Fallen Leaves, from my 101 black & white film photo challenge
Life has felt so out of control lately.
I realised today that for a while now this feeling has become the rule, rather than the exception. I’m not actually any busier than usual, so why am I always falling into bed exhausted at the end of the day? How come I hit the “snooze” button on my alarm 3 or 4 times each morning, and still accidentally go back to sleep? And how come my memory is full of dumb trivia, but I can never remember to take my multivitamin?
When I stop to really think about it, the answer is actually pretty clear: I’m just not taking very good care of myself. I’m facing the world each day with brushed teeth and bright lipstick, but too little sleep. I’m choosing my outfit from the laundry pile instead of a hanger, and filing my mail on the floor of the spare room.
I’m faking it. I know I’ve said it before, but for me a messy house is the #1 sign that my brain is messy too.
Ivy, from my 101 black & white film photo challenge
Earlier this week something snapped and I spent 2 hours tackling the mess that had accumulated in my house. I threw out anything that wasn’t nailed down, scrubbed the bathroom until it smelled like bleach, and did 4 loads of laundry – all before Tim got home from work.
I’m realising that the more clothes and stuff I have, the less in control I feel. And when I lose that control I find myself existing instead of living – just doing the bare minimum, thinking ahead no more than 24 hours.
My brain has been trapped under a heavy fog, and I haven’t felt like my usual self in a while.
Border control, from my 101 black & white film photo challenge
Last night Tim went to a footy game with some of his friends and I had the house to myself. All to myself! Now, I love that boy to pieces but the prospect of some selfish Alone Time was like finding a suitcase full of $100 notes on the street.
The universe gave me everything I needed for a perfect night alone – pouring rain, howling wind, a warm puppy and a new Regina Spektor album. I worked on a painting, played my neglected keyboard (why is my piano 2000km away?) and later on I switched to an old Nick Drake album and let the music wash over my thoughts.
I was happy when Tim texted to say he was on his way home, but those few hours were just so perfect. There was no TV, no gunfire from the Playstation, nobody to consider but myself. It gave me time to remember that it’s okay to put my music and art first sometimes, even if there’s still a messy spare room and more laundry to do.
(There was also no boy to make me cups of tea, so thank God Tim eventually came home!)
Why do we need to give ourselves permission to indulge in the things we love? So much of my energy gets wasted on the professional face I have to present at work, and maintaining a lifestyle that traps me there. My head is full of rocks, but my time is wasted on the sand.
The truth is, I’m just like that painting up there: everything looks pretty right, but so much of the detail is yet to be figured out. Just like this painting I have to work on the broader elements, and trust that the features will emerge.
We are both works in progress. But, at least we have some sort of a plan.