By Rhiannon D. Elton
I’m burnt out right now, so what I write probably doesn’t reflect my normal thoughts, but I am a firm believer in a “Drunk man’s words are a sober man’s thoughts”. This also shows through with a burnt out worker.
That’s what I’ve become really… a worker. Not even a drone though because I don’t get paid something “stable”. I get commission. Commission on books sold or patients treated, or products sold. I don’t have stability with wealth as I want it. I pay my own Superannuation, of course. It’s dumb to not have that going. But I don’t get sick leave or holiday pay unless I save up for it, which I’m good at doing.
I’m a nifty little saver. I bought my first house when I was 19 and my second when I was 28. Shit happened and I lost the first one, but that was just a big lesson. I got all of my initial investment back, so I chock that up to just being a lesson.
I ran my own natural health clinic for two years and had it running well enough to carry reception staff and pay for all my bills. Again, the same shit happened, and I lost the location. At the same time I was working night and day to promote my clinic, networking, social media, working in other clinics, putting stalls in festivals and expos, learning everything I could about business, while also going to as many social engagements as I could AND dealing with drugs, emotional abuse and dying relatives. Looking back now it’s no wonder, I chose to let my first business shrink right back and be absorbed by another. I held too much power and it was too much responsibility. My world was entirely on my shoulders and I thought I had to carry it all at all times, lest I suffer the same lessons of lost over and over again.
But now, I sit here with a boil on my throat and my blood feeling poisoned, worrying about my family’s mental health, my best friends mysterious illnesses, my partner’s lack of nutrition and my misbehaving dog, as well as my beautiful cat that has been hiding outside because the new puppy is massive and she hates change.
All the while I’m striving for SOMETHING to break through with my books because I keep telling myself that I just want to write. I want to be creative and display my wares like a jeweler in an old marketplace feeling mightily chuffed that people love what they see. They love something I’ve put my heart and soul into. But I’m tired.
There is so much I want to do. I’m not afraid of making mistakes much anymore. I’d rather make them and learn quickly and become more awesome. It’s time. And energy.
It’s my fault though. I’ve been eating crap and not moving. My sedentary job keeps my arse in my seat and it feels so weird to move out of it. The Rut. I’m Stuck. I keep myself stuck.
Is that what we all do? Keep ourselves stuck in our Ruts so we don’t have to claim the strength and freedom that is the life we ACTUALLY want to live?
What excuses will I throw out next?
“I’m too tired” is my favourite.
“I don’t have time.”
“It’s too much effort.”
“I don’t think it’ll work.”
“I don’t want to be here.”
“If I just have enough time to recharge, I’ll be ok to go again.”
Grump, grump, grump, slump, slump, slump.
But seriously, I don’t give myself time to recharge and when I do, I feel guilty for it. If I’m not working non-stop, trying to pull in $2k a week then I feel crap. I feel like a lazy, Harry Half Arsed failure.
If I was to let all that go…
If I was to seize… no. Seize isn’t the right word. The life I want and the person I want to be is right there! She is right there reaching desperately out to me just waiting for me to reach back.
But I don’t reach back. I reach for all the types of “me” I THINK people want me to be. I reach back for the super soft, spontaneous musical, light hearted, no stress, healthy, yoga doing, juice drinking hippie I THINK my mum wants me to be.
“She’s me too,” the best me whispers.
I still don’t reach back.
I reach for the glamourous, hot body, bootilicious, funny, well dressed, sharp as a tack, dog-mum, cat-mum, silly, card playing, easy going woman I THINK my partner wants me to be.
“Have you even seen me?” the best me whispers again.
I still don’t reach back.
I reach for the anime watching, new story loving, spontaneous, go-get-em, fix the world with the punch of love, yet calm the fire, ass kicker my bestie wants me to be.
“Just look. It’s easy.”
I still don’t reach back.
I reach for everything else that I only THINK everyone wants me to be. And yet I feel the words boil up into my throat and fester into this horrible boil that feels like it’s choking me.
But what would happen if I turned around and reached back. I can feel the “me” I want to be breathing across my shoulder and stroking at my hair. I don’t even have to reach far. She’s right there.
I look down and see what my hands are full of.
Grief, lessons in life learned wrong, pain, suffering, expectations, the weight of trying to be perfect. There are so many lumps of oozing heavy gunk in my arms. Why am I holding them? They serve to keep me in my place.
My place as a blonde. My place as a woman. My place as a daughter. My place as the child of a single mum. My place as someone who is overweight. My place as a creative thinker. My place as someone who is an outsider. My place as someone who is lukewarmly good at many things but not good enough to be the best. Not good enough to be perfect.
Not good enough.
“But just for one day… what would it look like if you thought you were?” She whispers over my shoulder.
I got teased about my voice a lot when I was younger, so I never thought of it as soothing.
What would it look like if I lived one day in the life I wanted to?
I haven’t done it before, so this is hard for me. I work with experience first. For a fantasy writer you’d think this would be easy for me, but I’ve not ever done it, so I can only guess. Most of my writing is from my own experiences. People I’ve met, places I’ve been, food I’ve eaten, dreams I’ve had. Everything I write comes from SOME form of experience. Sometimes the books I’ve read, games I’ve played or TV shows I’ve watched (which is why people saying TV rots your brain always confused me) gave me vicarious experience.
Again, she whispers, “What would you perfect day look like? What life do you want to live?”
I can’t see it because of the excuse “I haven’t experienced it yet.”
So, I drop it. I drop all those heavy, slimy, gunky excuses. They drip from my arms and splatter at my feet with a disgusting yet satisfying wet noise. It’s easier than I realise. And then I think.
A day in the life I actually want to be living?
Right now… Or at least for the next two or three months, I’d like a rest.
I’d like to wake up when I like, stretch and roll out of bed, do yoga and meditate with mum. Then I’d like to do a veggie juice and have a beautiful breakfast. After that I want to pick a place to go for the day with a picnic basket. Like the beach or a bushwalk or something just in nature. Calm, quiet and no white noise. No screens. Maybe some animals.
When I’m finished a fortnight of that I’d like to start working on my home. I want to do up the garden beds so they are all relatively self-sustaining with as many fruit trees and veggie patches as I can get. I’d also like to sit down for a whole day or two and make up a big crop rotation sheet, maybe with moving pieces and Velcro so we can move the veggie gardens around each season. Then I’d like to go for a swim. In between all this I want to play with and train our puppy so she’s the goodest girl and feels loved but doesn’t stress out mum or my partner.
Once the garden is done, I want to play some games, maybe join another D&D group or bring a few more people into mine. I’d even like to go kayaking.
Once the garden and the resting are done, I want to write.
I have so many stories to tell and I can’t get them all out fast enough. I would write for hours and hours in pure bliss. I could spend my time drawing pictures, making maps, writing riddles, learning to paint, filming videos. It would be so much fun. Then when my screen became too much I could jump in the pool or play with the dog in the beautiful lush yard.
In the evenings I could play PlayStation or multiplayer games with my partner and laugh up such a storm! I could see a movie when I wanted to and go to laser skirmish or paintball regularly. It would be fun. It would be free. I would have mental downtime.
But I’m worried that because I haven’t tried these things like this before that I might be wishing for something that will become tiresome in itself.
But finally, after dropping all my excuses I turn around.
That’s when I see who I really want to be.