Book Relate: A Clockwork Orange

by Dian Reid-Jancic· Follow Dian on

I’ve always wanted to read a single book from morning ’til night. A Clockwork Orange is not an easy book to read. Let alone in one day. But I did it. I spent an entire day reading it. Cover to cover. I’d started the book a week prior, but decided to start afresh and get through it all in one day if I could. As I read the last words, I wondered what I learned from it, and how I could apply it to coaching or me or life, in general.

I’m definitely not a clockwork orange. Not anymore.

Before reading the book I didn’t know what a clockwork orange really was. Think of a person as an orange. An orange has juices and sweetness and tartness and seeds and pulp and skin and soft fleshy vulnerability. You can peel an orange one way and the juice drips on the counter below you. You peel a different orange the same way and it squirts you in the eye. Yet another orange and there is barely any juice at all—each orange is unique and alive.

A clockwork orange is an orange without the juice, without the sweet, without the tart, without the seeds, without the soft, fleshy vulnerability. A clockwork orange is mechanical. It behaves the same way no matter which way you slice it, cut it, eat it. There are no juices to secrete, no life, in essence, because it is mechanical…like clockwork. See, not like me at all.

So, what did I learn?

As I sit down to write about this, I wonder who gets to make all the rules. Okay, not all the rules. I’m not talking about the rules of the law. I’m not even talking about the rules of religion. Again, this simply isn’t the forum for those discussions (at least not today). I’m talking about the rules that govern who I am on the inside. Who gets to make those rules in my life?

I work with clients on releasing old beliefs. Beliefs like: I’m fat because my brother told me I was when I was nine; Confrontation is bad because my parents fought all the time when I was a kid; everything must go in its proper place because if it doesn’t, all hell will break loose. That last one is something I had to tackle.

I had a belief that everything had to be in its place or I would get grounded. I’d get grounded after listening to my mom tell me all the reasons why I did the wrong thing by leaving it out. Sometimes she would stomp around, whispering under her breath, sometimes she would yell, and sometimes she would just look at me—that look of disappointment that all parents seem to know how to give their kids when they’ve done something they shouldn’t have. And then I’d get grounded. I learned quickly that everything had a place, and things belonged in their place at any cost because it just wasn’t worth it to get yelled at and grounded. That’s just how it was when I was fourteen.

And then I moved out on my own. It didn’t occur to me for quite some time that it was okay to let things slid every now and then.

My left brain surmised: “It’s great to be organized!” While my right brain objected: “Place, schmace! Who cares where it goes as long as you’re happy?!”

I held onto the idea that everything had to be in its rightful place. Right down to the CD being placed in its rightful case, put away so I could read the info on the face of the CD when I opened the case. I never put a CD face down or with the title reading upside down in its case. Shirts organized by color in the closet, and color coordinated with their respective hangers. Kitchen: immaculate. Bedroom: immaculate. Bathroom: immaculate. Living room: immaculate.

Until I realized that I was spending more time organizing everything than I was actually living or using anything I was organizing.

I’d forgotten that the reason I put everything away so meticulously when I was fourteen was to avoid the wrath of my mom’s temper on her teenage daughter. By the time I addressed this issue, I hadn’t been my mother’s teenage daughter in over 10 years. Was this everything-in-its-place thing really that important to me, or was I just holding onto something that was important to my past?

Turns out, I’m okay with a CD being placed in its case all willy-nilly without care for whether or not you can read the face when to open the case. I like my clothes somewhat color coordinated, but the hanger thing is a bit much for me. I still like things to be tidy, but I have more important things to do with my time than put everything in its “place” every single time. Which begs the issue of time management…but we’ll talk about that another time.

For now, the question is: are you an orange or a clockwork orange? Do you do things because that’s the way you’ve always done them or do you do things because you truly get joy or excitement or satisfaction out of doing them?

Orange Wedge photo used under Creative Commons License via: http://www.flickr.com/photos/manicomi/ / CC BY 2.0
Clockwork photo used under Creative Commons License via: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lars_p/ / CC BY 2.0

  • I'm definitely an orange, juicy and likely to make a mess.

  • Pingback: Tweets that mention Book Relate: A Clockwork Orange | Dian Reid — Authentic Realities -- Topsy.com()

  • Ya know, most of the time, now, I'm just a juicy orange, but sometimes I still find myself sliding into that clockwork place. I really like the metaphor. I never knew what a clockwork orange was, either…until now. Love this post. As an aside, I can't believe you read an entire book, cover to cover, in one day. I am the slowest reader there ever was.

  • whollyjeanne

    never read the book, never saw the movie. and, ha, now i don't have to. love the idea of spending an entire day reading a book – sounds like heaven to me.

  • i can so see that about you =)

  • the book is about 180 pages…i'm not a fast reader, per se, i just read for most of the day…a good 7 or 8 hours, i think.

    i find myself slipping into the clockwork at times, myself. i'm much more aware of it in the past year or so though. i wonder if we ever completely stay the orange…

  • well, the book suggests these things by way of storyline, but it's a pretty gruesome tale. i had no idea what it was about until i opened it up and read it. i'm not upset i read it, but i'm not sure i'd recommend it necessarily, either.

    as for spending an entire day reading, i HIGHLY recommend that =) just DO it!

Previous post:

Next post:

© Authentic Realities 2009-2013 (All content unless otherwise noted). All Rights Reserved.