It’s been a strange old day today. I woke up earlier than usual after a series of disconcerting dreams. The first dream was one of my recurrent rape dreams; in which two old friends observe my rape and score my rapist out of ten for performance, pain inflicted and style. The second dream saw me ride a unicorn across a vast meadow of multicoloured flowers, valiantly trying to escape the clutches of an evil squadron of ferret-people. The third, and final, dream involved a bottle of whipped cream, a wooden spatula and two naked women; but the less said about that the better! ;)
After being rudely awakened from my whipped cream powered slumber I halfheartedly smoked my ‘just awakened’ cigarette before switching on the radio for my usual morning routine of talk radio and surfing the internet. It was at this point in time that I decided to try to shake things up for once. My routine – as I have written about previously – has become so ingrained it has begun taking on the effect of a safety net; that without my usual, boring, monotonous routine my brain would somehow implode. So I decided to do something different. Instead of tuning in to talk radio, I instead tuned into Triple JJJ, an FM based alternative music channel. At first it was altogether too much. I am so used to hearing the dulcet tones of Neil Mitchell (the talk radio host) that listening to music instead was deeply worrying. As the beats continued, my anxiety began to rise. My brain kept telling me I should be sticking to my routine; my heart kept telling me to leave the radio alone, that this attempt to shake up my routine had my best interests at heart. So I ignored my growing anxiety and listened to my heart. After a while (an hour or so) it wasn’t too bad. My anxiety was being lulled by the rhythm and melody that the radio was serenading me with. So I decided to continue my day in this vein; doing whatever I could to shake up my routine, although that didn’t involve logging off the internet, I’m not that insane. I need the internet to survive, it is, after all, one of the only connections I have with the outside world. So as the music lulled my thoughts I read various blogs, webpages and Facebook posts, planning the remainder of my day.
The routine is usually; talk radio until midday, then a shower, then a walk to the supermarket, followed by a movie and more talk radio before cooking dinner, watching another movie, then bed. In order to shake up my routine my first goal was simple; no shower today! As the clock ticked around to midday I found myself walking, almost zombie like, into the bathroom to begin running my shower. Only once the water had begun cascading did I remind myself that I was not to shower today. That today was to be ‘routine free’. So I turned off the shower and instead decided to watch a movie, as I was also foregoing my stroll to the supermarket that is so ingrained in my routine.
Two and a half hours later I switched the radio back on and kept the dial tuned to Triple JJJ; there was to be no talk radio today, under any and all circumstances. Around this time I realised how smelly I was after skipping my shower and decided that, as it was no longer midday, having a shower now would be outside of my usual routine so headed into the bathroom to make myself smell of limes; which is the scent of my shower gel. Following my shower I decided to do something vastly different to my usual routine, and settled down to read a book; Rough Justice, by Robin Bowles. Several chapters later, as Triple JJJ continued to serenade me with foreign music, I realised just how adventurous I was being. It may not sound it to you. Sitting there with your action packed lives. But for the last several months my days have been exactly the same. Precisely the same routine. Over and over. Every day exactly as the last. The same boring, monotonous routine. So reading a book in the middle of the day? That’s huge for me. And it was stunningly relaxing and altogether enjoyable.
By the time I finished reading I decided to begin preparing dinner. Normally my Friday meal is an omelet with cheese and capsicum. It has been for the last several weeks. Like I said. Precisely the same routine. The same boring, monotonous routine. So continuing my theme for the day I peeled some potatoes, sliced them up and whacked them in the oven to cook an amazing, cheesy potato bake. It’s cooking as I type, and the smell is delicious! There’s nothing better than potatoes. Once I’ve finished this (let’s be honest, rather inconsequential) blog post, I’ll be frying up some sausages to add a little protein to my meal and serving it with a side of broccoli, one of my favourite vegetables. Of course, I’ll be watching a movie with dinner, as I suffer from misophonia and can’t stand listening to people, including myself, eat. Plus, it’s a little hard to read whilst you’re eating and really boring sitting down at a table when you live on your own, with no-one to converse with.
But once dinner (and the movie) are done, I’ve decided to continue shaking up my routine by continuing to read my book in the hours leading up to bed. Like I said, it may not sound like much to you, but anything that shakes up the boring, monotonous routine of my life is a good thing, however silly and inconsequential my activities may sound.
Like I said, it’s been a strange old day today. A day that, unlike every other for the last several months, saw me deliberately trying to shake up my routine. Instead of allowing the safety net to catch me, I challenged my actions and allowed myself to do something different. Sure, they were little changes, like having my shower at a different time, reading instead of talk radio and altering my usual meal, but the path to good intentions starts with a single, small step. There’s no point trying to vastly change your actions with huge, sweeping gestures from the get-go. It’s always best to start small. Measure your footsteps. And not allow things to become too overwhelming. Altogether, although it may not sound like much to you, I’m immensely proud of what I’ve achieved today. I challenged my routine. I challenged my anxiety. And for once, came out on top. Yay me!