Our apartment is finally getting fumigated this Monday, and there’s a lot of work to be done before and after that event. Last Monday, I wrote a little about my shitty recovery time and how I’m kind of sabotaging myself by refusing to rest, or feeling guilty about resting if I do finally get some. That hasn’t stopped, that continues and probably will continue to some extent forever. I know I’m not performing well, at home, at work, or on this blog. My numbers are down all over, and the only thing shorter than my temper is my attention span. In response, I’m trying to force myself to do better, and failing miserably, which only makes me more frustrated and upset.
I’m at the point where I feel backed in a corner. Looking at my day, at all the things I need to do, I feel overwhelmed as soon as I wake up in the morning. I get resentful of the dog, the cat, the house, car, teeth, job, everything in my life and I start trying either to power through or distract myself from my troubles. Which only leads to things getting fucked up even more. And the real kicker is, I look at these things: dental work, dog walking, house maintenance, family relationships, and I realize that they are all totally normal, human events. Then I feel worse, because I start asking myself what kind of defective can’t even handle something as simple as walking the dog, doing her job, taking care of her house and her health? This is the point where I start to tail-spin as I extrapolate that question into other questions like: Am I going to turn into my unemployable parents? Have I always been this incompetent and I never noticed it before? How the fuck am I going to accomplish anything extraordinary if I can’t even do ordinary things like walk the dog in the morning, follow simple instructions at work, or keep my house and body maintained?
Somewhere in all this, there’s a grown-up version of me that realizes these questions are futile, and only assist in making mountains out of mole hills. In my adult form, I realize there are a number of factors contributing to my sense of overwhelm. Yesterday, I was talking to my friend about how a lot of my stress translates into an inflated sense of urgency, so I rush through tasks that don’t need to be rushed through and end up making simple mistakes or skipping obvious issues in my haste. As we were talking, I mentioned that my mom and my uncle have decided to deep-clean grandma’s house now that she’s back living there, and it hit me. This is a house that probably hasn’t had a real cleaning since at least the 1970s, and all of a sudden I get a text on Friday expecting me to come up this weekend and sort through the stuff I had stored there, and/or help with the cleaning project. Forty years of looking and being the exact same house, and now I have to figure out if I can put my original weekend plans on hold or move them around for what will probably be an entire day of sorting and hard labor when my own house needs to be basically torn apart and put back together at the same time. All of a sudden, I know exactly why I rush through things that don’t need to be rushed through! It’s genetic.
I said awhile ago that if we had a family crest it would be someone with a sword in their chest looking inconvenienced at having to croak on such short notice, I’d like to add that it would also have a scroll underneath that reads “I don’t have time for this.” That’s our family motto. Every. major. event. in my ENTIRE childhood was kicked off with the battle cry “I DON’T HAVE TIME FOR THIS!” Drama expands to fill the time available.
As a grown-up, I can look at my life and my schedule and realize there have been a greater than average number of extracurricular commitments going on, the vast majority of them stressful and not fun. That’s going to have an impact on my life, and the fact that a lot of them are happening back to back or at the same time as each other is significant. I only have so many hours in the day, and I only have so much of myself to give to these issues. Coming from my experience of using false urgency to get through daunting or even just tedious tasks, compounded with my personal belief that I can do anything I set my mind to, expectations tend to get a little high in my own head. The truth is, I can do anything I set my mind to, but it’s probably not going to look like the action movie version I think it should be. I can’t just power through. I have to take a realistic look at the situation I find myself in, and take the smartest, most effective route to my goals, which is going to take longer than running headlong towards every different direction full speed at the same time.
Writing this out has been really helpful to me. Sometimes I just need to get something out of my head and onto paper (virtual, in this case) to help me see the situation with some objectivity. I don’t have to be the best everything all the time. Because of my family situation, I feel like the stakes are artificially higher to me. A bad day, or a bad week, even a bad couple of months isn’t just unfortunate, it’s the first sign of the inevitable backslide which will turn me into my parents. Of course, I know that this is really unlikely at this point, but that fear of turning into my parents fueled basically every major achievement in my life. When it’s not on overdrive, making me feel guilty for taking a damn break, it’s actually a pretty useful little tool. I just have to remember that I don’t belong to fear, it belongs to me.