I love me a good self development book. Just having it on my shelf with an un-cracked spine makes me feel like I am more accomplished, as if my soul is richer by its mere presence. But there is one thing I have found in basically all the books I have read that brings me to a screeching halt, puts ice in my veins and shame in my tummy. There comes a point in the book where the importance of CONSISTENCY is brought into sharp relief. With sentences such as, ‘The only way to be consistent is to be consistent’ (Gee thanks) or ‘Nothing worthwhile in this life is achieved without the small daily habits that are performed with consistency’ or ‘Oi! There is no reason on this earth you cannot be consistent and if you think there is a reason, what you have is an excuse, you feeble, lazy, poor imitation of a blob fish.’
If there is one thing I have learned over my 36 years on this planet about consistency, is that for me – it’s not that consistent.
So, today I’m going to delve a little deeper. Take a swan dive into the murky depths of my psyche to figure out why in the hell the only thing that I’m any good at being consistent for, is inconsistency. My hope is that by unearthing some of this for me, it will help you, my gentle reader.
Great Starter Energy.
What I am excellent at is chasing the shiny penny. My starting energy is obnoxiously high. To the point where if I have an idea – say to paint a canvas, I don’t care if it is 3am and I don’t have a canvas, I will find a way to cobble a frame (maybe out of an old shelving unit) and tear up a bedsheet and make me a damn canvas. Of course, by this time it is probably 6am and I’m exhausted and so I sleep. When I wake I will see that canvas and think, ‘That won’t hold the paint the way I want it too, I’ll pop into town and buy a canvas’ which I will promptly do before I have even attempted to make myself, in any way, presentable to the outside world and buy not one but 12 canvases (because I’m going to need them – I’m overflowing with the muse) Then three months later all those canvases will still be in the place I dropped them when I got home, the DIY one mocking me every time I pass it.
Now of course this speaks to my EID impulsivity, EID (Emotional Intensity Disorder) formally known as EUPD (Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder), formally, formally known as BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder) formally, formally, formally known as ‘The Artist formally known as Prince’. It’s a bitch for impulsivity and it physically hurts me to not follow through on an impulse. I mean, I get chest pains and a tension headache, so it’s not a simple task to ignore the impulse. Essentially, I will burn myself at both ends and in the middle when I begin a project until I hit the next impulse or collapse in a pool of my own wax.
I’m Not Lazy, I’m Not Well
Ask any quote on success and they’ll all tell you (with their stunning but irrelevant back drops) if you want to be successful, or a worthwhile human even, you must be consistent. Anything less is just laziness. Which is great, thanks for that – I’ll just go over into my bad human lazy corner and slowly rot away, shall I? Reading or hearing these things is particularly upsetting for me because deep down I worry they are right. How can I amount to anything with days and weeks at a time missed because of my mental illnesses? Seriously, take this blog, for example, the reason I wrote it, hell, the reason I started the whole ‘Mastress’ thing was because I wanted to help people but if I can’t keep consistent, will people even see it? It’s a genuine trigger point for my anxiety.
Other than when I’m having bad days, the reason I find consistency so challenging is during my formative years I grew up in a neglectful (on a good day) and abusive household. They did not put us on any kind of schedule other than to be afraid and alert. To this day, because I grew up in survival mode, I forget to do most things people are doing by the time they are five, or example, brush my teeth, my face, my hair, eat, take medications – the list goes on. This was also, of course, the birth of my CPTSD.
So if I can’t remember to put on deodorant, I’m not hopeful that I can consistently carry out more complex tasks. Trauma is fun that way. The victim keeps paying the bill in new and surprising ways, while the perpetrator usually just goes on. But, and here is the important thing, if you can relate to any of this…
“It doesn’t make us lazy, it simply means we were brought up in survival mode and anything that didn’t keep us safe was not essential and as we navigate the landscape as an adult it is going to look very different to that of those who had a more stable upbringing.”
Great Advice (For Those it Applies Too)
I read a quote recently that said something like, the only thing separating unsuccessful and successful people is that successful people do the work despite their mood. I mean, I know they are not directly talking to me, but it’s hard to not take this personally…
For me, it takes an extraordinary effort to get to the place most people start their day. I wake up confused, often exhausted after another night of insomnia kicking my butt and even if I remember to remember to check the lists, notes and alarms, I set myself to make my life a little smoother sailing, It can still be an uphill battle to move from one spot to the next. And, I should state those are my baseline days. When I am suffering from full, raging depression, it’s near impossible for me to function at all.
“Recovery isn’t a destination, it’s a constant and evolving state of being.“
My brain won’t one day suddenly be fixed and, while there is merit in doing the thing even when you don’t want to, for some people – like me, for example, it can be a dangerous and often slippery slope.
I have to do the opposite, I have to honour my mood so that I don’t go back into the hole I just managed to claw myself out of (for the 100th time) but again, it can feel so disheartening to basically hear, “You can’t succeed” every time you read a quote.
So what to do?
Do I simply accept that, for me, there isn’t a path?
Do I adjust my personal definition of success to be more ‘realistic’ with my ‘limitations’?
Do I give up entirely and lean into a life of unfulfilled desires and dreams?
No, I refuse to do any of those things.
Forging My Path
Here is what I’m going to do instead because, quite frankly,
I’m going to find a path and goddamn it, if there isn’t one I’ll learn how to make tarmac and make my own. And with each step I’m going to leave a sign post for everyone else that feels like me, has the same struggles and doubts, all those that the world has written off because they don’t fit a rigid binary system of thinking and living. And that sign post will state boldly ‘There is a way, this is the way’ and in smaller writing it will also say – if this path isn’t right for you now, that’s ok, here are the tools to make your own beautiful path. It’s not easy but you can take as many breaks, u-turns and do-overs as you like – it’s your path after all. I may not know you, but I know this; you have survived every day of your life dealing with the things most people only have nightmares about. You can do this.
So in conclusion, the idea that consistency has to be day in day out and the acolytes of it can kiss my perfectly formed, milky white arse. Because I may not be able to fulfill that criteria, but I am still here and there were many times in my journey that should have killed me, but they didn’t.
The only thing I have to worry about being consistent on is getting up again, getting out of the hole again – now matter how much time I spend down there and I have a lifetime of proof that says I can and I will and if you are reading this, so do you.
Until next time,
You got this x