Jan. 18th, 2014

redback_bites23: rainbow blanket (Default)
We’ve all heard of the various concepts focussing on needs hierarchy. Especially those of us who work with people. Some of us would know about the ‘spoon theory’, which basically focuses on the idea that each of us has spoons, or energy and we use spoons or energy up just living, to get through our daily lives. People who are unwell will use more spoons than a person who is well. We all know what it’s like when we are sick with a cold or flu and swear we are dying and just cooking dinner is hard. Well, people with ongoing illnesses or various kinds, often have this as an ongoing issue. It doesn’t end quickly, but might be something they manage for many years. It could also be said that people who are marginalised or part of any minority group, may also use up extra spoons.

Many of us will have also heard, or seen versions of the whole putting the rocks in the jar, then the pebbles then the sand. The jar is a metaphor for us, our being and the rocks are our priorities, the size of the rock determining how much time we spend on that priority. The idea being that you put the big rocks in the jar first, these are the people or things most important to you, then pebbles...less important and finally you can fill it all with sand, these are the ‘things’ of least importance to you. The exercise serves to work out who and what is most important in our lives and how we spend that time. The sand is things like housework, which is a necessity but not vital to us as people. We need to start by putting the big rocks first, in order to fit more in. If we put sand in first, there is no room for the big rocks. In other words, don’t fill out time doing things with no meaning or importance, because we run out of time for the important things.

These are just some of the ways and theories that have been used to help us work out priorities, because we often get so wrapped up in things and stuff that aren’t important we, human beings, often seem blown away when we are reminded of these ideas. Really they are pretty simple.

For someone low on spoons, it takes longer to fill the jar up, so to speak. We can only do so much, we can succeed in filling that jar and having that balance, but we need to do it more slowly than someone who has a whole cutlery draw. We need to be careful how we use our spoons in order to fill the jar; otherwise the jar itself becomes damaged.

I have thought about my spoons and my rocks and my hierarchy of needs. I am someone who, in the past had a whole cutlery draw, but now I am more limited, meaning I need to really prioritise how my spoons are used and which rock, pebble or piece of sand I will pick up with my spoon and put in the jar, because I can’t do it fast and not being able to do it fast can cause frustration, but hopefully by ‘getting it right’ it will ensure better health and wellbeing that is more maintainable.

So here it goes. 1 is the highest need.-

1. Cultivating, maintaining and being happy in my two close/intimate relationships/partnerships. (With T & J).

Time on my own

2. Family – my parents and brother.

Time on my own

3. My art – This includes all art, burlesque, visual art, writing.

Time on my own

4. Work/money – boring as it is, I need to work to pay the bills and live.

Time on my own

5. My friendship with N. She is a special friend of high importance to me.

Time on my own

6. Friends

7. Community or events – Attending any kind of events where there is a group of people. This includes performances, parties, LGBTI events etc.

Time on my own

8. Activism/social justice.

Obviously it’s a good idea to get all of these things, however, sometimes that’s hard. The things at the top of the list are things I need more of. There is also much overlap of ‘items’ as well, so sometimes ‘getting’ one thing can also be ‘getting’ other things.

I have put ‘time on my own’ between everything because being an introvert, I need it to recharge, without it I shrivel up and/or get very cranky and short with those around me.
My partners are the most amazing women I have ever known. They inspire me, they irritate me, they give me love, they support me, they make me angry, I love them both more than I can say. I want to do everything I can to maintain these relationships and to be happy within them. I want to do things for my partners to show my love and support of them, to nurture them and me and us and grow our relationships. I will do all I can for them. Ultimately, I give them freedom and choice to be with me, and I expect that in return from them.

My family, my parents and my brother, have always been important. I have very regular contact with my parents, they are the best people and role models I could ever have. I don’t see my brother often, but we have a special bond and really ‘get’ each other. I want to organise a wedding anniversary party for my parents this year, it will be 50 years.

My art is of vital importance to me. Without it I can’t breathe. I have always functioned best when I have a healthy amount of art making going on. It’s my main expression and passion. If I was to have any relationship, with anyone who didn’t like me doing my art that would end very quickly. So whilst my partners are important to me, in many ways they are not more important than my art. I have enough ideas in my art to keep me going for many lifetimes. I keep shifting and changing my ways of art expression, which is probably part of the reason why I have never ‘made it’ big in ways other artists have. Doing burlesque has been vital to my mental health and well being. It also fills my life with regular friends that I see. It also helps me take care of or get my fill of friends and community.

Unfortunately working is something most of us have to do. The trick is to find the balance in what works for you. At this point in time I want to only work part of the time, so there is enough time for me to take care of my other needs. However, with work, it’s important to me that I feel I am doing a good job, that I feel useful. No one ‘has’ to work full time, it’s about the balance of life and what works for you.

N is a special friend. I don’t see her as often as I like. But I am committed to our relationship and try to maintain it and make it grow. She gives me perspectives that others can’t or don’t. We have a special form of intimacy that we both like and enjoy.
I’ve had ups and downs with friends over the last few years. I have sorted out who some of my friends really are. I have been unwell and it’s the people who have stuck by me that I call good friends. Some of them are people I rarely see. It’s interesting, I have lived in Canberra my whole life and there is this sense that a person will always be around. People get ‘too busy’ to catch up and before you know it you haven’t seen them for years and you realise the friendship has basically disintegrated. I tried to reach out to some people who I liked, who were important to me a few years ago, only to find they were too busy. I needed them at this time. I consider them ‘gone’ now, even if they are still within geographical distance. Many people take friendships for granted but they shouldn’t be.

Friends are valuable. I consider my friends very valuable and I often get sad that I can’t spend more time with them. The people who are most important to me now are those who have shown empathy and understanding towards me in the last few years and who understand why I can’t always go to things and basically don’t give up on me. Hopefully, I also give back to them, I assume I do. I try to spread my spoons around with my friends, but as friends are further down the list, they get less spoons, this means I don’t see people I care about often, but it doesn’t mean I don’t care. Seeing friends should be about an exchange of spoons.

I was once very active in the LGBTI community. Not anymore. It sucked me dry I think and I have moved on to a place where I consider my sexuality and gender as part of me. However, it is important to be around community sometimes, this is because a certain amount of energy is exchanged and if done at the right time it can provide a whole bunch of spoons. It gives you the validation in who you are and provides spoons for resilience. There are conversations and ‘things’ that the rest of the community just don’t get. This is not the only community I am part of, or would like to be part of, but I don’t have the time, or spoons to be very actively in the centre of any of my chosen communities. Except for, perhaps the burlesque community. This is because that community in particular provides me with many of the other rocks, or needs on my list.

Generally speaking I find attending events where there are lots of people, hard work. They use many spoons, especially if I don’t know anyone. But if the event is well chosen, and I haven’t been to one for a while, they give me great sustenance and a few pieces of cutlery.
Activism and social justice are just parts of my being. I can’t help myself. However, sometimes I am ‘too loud’ and get ‘too invested’ in something and it uses way too many spoons. I care too much, sometimes. I have had to kerb what I do here because it does tend to suck me dry. There was also a time when I did a lot, especially in the LGBTI community, which lead to people asking me to do a lot, to take on a lot of responsibility, which in many ways was flattering. The downside to this, or being seen like this, was when I withdrew from the community, for a few reasons, I found, or it felt like, people only wanted to be around me because I could do something for them. Not because they valued my friendship in any way.

This is however, another area that often laps into other parts of my life, and if it does I really enjoy it.

So that’s my spoons. I might add, I rely on the internet somewhat to stay connected to friends and community. I value all the positive interactions I have with people on there.


redback_bites23: rainbow blanket (Default)

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