Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Return of Flaky Girl - or why ignoring my diary can only lead to disaster.

Last weekend I lost all concept of time.  I'd had a busy week where, unusually, I had barely looked at my diary.  With four days of facilitating it was easy to keep the details in my head.  Because I wasn't checking my diary regularly, I lost sight of what was coming.  I double-booked myself to such a level that I was living in two parallel worlds.

In one world, I knew that I had choir practice on Saturday morning.  When a friend suggested we visit the antiquarian book sale being staged as part of Rare Book week, I said yes and even planned lunch.  In my head, I was seeing Barry Humphries' show, Eat, Pray Laugh on Saturday night.  I'd booked the tickets back in March.  I could vividly recall the Perth hotel room I was in when I booked them, but had no idea what theatre I was to attend or what time the show was.

On Friday evening at the end of my choir's gig at the Gertrude Street Projection Festival, I had bid my fellow singers farewell with a "goodnight and see you in the morning".

At about 11pm on Friday night I decided to be prepared and print the show tickets in readiness for Saturday evening.  As I checked the details I discovered that I was going to the 1pm matinee!  That was the end of choir practice and the antiquarian book sale.

I contacted everyone to explain and apologised for being in a particularly flaky period.  Everyone was fine, but I felt stupid.

One reply from a member of the choir urged me to "get it together" with their tongue firmly in their cheek.

I used to have it together.  There was a time when I was the world's most organised and reliable person.  Flakiness just wasn't a mood in a my emotional lexicon.  I'd been to boarding school and lived on campus at university, I knew how to juggle a million things and never drop a ball.  As I grew up, I realised that this was behaviour I had learned.  It was necessary to adapt to the world I was living in, but it wasn't really me.  As I grow older, rather than getting it together, I'm unravelling.

When I suggest this to people they look at me in disbelief.  They raise their eyebrows and purse their lips.  They think I'm making it up.  I'm the queen of faking it until I make it and can easily create the illusion of complete organisation.  When the flaky girl rears her head, she lacks credibility. 

Yet, in many things, I am completely disciplined.  Now that I work from home (when I'm not facilitating or acting) I astound myself at my ability to stay focussed and get things done.  Previously when I've been at home studying or working from home to avoid distraction I've found any number of things to steal my attention.  Suddenly the prospect of cleaning the bathroom holds me in thrall!

On reflection, I've decided to embrace both sides of myself: it's a gift to be able to work both ways.  When I'm in business mode, I'm on time and exactly where I'm meant to be.  If I'm in creative mode (or if I'm tired and overwhelmed) time means nothing and I'll happily follow rabbits down holes until something distracts me.  Usually a basic need like food or warmth.  Both modes are valuable.

The other thing I am reminded of is why I value my diary.  Everything is in there.  All the details of where, when, who and what.  I just need to remember to read it.

What are your contradictions?  What's your worst case of double-booking?
Barry's show was excellent.  You can read my post about it here.
The Gertrude Street Projection Festival is still on and was one of my favourite things last week.
I had dinner with my antiquarian book friend on Sunday night instead - at Fidama in Yarraville.
I'm now catching up on learning new music I missed at rehearsal.

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