I was in a bad mood this week and by “bad,” I mean pea-soup spewing, head-twisting, stab-you-with-a-pencil-if-you-look-at-me-wrong mood. Now that it’s Saturday and I’ve had a few precious hours to decompress, I now know why my mood was so off. But Monday through Friday, I didn’t have a clue.
On Monday, I worked from home to record the narration for a few product videos that were due this week. Usually, this is a fairly fun and easy task but this time, numerous software issues from the buggy operating system produced by a certain mega-bazillionaire who-shall-remain-nameless tortured me, forcing me to repeat work.
On Tuesday, the same day I was scheduled to have a minor surgical procedure, my sister called me at work while I was juggling crashing programs, a conference call, and a problem with our website and said, “Clear your schedule. You’ll have to take Mom to the doctor tomorrow.” Mom lives with my sister in Connecticut. I live in New York. I work full-time, my sister does not.
If you’re reading this and thinking unkind thoughts about my sister, you’ll understand why this unleashed in me a whole new level of desire to do violence. Voo-doo dolls. In fact, I found one online that made satisfying little winces every time I poked it. With a nail gun.
After I’d calmed down sufficiently to discuss the situation, my sister and I arranged a better schedule. My niece is taking state tests all week and the doctor my mother must see is in New York. I am taking Tuesday off to accompany Mom on this appointment. See? I can be reasonable. Really.
On Wednesday, I dragged myself to work because I had to finish the product videos. The row of sutures on my back made driving a torturous experience. I was less than sunny when I arrived at work. I did, however, learn the website issue was resolved.
On Thursday, I was almost done with the videos. I wasn’t sleeping well since the sutures now ITCH like Alien is trying to claw its way free. A kind and unknown soul left a package of Dove Hot Chocolate on my desk. I’m following the Weight Watchers program and have eaten nothing but salad, fruit and yogurt, except for a moment of weakness when a chocolate chip muffin challenged me to a battle of the wills. I lost.
I put the hot chocolate in my desk drawer, vowing to stay on program.
And then there’s Friday. It promised to be a great day! I finished the videos, posted them on YouTube. I caught up with minor tasks I’d let slide during the week. And then I went to my Weight Watchers meeting, where I learned I’d GAINED two @$$%^*@!)*!~ pounds. I returned to my desk in a funk, picking at my boring salad. I checked in on Twitter, saw my son, an Islanders fan, having a public disagreement with a Penguins fan, who then threatened his life.
This, people, this right here, is why there is a waiting period to buy firearms. Forget road rage or even ‘roid rage. Those aren’t rages, they’re tantrums from red-faced tots that only dream of being rages when they grow up beside a mother whose child is threatened. It took time, but eventually, my son assured me he was fine and the situation wasn’t serious. The rest of my salad got tossed into the garbage and I returned to work.
I opened my desk drawer and when I saw that package of hot chocolate, I succumbed, felt the tension leave my bones for the first time all week. After I finished licking the mug, I had an epiphany. During this week of deadlines and frustrations, there was one thing, one critical thing, I had not done.
I hadn’t written a word on Past Perfect. Not one new word. Writing isn’t just this thing I do when the house is clean and the bills are paid and the moon aligns with the stars in just the right way. Writing is an essential part of my composition; it’s an activity that centers me, that fills me with a peace I desperately need to handle all the balls I’ve got in the air. (Go ahead. You may smirk. You know you want to.) When I write, I’m in control of the universe. What happens, and then what happens next – I get to decide it all. It’s an escape from real life and one even I did not realize was so important to my own well-being until this moment.
So. It’s Saturday morning. I’m not dressed yet even though it’s now eleven o’clock. There’s dust in the corner of my bedroom I can see from across the room. The hamper is over-flowing. Housework waited all week, it can wait an hour or two longer while I do this thing I need as badly as I need air to breathe.
Oh, and maybe some chocolate to roll around in, since I can’t eat it.
Please share: how do you make time to write when real life gets in your way?