Between planned leave and taking time to support Lady M as unplanned leave I seem to have ended up with enough down time for my brain to go sideways without a focus. It’s not unlike the scenario of counting spoons as a marker of mental reserve levels, but coupled with a degree of existential flatness that I choose to believe is a side effect of being present for loved ones and work colleagues alike.
One of the best self-care things that I remind myself to do is not feel guilty about doing very little, because in these moments that is what I need; but it’s not easy – my whole upbringing and history has been based on the value of achievement, so my every instinct is to see sitting and doing nothing as a waste of time rather than of taking time for myself.
I find myself being apologetic if asked what I’ve done and responding that I’ve not done much beyond read, play games, or sketch. I should be cleaning, solving world peace, or inventing sliced bread 2.0 for this time on my own to have significance.
Never mind that my thoughts are with my partners, who have both been or are about to be visiting hospitals for different reasons – or with organisational issues around work that really can wait until I get back because I have peers and staff who can and will deal with anything unexpected in a field that is basically getting books and information in the hands of the right people in a reasonable amount of time.
Never mind that I have had no contact or news from most of my family or friends for a while (since coming out mostly, but I’m sure that’s coincidental because I hear through other channels just how busy their lives have been) – or that we’re nearly at a point to be able to have serious conversations about buying our own place at long last, as long as no one else dies or has anything catastrophic happen in the immediate future.
I worry about the future of my work, about my enthusiasm for writing and cosplay, about my health, about the health of my loved ones, and about how tired I feel all the time at the moment.
But, I am loved, in a huge cloud of support that uplifts and surprises me at every turn – from partners, our metamour, my colleagues, my daughter, friends – and it’s nearly payday, which is a nice bonus.
As ever, I know I’ll be okay, especially when I remember that it’s okay to look after myself so that I can recharge my own batteries to keep the black dog in its kennel.