The doodlebug effect

I know I kind of dropped off the face of the blogosphere after Thanksgiving. There are a few reasons for that.

The first reason is that Jerry had gotten home on the Tuesday morning before Thanksgiving and didn’t head back out on the road until the following Monday. I always have more difficulty finding the time and solitude I need to focus on my writing when he’s home and we have so much going on. However, it isn’t really a reason, it’s just a factor among many.

The second factor is glitchy technology. About a month or so ago, several important letters on the laptop keyboard stopped working. W, E, R, U, & I are more important than I had ever given notice to before. However, since a few of those letters are required in order for me to access my profile and rather necessary to the correct spelling of quite a few words, I didn’t have the use of it until I figured out how to use the on-screen keyboard. That tool is nice to have in a pinch, but the fact that I have to disrupt my mental flow in order to use it gets beyond frustrating. Since I tend to write in order to process my frustrations and organize my thoughts, the use of writing tools that create the opposite effects is somewhat counterproductive. That being said, this isn’t a reason to not write, merely another factor.

A third factor is the fibromyalgia and it’s physical and cognitive symptoms. I do have the WordPress app on my phone, and while it is still a slower process with fewer formatting options, I have managed to write a good number of posts using this tool. So, what’s the problem? Numbing and tingling in my hands can reach the point where I can’t hold onto the phone or accurately touch the letters on the keyboard. Combine this with perpetually blurry eyes and the fact I can’t seem to keep track of my reading glasses, well, it becomes only slightly less problematic and frustrating as using the glitchy laptop. Concentration and fatigue issues have also factored into the equation.

Ultimately, I think the real reasons I haven’t had the wherewithal to push through all of these things does have a lot to do with some social/relational anxiety issues.

I have had some really constructive and significant encounters with LaLa recently and, while I need to be able to write about these things I also need her to know I respect her need for privacy and since there are now those who read my blog who know who we really are in our real lives, I’m fearful of how what I write can be misinterpreted and possibly misrepresented in a way that could break the fragile trust that is being established between us.

I didn’t want my writing to change and be affected by having those who know me personally read, but it has and I have to find a balance. For me, the first thing that tends to happen is what I call the doodlebug effect.

When I was a kid, outdoor play was encouraged even though I didn’t have much of an affinity for the outside, natural world. I wasn’t athletic and had difficulty keeping up with and relating to other kids. However, one thing that all little kids seem to universally enjoy and get fascinated by are bugs.

One bug in particular that I found fascinating was what I grew up calling a doodlebug. Other common names include roly poly and pill bug. This is not the larval form of the ant lion, instead it’s a tiny little critter – yes my southern roots are showing – that is shaped like an elongated oval and looks like it has segmented armor like an armadillo. Whenever it feels threatened it curls itself up into a little ball and that armor keeps it safe from outside harm.

So, in my case, the doodlebug effect is that whenever I feel emotionally and mentally overwhelmed and the thought of how those who know me may react to me being completely open and honest about my thoughts and feelings, I circle in on myself and withdraw until the ground beneath me stops shaking.

I offered this thought to LaLa a few days ago:

“You are honorable and living in a world that has tried to break your spirit and take those things away from you. To deny grief and sorrow is to separate yourself from your soul. There is no weakness in admitting vulnerability and sadness, only strength and courage.”

She later reposted it with the statement:

“Sometimes the wisest people we know we’ve known our whole lives.”

The thing is that, for me, it is less wisdom and more of a goal and a reminder of who I want to be and how I want to live and it’s something I am just now learning and beginning to understand from living my own life and forging my own way through all the mistakes and a few successes. That just means I’m intelligent enough to learn my lessons through direct, firsthand experience.

However, for her, if she can learn from my experience and make it her own knowledge, it becomes wisdom.

I can say this about our recent encounters, I think she is finally able to see and believe that I am here for her and want only the best for her. One of our conversations included her telling me that she really didn’t want to be like me, no offense. I jumped on that and assured her that I didn’t want that for her either. I want to teach her what I have learned so that she won’t have to relearn everything I’ve had to teach myself. I want her to be able to make her own mistakes and develop her own wisdom to pass on.



  1. I always called them pill bugs. I thought they were kind of cute.

    Knowing that this is a theraputic way for you to work through your thoughts and emotions, I’m glad you’re back. I knew Jerry would be home (you posted it), so I figured your absence had something to do with that. Don’t ever underestimate the wisdom of learning from your mistakes; there’s a lot of people who never even manage that much.


    1. Mary,
      I thought they were kind of cute then. However, I found myself rather icked out when researching them today and realizing they are a wood louse that can be used to keep a tarantula’s terrarium clean.

      I had actually been getting a little concerned about my lack of writing, for the very reasons you mentioned. However, yesterday’s Six Word Friday entry seemed to prime the pump and writing this post has gotten me back into the flow; I already have the next two entries written and scheduled. So, it feels like I’m getting back on track.

      As always, your comments and feedback help me feel grounded and connected. Thank you.

      Be well,


  2. The bad news is that non-working keys on a laptop keyboard means the keyboard needs to be replaced (replacing individual keys is almost impossible). It’s actually not that hard to do but if you or Jerry don’t feel comfortable ordering the part and doing it yourself (and assuming the laptop isn’t under warranty), I don’t know how much it would cost to hire a shop to do it for you. I assume your laptop is your main computer (this is one of the reasons I think desktop PCs will never die, because swapping peripherals is a snap).

    Sorry to focus on this mundane detail, but one of my former jobs was desktop support back in the day so I have a tendency to think in that direction. Also, I know the pain of technology gone wrong and especially as a writer, it’s a real mother bear.


    1. James,
      No worries, someone needs to focus on the details some of the time. I appreciate you sharing your knowledge and experience. You gave me the same info my daughter’s boyfriend did. So I am encouraged and more confident in his ability to fix my computer once I have the money to replace the parts.

      I would like a PC but don’t have the space to set one up. I also am kind of being seduced by the ultra book commercials with the tablet/notebook functionality. However, there are many other financial priorities, so keeping the laptop and getting it functional is probably the route we’ll take.



    1. Isn’t it funny how our perception of time is? It’s been less than ten days since my last non-poetic post and it feels like a month has passed. Thanks for sticking with me and patiently waiting for my return. Your encouragement and support always lift my spirits.


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