Monday, February 2, 2009

A 5000-Piece Puzzle

As a child, one of my favorite things to do was put together puzzles. Really, I’d put together any puzzle you handed me – puppies, flowers, or cartoon characters – and it was always a challenge I gave myself to see how fast I could have the puzzle completed. At times I’d work on a puzzle all weekend long, each spare minute I had. I’d squint at the tiny pieces until my eyes hurt and I couldn’t look at them any more.

I remember having an extremely large Muppets puzzle that took me what felt like forever to assemble. Some parts of it were easy, like Beaker’s hair or pieces of Animal’s fur, but other parts of that puzzle were really hard to place together, like the balcony in which the old men sat – a lot of blurry red and black with no distinct shape to go by.

At times when working on the Muppets puzzle, like others I had worked on before, I’d think a certain piece MUST go there, even though it didn’t fit quite right. Often times I’d push my tiny finger or bang my fist on the piece to make it work where I wanted it to, but things never did wind up turning out right, and until I removed that forced-in piece, I’d never be able to complete the puzzle . It seems silly to think about it now – that I actually thought I could complete the puzzle by forcing the wrong pieces into place.

At 7 it was puzzles, but at 30 it’s my life. Looking at the pieces that are left to put in place, I’m wondering if my puzzle’s going to come together or if I’ve wrongly jammed some pieces in there. Worse yet, I’m tempted to just step away from the puzzle altogether or shove what is completed of it under the bed – to leave it as it is: wrong. And that’s what I’ve been doing.

But there’s only so long I can leave something unfixed. It’s not in my nature; I see a problem, and I fix it. I see something I want, and I do something to get it. I’m not good at letting things sit, so I know full well that if I ignore the puzzle now, it will eat at me until I do something to get it back on track to completion. This is where I am now. I’ve been so unfocused that I’ve been unable to write (as you might have noticed), I’m sick to my stomach most of the time, and these issues are starting to consume my thoughts the majority of the day. I feel like I’m losing my mind.

I should count myself lucky that I really haven’t felt like this in several years, since my dad died, and I really didn’t feel like this for a long time before that either. It’s time, I suppose. It just really, really sucks.

Now that that’s out, hopefully I can hold myself accountable to removing the pieces that were a bad fit and rebuild. I’ll be fine, and actually, I’ll probably wind up better for it, but it certainly doesn’t feel that way right now.

Please don’t comment on this post. I really just wanted to put it out there and let the universe know that I know what it’s been trying to tell me. That, and hopefully after writing this the writer’s block will go away!

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