This could very well turn out to be the most disjointed, unclear, off in all directions post I have ever written. It’s a mirror to my thoughts and feelings and I’m not even sure where to start (other than that disclaimer).
For 8 or 9 days during MFA residency, my whole world of parenting and work and exercise and routine just melts away and is replaced by this beast of a thing that comes charging in. It’s demanding and emotionally, physically, and mentally challenging, and there are parts I really love and parts I really hate. There’s not a lot in the middle that’s just “so-so”. By the end, I seem to have completely forgot about everything else in my life because my writing and goals have taken center stage and nothing else matters. Then I come home and it’s like waking from some crazy dream and I realize, so many things matter.
I wanted to do Sunday stats, but never found the time. My sleep and exercise were shit while I was away and so that’s probably for the best. I did sort of want to see just how shitty, you know, measure the shit, but I never sat down and took a minute to do any accounting of that (I still could, but not now). I can tell you that in the grand scheme, it isn’t just inputs and outputs. Despite my lack of sleep and steps and all the food, I lost 5+ lbs at residency. That was, I am positive, of my bodies direct reaction to stress and anxiety. Even on Sunday, after I was gone from the Lodge and back in the comfort of my usual spaces, the thinking didn’t stop and there to, neither did the anxiety. It’s a real problem.
Sunday evening I went to a dinner gathering my sister’s fiancé threw at their apartment, outside near their community garden. It was nice, but I was so over being social, the thought of making conversation, small talk, whatever with people was not appealing. Jim helped me by carrying most of the conversations. He was by my side the whole time and I’m so grateful for that. Sure it was a family gathering, but my family dynamic is somewhat awkward and my relationships with my parents is, I think, atypical. We’re not that close. When it was over, I drove us home, back to Jim’s place, and we took advantage of the time we had left in the day to watch a show and just snuggle on the couch together.
Monday morning was overcast. I had been so deprived of sleep, my body didn’t want to wake up. I woke at 6AM just before his alarm went off. Then I went back to sleep. He kissed me and urged me to keep sleeping at 6:45 when he went out to make breakfast and again at 7:15 when he left for work. I took his advice and kept sleeping. I felt somewhat like I had taken a sedative or something as my body was so heavy and my mind was so out of it. I think I fell back into deep sleep (I know I did because FitBit recorded the whole thing). When I woke at 9 from uneasy dreams, I knew I had to get up for the day. It was Monday and I had to try and figure out how to get myself back into the right headspace for work.
I came back home, unloaded more of my stuff from my trip and tried to get online to start working. It was tough. I was still tired and despite getting 8+ hours of sleep I still didn’t feel well rested or rejuvenated or ready for anything. I was also still heavy in thinking about residency and Jim and the past and the future. I found it tough to focus on the present moment and do what I should have been doing. I went through the motions on several regular work tasks anyhow and tried to catch up. I’m probably spending more time on each thing than I should be and then I feel like I’m not being productive enough and then I start to worry about that which then contributes to my not being able to focus. It feels like a vicious cycle.
All day I worked on familiar things just to try to do something and I avoided the thing my boss told me was a priority for the week – a new project for which I’m supposed to be doing the architecture for in AWS. Not only that, but my boss is on vacation this week and wants me to take point on meetings while he is gone. The last thing I want to do right now is facilitate meetings and talk AND try to know, somehow clairvoyantly, what is going on in the project after I’ve been out of it for 10 days. I think it’s an unrealistic expectation. Circle back to the AWS thing. Not only have I never been a system architect before, I have barely scratched the surface of understanding AWS, and how in the hell am I supposed to design AND build a system with my limited knowledge and skills. That’s just crazy talk. I mean, I think I could do it if I had enough time and resources to rely on, but looking at the timeline and other people involved, I just don’t.
On top of that, I’m flipping exhausted all the time. Hell, it’s only 10:31 AM and I feel like I could go back to bed and back to sleep right now. I’m so tired and I don’t know why. I look out my window at my back garden and it needs so much work and I want to flipping quit my job right now and just go pull weeds. But I can’t afford to do that. I think I need to have a conversation with my bosses about something, but I don’t know what. I’m feeling overwhelmed at work and it’s only been 1 day back on the job. I wonder if there is something wrong with me or if I should just kind of wait and see if I feel better in a few days. I certainly don’t want to prolong any feelings like this because I’ve been down that road before and that isn’t pretty either.
Then I think, well, I now have deadlines for school and want to get started on my studies for this semester and that all factors into the time balance and then my kids wake up at noon and want my attention and they want and need things and I feel bad putting them off. And the laundry needs done and school starts in a couple weeks and the days of summer are draining away and I don’t want to spend the time unwisely. I want to be outside and I want to hang out with my kids while I can and I want to spend time with Jim and with reading and writing. I don’t want to work anymore but I have to. I’ve got this amazing job, with some really great people, but now all of a sudden in the last month it feels too overwhelming. I can feel the balance is off, I just don’t know what to do about it.
I have a feeling August is going to be a very telling month. Something will give. Something has got to give. As for today, I guess I’ll just press on and see if I can make something out of it. Hope for the best I guess.
Giving it all I’ve got,