Tag Archives: going through the motions

Mom, I’m bored!

2 Aug

8:33 am

Yes, it is 8:30 in the morning, and I’ve already been up for an hour.

Since I’ve gotten home, I’ve felt, I guess, somewhat manic–and for the most part, I’ve totally welcomed it! I don’t need a lot of sleep, but, I’m also more agitated than usual. I credit my volunteer trip as having “re-wired” me, but, is that all that’s going on?

As you can imagine, the mania/extra energy dissipates and by the afternoon, the agitation, brain fog, and general feeling of listlessness and/or hopelessness sets in. I think I just feel let down by the afternoon and evening–what the fuck have I done with my day?, I wonder, in spite of everything I’ve checked off my to-do list. Even though I have been “busting a move” on a lot of projects and items…I still feel, generally speaking, depressed in the afternoons. I think I always have, as long as I can remember being self-conscious enough to actually examine my life. The day is over, I mourn. And, while I know I am often too hard on myself, maybe I could be doing so much more?

Where art thou, dopamine?

I wonder about this “boredom” thing. WHAT IS IT? It’s not that I am bored, like, I-have-nothing-to-do-bored. Sometimes it’s that I have too many options, but they all take work. Usually, it’s a visceral agitation–my gut feels clenched and my head feels foggy. Like, EVERYTHING feels irritating, and even though I know I have to push through my cerebral work, it’s hard. So, I just get ‘er done. Go through the motions. Focus through the pain. It sometimes feels like my brain is broken, this brain fog stuff.

I want to fix it with wine. I have been REALLY wanting to drink since I got back, and I think it’s a combination of my “natural high” from the trip wearing off, and well, my “brain fog” days. Maybe I just have too much to do, too much catching up, and I feel like I want it all done, NOW (you know, without having to actually do it). Maybe I am bored, as in, what I’m doing has become somewhat…staid? I often want to say, Fuck it, and Good enough, to my writing; but, I just can’t do that. I can’t let it be bad. I have more stories and assignments than ever, and, even though my writing would not win any awards, I’m still plugging away. And that’s all I ask for! It’s just that sometimes, I really do have to go through the motions to get stuff written (reporting is fine, it’s the organizing and writing that hurts).

I wonder about boredom. Fear of working. Agitation. If your goal is simply to “get ‘er done,” are you really in the right profession? Some days I have no spark. I tried to quit Diet Coke, but honestly, I simply could not work without it yesterday. I had a horribly annoying morning at the “free clinic,” and then, I came home to have to push out a piece. It was like giving birth. I did it, of course I did it. But, after crashing out on the bed for about an hour, and then wandering around the apartment, feeling agitated and simply UNWILLING to make my brain work; I broke my measly ONE-DAY STREAK of no Diet Coke and downed like, two glasses. It helped. I “got into it” and finished my piece. Thank GOD, is all I could think.

I used caffeine a LOT in my 20s and early 30s, and this reminds me that I used it to actually be able to get hyped up enough to perform at what was then, something new to me: an office job, typically involving some sort of marketing communications-oriented stuff. I was a biology major, hello? I wasn’t used to talking to people during the day.

I used to use wine to fix this “boredom.” I know I can’t anymore. Mainly, it just doesn’t work. I mean, I have tried it while in this state of mind, and it actually makes my head feel worse. Still, the “but it’ll make you feel high, better, actually happy” rings so loudly that I can barely ignore it.

It’s interesting that only now am I seeing the simple fact that I used wine primarily as an antidepressant. Does that make me less of an “alcoholic?” No, probably not. But, it was rare that I truly sought out wine when I was feeling good. What is the point of drinking if you already feel good? I didn’t drink to get drunk; I drank to feel better. It just so happened that I also didn’t know how to make myself feel better on my own, or even more, PREVENT this slide into my depressed/agitated state.

I am learning, though. Simple things like, unless I need it to activate my brain to finish a story, caffeine is not good for me. I crash, and I crash hard. I have been getting up early, and that helps: I hate spending the hours of 10 – 12 checking email and Facebook; if that shit isn’t done by the start of my workday, which hopefully is before 9 these days, then I feel behind. And, that makes me feel scared. And, that makes me want to procrastinate, or avoid, feeling even worse.

I’m all over the place these days, but I can’t worry about that. The important thing right now is that I am getting my work done. Sorry, depression, but I’m going to have to give you a time-out. You sit over there for a while and Mommy will get her work done, mmkay?

The thing about self-employment (in the creative arts?) is that you can’t just show up. Showing up is meaningless. You have to produce. It doesn’t matter if it takes you two hours or ten, you have to deliver. And some days, it doesn’t come. And that is freaky. Scary. And those days, you worry about your income–bills, food, future bills and future food. You worry about your capability–am I a fraud? You feel the knot in your belly and you think, Fuck, just do it. So, you do, and you go through the motions, and you get ‘er done.

Through it all, I keep thinking, where/what is my reward? Sure, I earn money. That’s a big one. Sure, I move forward in my “career,” so that’s good, too. Lately, though, I want more. I want a “real” reward. I want to feel something else. I want a vacation from this sobriety bullshit! I get SO tired of feeling sober, you know?

I run through the tricks and offer myself alternatives. Take a run; if you don’t feel better, you can get that bottle; but if you do, then promise yourself you won’t (I always feel better). You know you’ll feel ten times worse tomorrow with God-knows-what-kind-of-hangover than you do now, so just push through. Embrace the pain and disappointment–what’s next? What about a trip? What about another coffee? (Actually, I’ve been trying to get away from any food-related rewards, but I’ll save that for another post.)

Sometimes I think I need to mess up my life. Like, I don’t ever let go anymore. I don’t go out, mainly because it’s not fun. It’s not fun to go out and be the sober narc; it’s not bad, but it’s not something I would choose to do over spending time alone, getting my shit done. And that’s the thing: who am I now? I used to be so much fun. I used to be a hot mess. I used to be curious, at the very least, to just have a random night out, exploring bars and just wasting time with my friends. I don’t have any friends, to be frank, let alone a group that I can let my hair down with and simply waste time. You know how much I learned by wasting time and being silly with my friends?

And honestly, I’ve been thinking this: is “the unexamined life” really not worth living? Or, is it the messy life that adds texture, not the one that has been examined to the point of sterility? That is how (my) life feels sometimes: overexamined and sterile. I feel like I need to make a mess!

On that note, I think I am going to stop. Sorry if this is a rambling whine-fest (wine-fest?). Happy Saturday to all!

(Btw, July 31st would have been 500 days, had I not drunk that beer six weeks ago–and wow, that was six weeks ago? I really have not even seriously considered drinking again since then, so that’s pretty great. And, my, how fast time passes!)

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“If I feel this way tomorrow, I’m going to drink”

20 Oct

10:29 am

And, I woke up feeling the same way I felt last night, and the night before, and the night before. Am I glad I wasn’t also hung over? YES. Will I drink tonight? I don’t know.

I feel like a lot of the time, I’m waiting for my “break.” I never get to escape, turn it off. It’s maddening. No amount of “wholesome” fun, like yoga, running, swimming, socializing sober, even JOB FUCKING SEARCHING ON A SATURDAY NIGHT (welcome to the reality of freelance writing) can fully mask the feeling that all these things are just placeholders for the real deal.

Yet, I have to ask myself, is drinking the real deal? Even as I whine about having no escape, no down time, and thinking that wine will fix this agitation, this irritated hole; I’m not at all sure that it WILL. And, I know from waking up this morning, and feeling an emotional hangover, it would have been SO much worse had I drunk (copious amounts, I’m sure) out of desperation last night and added a physical one on top of it.

So, I move ahead today. With my aching heart and burning, twisted stomach, forcing a smile and doing what needs to be done. Check, check, check. I know eventually it’ll lift, and at some point today, I’ll be doing things more out of “yay” and less out of “have to do this, here, I’ve done it.” I guess.

Strange days, indeed.

Going through the motions/new directions

25 Sep

8:27 pm

Yesterday and today, I basically took one big break from my freelance writing stuff to actually look for other work down here. And, I’m mostly OK with that. Yeah, I feel like I’ve given up too soon (and, I haven’t even given up, I’ve just decided to pursue a few new, non-writing-related things–oh, me), but if you don’t have the story ideas, or the editorial connections, or, worse, the ambition to go out and get both; then, you have to accept what is. Which is this, right here.

Don’t get me wrong: I am full, and glad, and relatively content. I have gotten through some things, over some major hurdles, professionally. Yet, if I had more drive, I could have done SO much more by now. I just could have. I haven’t, and it’s a daily struggle for me not to beat myself up, get down, or become anxious about “squandered opportunities,” blah blah blah. It’s a daily game I have to play, massaging my thoughts and redirecting them into a positive direction (look at what you HAVE gotten done, it’s going to take a LOT more work so just keep plugging, baby steps, one thing at a time, etc.).

I will bounce back, it’s just going to take some time. And more patience than I ever thought myself capable of, toward myself. What a novelty, having patience with myself! What a novelty, congratulating her for the little victories, even allowing her a treat after those seemingly-miniscule wins! (Yesterday’s was a big bowl of chocolate-covered pretzels, raisins, and walnuts–something I never allowed myself due to expense and well, fat content. Oh, me.)

So while yesterday was about (painfully) going through the motions, today was about new directions. Somehow I snapped out of my funk, mustered some old enthusiasm, and got out there. I went to a bakery (assistant), a hotel, a restaurant association (server), and a private school (substitute teacher/teaching assistant). We’ll see where I land. It’s different–MUCH different–from what I’m used to (white collar, information-age jobs), but c’est la vie, right? It also just makes me realize how few actual skills I have! Sure, I can surf the interwebs with the best of them and type 60 words per minute–and write about scientific research from the (dis)comfort of my office chair–but…what do I actually KNOW HOW TO DO? It’s a wake-up call, for sure.

I’m ambivalent, to say the least. Or, maybe just indifferent. At this point, I need to start making more money. Not to mention, I need a break from sitting in front of my monitor, spinning my wheels all day.

Today, I felt pretty good. Like, my old, confident self. On my walk tonight (I have cut out all running and any activity that will unnecessarily contract my butt and groin muscles, as part of the sciatica healing process–talk about patience…Grrrrr), I thought, and with some clarity: maybe this whole getting “sober” thing has been a huge mindfuck? I mean, sometimes I really do think that the sheer act of thinking about all this shit, of unnecessarily pathologizing my drinking problem, has caused me a whole lot of counterproductive navel-gazing and personal stalling. I can’t help but think, Enough already. So I drank. So I did stupid shit while drunk. Remind me again why I had to spend the past 16 months thinking about it all? Honestly, a part of me believes that it’s the pathologizing that sets us back. It’s made me feel broken, unable, incapable, weak. It made me doubt myself down to the very fiber of my being. Was that the intention? Did it have to be the case? Was it something that I did to myself, me alone? Or, is it normal when you quit drinking?

In any case, I’m kind of over this recovery shit. Sorry to say, but that’s the way I feel about it right now. Will I drink again? I don’t know. It’s a passing thought. I don’t have the urge, but a part of me continues to wonder: would I get some of that focus and fire and drive and passion back, if I did?

Like I said, just a passing thought–oops, there it goes. Buh-bye.

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