December 5   Grey skies

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Rough counselling session yesterday. Rough in the sense that there were more questions than answers, more work to be done. Maybe that’s not so different to usual but it’s the first time in a very long  while (maybe since I first started seeing her) that my next appointment is in two weeks and not a month. And worse, it’s possible what I’m having is an existential crisis – what is the point of life? Etc. And I’m guessing that’s not a quick fix.

I have no idea why this post is so hard to write. I’ve been working on it all week. Balance is a weird thing. Or maybe it’s not weird at all. Maybe it’s a completely fictional concept. Something to strive for but to be okay about never actually getting. That’s what Elizabeth Gilbert thinks – that it’s just another bullshit way to make women feel bad about themselves – and I kinda think she’s onto something with that. That’d be because I’ve been feeling bad about myself lately. I spent all last week down, and pretty frustrated, at me, at things, at the lack of time in a week. People say “but hey you had a BABY last year” and that’s true, I did. And they say “don’t worry [about your laundry, the state of your house, what you eat, what you look like etc etc]” but they don’t really mean that, do they? They still judge you, your house, why you haven’t done whatever it is they think is the thing you should have already done by now.

I’ve been frustrated. Frustrated that I don’t have enough time and that I won’t ave enough time in the year to come to get everything I want to get done done. Sure the obvious response to that is “move your deadlines” but the problem is that I don’t want to. I also don’t want to deprioritise anything. Frustrated that my brain feels like it doesn’t work the way it used to.

I work after the baby goes to sleep for the night. If she goes down at 6pm, I can get maybe 6 hours straight of working done. I have Skype meetings with coeditors in this time. I do my work and my research. And really, 6 hours is a pretty good chunk of time. Sure I might be trying to squeeze some me time in then too but what am I? Greedy? The problem is that I still have a pretty severe case of baby brain. I still have gaps in my vocabulary and my brain still doesn’t work as sharply. It *feels* like it doesn’t work as fast, but maybe that’s just that I have less actual time in the day and I’m still expecting the same output (or the same output plus 20%). But last week. Oh last week. Everything I touched after 9.30pm, I broke. And I mean really broke. I ended up screwing a book up so badly it had to be remade 3 times. I had tided my craft cupboard into one worthy of a pic on any self-respecting Pinterest board and in one rash decision to resize the shelving spaces, the entire contents ended up in a Hoarders Buried Alive mountain on the floor in front of it due to a horrible miscalculation of structural integrity. There might have been tears.

Meh. Things got dire. I’m pretty down on my myself, on everything I’m trying to get done, on all the things on my to do list that even a year won’t be enough time to do. On all the things I’m not getting done. On the state of my house, my studies, my press, my unfinished craft. You name it, I suck at it. And how. My lovely husband booked me a night away in a hotel. I suspect I was getting a tad stressful to be around. It was a nice moment to try and short circuit my downwards spiral.

I’m not in a great headspace. And I can see where this all leads and I can tell you that I ain’t sliding back into the abyss. I’ve got me a pretty overstuffed bag of tricks here to fight back with. The abyss might be waving at me but I’m flipping it the bird. Last week I skipped all social activities and that was bullshit. This week I’ve done better at that and gone to mothers’ group and hung out with people who get a lot of this.

On Monday, I woke up and decided to start running again. It’s so weird how you can just not feel like doing something like running for two years and then suddenly change your mind. I’ve been trying to do (any) one of the 12WBT workouts for weeks now and just can’t find myself enthused. Michelle Bridges even has a learn to run program but I’ve never had much success following it. I decided to return to the Couch to 5k program because I’ve done it before and kinda loved it. Plus I already had the app on my phone. And OMG it felt great. I live about 1km from the ocean so I had this delicious breeze which just smelt and tasted revitalising. My tunes (I went for the Pitch Perfect soundtrack) reminded me how much I love music. And as I threw myself into that first run, which wasn’t too bad at all, I remembered that this is exactly the way to fend off frustration and depression.

I’ve made some progress this week. I finally managed to get my grand garden project off the ground. I’ve taken my before photos and today the first delivery of soil improver has been dumped on my front lawn ready for next week. Step 1 will happen and from there, step 2, hopefully, to get some lawn in. I’ve nearly finished organising my craft cupboard and started work on my 2015 to do list (as in how to tackle some of it). I started running. I’ve cut down on the coffee I’ve been drinking and increased drinking water. I sent a book to Print. I’ve worked on ebooks and other books in progress. I had a great meeting with my Phd Supe. I’ve taken some podcast workshops and set other things up. Progress has happened. I’m still not in a great headspace but I can see a way forward, at least. I’m not going down without a fight.



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3 Comments

  • By Ju on 5 December 2014 at 10:51 am

    I’m so grateful for posts like this where the raw honesty just undoes me. What I’m doing day to day is worlds apart from you atm, but it’s still been such a year of struggling. It actually just really makes a difference to hear others speak about the struggling… I’m also in the part of the year where I take stock and look at everything and reflect, and start planning for next year. It’s a bit stalled at the moment but I am doing the non-money things. I actually wrote stuff this week, as in real blog posts not just daily updates and felt good about it. Progress is there, but so is the struggle. I’m still grateful to not be alone in that, even though I wish you (and others) ease in the struggling and the hard.

  • By Rosie on 5 December 2014 at 10:10 pm

    Hey, it sounds like you’re facing a tough time. Just wanted to drop you a line to say you’re in my thoughts. It’s a challenging time of year when everyone’s racing to get things done before Xmas / January.

    Anyway, I found this gif of a cat having a cuddle comforting, so thought you might like it:

    http://www.diycouturier.com/post/104391752058/ill-never-make-fun-of-anyone-for-having-a-stuffed

    Sending good vibes your way!

  • By Stephanie Burgis on 5 December 2014 at 10:11 pm

    *HUGS* So, so much empathy. I’ve been going through some similar meltdowns lately. FWIW, I think you’re doing an amazing job of juggling, but the fact is, when you have too many things to juggle – and with a baby, honestly almost anything else is too much, especially with baby brain (which has not gone away yet for me, either) – you just won’t be able to juggle them all and balls will drop all the time, which feels TERRIBLE. And I know that no amount of intellectual rationalization can really take away those feelings. But I’m sending hugs and empathy and true admiration for what you’re managing. And I hope you enjoy the night away!

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