We are all feeling alone in our tiredness
G'day Gentle Reader. I have been struggling a lot with exhaustion this past couple of months. So tired, in fact, that some eagle eyed readers amongst you spotted that a few weeks ago I wrote and posted a piece about grief and sorrow around anniversaries a month early. I wrote 'December', and was actually so tired that my brain had total cognitive dissonance about the fact that I was then in the first week of November...
I did consider removing the post, but in the interests of honesty and authenticity I decided to leave it there. Grief and tiredness - in combination - make all of us prone to mistakes; and I try very hard not to be the person who is only ever smooth and perfect in the way I present myself to the world. As smooth as possible and as polished in a professional sense as I can manage? Yes please! I am OK with that - but I draw the line at pretending that I don't make mistakes, forget things from time to time, mix up dates or fall into the very modern trap of over-committing myself because otherwise I must be a failure.
I realised that the mistake I made with the dates is a combination of a few different things going on in life, and I am not alone or unique in a LOT of it. COVID has been with us for 2 years now, and the stresses and strains of pandemic living are taking a big toll on all of us.
Everything is amplified, everything is more of an effort. Added to which, the juggernaut of the year is grinding inexorably to a close which means *gasp of horror!* smug holiday advertising where not only does everyone look deliriously happy to be together with family, their hair and outfits are perfect.
I don't know about you, but looking at all that packaged 'perfection' makes me feel a little stabby in my heart of hearts... The exception for me this year has been the joyous and understated Norwegian holiday ad made to celebrate the fact that in 2022 Norway voted in marriage equality - complete with Santa finding a handsome companion, and explorations of how desperately lonely some of us can be in our private lives. It's lovely, and you can find it on The Guardian's page here. My inclusive sociological self is delighted that the protagonists in this video are neither young nor airbrushed - as a thought exercise bonus I kinda think that the man who falls for Santa is the Norwegian Taika Waititi so please let me know if you agree!
Because I think it is important to talk about our moments of tiredness and to underscore how much we are all in this together, I urge you to also read Rebekah Lambert's post on her experiences with procrastination and struggle to work effectively as a freelancer. If you are a freelancer in Australia and looking to have genuine community where you don't get sold stuff all the time, read the Freelance Jungle blog posts (I am occasionally there as a guest blogger) and think about joining the Jungle fun. If you are outside of Australia, take a look around your local area for groups of people who do what you do, or who are looking for some fun and connection. Don't see any? When you feel up to it, maybe start one - a small group at a local cafe may be the start of something wonderful!
To finish on a lighter note of me not being perfect, I can tell you with perfect truthfulness that when I went to get my first tattoo yesterday (happy birthday month to me!) I was so distracted and nervous that I literally fell off the chair and onto the floor.
I sat there for several moments thinking "If I just sit here quietly perhaps he won't notice I've fallen out of a perfectly safe chair...". I'm not hurt, just embarrassed. Vance, the lovely artist I went to for my tattoo, was out the back at the time getting supplies and he let me collect myself for a moment or two before checking in that I was OK (I hadn't fallen hard or hit my head, and I was laughing quietly at myself, so it was clearly not an urgent situation) and asking if I needed help to get up. I picked myself up, admitted to my feelings of embarrassment about my clumsiness, and we then proceeded to have a fabulous and unforgettable time* giving me a beautiful piece of ink art.
*TBH the work Vance does is nuanced and highly individualised - therefore worth it for that alone - but the conversation we had was also extraordinary. If you are ever in Deloraine do look him up.
So there's some trivia about me for today: when I'm nervous I can be quite clumsy when reaching down to the floor to pick up my water bottle, resulting in a slipping over of both wheeled chair and Annetta. No water bottles were harmed in the making of this embarrassing pre-tattoo moment.
Everyone makes mistakes. All of us are really tired and aching for the holiday/end of year break to get here really, really quickly so we can stop for a bit. COVID is hard on everyone. We are all humans doing the best we can on any given day.
Be kind to yourself today. Rest. Thank you for reading.