The Trappings of Pervasive Avoidance

The battle to learn to get my “homework” done continues.

From the time I was a kid just learning to feel bad about my “discolored” teeth all the way through receiving my Bachelor’s degree, I regularly got “trapped” in my head unable to choose between doing housework and doing homework (which was originally called take-home work). Some would call this indecision, and they wouldn’t be entirely wrong. But when you have OCD and you’re unable to choose because you’re terrified out of conscious bodily control of the consequences to choosing the wrong thing and or doing just one step of it the wrong way, then it’s called pervasive avoidance.

This sort of compulsive non-action (with regards to decisions) loves when things have equal personal value and the same unit of time to get accomplishment (bonus points if the tasks are generally accomplished in the same physical space).

As a student this was housework versus take-home work at the end of the school-day. As an unemployed artist, housework or online job-hunting (when you run out of places in walking distance). As a writer stalking their way into and then white-knuckling to hold down a job in a bookstore, housework or checking email/keeping up with outside commitments.

It’s all about housework versus take-home work of one kind or another. Because it’s a decision of standing your ground or letting the world call more than its fair share of shots in your home. It’s the choice — once at home — between taking care of your needs or their expectations.

I learned quite by accident that I am better at completing take-home work when I can get it done before I get home. From the first and only time I had a study period in my schedule (ah, the unexpected benefit of failing freshman English in high school because I couldn’t get my homework done) or all those times I was able to create study periods for myself (hurray for controlling your class schedule in college).

Basically, when the results of a given task-set belong outside of the home, I am better able to get them done in a designated time and place outside of the home.

Which means I’m going to have to become one of those free wi-fi bums at least once a week to stay on top of things. Which really means figuring out what place (in winter walking distance of home) has free wi-fi and makes a damn fine cup of cocoa at a reasonable price.

Because the battle is on, and I will not be defeated.

Also published on Medium.