12 May 2023

The Shackles of Bizzyness

Emails crackle like static handcuffs, shocking me whenever I pull away. There is always something to drag me back. Like a digital prison spiking my morning meal with heroin to keep me scrolling. Nothing is more addictive than the scroll. Nothing is more training than the stress.


“She’s gone mad. She’s screaming and rocking and off her rocker.”


I’m not enough. I must be all things to all people at all times.


Especially in my times of weakness.


“But you need to talk more. Just speak up. Just ask for help. Why didn’t you call?”


Ask a starving tigress why she doesn’t purr and mewl for the jabs from the fingers poking through her rusted cage. Ask the elephant with scars under their armpits from the hooks used to control them why the plastic chair still holds them in place.


Ask the woman stretched thin why she hasn’t called you. Why she hasn’t answered your email. Why hasn’t she, who holds the world on her shoulders, not shared your post. Not driven people to your business. Not remembered your birthday party out of town set months after your actual birthday.


You may be the centre of your world, but you aren’t the centre of mine.


Ask yourself, why do you take my silence as offensive?


I’m drowning.


“Oh but we’re all busy.”


No. I’m drowning. I keep telling myself I chose these challenges, but that’s now a lie. I thought I was choosing a rough path. You know, the ones only expert hikers are meant to travel. I didn’t realise I’d need spelunking gear to even get halfway.


I thought I was choosing a house that needed a bit of paint and maybe a redo of the garden. My walls are crumbling from something termites are afraid of.


I was lied to, and I have to pretend that everything is still fine.


I can talk about the devastation the pandemic has caused, the misinformation spread all around us leading us to a divided and hostile world. I can talk about the scraps the arts are given and told to be grateful for. I can talk about people’s incompetence, laziness, apathy, greed and ignorance. I can get really mad about it.


I can become enraged.


But who deserves that energy from me? Who could withstand it if they did witness it? They would walk away changed.


Ripped from the drying swamp of my childhood I began the year not with a clearly dug trench to nourish my body and mind before I started planting, but all of the dormant tubers of trauma were raked free. They were fine where they were, and my field was destroyed.

Even though I had to scavenge for whatever I could and begin the year with all the gusto of someone with a full farm and several full warehouses, demons haunted my steps. Shadows caught my ankles in the form of messenger bubbles popping up on my phone.


“Can you…”




“When you can, can you…”


“Have you got…”


Over. And over. And over. Again.


Cold. All I could be was cold. My face and voice had to be. I seal the flaming rage of my stolen hours and energy under the thickest sheet of frozen iron I could.


I did it to protect you from me.


I did it to save my image from your judgement.


Watch my eyes blaze as you interrupt me one more time from the scarce free space I have. Listen for the scalpel slicing through my voice as you call me after hours. Do you know my middle name? You are not entitled to my life outside of business.

I tried so hard to establish the mote and palisade of boundaries around my time, but as much as I could fend off the bodies of militia throwing their messengers at my walls, I couldn’t fight the evil magic of static and electricity.


Do you realise how much I relish the moments the entire street loses power?


For those few minutes or, if I’m lucky, an hour, the house is silent. The bombardment of static clears so quickly. The rooms are cleansed of the crackling smokescreen slowly filling them. For those few moments there is a peace I cannot explain with words. Gravity increases and my heart beats with purpose.


Not this “bizzy” fibrulation.


Not this quiver of distractedness. When the sorcerers magic drops the earthy resonance can finally be heard throughout the walls of even the most polished and disconnected spaces. There is nowhere liminal when their magic dissipates. Nothing gets forgotten.


It’s all too much right now. The hum and thrum rings in my ears and I can’t hear my own thoughts. Nothing can formulate while the static remains. The evil wizards are winning this battle. They know I’ll automatically flick my thumb from glass button to glass button in the repetitive ritual that summons the chains. It’s entirely self-inflicted, but the compulsion is unnaturally formed by their blue-lit magics.


The torrential wave of “should” smashes me back into the wall and I drown as I try to break free from the pressure.


I SHOULD be advertising. I SHOULD be social. I SHOULD be on this group. I SHOULD be making more.


Perhaps I would make and share more if the pressure of the overbearing SHOULD would flow back like a tide, but it’s always there. So I don’t.


The wall itself doesn’t even belong here. It’s a man-made structure in the middle of a place it needn’t be. In fact, it’s entirely unnatural and built with the pure purpose of stopping anyone from getting beyond it. Beyond it means you’re not under the pressure of the SHOULD wave and you’re at the fighting level of the wizards. Call it patriarchy. Call it capitalism. Call it imperialism. Call it unchecked greed. Call it what it really is. That wall was built by the wizards who are so afraid of having less that they build it to keep all others out. 99% of us are in the bay. I’m lucky enough to at least be able to draw breath between waves with chains long enough to be able to see them staring down in horror from the top. Most people are well and truly under the waves forever.


This wall was built by wizards who continue to build it higher and higher, throwing promises that one day if we struggle hard enough in the waves below then we can join them. Imagine if everyone pulled a stone out from under them by turning off their phones. By looking away from ads. By growing their own food. By saying they won’t work unpaid for positions where those at the top earn more than a million times what the person in the waves earns.


Imagine if this blog could help everyone just pull one rock out from their tower. It’s hard to think of when I am where I am, and I am told I chose it.


Shackled by the electric chains against the immovable stone wall under the pressure of the SHOULD wave.


After a good cry and a good chat, things are clearer. Be gentle with myself first. Do the things I need to do and the steps that need taking. I am made of magic, and I will remind myself of that daily. As death as my life coach things are simpler. Important things stand strong and all else rots away to be used for garden fertiliser. Breathe. Write. Rest. Everything happens exactly as it’s meant to.

I’ll pull one more stone out in my own way. Then maybe the electric shackles won’t feel so tight.

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