some of the dialogue and themes I crafted. Not saying they are all works of art…..plenty of pages make my cringe or laugh out of embarrassment.

But sometimes I read words that ring true to me still, even though I typed them into my laptop 8 years ago as a teenager. And I feel pangs of pride that I was so witty or so vulnerable.

I think it’s very trendy right now to have self-deprecating humor and an overly-humble attitude. A lot of famous people play off compliments in an effort to appear shocked by their receptive audience, so it seems to be a common attitude in my daily life that people talk DOWN their own accomplishments and belittle their own success, chalking it up to luck or coincidence.

I think that in an ever-present environment of comparison and inadequacy, the last thing we need is pressure to devalue our own talents and strengths. There is nothing wrong with feeling proud of something you created and wanting to share it authentically with people in your life. It doesn’t have to mean you are bragging, as long as you aren’t embellishing the good and hiding the bad to make the situation very different than reality.

I’m spending the rest of the night piecing together beginnings and middles and chunks of fiction stories I wrote 10 years ago to see how much of a novel I have to work with. I’m excited by the project of pulling chapters together and completing the ending to the story. I hope that one day soon I’ll have a complete and bound book to offer you.

XO, Kenz

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