Aug 20 2010

eye of the storm

I sit here, needing something, but I am speechless.

I have spent another day running around in circles. Some of them were good circles, some of them were too constraining. Some of them weren’t circles at all, they were spirals. I have so much to do that I can’t concentrate on anything, and for some reason,  I am exhausted. I have a show this weekend, I have to work, have to make ready, have to do this, have to do that.

But I sit here. Hoping that if I get the words out, something will change. Hoping it is the words, all jumbled up inside, causing this inability to focus. Hoping.

I am outside, it is almost dusk, the air is still. My mind is not.
My mind is like these mosquitoes that are about to drive me inside. Pesky, buzzing, flittering, fluttering. Annoying.

If I sit here long enough, I wonder if my mind will become as calm as the air. I hear birds. Crickets. Peeping frogs. No grasshoppers just now, perhaps they are already asleep. The fading sunlight filters through the long row of bushes that hides me from my neighbors, my far-away neighbors that I still wish to be hidden from.

At the end of that row is the elderberry bush, bent low to the ground with the weight of its fruit, full and ripe. I feel like that too, just now. Heavy with my own potential.

I should get up and get my camera so I can take a picture of this abstract watercolor sky. But I feel too tired. I don’t have the energy. If I go inside to get my camera, I don’t think I’ll come back out.

Inside, the fans are still going. Outside, the air is perfectly still.

It has been like that since this morning.

I think I just need to sit here for a bit
and enjoy this breeze of silence.


p.s. I came back out.

Jul 20 2010

worry wart

I try not to worry, really I do. It seems like a colossal waste of time.

But sometimes, it all comes creeping in on me…the little niggling fears, the stress, the doubts, the thunder.

And then I am there, in the Land of Worry, and just like Oz, I can’t find my way out. The what-ifs become strong possibilities, the might-nevers become probabilities. It keeps me up at night, if I let it. And I try not to let it, but there are moments of weakness, we all have them, and then I am there, eyes open, wondering, pondering, wasting good sleep.

I worry about my health and money and my husband and my kids and my parents and my future and my past and what I ate for dinner (potato chips, so?) and my knees and my garden and that thing I said to so and so for which they will never forgive me…

I never meant to be a worry wart. And most of the time, I’m not.
I look on the bright side, I strive to be happy, to let things go, to know, in my heart, that the only person whose behavior I can really control is my own.

And yet, here I am. Both my sons smoke cigarettes. I worry. My parents are getting older, I worry. Things are slow with my graphics business. I worry. I’m feeling nauseous a lot lately. I worry. My husband seems distant. I worry. My basements floods. I worry. What if I’m really just wasting my time? I worry. You probably
don’t want to hear about this. I worry.

Each worry works its way into my mind and takes up residence, even though I have made it perfectly clear that no invitation was extended. I ask them to leave, and they smile, saying, “Yes, perhaps tomorrow.” I beg, I plead, “I need sleep,” I say, and they pat me on the head, “There, there.”

And don’t even get me started on the big things, the things that you can worry yourself sick about, the government, the environment, health care, retirement, natural disasters, Lindsay Lohan. (Okay, just kidding about that one.) I can’t even go there, to the big worry room, because I just know I will never get out.

Oh hello, Mr. Worry. Won’t you come and sit on my lap for a bit?
I’m going to give you a little hug and maybe even a kiss.

And then I’m going to squash you like a bug.

Oops, sorry. That was downright mean.

I’ll have to worry about that, later.

Jun 16 2010

on getting all my
ducks in a row

or, when life overwhelms, run away. And yes, I know these aren’t ducks, they are geese, but sometimes a girl gets to take a little poetic license, doesn’t she?

I seem to have depleted my batteries recently, and I just wasn’t running properly. I knew this, but couldn’t seem to break the cycle. So when my mother-in-law asked if I wanted to head up to the Thousand Islands with her and my sister-in-law and niece for a girls overnighter, of course my first thought was “I can’t do that, I don’t have time,” but then my second thought was, “Don’t be stupid.”

So I said yes and dropped everything, knowing it would all still be there, on the floor, when I got back. I never do things like that, but I knew that I really, really needed this one.

And off I went, and for the next day and a half I did only silly, relaxing, fun things. I giggled a little, I guffawed a lot. It helps when you have a silly eighteen-year-old with you and she does some really funny, crazy things. I also read a whole book. (Okay, I had started it the night before). It wasn’t even that great, but I lived within its covers for hours and hours anyway and that was its own little escape within my escape.

I never really used to believe in burnout, or at least I never believed it would happen to me, but lately I have begun to grasp the concept. Just in time, though, I am also starting to grasp the concept that no matter how much you have to do, every so often you need to simply stop everything and have some fun. Fun for the sake of fun.

They kept asking me what I wanted to do, and I kept saying, “I don’t care, I am just so happy to not HAVE to do anything.” But mostly I was thinking that I’d like to be sitting in a chair with my feet up, reading. We walked the little towns, we shopped, we ate, we went sightseeing. And then, finally, we sat in the hotel room and I read while they watched their shows  (there were a lot of them). Basically, I didn’t do anything I didn’t want to do the whole trip.

Well, except pay $12 for a friendship bracelet that is essentially a piece of string with four beads strung on it. I almost refused, I thought it was ridiculously expensive, but we were all supposed to get one, together. So I bit my tongue and plunked down my cash, and now there it is on my wrist.

But it might just end up being the best twelve dollars I ever spent, because every time I look at it now, I think of how hard we all laughed at 11:30 that night when my niece went to take a shower and was scared by a tiny little spider and dropped her glasses in the toilet. And she was appalled and grossed out and there was some gagging and it was just so funny and we laughed until we snorted because she is the kind of girl who would rather throw her glasses away than fish them out of the toilet.

And then, of course, we were on a roll, and we laughed hysterically for the next hour and probably kept everyone in all the rooms near us awake, but we just couldn’t stop and we didn’t stop and we all fell asleep with smiles on our faces.

And during the night I dreamed silly dreams

while all those things I left scattered

at home on the floor

moved themselves back into place.

Jun 8 2010

this is my life
on stress

Lately I have been feeling completely overwhelmed by overwhelm. I cannot get caught up, I will never be caught up, my to-do list gets longer but it never gets shorter, I hear it yelling at me even when I’m not looking. There is always more and more and more.

I know this, and I keep saying yes. I keep trying to fit it all in, to do all the things that I want to do in addition to the things that I have to do, and then I keep changing the rules. It feels like a cycle I can’t break out of, a circle I am enclosed in, a cage I can only sing complaints from.

If I know why the caged bird sings, why can’t I just let her out?

I want to open the door with my own two hands, I want to sing the tune that I wrote myself, I want to be the one who built the cage.

Oh wait, I am. I did.

This is my life, I made it step by step and minute by minute, all those choices, all those detours, all those maps that weren’t maps, they were mazes that took me someplace else, this place that is jungle and desert and sometimes, ocean, and I say that because I can’t swim.

I built my life, I am responsible. I know that. Sometimes I want to run away, start from scratch, do it right, take the correct path instead of the one I thought was better, the one that was less traveled, because now I know why it was less traveled, don’t I?

I am whining, I am sorry, I know, I should not, I should look for the silver lining. And I will, tomorrow. Or maybe even in five minutes, these clouds will clear and I will see, I will remember that life isn’t all that bad, this is, after all, just overwhelm. It could be under, under anything and that would be worse because over is always better, right? Too much is better than not enough.

No, wait, less is more. I forgot that, too, more or less.

Okay I am done with my rant, with my rave, with my long-winded empirical whine.

I’m going to go eat some chocolate.

And by the way, when it comes to chocolate,

I don’t care what anyone says,

less is never more.