Burning Out

I can feel it coming. Burnout tends to follow theatre shows, anyway, and the current one has the longest commute of any to date. So of course this hits when we’re barely halfway through.

At least it’s good to know what my limits are. Unless I’m extremely passionate about a show, I likely won’t do this commute again. Not with a full-time day job, anyway.

I was going to audition for another show – one much closer – but the thought of going made me want to curl up in a corner and hide.

Not a good way to start anything. So I didn’t go.

Tonight, the weather is keeping me home. These winds are the kind that down trees and power lines, and driving over an hour home through that late at night when I’m exhausted? I’d rather not.

An extra evening to cross items off my to do list is priceless, at this point, so I don’t feel as guilty over missing rehearsal as I might otherwise.

Pretty soon, I’m headed out of town. Flying to Florida and back, then immediately turning around and driving to southern Massachusetts and back. In the span of a week.

Just what am I doing to myself?

I’ve been trying to cram in time to see friends and family around this trip, and rehearsals, and the day job, but it took last weekend’s shut-down – this inability to force myself to go to an audition – to tell me I’m burning out.

Typical.

Definitely time for a break. Whether or not this crazy, travel-intensive week coming up will be the right kind of break remains to be seen.

Wish me luck!

Why I Write

I’m currently savoring my way through Jeff Vandermeer’s Wonderbook and came across a section that made me question why I write.

Telling stories seems to have always been a fact of life. Somewhere, I still have notebooks filled with a toddler’s illiterate scrawl in crayon rainbows. My grandmother still tells me I can stop breathing easier than I can stop writing.

How I came to declare writing as my passion and life is a story I’ve told perhaps too many time. The why is something else entirely and, after some thought, I believe I’ve figured it out.

Jeff Vandermeer suggests that are born out of negative experience, whether a terrible tragedy or a minor disappointment. For him, it was his parents’ divorce. Mine was a small child’s constantly disappointed search for magic.

Pretty non-hallucinogenic flower!

Magic is everywhere, if you choose to see it.

I wanted fairies, and unicorns, and talking cats. When I couldn’t find them, I made up my own adventures.

Even better: I found that magic, after all. It’s a conscious choice in how I experience the world, but that makes it no less the magic I searched for as a kid.

So here is a different sort of love for Valentine’s Day. Whatever your love, I hope you take time today to celebrate it.

February

Dear February,

January was a terrible month for too many amazing people. Please do better.

You are the shortest month, even with your extra day this year, but all the short people I know are fierce and awesome. Please be like them. Especially the awesome.

Joelmas

So Kiri, my Seattle Roommate of Amazing Talent and Awesomeness, started Joelmas a few years ago after she lost her brother to depression. She explains it over on her vlog.

In honor of her brother Joel, she has christened January 30 as Joelmas: a day to take for ourselves and no one else – or at least to do one thing just for you. Because self-care is integral to mental health.

Today, I celebrated by having lunch with a wonderful friend I had seen all of twice since August. We talked about creative things, and life, and frustrations. Now I feel more grounded and focused.

And I took my car through the carwash, because I find it incredibly soothing and relaxing. Bonus: a clean car.

Who else celebrated Joelmas, even if this blog post is the first you’ve heard of it? What is one thing you did for you?

Good Bye

We buried my brother-in-law today. My sister’s husband. He battled a diagnosis of stage 4 colon cancer for the past three years.

The call came from my grandmother at 4:47am Sunday, January 17. By the end of the day, I was in Massachusetts.

I’m no good at eulogies, and I’m certainly not the best person to give his. Anything I can say comes out wrong. When someone dies, there should be more than platitudes.

He had hope. A lot of hope, for a long while. I don’t know how anyone can conjure up that much hope, and I admire him for that.

He loved my sister. Loved her the way she deserves to be loved.

And my sister has shown so much strength these last few years, and especially in this past week. I am in awe.

I can’t even imagine the hell she is going through. I watched her all throughout the funeral today and the wake yesterday – not looking for the breaks but to be there when she needed me.

This woman is amazing, and I am honored that she is my sister.

Thank you, Justin, for being my brother. Thank you for everything you were and are to my sister. Thank you. And good bye.

Priorities

As I made up my list of goals for this year, I noticed a shift in my priorities. That list is posted over on Anxiety Ink, if you’re curious.

(A recap of my Year of Being Crafty, as I dubbed 2015 at the start, will come soon. Spoiler: it was pretty good.)

What I want – what I’m hoping for – out of 2016 relies on other people. I am doing whatever possible to get there, whether writing the words or going to the auditions, and hoping for the best.

 

This means my travel plans are ambiguous because even the conventions I attend take a backseat to shows I may or may not be cast in.

It’s weird to relinquish so much active control. Good-weird.

But it is slightly exasperating not to be able to schedule my year. That’s the control freak peaking out. I still maintain that one of my subconscious reasons for building a house in the year or two after Dad died was to give myself something I could control.

I have the feeling this is going to be an interesting year…

Introvert or Extrovert?

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

In excellent news, I’m still alive. Sorry for the vanishing act.

Life is good. Just every once in a while, I fall off the face of the earth. Can’t say for sure where I go, but emails languish in my inbox – read, but never replied to – and Facebook tags vanish into obscurity until no one remembers (I hope).

I see them. All of them.  Replying, on the other hand, takes energy that I either don’t have or would rather spend elsewhere.

Stumbled across this article on extroverted introverts and it got me thinking.

I’m an ambivert. I hover somewhere between the polarities of introvert and extrovert. This is a wide and varied range, and I am freakishly smack dab in the middle.

Going out with friends? Love it. A huge part of me wishes I lived closer to what most of the world calls civilization. (There are so many times when a two hour round trip just isn’t worth it.) I love getting out and doing things, but I also require a certain amount of downtime when I can snuggle my husband, or read, or write, or binge on Netflix.

And of course the necessary evil day job is the biggest energy drain of them all.

Sometimes, my skin itches with the need to go somewhere and do something. Sometimes, I want to burrow in my bed and hibernate, and even the though of being social is exhausting.

The need to hibernate is most intense when the days are shorter. If it’s dark when I leave work, I want to go home and do nothing.

Longer daylight? Anything is possible.

The introvert side began to dominate earlier than normal. That has a lot to do with my disappearance. Every time I thought about posting, I convinced myself I had nothing to say. But that’s not true, and this blog is important to me. So on my list of goals for 2016, I’ve included this blog: more frequent and more consistent posts.

After all, even though it’s still dark when I leave work, the days are already getting longer.