I am a consistent “say yes” person. As I write that, I’m not. A better way to say it, is that I consistently put the wants, needs, and desires of other people ahead of my own. There’s nothing wrong with that as long as it’s balanced. But I don’t do anything halfway. I’ve always been all or nothing. It would also be fine if all those other people in my life reciprocated in kind, but it doesn’t always happen that way. No one expects an eight-year-old to give a shit about your time. Eventually, what you wind up with, is where I am right now. Halfway through a life that’s only been half lived because I’ve been too busy making sure everyone else has what they want.
I think my gender is partly to blame for my predicament. Women are hard-wired to think about everyone else before themselves. How else would we get through our child rearing years? We burn ourselves out at the holidays making everything magical. We go out of our way to do things for others that we don’t feel like doing and don’t have the time to do. Case in point, right now I have a friend that I feel like I must do something for. I want to do it. I know I should do it. But I don’t want to do it because I don’t have the time, nor the energy. And I’ll probably wind up doing it because that’s what I do. I spread myself too thin for everyone else and wind up regretting it later.
But who is spreading themselves too thin for me? Besides my husband, no other names come to mind. Which is fine, I don’t expect reciprocation. It would nice, but I live firmly planted in the real world where I know ahead of time that everything you give out doesn’t necessarily come back to you. Which brings me to the point of this post, or rather the main story because I felt you needed the prior information to move forward to get the context of what happened and why I am so irritated.
It’s been a long two weeks for me. I feel burnt out, tired, an unnecessarily aggravated. I haven’t been sleeping, but that’s a constant state of being. The kids have gone back to school, and so have I. Which is great because I love my MFA program. I’m finally doing something for myself instead of everyone else.
When I planned my courses, I purposefully took a course that ended before they got out for winter break. I didn’t take a class in December because I knew they would be out of school and I would get very little done. Instead of thinking about myself and the fact that I could have squeezed one extra class in there and finished my degree a bit sooner. I skipped it. Which was a good thing because I spent the vast majority of December sick and not wanting to do much of anything anyway.
Once they got back to school, my classes started. Since then they have been to school three days because of weather and holidays. Three. Fucking. Days. During which time I have gone completely grey and pulled all of the baby hairs that surround my face out. Every time I sit down to read or to write, someone was beside me asking for something. I tried to explain to them that my school is online, I don’t get a snow day. I tried to pawn them off on their father who works from home. But they never go Dad for anything. They’ll be playing a video game, and it will stop working, and instead of asking him (he’s sitting at a desk in the basement right next to them), they’ll walk all the way upstairs and down the hall to find me and ask me to fix it.
I don’t’ know why and it annoys me. Instead of doing my work gingerly during the week at an easy pace, I find myself cramming it all in on the weekend in the early morning hours before they all get up. I put their needs to be entertained on their snow days ahead of my own need of not having to cram a week’s worth of work into one day. And I consistently do it, I put what I want to do off on the back burner and do what someone else needs instead. I want to stop, I want to say no but in the end the only way I get out of doing something is when my body says no. My body can say no, loud and clear like Gandalf, slamming his staff down and saying, “You shall not pass.” So why can’t I?
I feel like I make plans and the universe laughs and laughs loudly at them, in my face and pointing. If it’s not my illness that gets in the way of my plans, it’s everything else. Sometimes I just want to sit down, watch a documentary on Netflix that I have been waiting to watch for months because no one else in the house wants to watch it. There I am, alone in the house for the first time in months, I turn on the TV and guess what? The internet is down. Not just router down but whole neighborhood without internet. Why? Because that’s my luck. I have a paper due the end of this week, and as luck would have it, snow is approaching. Mother nature is conspiring against me.
Does anyone else feel this way? I know I can’t be the only one. Every time I attempt to do anything, it feels like everything that can happen will happen to get in the way of my doing it.