Last teaching day of the year. Everything gets a little bit easier from this point out. I’m not saying it’s going to be plain sailing or anything like that, but the constant frantic tail-chasing will somewhat calm on the other side of the Winter Solstice.
Speaking of which, today is the Solstice, it’s the shortest day and tonight is the longest night. So after this point the light will start to come back and I think that will have a decidedly positive impact on my mood and hence life.
I am in incredibly cranky form this morning. I’ve spent nearly 20 minutes writing the few words that are already on this screen as every single sentence is interrupted by a child or a husband: demanding to be listened to, demanding attention for their thing, letting me know about their interests or their ailments and needing me to give validation or comfort. And LITERALLY lying on top of of me, tangling their legs into mine, or putting their bodies in the path of where my arms need to be to type, or threatening the stability of my coffee, or just making really annoying hacking and breathing noises and being generally human in my vicinity.
I want to escape right now. I don’t want to spend the morning in my own life, I’d like to be elsewhere, a king or a queen or a magician in a magically tidy world – or when it’s messy, it’s messy in a narratively important way, and not just in the boring unresolved way that most boring human life tends to be.
I guess I’m acting like I’m frustrated and disappointed with the loved ones all around me, but really? I’m frustrated and disappointed with myself. I am tired and feeling unmotivated and uninteresting. I feel rushed and like I don’t have enough time for anything and it’s pretty obvious that the only one to blame is me.
It’s easy to say “I’m so tired and I don’t know why”, or “There’s more work than I can get done – I don’t know where this giant pile of work came from!”, yet it’s obviously enough. All of these things are a direct result of things I’ve done or failed to do. They are all the results of choices I’ve made.
At the time of making them, the choices seemed innocuous enough. What cost that extra half-hour or alarm turned off? (Spoiler: Cost is time enough to write without putting the morning under pressure.) What cost an hour spent reading various articles, or following the thread of some strangers’ online fight? If it’s entertaining to me, then don’t I deserve a small amount of time to read and think and judge without anyone even knowing about it or being harmed by it?
Spoiler (not spoiler), I’ll carry that negativity with me into the future. I’m solidifying the judgement habit and I can be pretty sure it will turn up again at times when I don’t want it to. ‘Nother spoiler: that time could have been spent on the giant pile or work, or a pickup around the house, or – if I really needed something that didn’t appear as work – what about drawing or catching up on correspondence or something that actually puts some good out into the world, instead of feeing the great beast of smug self-satisfaction and judginess.
The problem is that nothing feels as good as that wasted time at the time of taking it. It’s a little addictive even. Because it’s such a total escape and excuse. It’s time away from responsibility and worry. Can you see the parallels between using the internet and using drugs like alcohol for pretty much the same stress-relief purposes? Both of them fuck up my sleep and energy levels. Both of them steal time from my evenings. Both of them can leave me with a kind of “hangover” – in the case of TerribleInternet, the hangover is more of a negativity one, but it exists all the same.
But, yeah. Somehow some part of me still believes that I’m getting some benefit from this behaviour. Plus the negatives don’t feel so explicitly and identifiably negative as those from something that is obviously destroying my health.
This is the pre-change period. Where I spend a few years lamenting my behaviour – even though I’m the one choosing it – before I really expend some effort on trying to change and failing, and then some day scales will fall from eyes and I’ll be able to see that there is no positive upside to the behaviours and will change for good.
And then I’ll discover what else I’m using as a means to escape my life rather than accepting it.