Bookshelf reorganizing and self-reflection

There is a war going on right now in my head between my inner idealist archivist (save everything!) and my inner cynical librarian (weed this collection down to a more manageable level!  We’ve got limited shelf-space and need to optimize it!!).  Real archivists know they can’t save everything either, of course, and so focus on what is most rare, etc.  In the real world of libraries, there’s a balance struck between archives and libraries, and each has their own ongoing mission to accomplish.  Stock regulation is never easy but it’s always necessary.  I’ve seen libraries toss some things and keep others that leave me scratching my head, but I’ve never been in charge of such decisions and probably never will be.  As I re-organize one of my bookshelves…a kind of “temporary shelving area”, I scrutinize the books there.  I check the date on some and smack myself for keeping a book that old on the shelf.  Some books I berate myself with the self-reproach of “what were you even thinking?!”, still others I turn up my nose and say “ugh, OUT!” and feel anxious to get them either to Half-Price Books or a recycling bin as soon as the Christmas holiday is over.  These heavy, thick art books simply must go.  Ditto my “Big Red Books”, i.e. Library of Congress Subject Headings.  My set are way out of date, and as it’s been several years since I engaged in any cataloging, they need to go.  I seldom perused them even when I did.  It was mainly out of idle curiosity, the structure of knowledge formulated by LCSH.  It was fun to flip through them at first, sort of like how I used to spend hours in my childhood amusing myself with a World Book encyclopedia set, or in my 20s and 30s with an unabridged Webster’s dictionary.  But I seldom have time to even look at them anymore, much less study them.  All of this information has been long ago digitized, of course; I don’t even know if the Library of Congress issues print editions of the Big Red books; I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re no longer in print at all.  I am moving some books that were atop drawers, tables, floorspace, etc, to the actual temp shelf, while setting aside others to be sold off after the holidays.  It’s an imperfect process and one that will have to incorporate the main shelf downstairs, of course.  It’s anxiety inducing in the extreme for me, but it has to be done.  I should be treating myself to a few relaxing episodes of Japanese anime but find myself too anxious to settle down and turn on the TV and PS3 and put in the relevant disc.  Perhaps I will in a bit; I can certainly stay up given the holiday tomorrow.  But I just wanted to write this post as a kind of postscript to my previous, longer posting.  I did get a lot done, but there’s still lots more to go.  All in the name of keeping domestic peace and alleviating my mom’s disgust with my living space(s).  Once I started moving/cleaning things, my own disgust response was aroused and I took to the task under my own power and motivation.

There’s also lingering tension and frustration in the house because although our new TV is up and installed, has a great looking picture…Netflix tests out postitive, the attached Samsung Blu-Ray player mom attached works fine, and the picture quality is awesome (I tested out one of my Anime Blu-Ray movies)….the cable box from Comcast doesn’t work and the soonest they can send out a “tech” is Friday after the holiday.  So no watching Houston Rockets game in High Def on the big big screen until then.  The whole house is in a period of flux and transition, lots of anxious “hurry up and wait” scenarios owing to the holidays, etc.  Lots of positive, fun changes, but also much underlying anxiety that is hard to manage but must be managed somehow.  My bank of tokens is exhausted so I’m definitely not in the best frame of mind as I write this.  I’m jaundiced, full of self-loathing and wanting to berate myself.  I do at least have myself to myself, but I’m still anxious and unsettled.

Another minor point of upset I’ve been dealing with.  I read in Temple Grandin’s latest book The Autistic Brain that we autistics seem to have a natural affinity for music…that in some cases nonverbal autistics have even been taught to speak through first learning to sing and being sung to.  That was cool to hear about, really.  It filled me also with a twinge of pride, an “ah-ha” moment as to why I’m really good at picking out music by ear, etc.  And yesterday I even gave some thought to picking up guitar again, maybe really doing it this year.  All crushed by the reality of having to move and put away all 3 of my guitars (Electric guitar [a Fender Strat knockoff], my steel string acoustic, & my Electric bass, and 2 accompanying amps) away behind my refurbished bed, all under a blanket to ward off dust.  It was just a reality of the housecleaning scenario I had to accept for now but it was still heartbreaking inside, especially after such a revelation in Temple’s book that YES, there’s a physiological reason in my Aspergian brain why I’ve always had a pretty good ear for music.  An untrained ear, to be sure…I can’t just name a note’s position on the scale just by hearing it.  But once I have a scale to work with I can hunt and find and reproduce the sound in short order.

I also have to accept that I need to start once again attending Weight Watchers, and closely scrutinizing my calorie intake and upping my activity levels.  My overweight condition has reached levels that make even me uncomfortable.  Although I consume craft beer in only moderate amounts and never to intoxication, it all adds up.  And frankly the novelty of it has really worn off and I’m getting bored of it at long last.  It was a regular ritual of mine to consume it on weekends in very restricted amounts with a meal, while listening to Celtic music and just relaxing.  It was a very peaceful ritual that sustained me through all of 2013, and much of 2012.  But I’ve found I’ve finally gotten bored of it, and my waistline will not allow it to continue very much longer in any case.  I need to replace it with walking again for exercise and calorie burning.  I can retain the music or podcast part of the ritual whilst walking, to relive the inevitable boredom of walking.  If I budget for it in a Weight Watchers plan, I can even allow myself a pint or two here and there, so long as I actually do the math and offset it with lighter meals elsewhere or increased activity levels beyond the norm.

I was successful in slimming down rather nicely when I first returned from North Texas upon losing my job there.  I made it down to a size 36.  I’ve been a 36 before on past occasions as well, but it’s a size I find VERY difficult to maintain for long.  38 is quite enough of a challenge to manage.  It’s stressful to keep gaining weight and expanding at the waist as I am now….but I recall that it was equally stressful trying to stay at 36 and having to be so very hyper-vigilant with everything I consumed, keeping careful track of everything and resenting the hell out of co-workers who would bring sweets and other temptations to work, etc.  Luckily, I don’t have nearly as much of a sweet tooth as my poor mother does.  My weakness is more meat & fat related, and a love of dining out, etc, and trying lots of different things all the time.  I don’t have a choice, though.  Even I am disgusted to see myself inching back up into the size 42 range again.  I just can’t “go there”, I have to turn back.  I hate it, and it’s going to be hard, hard work, but I’ve got to do it.  I wish I didn’t have to think about what I ate, didn’t have to worry, stress, etc., but it’s just not reality. 

I don’t know if I have realistic dating prospects or not; maybe my marriage was just a lucky fluke with a crazy girl.  But I know those prospects will only diminish further if my waistline continues to expand.  Charm & wit can only overcome so much, and I’ve already got my inherent Aspergian awkwardness to overcome already.  I’m undecided if I ever really do want another marriage and possibly children.  I’m not 100% opposed, but it does terrify me a little to contemplate it.  But I am certain I would like another girlfriend, a love interest who loves me back, etc.  But for the immediate future, getting back into at least marginally better shape need to be my focus this year.  It’s gonna suck but it has to be done.  I’ve gotta do it for me and nobody else.  Trying to do something “for” another person with respect to changing oneself drastically mainly generates unhealthy resentment, in my experience.  You gotta “own” that stuff.

Anyway, I remain grateful to this blogspace we maintain as an outlet.  I needed this, and I hope someone reading it finds it useful too.

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