Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Filing System

The first sign that I am a born librarian probably came during my OAC year, which would be the old Grade 13 to those of you who didn't know teenagers in Ontario in the 90s and early aughts.

My mom was a student at York U, and so every once in a while, I'd go to school with her and do research in the library while she was in class. The first time I did this, I tried searching something by subject, and the subjects didn't make any sense. And then I noticed the series of giant red books on the table by the computers, with LIBRARY OF CONGRESS SUBJECT HEADINGS emblazoned in gold on the spine.

I dug in. Took me a while to figure out even the basics, but I was hooked.

A couple years later I was in therapy for the first time, at York U. My therapist and I were trying to figure out some practical ways for me to escape some pretty damaging behaviours.

During one of our weekly sessions, Karen said "You need to find a way to stop taking on things that you can't do anything about. Other people's problems are not your problem. How can you get rid of them?"

"What, you mean like filing them away and forgetting about them?"

Indeed. We created the Not My Problem file, and I have found it invaluable since then. I don't have to use it so much anymore, because after a while things that are Not My Problem just naturally file themselves neatly away. But for a long time, it was a mental effort to catch myself in the middle of obsessing over something I couldn't control and mentally file it away.

Every now and again, I add another file. Fuck People is the most recent one. Not specific people. But Them, you know, the people of "But people will think bladdity blah blah, if yadda and yadda yadda and ya-." No. Filed under Fuck People.

Perhaps the full title of this folder could be "Fuck People : There Is No Such Thing As People."

I've developed other files before, and none of them has ever stuck around as long as Not My Problem. I'm not sure how Fuck People is going to work with what my brain is currently chewing on, or if it will at all. But the worst that can happen is that things unfile themselves until you can find the subject heading that will shush them.


Anonymous said...

My favourite Library of Congress Subject Heading is "middle finger gesture" ~Your C in Wpg.

shelleyt said...

i have put your filing system to great use in my life. espcecially the 'not my problem' file. i also enjoy the 'fuck all y'all' file very much. i know it's not a file so much as a sentiment but i like thinking of it as part of an overall organization of my thoughts and feelings.