On Boundaries and Floating and Grounding

I. On boundaries, or, the lack thereof

Anyone who read yesterday’s post and who’s familiar with me might have thought, yikes, not another one of Lisa’s moody-writer days.

So it was. But it was also more than that. For months, I’ve felt untethered, which might explain the impetus to adopt a dog back in June. What could be more grounding than picking up poop? And I might be in need of grounding because, well, let’s examine all the ways in which I have no boundaries:

  • The big one: no job. No need to get up on a schedule, so I don’t. No automatic begin and end brackets to the day, or the week.
  • Not a mommy. There are oodles of women out there who don’t work in the traditional sense, but they’re raising kids. Talk about a grounded existence!
  • Single at the moment. Relationships provide boundaries. Go to bed nearabouts the same time, get up nearabouts the same time, eat dinner together, stuff like that.
  • Funky sleep cycles. Since I have no schedule, over the course of months I fall asleep later and later, and sleep more and more fitfully. This goes on for awhile until I wake up, as I did yesterday, exhausted and undone. Then I reboot myself back to 11:00 p.m. to begin the insidious cycle again.
  • Iffy personal hygiene and general dishevelment. Shower? If I feel like it. Hair? What about it, it’s naturally curly — it’s supposed to look like this. Clean clothes? Bah, no one’s going to smell me today. Makeup? Come on now, don’t be like that.

II. On floating, or, my weird day

I know exactly zero people with my lifestyle: living alone and working from home. There’s the folks who work from home but have families/significant others. Then, there’s the folks who live alone but leave home for work. Either way, they bounce themselves off their boundaries each day, and aren’t boundaries a fundamental source of comfort and security whether or not we care to admit it?

This is what I’m talking about, this floating sense of living outside everyday reality. Yesterday, I felt bizarre with it. And it didn’t help that atmospherics from the atmosphere lent the air a post-apocalyptic orange haziness.

I thought to accomplish one task — just one, the easiest. So, I brought a research book I’d already read and highlighted to — you guessed it — a local cafe. Fat City Cafe is a classic neighborhood greasy spoon (est. 1974) with green leatherette booths, a counter reminiscent of an old-time soda fountain, and walls covered with signs and license plates.

Unfortunately, sitting around a cafe dosing on humanity and eavesdropping on others’s boundaries, didn’t ease my floaty-ness. I tried to chat with the cute guy who worked there, but that didn’t ground me. And instead of browsing the highlighted text for possible inspiration, I stared at the colorful walls. I left after a turkey sandwich and coffee, and stepped into the orange haze to float my dog up and down the block.

Home again, I slept hard, and I mean hard, for an hour-and-a-half. Woke up with headache. Floated around the apartment. Scratched the dog’s belly. Prepared sugar-free, fat-free butterscotch pudding and ate every last bite while watching second-season “Weeds” episodes.

III. On grounding, or, I’m working on it

At the end of the day, what did I learn? Nothing. I know that I created this writer’s life of mine. I own my choices in doing so. I own the consequences of those choices. For now, because I’m writing in a boundary-less bubble (image works for me), I’ll have days like yesterday. I’ll write funky posts on this blog. My emotions will rollercoaster more than I consider normal for me. It won’t help that I’ll continue inhabiting fictional worlds much of the time.

Who’s life isn’t a work-in-progress? In this, at least, I’m no different than anyone else.

0 comments on “On Boundaries and Floating and Grounding

  • That’s a tough one, but boundaries can work both ways with writing. There are a lot of times when I dream of having large chunks of time to write – especially when I can’t seem to find anything other than 20-minute pieces scattered about between the boundaries of work, home, wife, work, etc. I think all writers have barriers to break through to make it happen. They may be different for each of us, but we still feel quite a sense of accomplishment when we do. Just keep at it.

  • so you “floated your dog up and down the street …” great line/phrase … I wonder if writing this entry opened up what you really wanted to be working on? Hey, there have to be “wandering” days, don’t there? Just becaue you’re a writer doesn’t mean you’re writing every second, right? A banker doesn’t bank every second. (matter of fact, the way the econ is going, the banker may not be banking much at all!) Anyway, nothing is for nothing. This is a great entry. Here’s to your book and any forward motion on it, whatever guise it takes.

  • Hi Chad, I agree that we all have our writing struggles. I’m finding it interesting that given no boundaries, I find that I crave a few!

    Oh, thanks! Seems like I have many “wandering” days! When I think back to my 9-to-5 days it strikes me that I wasn’t a busy-bee all the time — plenty of fooling around then too!


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