i have been tired.

that’s everyone though, right? yeah, mostly. i know.

it’s a common trait. we fix everything on the outside, we tidy, we make neat, we bake perfect things to make people happy, because other things, deeper things, are twisty, maybe broken. are hard. are better left unattended. well, that’s a big fat lie if there ever was one.

it’s a fucked up game though, the one between goals and tasks and healthy responsibility, and unhealthy obsession and guilt and the wearing down. they’re like the pieces of a rope all twisted together. it’s very hard for me to discern which is which.

i absorb myself in lists, i put myself in a pressure cooker. i judge myself on the amount of dog hair left on the couches and rug. i rarely feel successful, in these times. it’s a setup for failure. it’s a direct route to a breaking point.

and then, for three days after work, i do not pass go, i do not collect $200. i go immediately to bed after work. i get a migraine and i nearly sob with how badly it hurts, and i try not to sob because that scrunches my forehead and makes it all hurt worse. i rewind and i figure out a new way to handle this. because there isn’t really a choice anymore.

i spend a weekend rehashing the innards of everything, of the real things that deserve work and attention. i cry a whole hell of a lot through this, but i am relieved at honesty. i am still exhausted though.

i firmly, yet gently, tell myself that i am not a superhuman, i am not a robot, and i can only handle so much. i am not deficient because shit wears me out. i learn to break two or three things off of the long to do list and only handle those for the day. i learn reasonable time management. i fall asleep early. i wake up to exercise because it gives me energy and keeps me sane, starts my day on a bright note, but i do not fret if i decide i need to sleep. i do little things that make me happy, like drink chai and reorganize my email labels.

i remind myself that i am not fucking everything up in all moments. i remind myself of this a lot.

and then i land here. where i am, yes, still a little fragile, still a little worn. but where i can at least hold my head up and take comfort in addressing that which is genuine.

11 thoughts on “worn.

  1. I guess the most important thing to tell you is that you are not alone. I think that this time of year puts more pressure on us, because we add the holidays into the mix, the winter comes, and we’re supposed to reflect on all that we have (or haven’t) accomplished in the year.

    I would love to say that we do that less as we get older, but I just got off of the phone with my mother. We are hosting a wedding reception for my brother & his new wife at mom’s house in two weeks. She had been cleaning for months. Her house is always spotless, but she’s fixated on everything being perfect.

    I do the same thing that you do…worry and fret, making myself physically ill.

    I am glad to see that you made it through to the other side. Sometimes, the only way to figure things out is to jump in over our heads and fight back to the surface. Wow. That’s a lot of metaphor-ing!

    Thanks for yor honesty. I admire the fact that you put this post out there. It is good to know that I’m not the only one.

    1. you know, i know that in theory this is common, but it feels really lonely when you’re there, so i do appreciate the commiseration. i think it’s important to recognize the cycle and try to implement measures to free yourself from it, but it is really hard, and hard not to feel lazy for giving yourself a break. here’s hoping you, me, and everyone else can learn to do it.

  2. I have nothing helpful to say because I too can be ruined by the right combination of self-inflicted stresses. I work out a system for managing things and it works for one crisis or two or three and then BAM, recriminations and fist-shaking to the heavens and then… rework all the systems. And I think the dog hair would send me over the edge on the regular.

    Somehow you have processed this all and rendered it elegant and for that I am more than a little in awe of you.

    1. isn’t it just the craziest thing when people you admire (as in, i admire you) admit that they suffer from some of the same downfalls? i thank you, as always, for your words. also, yes, the mother effing dog hair. jesus h. that one’s hard to let go of…(and also the reason i do not allow her in the bed, besides needing a dog-free oasis).

  3. You know, sometimes we forget that we’re human and that our health, our sanity, our happiness is the most important. And I sometimes forget that you (and others I adore, separated from me by oceans and miles and miles of roads) are human too. I feel like I am the only one that stumbles and as a result, I feel less than. So thank you for your beautiful honesty and the reminder that as laden with awesome as you are, you are still one of us mortals.

    Remember to be kind to yourself always. You deserve nothing less.

    1. its nutty, the ideas that erupt from posts sometimes. i am…i don’t know the right word for it, but i am *something* because everyone is saying “hey, i get it, i feel that way too, and thanks for saying it because it feels lonely”. the power of community, right? we are not less than, we are simply not great and mighty gods of productivity at every moment. and right back at you, dear, with the kindness.

  4. Your note, in a lot of ways, sounds quite similar to the first several decades of my life. But, over the last little while – and especially this past year – I feel as though I’ve turned a corner. I spent my entire life trying to be what everybody else “knew” I was capable of. What everybody else expected of me. What everybody else said I should do. I mean I didn’t really know any of these things so why not go with the flow? A number of years ago I realized that I needed to start living for *me* because living for everybody else just wasn’t worth it anymore. But even then, saying those words, knowing it was true didn’t automatically translate into change that was meaningful for me. Then, earlier this past summer I had an idea. What if I started by giving up those things that I truly struggled with? Those things that I’ve done battle with for YEARS thinking that if only I could accomplish them I’d be a better/smarter/more well rounded person. Dominique, the difference was incredible. And I don’t think it was simply the act of “giving up” those things but the underlying message that snuck in there – and that was that for probably the first time in my life I was actually willing to accept ME for who I am. For my limitations, foibles and challenges. I can’t honestly sit here and tell you that I suddenly became happy that day and all of my problems were resolved; I still have a lot of work to do on my life and relationships. But in an instant I was free from these chains and shackles that I’d been lugging around for so long that I had come to accept that they were a part of me. It has been a liberating experience and one that has helped to allow me to see more clearly. I hate when people say things like what I’m about to say, but I’m not sure how else to put it. I sincerely believe we all have the capacity for happiness but we need to look within. Choosing happiness isn’t always easy because it means rejecting the other – the unnecessary grief, pain, frustration and misery. And if you’re well acquainted with those feelings then rejecting them can feel like giving up or rejecting a part of yourself or letting others down. Today I liken it to that little spiel we all get before a flight takes off – the part about putting on your own mask before helping others. If we can’t be happy and love ourselves first, then there’s not much hope for us finding that in others.

    1. i had a nice reply typed out and wordpress ate it. i agree with much of what you’re saying here – and this pressure doesn’t necessarily come from a desire to please other people, but more of a desire to live up to what i think is the best way to live. it is for me, but it’s not a method rooted in any sort of self love or care. much of what you talk about here is work i’ve been chipping away at for the past few months, and you’re right, it’s not a formula for immediate happiness, but it certainly puts you on the right path. thanks for the comment 🙂

  5. I have nothing helpful to offer, other than my admiration that you know this and crystallize it so truthfully and beautifully: “i remind myself that i am not fucking everything up in all moments. i remind myself of this a lot.”

    I am still at the reminding phase. And yes, as other commenters have said before me, it helps to know we are not alone… but I have also suffered from the flipside of that. I have suffered from feeling like everyone else out there is COMPETENT and ROCKING THEIR DAY and other woot woot! things in capital letters, and I’m the only one shrinking in exhaustion, self-doubt and a little bit of loss. So while we may not be alone, it certainly feels like it sometimes…

    1. i am quite literally always in the reminding phase. i agree – this does feel like such a lonely thing sometimes, and lends itself so perfectly to self judgment and comparison.

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