Very Personal Ad No. 6: Work monsters, family swamps, and one bike trailer

Sunday is nearly through but I’m making the effort to write a Very Personal Ad tonight (what? blogging from bed is so “making an effort”) because my brain is a big swirl of swirly stuff and I am desperate for a little more clarity.

This was supposed to be the weekend of Rest, right? Because when you go to a Rally your mind and heart are hard at work, creating thinking chronicling learning, not to mention your body which is busy dancing with Shiva and typing and writing and drawing.

True rest would look like this: at the close of Rally, I would have been whisked away to a spa/convent somewhere in the mountains, where I would speak to no one, sleep in, take naps, spend long hours in baths and in contemplative walking near streams. At intervals, magic creatures would bring me manna to eat. Or something.

Doesn’t that sound lovely? But I had to work on Friday (though I didn’t get much done), and then Saturday I was the mama in charge of one active bebe while my partner was working, and there were errands to run, and a family event going on, and so on.

Suffice it to say not much rest has been happening. Just swirling bits of life all around and one very, very tired me in the middle. It was really not fun to go from the super! awesome! happiness! of post-Rally glow straight into that sad lost feeling oh god how do I make life work? Again?

Thing I want: I need work to, um, work.

Ways this could work:

Okay, quick check-in on what the hell went wrong! What happened to my clever plans for August? I had it all mapped out! Really, everything was thrown off a week ago by 1) the realization that I had scheduled too much time for certain tasks, so that goofing off crept in at the edges, 2) the realization that I had not built in any time for new tasks that might pop up, causing stress, and 3) Rally Rally Rally! Yay, let’s think about fun times, not about boring stuff, lalala la!

Post-Rally, I also realized I was really unhappy with my workspace. It’s not comfortable. Or fun. Or really me in any kind of helpful way.

So I need to: reformulate my workplan for August/September grants. I need to commit to sitting down to spend time deleting all those blocks of time in my calendar and putting in new ones that fit the new timeline. No more unhappy gazing at calendar willing invisible calendar elves to magically fix said blocks of time.

I also need to: set clear boundaries with my boss if new projects are proposed that conflict with my deadlines. Better boundaries will reduce stress and make it easier to complete tasks rather than fall down the worry rabbit-hole.

I also need to: buy little gifts for my office to make it happier.

I could deliberately build in periods of meaningful rest so I don’t have to feel I am stealing moments throughout the day. Rest can be away from all screens; stretching or going outside. Think: more restorative, less zombie screentime.

I could consciously create a new pattern for my morning in particular, one which avoids the 9am email+internet trap. Maybe I can ask Dance of Shiva to help me find and explore a new morning pattern!

I could also have some kind of beautiful inspiring moment which very neatly and sweetly boosts my productivity in an effortless way.

My commitments:

Be gentle with myself if/when old patterns try to take over. It’s okay to take time.

Work on connecting with people at work. Harder to be an unproductive hermit when others inspire me, keep me accountable, and ask me what I’m working on (always helpful when I have to tell someone else about it).

Be more intentional about what I want to do with my day. Instead of pretending only “official” tasks exist and personal desires (watch last night’s Mad Men! repost that Craigslist ad!) are non-existant, make a list of both that might need to happen throughout the day and plan ways to balance them.

Learn from Rally some more —  can I talk to my grants like projects? Are they acting up right now because I refuse to treat them like creatures with needs and desires? Would they benefit from a little more love?

I will spend some time enjoying my rearranged and re-prettified workspace, too. I’ll give it love and ask for the perfect things to come along that will help me create a space of comfort that inspires me (and others!) to do good work in a balanced way.


Other thing that I want: to understand how I am supposed to navigate my family life

Things are so, so confusing. Still. It’s a big messy swamp and who knows what is hiding under the surface, or what unexpected oogly boogly creatures will get you when your back is turned. My parents’ divorce is…proceeding? There are good boundaries in place, except when they are confusing and still painful? There is big stuff I want to say and I don’t even know who to say it to or if I’m supposed to say it at all.

Ways this could work:

Oh boy. Angels could visit? And fend off the oogly boogly swamp creatures?

Barring that, I could keep going to this therapist and hope she gives me some more good insights beyond “set boundaries even when it’s hard.” Helpful but gah, have you seen the swamp creatures around here?

I could talk some more with wise friends J and L and get their counsel.

I could also bring this unknowingness into Dance of Shiva and see if any brilliant insights pops up.

I could ask my mom what she meant by “let me know what you need from us during this divorce thing” and find out if maybe the scope of that question is a little smaller than I thought.

I could look for books or articles that talk about being an adult when your parents divorce.

Something completely unexpected and wonderful could happen to instantly let me know how to deal with all this stuff coming up. Though this sounds soooooo far-fetched I am going to cling to this tiny fragment of blind optimism just for fun!

I could write my mom a letter telling her how I feel. Same for dad. I could write them each one of those letters you never send, where you try to figure out what you would say if there were no consequences.

I could ask my siblings for their thoughts, insights, advice, observations. I could ask my wonderful spouse what he thinks.

I could actually stop and ask myself what do I want? What do I need? in regards to family. And then listen very, very carefully for the answers because where family is concerned, my voice is often so quiet it’s impossible to hear.

My commitments

I will continue to look for ways to set healthy boundaries even when it is painful and hard for me and others because changing patterns is going to be hard at first, but it is necessary, for everyone’s sake, but most of all mine.

I will not attend dinners at my mom’s house if I am overly tired. I must check in with myself more frequently about this. Being tired and vulnerable is not the time to go running blithely through the minefields. Furthermore, when you do go to dinner, don’t drink alcohol with dinner anymore, it is really not worth the extra fatigue. Furthermore, commit to a time to leave at the end of the night so you don’t return home exhausted.

I will not allow my dad to sleep over here with no notice. I will be honest with him about my family’s needs and my needs, and ask for more communication from him. I will talk with poor beleaguered spouse to make sure I am not over-committing our space and our time during the already crowded weekends.

Be willing to explore the confusing stuff that happens. There are lessons in it.


One last thing I want: A Burley bike trailer

Oh beautiful, beautiful bike trailer. We want you so bad! You will make our lives so much more awesome. You will carry around our little girl while we bike around and explore this beautiful city. She will have a lot of fun, we will get to go biking again and develop super hot calf muscles from pulling the extra weight. We will take you to the farmer’s market! The park! Concerts in the summer! The library! Up and down the street just because you are so very awesome!

Ways this could work:

Some extra money could fall from the sky! Extra money marked Buy a trailer and not The insurance bill is due.

A Craigslist ad could appear that is magically cheap for one of the newer models.

A friend could tell us about a special deal.

We could find someone willing to trade for something else we own (K’s fixie? the waterbirth tub? one of our unloved musical instruments?)

Large expenses could stop appearing as well, that would be nice. (See insurance bill, also holiday plane tickets, car repair, etc.)

Something completely unexpected could happen. (Working on believing in positive unknowns!)

My commitments:

Keep my eyes peeled in case there are hidden clues that might lead us to our Burley trailer

Figure out trade/sell items to see if we can save up enough

Be willing to be flexible on size and age

Decide what we will get rid of when the trailer comes to us — goodbye to some old things in gratitude for our new thing.

There you have it. Two big things, one frivolous (but mahhhhhrrvelous) thing. Kisses for your Sunday. Tell me, what do you want these days? Reciprocal good thoughts for your wishes are always available!


About jesse k.

Writer. Mama. Spy in the house of self-awareness. Occasional crafter, letterpress geek, and academic snob.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized, Very Personal Ads. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Very Personal Ad No. 6: Work monsters, family swamps, and one bike trailer

  1. Pingback: Friday Check-in: Querencia ahoy! | my seed house

  2. Pingback: Investigations into this thing called Balance | my seed house

  3. Pingback: Opposite day and the backwards VPA | my seed house

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