I’m in a bit of an odd, vulnerable place right not. And it’s been going on for about three months. Because I literally started writing this post in June of this year. And stopped.
I don’t know how to put into words how hard the last few months have been, if I’m honest. It’s been a rollercoaster of trying to work out what to do and how to do it, and if I’m entirely honest, it’s been painful and unpleasant and just not fun. A lot of it too has to do with stuff not really in my control. I am disabled and care for someone disabled, and the last few years have seen that ‘commitment’ as it were, rise and rise. The more time I put into getting better, it seems the more time I need.
In June, things really started to slip. I wasn’t in a fully regular routine and with summer just around the corner, all my grand plans for getting help and getting stuff done(TM) were shattered when various things happened. Fast forward three months, last week, and everything just… collapsed in a spectacular fashion.
There is a light at the end of that tunnel
This week, we’ve had a house full of sick people – my beloved caught Covid (he dodged it, somehow when we had it, but we think we picked it up at Alton Towers as a few days after our day there, he was so ill that, completely unlike him, he took to bed for most of the day from Saturday till this morning. He’s much better now, to my intense relief), and we’re slowly sliding back into a routine of sorts. But on Tuesday, after he’d thought about stuff I’d been saying I guess, he told me that he wants me to just focus on writing for a bit. To stop trying to fight against ‘the tide’ because though I was trying something big and bold, the public encouragement was there, but in private, more people wanted ‘a free slot if everyone else was paying’ than the people actually choosing to engage with the plans themselves. Months of work on designing a coaching project aside, the discouragement I felt – and if I’m honest still feel – became so palpable, that I … I spiraled completely.
My beloved to the rescue…!
Tuesday night, I’d had a rough day (plague house, shingles break out for me, cold-sores starting, the works), and I went up to bed and I said to him ‘I can’t do it’ and he said ‘k. Tell me what’s in your way?’ And I told him. About how people want to do it but don’t seem to be signing up, about how it feels like the wrong time to be asking people to commit to coaching in this environment, how most of all, it’s not easy to teach people mindfulness, abundance and accountability when I’m not a reflection of it myself. He went very quiet and said.
“I think it’s because you’re not writing. How about you stop and do that for a bit.” I told him that the business wouldn’t survive if I didn’t get this to work, and he said “We’ll make it work. Trust me.” And that was it.
I’m not saying it’s not going to be painful, but, he’s right. I wished for a way to afford to write again, and it’s not the one I’d have chosen, but I am grateful that he’s willing to back me until I’ve got that bit of my life square again.
It’s still taken a couple of days to write this. I’m still dealing with a shame spiral I CANNOT fathom, because I feel like, once again, I’m letting people down. But at the same time, I’m actually willing to look at my laptop again. I’m sad because I won’t get to earn my Remarkable the way I wanted to, but…I don’t need one to write. There’s a lightness of heart to go with the ‘oh, I don’t like this’ failure feeling.
So….yeah…that’s been my last three months. What about you guys?
(actually, one notable exception. Ludosport. I’ll talk about that next blog post).
So, I thought for this year’s AtoZ, I’d take it back to basics and talk a little about me, and if I got posts that were the same letter, I’d share them the next day, and maybe even share some of the posts I’m reading throughout the month.
Today, I thought I’d go for a general update. I’ve spent the last few weeks trying to recover from Covid. I say ‘trying’ because it’s been hard work to even get motivated, let alone write and work. But I’ve been thinking, which I tend to do when I’m sick. And enjoying my beautiful four poster bed, which isn’t quite finished yet, but is nevertheless, one of the most gorgeous things I’ve ever agonised over buying.
We’ve been thinking really hard, as a family, about the best ways for all of us to enact self-care. My partner and I have hobbies, such as Ludosport (I’ll explain more at L for Ludosport, or at least, more fully, cause I’ve talked about it before!), and gaming that we take part in, and we’re very careful to try and maintain a good work-life balance, but one of the nicest things about our new bed is I’m happy to just… read for a little while. We’ve got this gorgeous net canopy that looks like clouds.
Every night, we curl up and I read for a bit, but I feel cozy and safe in there, even though it’s basically a big box frame around me. I’ll be adding flowers and lights eventually, but for now, I just like waking up underneath clouds. It’s weird, I know. I’m trying to address my work/life balance too, by not answering messages or emails before 9am or after 10pm unless it’s an emergency, and ignoring requests for work that aren’t completed on the correct places. Slowly, but surely, things are getting easier, but, it’s meant a lot of work on boundaries, and even more time dealing with the fallout, but, it’s just one of those things. Beyond that, today is the first day of #Kaiatus, and my darling boi (eldest) is coming to visit. Life is good, I’m alive, and I’m grateful for it all.
Oh, and it’s the first day of Camp Nanowrimo 2022 (April) edition, and I’m doing International Poetry month over at [email protected] :). I’m working on some of my novellas for Shula for Nano. 🙂
I hate the phrase ‘new normal’. Much like the fact that I don’t like mental health being classified as ‘normal’ or ‘abnormal’. Quirky language bit of my brain aside, I think making judgements like that is something that makes it difficult to accept that we’re all a little…different. There’s no one way to be.
But… ‘new normal’ and ‘freedom day’…
In the UK, they’re referring to something that may be (it actually has been postponed) postponed, called ‘Freedom Day’. In the UK, the day we lifted lockdown was literally going to be referred to (by our rather off-piste PM, I have to say) as ‘Freedom Day’ and all it really represented was us finishing lockdown and seeing if we see a new spike.
Don’t get me wrong. Since March of last year, things have been really difficult for many reasons. But my life had been about lockdown before lockdown was a thing. I’ve not left the house on my own for…. well, up until last week, with a few very notable exceptions, I’ve not left the house alone since around 2015, I guess.
It was insidious at first. I’d stop wanting to go into town unless I had a reason. Part of it, of course, was because of the really bad fall and learning to walk again, but by that point, we had a treadmill in the house. But I guess that’s around when I stopped leaving the house. By the time we were treated to the holiday *of a lifetime* (and I’ll be real, I’ve actually had two since mid 2015 – one in 2016, one in 2018) to Disneyland by my in-laws and hubby-to-be, they were making arrangements with the staff to make sure I wasn’t startled during large events, and I wasn’t able to leave the house. I wasn’t really working outside of the house either – I tried a few times but it never really…took, I guess. My terrible mental health got worse too because I didn’t mesh with my care team and a few things were missed. By the time the pandemic was in full flow, it had kinda…snuck past me because I was dealing with my son’s kidney issues, and though he’d been cleared the morning we went into lockdown, there was something…almost unreal about what happened for those first weeks.
Privileged, I know
We weren’t badly affected by the furlough, though my own buisness didn’t qualify for any help, most of my time was actually spent supporting my young adult children through the various challenges that the pandemic was raising for their mental health, mine and everything else.
We are a year on now, and though a lot has happened, I actually think that I’ve come out of this a lot less ‘scathed’ than others, I’m not sure that any of us will know normal again. And I don’t really know how to explain it. What I do know is that life – in all its forms are fragile and it’s hard to talk about it in terms that we all relate to because I can’t think of anything that is remotely like this, not in my experience.
Whatever the ‘new normal’ is, I hope our PM understands that his cliched behaviour and almost childish soundbites aren’t helping. Sound and fury, signifying nothing.
I bet everyone can tell what this post is going to be about.
I love my cats. We recently lost my adorable girl, so after we got everything cleaned (she had a permanent URI) and grieved, we adopted the girls.
The grey girl in the photos is Haley, the little mountaineer, Eiryss.
Both are nine months old – Haley’s fairly placid, Eiryss quite skittish, but they’re settling in really well.
We move through our lives at a constant pace. We can accelerate or decelerate ourselves with a limited amount of success, but the speed we do things at, at our base rate at least, is probably something we’ll never change. Some of us rush headlong into everything and batter through life as fast as we can, hungry for as many new experiences as we can pick up, and tired at the end of each day because we’ve packed in so much.
Others go as slow as possible, savoring every step, and realising, deep down, that they can’t do everything they might want to.
My problem is I want to savor everything, but I want it all. I have too many hobbies, and too little time on my books for new stuff. I book far too much into my life, mostly because I can. My laptop became both my freedom and my curse, because now, there’s a whole world of reading and writing out there, and I get nothing done.
Facebook is a horrible blessing. I can meet and hang out with so many wonderful people, and keep an eye on my friends, and there are some really cool games on there, but, lets face it, I’ve got a nasty habit of refreshing my page again and again, and then wondering, at 2pm, where my day went.
Worst of all, I’m a person that moves through life with a momentum that pulls others along behind me. And lately, I kinda feel like I’m out in the middle of a great big ocean, with no chance of finding the new land I was aiming for. But it feels like I’m stranding other people now and I don’t like that feeling.
Momentum is working out where you’re going and I think that’s the biggest thing for me right now. I need to work out which map I’m working from – someone else’s or my own. If I’m working from someone else’s, where can I adapt it so it’s all mine – or if I’m going to dive on in headlong and do it all myself, I need to work out where I want to go – there are *so many* choices right now.
What I do know is tomorrow begins my ninth Nanowrimo. I’m really looking forward to it. It gives me another month to work out and plan the roller coaster that is about to be my life. One way or another, things will start resolving and working out the way I want to.
Plans are coming soon, though. I’m happy to report there *is* a plan, but it’s difficult to see whether it’s the right choice right now. So I’m going to have a bit of fun with my writing for a bit, and see where that takes me. It’s too easy for me to lose sight of what I wanted to do when I started out online – which was writing. I’ve gone all over the web since, looking for something that’s ‘all me’ but what I am, underneath it all, is a writer.
I’ve got a very specific routine to my writing day now – one that I thought people might be interested in.
I’ve mentioned in the past that music is really important to me – and up until last week, my morning started with my portable alarm clock (aka my phone) which I would listen to until I went down stairs, then music would go back on at exactly 8am, when the youngest went outside to wait for her taxi.
But the last week, at 8am, I’ve taken the chance to come upstairs with a cup of tea, and I’ve crucially left music off.
So, I write my task list and contemplate my day in silence. It’s nice because the bedroom/office I’m in is in full sunlight most of the morning, and into the afternoon when I finish up working for the day (if I’m not coming back to work later) so I’m getting plenty of light where I sit, and there is a tree near the window, so even now, as the weather is turning chilly (and man, it’s chilly this morning compared to the last week), I’ve got birdsong.
From there, I social network. Twitter and Facebook need constant feeding, and I think I put in 750 words there on their own. I’m still trying to find my stride with G+.
And after that, I start work proper. Usually about 8:45, but today, as Steve Jobs died (don’t come to this blog for breaking news, I’m always waaaaay behind the curve), I’m not starting until nearly 10am. With a full docket and email to troubleshoot as it’s randomly stripping attachments, I’m still melancholy. I guess it puts life into perspective when someone that achieved so much goes – not even because he was ‘young’ by today’s standards. Steve Jobs would have been missed whether we were talking about him dying today or in 20,30, 40 years time. That kind of impact will never be lost, even to history. And that’s some legacy to leave.
What I do know is that while I’ve been a PC person most of my life (due to expense rather than preference), my first ever laptop was a Mac. from my adopted brother – I bought it from him and wrote on it for nearly a year, until we moved south and it died. In that time, I even replaced the screen. I wouldn’t DARE try that on my PC 😉