I think far out in advance and I often lose myself while in the process. When I am in deep thought, I might appear unaware, aloof, standoffish, and entirely uninterested in my surroundings. In some instances I might seem hypersensitive or over emotional, but in truth I am somewhere in the background of the contemplative process, almost absent to everyone, including myself.
Much of the contemplation happens in a cohort fashion. There is a hidden part, a machine that constantly evaluates, and somewhere I, or my conscious awareness, sits behind the machine. This ‘machine’ is why all of a sudden I might ‘check out’ mentally and leave any company behind. This ‘machine’ is why I might eventually have a strong impulse to exit a particular person and/or environment. This machine is why sometimes I start to cry and do not know why.
Sometimes certain environments will lead to deeper thinking. Other times I will be practicing so hard being present and alert that when an event is over I collapse with debilitating fatigue. When I am in an over-stimulating environment, (such as new surroundings, new friendship, new people, crowded places, unexpected happenings, confrontation), I become overwhelmed with data. Part of my brain likes to collect, another likes to organize, and still another relishes itself in connections. Sometimes whilst collecting, organizing, and connecting information inputted into the ‘machine,’ I soon become an exaggerated version of myself, some downtrodden detective who has dug up one too many clues and needs an extensive reprieve from her vocation.
In moments of ‘too much data,’ which could be the result of something as simple as one text message, I might appear aggravated, sad, confused, or even angry, but inwardly I only feel one thing: lost.
My mind is constantly solving. Much is taken in and processed through the senses, but I also cipher through and digest past collected facts and personal memories in three-D picture form. I make constant connections, experience acute and distinct bodily sensations, monitor hunches, respond to my instinctual fight-flight internal mechanism, and more. With all of this processing, being in the moment and in the now, is vanquished by merely existing.
When I find myself outside the sanctuary of a safe place or beyond structured familiarity, the internal processing intensifies, and in defense of my own machine, I slowly slip back into myself. Even when I am in safe and familiar surroundings, my mind is still on overdrive. For what appears to be not-so-important choices, (what to eat, when to get gas, when to make a phone call) feels like life or death decisions. I know logically ‘to not sweat the small stuff.’ I know logically most things are not a big deal. But somehow I get carried away into thinking each decision is a big deal. I know easier choices could be said and done with barely a thought. But to me the choices feel insurmountable. Even the choice of how to walk, the speed of how to talk, the way in which to breathe, play out like a drum corp. Sometimes the choice becomes buried under other choices, as I reason my way through something, pulling out random tools from a series of toolboxes varying from nutritional know-how to spiritual belief systems.
In relation to choices, I also have this ever-building blueprint inside, as if I am writing out a series of steps as I go about every minute of my day. Even the way in which I brush my hair, load the dishwasher, or unload the groceries is broken down into strategic steps, occurring simultaneously to when I move. I don’t just DO anything. The same goes for my thinking. There is a director overseeing my thought process, constantly. There isn’t time for rest, because even as I seek retreat, some part of me is remaining at work and on guard.
I can become stuck in a state of inertia when the director gets stuck inside the data, or stuck within the elements of the live-blueprint, tangled in a labyrinth of what he/she deems actually right and wrong. Here, every choice gets tricky. Here the ‘how much,’ ‘when,’ ‘why,’ and such play out. Here the voices of how to be come in, and how to be the best me.
Everyday life choices are many, sometimes reaching hundreds in the matter of an hour. This creates the data overload, this creates the retreat, this creates the sinking into myself, and the need to escape and/or find relief. Often my only relief is found in a special interest, fixation, or hobby.
When I am in a state of contemplation, I also have a frozen-time-bubble that serves as a vehicle, like a time travel machine. Inside those thoughts, I have the ability to stop time. I have a sort of super power in which I can visualize my thoughts as flash images at fast speed, and jump ahead and live visually through possible choices and events. I can do this at a rapid rate—let’s say projecting into the future and seeing ten feasible scenarios almost all at once, within seconds. Because of this, to the onlooker, I might not appear as though I have a reason to support a decision made quickly; when indeed, to me, I have taken ample and proficient time to evaluate a given idea.
This happens all day long. Even a lonely drinking glass on the kitchen counter has had a half-dozen feasible futures, just from my quick glance—he could be used again, he could have been used by someone in the house with an ailment and needs deep cleaning, he could be rinsed and placed in the dishwasher, he could be soaped up and put in drying rack, he could be used to pour water into the fern plant, he could be thrown out because of that small chip—now or later?
The way I process also makes me sound like I am purposeful being more argumentative during a disagreement because I say several things at once aloud and come off like rapid-firing. I don’t mean to do this, but I do it just the same. I make fast and abundant connections based on what the other person is saying, and then speak what I am seeing. I am thinking so fast, and processing so quickly, that I barely have time to examine my thoughts myself. But it all comes out in one giant heap of me sounding like I have all the answers, or looking lost, or acting overwhelmed.
When I am in a state of continual over-processing and bombardment of information with little relief, particularly in what I perceive as a fight/flight situation or a confrontational situation in which my actions or words have made another person frustrated in any manner, then I start to doubt who I am as a person. I doubt that I function normally. I doubt that I am ever going to be able to be happy. I doubt that anyone will have the patience for me. And from there I spiral downward.
I often want to say: I don’t mean to be the way I am.