The Ministry Of Unfinished Tasks

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.

 

 

I Almost Forgot!

Plans that didn’t work out: several

Frustration level: low

Happiness & relaxation: abundant

I am enjoying writing every day! But for all that, today I almost forgot. Today I said goodbye to my brother at the airport. It is┬ástrange to think that he won’t be around anymore. We went for shows, sang songs and enjoyed life during his visit, and he reminded me to enjoy London, enjoy the amazing life that I can have here.

Feeling bereft, we wandered the WHSmith at Stansted, and I bought a book, The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes. I’m 80 pages in, and it’s beautiful – an Irish family who have to deal with one of their own, 40-year-old woman, mother, daughter, dying of cancer. It’s written with warmth, poignancy, humour and occasions of raw emotion that make your hair stand on end. I look forward to the journey it will take me on.

And if I need cheering up, the video of my brother and I at Stansted, singing Stand By Me – just like the old times – will be just the thing. Upwards and onwards. Our talents need to be shown, our voices – heard. And our friendship is a thing of beauty.

Off to my book! ­čÖé

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