I have a pretty good relationship with failure *intellectually* by which I mean that failing = trying and if you’re trying you’re winning. But when faced with personal failures, I can be completely self-eviscerating. Like, this week.
This week, I poured my last pour. Things happened (that are now resolved) that really took it out of me. I had to chase someone down and ask that they respect my intellectual property. I have stored grief from last year’s adventures in dealing with my son’s mental illness coming up (fiercely). I have come to recognize that sometimes when I think I’m offering grace, what I’m really offering is appeasement – the soft underbelly, the bared throat – as if to say “Please don’t fucking hurt me. Here. I forgive you.”
I am also experiencing the wild ride that is peri-menopause, and all that comes with *that* joyful rite of passage. Like, seriously. I’m watching The Blacklist. I start to cry because of a passing look of tenderness on a character’s face. I legitimately *cannot stop crying*. And so I yell at myself. “GO HOME, EFFY. You’re HORMONAL.”
Cue startled dog and hysterical giggles that, again, I cannot stop.
Burn out is a real thing, y’all, and I’m having it because I am a bootstrapper. I have been a bootstrapper my whole life. I was indoctrinated to bootstrap the fuck out everything. When I feel overwhelmed, I do not pause to take a breath. I pull up my socks and I get ‘er done. And this is *bad* for me. It isn’t a virtue. And it’s no one else’s fault that I do this. No one else is asking me to straighten up and fly right or push myself until I am a living embodiment of The Goddess Never Not Broken. Some of this is a feminist issue, and has to do with time, emotional labour, being a mom without a partner, being a creative whose work can be lifted from her without so much as a ‘please, may I’ or a link back. Some of this is childhood conditioning. There was literally *no one* who gave a crap if I was in pain or overwhelmed in childhood. No one. I was shunned for having feelings, called all manner of names, punished…and we are talking about a childhood in which I was brutalized, so yes, I had feels. Lots of very complicated feels. Feels that a capable, caring parent would have made space for.
Some of it is due to a history of choosing relationships with people who can’t handle feelings, who have *hit* me for having them, who have abandoned me or held me at extreme arm’s length for having them, or who could only be counted on to show up for feelings that don’t trigger them. (So, like, almost never.)
It’s a lot. I am carrying a lot.
And in the midst of all of this, I have designed a life that keeps me too busy to be with myself for any length of time.
So, burn out.
And, in the overwhelm, and the necessary reassessment, the F word. Failure.
Except that *I haven’t failed*.
I haven’t. I spent 95 days creating a series of 70 videos for #MiniMoleyDaily. I showed up even when I didn’t feel like it in order to test my own limits. At first, it was joyful and I absolutely loved doing it. Then, it started to come something I *had* to do because I had set myself up. What was supposed to be a personal project, a thing I wanted to do *for myself* became a thing I did ‘out loud’ in the way that I do things, with a Facebook group and a blog category and playlists on YouTube that *no one else asked for or expected me to do*.
I am my own worst tyrant. This is a true thing.
Yesterday was ‘Goddess of Never Not Broken” day in my world. I could not stop crying. I felt spent in a bone weary way that I wasn’t sure I could come back from. I wanted to run away from home. I wanted to fake my own death. (Not really, but sort of. A clean slate sure felt like a good place to start). A friend pinged to ask if I was okay, and i just kind of moaned something unintelligible about needing casserole people. You know. The people who will show up when they see you dropping all the balls with a casserole, a box of wine, and a shoulder to cry on.
She is coming to see me on Friday. She promised me a casserole. I love her. <3 But I needed casserole *yesterday*. You see what I’m saying? Yesterday, in my state of never not broken, I needed casserole.
This is not a pity party. This is the life I’ve designed for myself – a life in which I am rigidly scheduled up the wazoo. A life in which there is no room or time for being never not broken. A life in which I am too guarded, too bootstrappy to call up a friend and say “I need a fucking casserole”.
I have failed to create a meatspace tribe that I can count on. I did that. And that’s got to change.
Meanwhile, a meatspace friend *did* read my omgdoom post on Facebook, and did show up with a country drive and red velvet cake, and another invited me out to a thing tomorrow night so I can do something spiritual, creative, fun, and *outside of the house* as a supplement to the usual box of wine + Netflix style of self-care that is my default position.
I don’t have casserole people because I’ve never asked anyone for casserole.
So, no. Not a pity party. Just an acknowledgement that I bootstrap until I’m broken and I have no where to turn because I haven’t yet learned how to *ask for what I need*.
And I haven’t yet identified who among my people are casserole people.
#MiniMoleyDaily is a beautiful project, and I intend to continue on with it, but I’m shifting gears now, and reclaiming it as a personal project. The Facebook group will remain, and I will be popping in there on FB live once in a while to play with my people in a ‘so not obligated to do this but I’m here for shits and giggles’ way. I have a playlist for you that consists of 70 videos created in the first three months of 2017 that amounts to HOURS AND HOURS of viewing pleasure + inspiration. I will archive that on the page I created for that purpose, and I will continue to upload pictures of my mini *as I am inspired*.
I need more space for the never not broken moments. I need more space for all the things I could be doing to prevent the never not broken moments.
This is not a failure. It’s a necessary tweak. It is a holy no.
The ‘#MiniMoleyMonday’ RSS feed will be discontinued. I will leave Monday’s, Tuesday’s and Thursday’s on my blog free for personal musings. Journal52 will be tweaked (more on that tomorrow) in order to prevent its unauthorized use (personal use *only*, people. That means do not copy paste share my stuff in your own spaces – especially not without a link back!). It will still post every Wednesday as usual. Same with Friday Five.
That being said, Journal52 for the next *two weeks* will be word prompts only, since I need to edit my art cards to include a watermark, and that will take time. Unmarked cards will be available as a collection for a fee, and that will also take me time to set up.
Boundaries. Because good fences make good neighbours.
I’m a pantser, by which I mean that most of what I do is ‘by the seat of my pants’. I’m learning as I go. That means I will fail in a rather public way, sometimes spectacularly and with gusto.
I hope you glean some insight from witnessing that, and if not insight, then at least a little self-empathy for the ways you, too, are never not broken on the bedroom floor at midnight clutching a cell phone and a tissue begging someone to please bring casserole.
I’ll see you next week.
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