Human exhaustion

I've had writer's block for the past six months. Actually, it's less "writer's block" and something more along the line of "writer's (missing) motivation." Or, more on the nose, "human exhaustion." I've made posts about all the crazy goings ons with regard to my day job -- which, I will state again for the record, brings me much joy due to the amazing people I work with and am surrounded by 40+ hours a week -- but here's the thing. Even on my days off, I'm too tired to actually write.

On my days off, I do all the adult things I'm supposed to do during the week but am too tired to actually do because I'm a sleepy person who wants to just lay on the ground for a few hours until I have to make dinner and then eventually/inevitably fall asleep on the couch. I do laundry, clean dishes, vacuum, yadda yadda yadda. Recently, I've been packing, because tomorrow I'm switching apartments again which is a whole other story about stress and boxes and messes.

What was I getting at again? Oh right! Writing. Yes. So, because of ALL THE THINGS happening, I haven't had the motivation/energy to sit down and write anything of substance. A few weeks back, I started writing the beginning of a new story I am excited about. I'm calling it T.M.o.D. (which I know the full name of but is a secret for now) and!!! I LOVE IT!!! I mean, the little bit I wrote the past week needs to be seriously rewritten, but now I know what I want and what I don't want for it to become. The pinterest board alone gives me all the excitement and inspiration, and I swear, every time I look at it I have the best intentions of writing but then I remember it's almost 10PM and I still have to have dinner or clean the bathroom or hang the clothes that have somehow found their way onto the floor of my room.

I'm going to get back to writing. Soon. I have a vacation coming up that I intend to spend on the beach, reading, or inside an air conditioned home writing. I'm hoping I can hold myself up to that expectation. At the very least, some serious reading will get done. And plotting. The writing will come. I'm still working on find that balance.

The helpers and the light

This past week has been overwhelmed with outrage and despair. Between the audacious court ruling in the Stanford rape case, to the news coming out of Orlando this morning, I've been struck speechless. I've held off making any posts on social media because I am honestly having difficulty putting into words the heartbreak I feel over it all. And, just like with the similar news stories I've seen all too often in these past years, I have a tendency to see these reports and spiral. I will never grow numb to this.

Does this news affect me personally? At a macroscopic level, no, though there are arguments to be made that every terrible act in humanity should affect us all personally. We are responsible for the continuation of tragedies and injustices if we do nothing to stop it. I cannot help but feel it all deeply. The lack of justice -- the shattering acts of violence -- strike me hard and I swear, it rattles my bones. I feel the tragedies as if they are my own. So let me restate: We are responsible for the continuation of tragedies and injustices if we do nothing to stop it. Do something to stop it. Speak out, own the tragedies as if they are your own and do something, however small, to work toward ensuring that things like this never happen again. We owe it to ourselves to fight back against such horrors.

At times like these, I allow myself a moment of anger, a moment of sadness, a moment of contemplation and action, and then I unplug. The bombardment of news coverage can be suffocating. I'll read it all; I'll become more and more upset, feel more and more useless. So I do what I can. I grieve, I give in to the emotions, I do what I can, and then I close my computer. I will not let the darkness consume me. Not when there is so much light to be found, to be created.

For every article of tragedy, there emerges a story of heroics. A lesson from Mr. Rogers comes to mind every time something like this happens: "When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.'"

The two Swedish students at Stanford. The first responders in Orlando, or the hundreds of people donating blood to those injured during the attack. Tragedies like these are meant to tear us all apart, yet it does just the opposite. We come together for strength, for comfort, for understanding. The darkness brings out the brightest lights in humanity. Open your eyes, look through the darkness, and see the galaxy of stars before you. Realize that you are part of it.

Don't allow yourself to drown in the news coverage. If you feel overwhelmed as I often do, step back. Hug someone. Do something kind, brave, and genuine. Find a way to feel safe, and look for the helpers. Look for the lights. Become one yourself.

Work is third

The other week, my sister and I got complimenting tattoos. I got the moon and she got the sun. There's a lovely quote I read once that I was drawn to right before we went under the needle: "You and I share the same sky; that's how I sleep at night." They're still healing, so we're staying out of the pool and sun for a little longer -- meaning we are both as pale as ever -- but I am obsessed with them. I love having another thing that ties me and my sister together. As if we didn't have enough evidence that we're super close.

Work (as a tangential update) is still crazy. Most of my week is spent working -- and it's crazy and hectic and exhausting but I love it. Really and truly, I love it. The people I work with are the kindest and most fun people I could ever hope to be surrounded by! Every day, even the hard ones, I look around and think about how lucky I am to be where I am, with the people I am with. But honestly, work is taking up a good amount of my time. As I was getting used to this new schedule of mine, I realized I had started to let some things slip. I was forgetting to spend as much time with family and friends, because the time I had off I wanted to relax and do nothing. Which I still do (I'm doing it today); I do get a certain pleasure of telling people I did absolutely nothing at all with my day off. But I was letting other things I love slip.

Reading, for one. Writing, for another. I hadn't finished a book in way too long, so this week I opened one that had been sitting on my shelf for about a month and finally started reading it. Now I have about fifty pages of this 640-paged book left.

And the whole "remembering to actually talk to people who you don't only work with" thing is getting better. I'm working on saving up some of my energy to spend on friends and family, because I miss seeing them as much as I used to. And no matter how much I love work, I don't want that to be the only thing in my life. I need to remember that and make a conscious effort to say yes to spending time with people, even when I'm very tired and would much rather say no, I'm going to go nap. I won't remember that nap or how tired I am in fifty years; chances are I'll remember spending time with my friends.

In the wise words of Leslie Knope...
“We need to remember what's important in life: friends, waffles, work. Or waffles, friends, work. Doesn't matter, but work is third.”

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