An Excess of Spoons

A friend of mine recently made a post on facebook about not having enough spoons to learn about changing the world, and I can’t stop thinking about it.

This morning I found myself driving home wondering what I’d do before work. I had a few hours, and most of my primary needs were met, so I could use the remaining time and spoons to invest in the person I wanted to grow into.

I’d already exercised, so I was feeling great about that.
Maybe I could do that creative writing I’ve been putting off for a few days? The ideas in my head are slowly leaking away, and it would be good to capture a few of them. Or what about that beautiful line in iambic pentameter that’s stuck in my head? Perhaps it’s the start of a poem.
Or maybe I could use the time to journal, to work through some of the internal conflict, to heal old wounds and let go of some of my fear.
Maybe it would be best to organise stuff for work. Goodness knows I could use an EFTPOS service, and so many doctors are waiting to hear back from me but I don’t have a means of faxing them just yet.
I could read one of those many books on my shelves that I’ve bought with the intention of developing myself and my knowledge in counselling?
Or I could read news articles, get political and look at opportunities to volunteer with the causes I’m passionate about.
There’s also those friends who have messaged me and am waiting to hear back about some fairly important stuff that’s going on for them.
Then again maybe I could spend the time investing in my relationship, become closer to Beth and strengthening the bonds between us.
Or I could practice tea ceremony, and try and refresh myself on chabako before our next lesson. The time with Sensei is precious now, and I want to learn what I can without her so that I can make the most of my time with her. (Not to mention that I’m borrowing her tea box while she’s in Tokyo, and I feel unworthy of it unless I appreciate it more.)
I guess I could use the time to clean; the dust bunnies are quickly becoming the dominant inhabitants of the house that we’re sharing with them. And I did promise myself I’d start weeding a few times a week, and that was months ago.
Speaking of months ago, I’ve loaned the piano to my brother more times than I’ve played it since moving house. Isn’t it worth regaining my old skill and creating beautiful music?

All these things ran through my head, and when I got home I didn’t do any of them. I helped Beth run some errands I promised we’d do together, and then by the time I got home I was completely out of spoons and needed to crash. And that was so fricking frustrating.

I’m reminded that life is even harder for Beth, because even on a bad day I generally have more spoons than her. But there are so many things I care about, so much I want to do, and it bothers me greatly that I must let so many of them slide. Sometimes I feel like a Sim, watching all of my need-meters decaying over time, and as I desperately top up something in the red, a bunch more slide into yellow. And I look at people who work full time, and study, and have kids all at once, and… I just can’t comprehend it. Most days I feel overwhelmed with the few responsibilities I currently have. Maybe I’m just not built for the 40 hour work week.

I also want to acknowledge that I am not the only person alive who has encountered this experience. If anyone has any advice, I’d definitely be open to hearing it!

Overcorrecting

I think my last blog post might have been a tad dramatic. I was feeling hurt and confused that a part of myself that I love so much (my quiet, solitary, reflective nature) wasn’t really gelling with a friend, and I spent a few hours wondering if there was something wrong with me. Then, with some prompting from Beth, I came to the conclusion that it wasn’t a wrongness, it was just a difference that wasn’t being valued in that moment. I felt so validated that I swung hard the other way, doubling down on my quiet and thoughtful nature, and I really overcompensated for a bit there.

I am not a deep and resounding ocean. But I can be.

I love quiet, and careful, and measured speech. I often struggle with smalltalk, and thrive when I jump straight into the deep and meaningfuls with people.

But I also love lightness, and silliness, and occasionally mind-numbingly trashy entertainment. There’s so much heaviness in my life in terms of the work, the learning, and the healing I do every day, and sometimes I need levity. It’s not my strongest suit, but it is a side of me.

I’m so prone to seriousness it must be jarring for my friends. Thanks for sticking around fam ♥

Quietude

I am like the deep oceans that resound with silence.

Ever since I was little, I have sought out quiet places and found them deeply calming.
When prayer time ended and all the other kids went onto the next activity, my teacher let me finish the rosary.
At recess, a stray soccerball lead some kids to find me meditating on a tree stump behind the classroom.
At the peak of Mt Sinai I watched the sunset for hours as I thought about God and the universe.

I have a thousand examples such as these. It’s such a pleasure to me to be in quietude, to slow down enough to hear myself think. To let the waters inside of me settle so that I can see clearly to the bottom. And those waters run deep.

I take the quiet with me, and I share it with those around me. Throughout my life, many people have said to me that they feel calmer around me, that I have a grounding presence, that my energy helps them to slow down. Sometimes I really amplify it, when I can see someone is stressed and vibrating themselves to pieces. It’s tiring, but it’s nice knowing I helped bring peace to them.

I felt so incredible seen when Bud from The Adventure Zone: Graduation said, “But… for now, we will both eat our berries and be quiet, huh? I think sometimes they forget how to be quiet.”

Solitude and silence have always been important to me. But I don’t think that most people these days have forgotten how to be quiet, just that they don’t value it in the same way that I do. I find it hard sometimes to keep things light and fun, and it puts a strain on my relationships because people don’t always want to connect with heaviness and seriousness.

And that’s okay. It just feels a little lonely sometimes.

Shaken

These days I find that I am easily shaken. Like a glass of water with sediment inside of me, once shaken it takes time for those particles to settle at the base again.

I’m getting tired of waiting for my feelings to settle before I can see clearly again.

A Few More Steps

I feel like for much of my life I’ve been a few short steps away from a crisis. Thinking broadly about my time since enterring high school, when people have asked how I am, I always seem to recall having to catch myself from saying that I was struggling with something or other. Whether it was study, moving house, processing past hurts, challenges at work, or figuring out my identity, I’ve always felt like I’ve had heavy burdens to work through leaving me little room for extra challenge on top of it all.

Certainly there have been times in my life when I was feeling strong and robust and able to take on more, but as I look back now, I seem to have usually been at 80% capacity for handling stress.

Maybe it’s just ’cause things are hard now that I can’t remember this isn’t my default.
Or maybe it’s because I’ve learned to look for the struggle in life, and that I then focus on how heavy my burdens are.
Or maybe I really am just going through a tonne of stuff all the time, and life is hard.

I guess I can’t figure it out right now. All I can do is keep my head above water, work through what I’m working through, and live my best life. I do worry though that I’ll spend my whole life processing, healing, and working through stuff, and then I’ll die exhausted and spent without ever enjoying the fruits of my labour. When is enough enough, and I can stop working so hard on myself? I suppose I’ll have to make time, and to focus on appreciating that time rather than seeing it as the exception in a problem-saturated story of my life.

It’s starting to rain

I’ve been playing a bunch of Breath of the Wild lately, and I’ve been thinking of my energy levels in terms of Link’s stamina wheel.

This morning when I woke up and it was was about 15% full. With coffee, by the time I got to work it was about 30%. A little more time, a few cups of green tea, and I got it up to 70%.

My first appointment of the day dropped it to about 55%. And then, if I had stayed for lunch surrounded by my colleagues, I’m sure it would have gone down to 40. But instead I left the office, slowing the decline at least, so that I’ll probably be around 50% by the time I get back into work. Might be a double coffee day, though that has mixed results.

I wonder if life is like this for everyone. Maybe I just need more sleep.

Teasing

At training tonight, Kancho was explaining about blood pressure, and how you don’t want to live a sedentary life where some small exertion causes you to have a stroke (all of which was solid advice). During this, he mimed holding a controller and, casting around for a game reference, locked eyes with me and asked “Xin, what games do you play?”

I started laughing and said “Kancho please…”
Because as it so happens, I’ve had an anxious day and spent most of it playing Overwatch, Breath of the Wild and Postknight. And I find it strangely delightful that Kancho and I have this enduring joke where he keeps teasing me about video games instead of spending more time enjoying the real world. We can’t really see eye-to-eye on it, but it’s all in good fun and I don’t mind being ribbed.

But it also kinda sucks being teased about something important to me, especially in a world where the average age for a gamer is in their 30’s. I guess it’s true that most people I encounter in person probably wouldn’t describe themselves as gamers, but it’s a super important part of who I am, and if I go for more than a few days without playing something I lose touch with my sense of self.

Video games have always been super important to me, not only because it’s who I am, but as survival mechanisms during challenging times in my life. I’ve made several attepmts at writing a blog post about it, but it’s taking much longer than I anticipated; every time I start to go down the rabbit hole of that dark place I used to be in, it takes me days to crawl back out. It gives me chills to think about – I hate dwelling in and on those times.

But I do want to write that post, because I want to create the counter message that video games aren’t just silly virtual experiences. I know they have the capacity to save people, and I want to write about it. It’s just a little hard.

Not really sure where this blogpost is going. Consider it a placeholder, I guess?