I never seem to update this blog as often as I’d like. Usually I just don’t have anything of import to share with the world. There’s an awful lot out there vying for our attention, and I feel like if I’m going to take up some of your precious time, I should have something to say.
That’s in a normal year anyway, and I think we can all agree this year has been anything but normal. This year has been (still is) a dumpster fire. A dumpster fire of flaming dumpsters. And those dumpsters are filled with bags of dog turds. And the turds explode. Explosions of murder hornets. With lasers that give you hemorrhoids and make pizza and chocolate taste like brussels sprouts.
In short, this year has sucked on a level usually reserved for Greek tragedies. As such, is it any surprise that so many us are dealing with low-key fatigue and/or depression? For me, it’s like a constant grinding. It’s subtle, and while sometimes it hits me like a brick to the face, most of the time it’s background noise. Regardless, it’s always there and I feel raw—as good a word as any—and tired. Additionally, everything takes more effort now, mental and physical.
And I don’t know about you, but I’m having a hell of time getting any writing done.
I don’t tend to get writer’s block so much as logjam, but of course I’ve had times where I struggled to get words on the page. Usually I could push through, put butt in chair and after a bit I’d find my groove and get my wording on. But now, it takes a concerted effort to get myself in the chair at all. And then, more often than not, I have to brute force every word. The energy that would produce 5000 words before, now gets me 1000. I’ve dealt with varying levels of depression since my teens, but this is different. It’s not depression. It sort of is, but not quite. Then it dawned on me what was going on: for the first time, I’m running out of spoons on a (near) daily basis.
For those of you unfamiliar with the spoon reference, it’s an analogy used in the disabled community. The premise is that every person has a daily allotment of spoons based on mental and/or physical limitations, or lack thereof. Every task, mental or physical, costs you spoons. Everything from getting out of bed or getting dressed, to hauling boxes of books up and down stairs, or doing calculus. When you’re out of spoons, you’re done for the day; your body or brain just can’t do anything more. This means that someone could only have a few spoons for the day. So, if they want to clean the house and do the things a person needs to do every day (eat, drink, move from one place to another) there are some things they won’t be able to do. Maybe that day they don’t take a shower, or they eat cereal instead of cooking. That’s every day for some people. A constant mental balancing of the spoon allotment. For those of us without a disability, we pretty much have more spoons than we’ll ever need in a day. Sure, some extraordinary circumstances might mean we do run out, but typically we don’t. As such, we don’t think about it. We don’t have to.
I think a lot of people that never had to think about it before, are finding themselves out of spoons on a regular basis. Maybe things cost more spoons, or maybe we just have fewer of them, I don’t know. It doesn’t really matter, it’s the same in the end. I know for me, some days are better than others, but by and large, it’s hard. Everything is harder.
I didn’t write this to garner sympathy, or to shame you into “sucking it up” because others have it so much worse. I did it to tell you that you’re not alone. That you’re not crazy and there’s nothing wrong with you. You’re not weak, or a failure, or being overly dramatic, or just making excuses. What you’re feeling is real. More than that, it’s a completely reasonable reaction to *gestures wildly around at the world* this.
Life is hard right now. Really hard. If you’re lucky, you and those you love are safe at home and you’re “only” dealing with isolation. If you’re not so lucky, well, you’re not. Maybe you’re not able to work from home. Maybe you’re sick, or someone you love is. Maybe you’ve lost someone, or multiple someones. Maybe you lost your job and you’re not sure if you’ll have a place to live next month, or anything to eat tonight, or what you’ll do if you get sick.
So, go easy on yourself. Don’t berate yourself if you’re not writing (or whatever your art is) as much as you think you should. Don’t feel guilty because all you managed to get done is getting from one side of the day to the other. You made it. Right now, that’s enough. That’s a win. And I want you to know that I, at least, am proud of you for that.
Another reason I wrote this is because of a blog post Chuck Wendig wrote last month that really resonated with me. You can read it here, and you really should. You should also have tissues handy.
Thanks, Bishop. I needed this today. I’m in the not so lucky category at the moment and gearing up for Nanowrimo has been my distraction the last couple of weeks, but this entire pandemic has been a drain. Chuck’s post is really resonating with me today, and this one helps. Sending you all the good thoughts and goodwill I can. Gotta build up the nemesis so we can continue to have epic battles.
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You’re welcome. It seems a lot of us are in the same boat, and I’m glad this came at the right time. Good thoughts and vibes back at you. We’ll get through this, and when we do, you will rue the day you (insert stereotypical but epic event)!
Great piece, Bishop. As usual.
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Thanks, Tim. I figured more than a few of us were in the same place right now.
Well said! It’s nice to know I’m not the only one struggling to be creative. 2020 has been a sucker punch!
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You so aren’t alone. In fact, youre in excellent company. Hang in there. Be kind, especially to yourself, and we’ll get to the other side of this.