Last year I was thinking about the extension of myself in a public way when I decided on the word. One year later, I’m zooming in to the personal. There is only so much time during a day, and there is a lot to get done during most of them. I often wonder how to make enough time for my work, for all of the things that need to be done, and make sure I’m taking care of my relationships. Even though I know in my heart and tell myself all about what is most important, I sometimes don’t operate by that truth. Sometimes I’ll not answer the phone if I’m in the middle of something. I don’t think I have time for the impending conversation, the mental space for the introduction of even one more thing to think about, or the distraction from what I’m doing.
I spend a lot of time typing into this machine. And that typing, if it is to be meaningful and coherent much less something anyone else wants to read or hear, requires thought. That thought requires quiet. That quiet requires carved out time in which it can be created. That carved out time has to be protected, or the words don’t get written. Sounds a little selfish, doesn’t it — “Oh, don’t distuuuurrrrrbbbb my genius.” I’m no genius, not even close. But I know I’ll never get close if I don’t keep my butt in the chair, in the quiet, reaching for the thought that can be turned into an idea, into words.
It’s a paradox. It is true that in order to have something to say, one must participate in life. It is also true that one must shut out life in order to process it all and get it back out in an artistic way. Considering all of the struggles to make a life out of the pursuit of creativity, I see that this is my biggest challenge. I don’t lack inspiration, I don’t have a problem coming up with ideas. What I don’t have is enough time with which to explore them all.
I know, I know. I am not going to, at the end of my life, regret that I didn’t work more. I will regret not showing up for my friends and family, so I try to keep that in check. But my thought today is about balance and how sometimes there just isn’t any. When I need to stay in the zone, when there is a looming deadline even if it is only self-imposed (those may be the most important ones), I might not be able to answer when the phone rings. Should that produce a state of suffering or can I find compassion for myself and give myself what I need first, knowing that if I don’t and I ignore what my mind is calling me to do, I’ll have to deal with the worn thin attention of a person who tries to do too many things at once and resulting resentment from too many tugs at the sleeve?
From last year’s entry on availability:
But there is a limit. I do extend, but always find myself pulling back, protecting, struggling to find a way to replace what has been spent.
It’s really about saying no. I think about this a lot. And saying no is a deep issue that runs from something as seemingly trivial as the management of time to the very important issue of being able to turn down unwanted or inappropriate attention. Women aren’t supposed to say no. We’re supposed to be A V A I L A B L E to everyone at every moment, putting our own needs aside in order to make someone else feels okay about theirs. It’s often a drag. And is it all because we are the supposed nurturers? An endless amount of questions come up when I think about it. I won’t answer them today, or probably ever, but I do think it’s important to ask them and to check myself when I feel like I can’t say no to something when my gut tells me I should.
Those boundaries I keep talking about…
Happy Wednesday, Y’all.