It’s Friday….! Which means that I made muffins for breakfast (black banana from the fridge finally utilised), had a coffee (I ration the stuff) and got through my swimming class (instructor was very concerned because I was tired – kept asking what was going on. Aside from a busy week at work, and aren’t they all, the answer is simply PMS; should have said so).
Swimming and blogging are the weekly staples of my Friday diet, but I always try to do something more. In fact, I had so many ideas today, that I wound up on Facebook, because it all sounded like so much work! Sample idea:
making a cake! lemon loaf again? or that difficult apple pie that I fancied?
finish my registration for European elections – that one’s in the calendar!
watch RuPaul’s Drag Race – but not before other work!
do two-three loads of laundry (okay, one of those even happened)
footbath and scrub! ooh, and a facemask (I never do any of these)
look up the next slow cooker sensation and plan shopping, so that lunches for next week are done (steady on, got a couple of days yet…!)
The problem is that Friday is duvet day for me. As in, the one and only rest day I allow myself in the week. I always make plans for Saturday, I work Sunday nights as well as Monday-Thursday – there is literally no part of the week when I’m not DOING SOMETHING. So maybe – just maybe – making a cake that I fancy eating and watching Drag Race is not the end of the world. I mean. Maybe. I can’t quite make myself believe it.
In fact, the one thing that is steadily suffering in my new world order is socialisation. Oh no, make that two things: socialisation and gigs. I all but stopped doing comedy, and while I get lots of human contact from my dayjob (yay kids!) and evening job (yay quizzers!), seeing my friends seems impossible. I did do pilates, yoga AND swimming this week, so maybe I can give myself a break…?
In any case, by writing this down I want to give myself permission to both Want All The Things and Not Achieve All The Things. I’m tired. I’m sitting on the sofa. I really fancy making a cake. Maybe there is nothing wrong with that.
I’ve been sitting in my room for the last three days, trying to get stuff done. It’s been a bit unsuccessful.
I inadvertently skipped blogging last week. It wasn’t by design – rather, because I was travelling through Poland, I lost the sense of time and routine and simply forgot about days of the week. It probably didn’t help that I drafted a giant essay about online activity (called “Live from my browser”, I’ll post it at some point): I did that on the plane to Poland, and it probably contributed to me feeling like I’ve already done my writing for the week.
Another half-term, another blogpost about how I can’t get sh*t done. There is a pattern here: it seems that when faced with large amounts of unstructured time, I simply panic and dive into the nearest screen face-first. It also doesn’t help that I spent one week visiting family (which, while pleasant wasn’t always necessarily restful) and after I got off the plane, I pretty much had to start packing for what turned out to be quite an emotionally taxing rehearsal. Even though I optimistically planned to do a bunch of stuff during the Easter week, it turned out that… umm… I couldn’t do a goddamn thing.
This is a thing I struggle with: prioritising large tasks and making them into smaller tasks; remembering to do things when I’m outside my usual routine; getting started on large overwhelming things when I’m on my own; finishing multi-stage tasks (i.e. I’ll do and hang laundry, but then won’t fold it for weeks); ASKING FOR HELP, because all of it has a hefty dollop of shame, of the “you SHOULD be able to HANDLE YOUR OWN STUFF” variety.
And then there is the fact that outside of one million things I need to get done (re-organise my room! throw things out! cook ahead! laundry! writing! tidy documents!), I also needed the rest. And those two pressures – for discipline and for unstructured time – simply cancelled each other out for the last, oh, four days.
In the end, I did ask for help. And I am lucky: when I was younger, these feelings of not-good-enough-ness could last for weeks or months. I remember having these struggles much more frequently – it was a rule, not an exception – and in fact it’s been a while since my inner dialogue descended in such an unpleasant direction. I do have a lot of shame to do with how I manage my household (cleaning, laundry and the like), but I managed to overcome. Even if it meant asking my flatmate to hang out in the kitchen while I washed the dishes – and later, ringing my boyfriend (a.k.a. Manbear) to process some of the asking-for-help shame.
As part of this whole thing, I wound up going back to online bingeing, something that I’d successfully reduced with my previous “almost offline” project. Who knows, perhaps I’ll have to do such projects periodically, just to remind myself to be more mindful about engaging with internet world. Frustrating. But also the only way, aside from going fully offline – something I’ve contemplated before, but can’t yet bring myself to do. So this is an in-progress blogpost. I’ve done things this half-term that can’t be measured – I met with some family members I see very rarely and I actually met two young cousins for the first time – but I haven’t done a spring clean. And I’m still a worthy, good-enough human being. And I’m writing that down, because I definitely need the reminder.
This week has been a week. I kicked ass at work if I say so myself – I feel more confident and overall better at the job, which is great; I got a haircut, which… suits me pretty well, but is a departure from my usual style and I feel a bit weird about it.
I also got my place into a kind of chaos: I flew to visit my Mum previous weekend, so there was no cleaning done – between the job and two quizes, I’m just happy I got away without a major organisational disaster. The only thing is, I got a bit sick as a result, so had to skip my swimming class today. Which I’m not happy about. But you can’t really cheat lack of sleep and this is how it caught up to me.
So what’s the first thing you do when you’re on top of Mountain Chaos?
The first thing you do is: rest.
Counterintuitive, I know. I get to the point when I feel quite aggravated by the mess, if overwhelmed by it. But today… today me and Manbear slept in and crawled out at some unholy hour in the afternoon. There was coffee, naps, conversations, I made fluffy pancakes, and somewhere in between all of it I felt myself unwind.
And that feeling, right there, is what Fridays are for. This is why I took a paycut from my (not substantial!) teacher pay; this is why I am creating a blogging habit and trying to cultivate things that don’t give me immediate career returns. Capitalist millennial bullshit aside, today is my day to breathe and maybe get my hair stroked, and watch last episode of Marie Kondo.
And if I just so happen to make a pot of tea, put a podcast on and meander through my room folding a random article of clothing, well – I don’t have to do that; nobody makes me do that. And that, all in all, makes a difference.*
*I have not in any way committed to folding any clothing. I might try playing the piano instead.
This is a post about when things go ever so slightly wrong and you can’t deal with them, because you PLANNED this and the plan was PERFECT and now everything is a DISASTER and…. what was this blog called again?
Yes. That. So.
I am ever so sliiiightly frustrated this week.
It’s half-term week. A week that, as special school teachers, we count the days to. Every so often, in that ten minutes before children arrive, we do the math of weeks and days and half-laughing, half-seriously say: can’t wait. Because the job is exhausting as well as f*cking magic, and beautiful and great. We count the days. We get tired. We get a week.
Being me, which means – set to productivity (a.k.a. a human brainwashed by capitalism, also ambitious and hungry for success); amazingly busy; with a lot of errands; – I made plans for half-term. Frankly, I made more plans than I knew what to do with. I made too many plans. I overplanned. But there were errands that needed doing, that I’ve been really dragging my feet about. I needed to buy glasses (done, FINALLY), do a blood test (nope, it’s been only 1.5 month now) and work on my citizenship stuff. Oh, and also, there was a gig.
As it happened, the week came to be dominated by The Gig. The gig in question was Sing It Wrong, a fantastic song parody night that I really wanted to do. I SANG TWO SONGS OKAY AND I AM SO PROUD, I DID A THING! First of all I sang about being in my thirties and looking for meaning of life, and I thought that it wouldn’t be funny, but it really was…:
The second song was The Song – the one I was most scared of, most excited about. The one that I stayed up to edit the soundtrack for, the one that I spent over two hours writing the lyrics. I rapped to Missy Elliott’s Work It. Specifically, I rapped about Brexit. To Missy Elliott’s Work It. You read that right.
The gig was absolutely brilliant. It also threw my entire week plan off the cliff.
The first two days of half-term I got up at 8, did an hour of work on citizenship from 9 (okay, on Tuesday I did 4 hours, I got a bit single-minded) and tried to rest or get errands done for the rest of the time. But Tuesday night I stayed up to mess around with Audacity (yeah, my Missy Elliott track was creatively edited). So on Wednesday there was no early morning or citizenship work. I did go swimming though, so one win there. But then!
I COULDN’T GET OFF THE INTERNET.
In addition to my typical post-gig hangover (no, there was no drinking, just a slight emotional exhaustion), I wound up watching my videos all the time and sending them to people. Artistic self-promotion is really tiring (and it was also not in my plans at all), but I suddenly had this very strong and manic need for Everyone To Love This Thing I’ve Done, Right Now. I was bursting with it, and despite being embarrassed, wanted to share it ith everyone!
(…I get that way sometimes when something creative just WORKS. The high tends to be directly proportional to how excited and nervous I was about doing something (in this case: VERY). I just kept watching this person on the screen being seemingly super confident with her clown persona (video 1) or with her sexiness and dancing (video 2), moving the mic stand about purposefully to fit her needs (something that I actually don’t remember doing, that’s how automatic it was). I couldn’t conceive how easy it all looked on the screen – even though I was so nervous during the second song that I didn’t HEAR people cheering. If you watch the video, mid-song I am asking the audience to “give me some love”, because I physically do not perceive it at that moment. But at the same time, I am clearly inhabiting myself in this larger-than-life way and it’s facinating.)
But here we are on Saturday and… post-gig exhaustion persisted on Thursday: a social day when I had meetings with friends. It’s lucky it included someone cooking me breakfast….! Whenever I was not with humans, I was looking at a screen. I relaxed my normal social media habits, because of course you get excited about a gig video and it’s been awhile since I’ve had something fun to share! But it quickly morphed into reading about Brexit, about women being discriminated against in design and OMG ALL OF THE THINGS ON ALL MEDIA. MY BRAIN. OW.
Result: aside from my swimming class I did fuck-all on Friday. Well, except cooking and inhaling a large amount of food. Today (Saturday) I delayed leaving the house for two hours (and also slept eleven hours, what the hell). And now I’m writing the blog, not cleaning or doing laundry or whatever, because of all the things to do, this one was the most accessible. It is clear to me that I am tired. It is also clear that tomorrow’s date with Manbear (previously described as Gentleman Caller) will consist of me putting laundry loads in and dusting and things, and that’s kind of not how I pictured it.
Tally Of Frustration
This is the moment when I should probably stop myself and look at this week’s achievements. Look at me, being all mad because I didn’t clean and cook lunches. True: these things do matter in terms of setting myself up for a good working week (I think I have only one evening off!). But I’ve made considerable headway into my residence research, played a gig, chose a glasses frame (after months of dithering, because I didn’t like any of them. I just had to pick something in the end) and wound up getting some likes on the old Facebook page. Frankly, if I were in my depressed phase, making it to a swim class would definitely be enough of an achievement for one day! It’s just because I’m not, my expectations for myself are high. Too high maybe. Possibly the expectations don’t match reality very well.
In the end, half-term meant to be restful and all, I found myself missing my regulated work existence – 7 am wake-up, the same breakfast, the same hours. Waking up whenever and choosing a long-to-make breakfast is nice occasionally, but perhaps part of my anxiety is here simply because I’ve had too many choices this week. Perhaps at some point I’ll make like Obama or Jobs and have a set amount of the same clothing (I’m not far off with my work wardrobe). So it could be that the tally of frustration is here, because I had way too much choice and I need less of it. Go figure.
I’m still tired. And hungry. And a worthy human being even if today I struggled to get sh*t done. I have to keep writing to remind myself of that.