Sometimes lifting one foot in front of the other feels like you have grand pianos in your shoes. There is a desire to get some sun and put an end to the cabin fever but you think of the weight of the grand pianos and stay put. There are days you want to get up and do a downward facing dog but stay glued to the couch instead, the skin behind your legs slowly merging with the ecru upholstery. You know it takes six weeks for muscles to atrophy, and hello, you tell yourself, it’s only been a day. Later, you try to justify the many times you’ve watched this or that episode of ANTM because you know the blonde/brunette/redhead/pixie/tall/thin/wide/lesbian/girl-next-door/girl-with-dead-eyes will get eliminated but your shame slowly eats away at your brain and gnaws at your reasoning so you just smize to yourself instead. You then change positions and wait for another rerun of another show you already saw. You do this with a lot of gumption until 2:30 am.
Repeat for two more days.
On the third day…you attempt a To Do List.
Sometimes writing a list or a mindnode of things to do during a “free” week feels like writing a final will and testament. You know you need to do it, but postpone it for some other time. You manage to convince yourself at that moment that just the thought of it is too ominous and depressing; which then makes you think of the grand pianos and the little buggers gnawing at your pituitary gland. Where did these little creatures come from, you wonder. Weren’t you fully functional a week ago?
The seconds, minutes, hours, days disappear, like sand between your fingers and you see your mindnode of things to accomplish swallow you whole. Then POP…you become the purple branch of different things to do to avoid the different things you need to do; your breath connected only to the periwinkle circle in the middle of the web. You cling for dear life and have temporary amnesia.
Sometimes writing a blog post feels like jagged finger nails screeching against an old school blackboard. Your fingers bleed profusely and still, nothing. Not a single word worth a damn comes out. You say to yourself, meh. What can you do? So you let it go.
When you realize you have a day and a half of vacation left, you snap out of your amnesia and let the panic rise to your throat. You gasp and gag and realize the familiar drowning feeling is back. Soon, you know that adrenaline will seep through your veins and make you move again. At that moment, relief sets in but at the same time, you feel overwhelming remorse as you stare at the corpse, which used to be an entire week free from any immediate obligations, beneath your feet. You can’t help but notice that your feet are back to their normal size and that’s when you take one baby step at a time towards your To Do list.
It dawns on you that your neglected To Do list has now turned into a To Do or Die list. And your mindnode’s colorful branches are wrapped snugly around your neck waiting for the perfect moment to squeeze.
And squeeze tight.
Well, well, well look do we have here: A pile of papers so tall you slept on it and failed to feel the pea; a generation’s early work to be sifted through, edited and compiled (litmag 2010-2011); and the inspiring and mind-numbing preparation involved in doing the work you are so grateful for and love to do. Everyday.
At the corner of your eye, you also notice that the yearbook is done and ready for printing, you have a new blog set up for a different audience and for a different purpose, you have managed to properly document your most recent workshop and already have all the documents you need to apply for another visa to India for your next workshop. You also allow yourself to acknowledge that you have beautiful pictures of your favorite people in the world and that because you weren’t working, you spent quality time with family. Nothing can ever really compare to that.
The remorse decompresses a little.
Sometimes the season calls for rest, silence and hibernation. You heed it with great respect and gratitude. You honor it, otherwise your ankles swell up. You embrace it because, more often than not, it saves you. At some point though, and at the right time, you also need to recognize it is over, even before it is over. Or else, the panic will consume you until you can’t do anything but wail the workaholic’s cry as you try to convince everyone you love and who love you back that you are alright.
And so it begins, always, with a blog entry; and one day left.
grateful slice: rude awakenings and panic attacks that jolt you back to the reality of the daily grind.