Hello, happy Sunday, and thank you for stopping by for a bit of caffeine and catching up.
I know it’s late but today didn’t turn out exactly as I imagined it would. I woke up early this morning to take some time for me and to write but it’s also family day and there wasn’t enough time for all the things I wanted to do before I was out the door and on my way and my family always get more of me than I plan to give. I don’t mean that in a bad way at all. Time with them is time spent in warmth, and love, and laughter. It was a good day, but it went on so much longer than I expected. Luckily it’s never too late for coffee, not really.
So, please, pull up a chair and grab yourself a cup. I’ve got the usual ground light roast steeping in the French press but we’ll be trying oat milk for the first time tonight. Let’s talk about last week.
“Either way, he figured a cup of coffee would hit the spot. For what is more versatile? As at home in tin as it is in Limoges, coffee can energize the industrious at dawn, calm the reflective at noon, or raise the spirits of the beleaguered in the middle of the night.”
― Amor Towles, A Gentleman in Moscow
If we were having coffee, I would tell you that this past week was a very busy one. I spent long hours at work training a new class of employees all without my boss around to help guide me and all while trying to manage my stress levels and wean off of my medications.
There was more than one evening through the week that I came home, head throbbing and my body sore from the hips down after walking all day that I could hardly stand. I’d collapse in the bed, sleep until my wife woke me for dinner, and then sleep again just to wake up the next morning still exhausted, still hurting, but still determined to keep putting one foot in front in of the other and get through another day no matter what.
The class is doing well and at least this isn’t my first one so I’m not completely lost. I do learn a little more each time and I can tell I’m getting better. Speaking in front of a group is coming easier now and so are the answers to weirder and wilder questions. Working on a school bus isn’t easy and you would be shocked by the outrageous scenarios and situations that can arise on a moving vehicle filled with children who do not consider you much of an authority figure. The training is extensive and surprisingly overwhelming and oftentimes even emotional.
By Friday I had over 10 hours of overtime when most weeks I barely want to work over 30. The hours in addition to the weekly drop in milligrams I’m taking in steroids, in addition to my increasing anxiety, and in addition to chronic pain and fatigue means I feel like superwoman right now! I know I’m not supposed to push so hard but I need these wins right now. I need to know I can still do things. I need other people to know I can do these things.
So, it was a tough week but I survived with few setbacks or blows to my dignity and now I can give myself the rest I desperately need.
If we were having coffee I would tell you that I have very little planned for this long weekend away from work.
Friday night I wasn’t feeling very much like myself. Between the steroid-induced acne, sweating, and facial swelling my self-esteem had been taking hits all week and by the end, all I wanted to do was crawl into a dark hole as far away from other humans as possible and live in isolation forever. I felt ugly and embarrassed and it’s been hard for me to imagine that others don’t see me the way that I see myself.
I’m doing much better now though. I turned Saturday into a day of self-care. I took a long shower and did a deep cleanse on my hair. I used lots of smell good soaps and conditioners. I did a clay face mask. I shaved and plucked and primped until I felt comfortable in my own skin again. I know I shouldn’t be so vain or so worried about what others think, but I’m human and all humans do at least sometimes. I’m not usually one to spend so much time on my appearance but I think spending more time doing things that make me feel beautiful and good is just what I need right now.
Today I’m was with my brother and his family for our weekly family day potluck. His wife had surgery last week and I was anxious to see how she is doing. She seems well, considering, but I could tell our presence weighed on her and only wore her out further. At the same time, I know she wanted us there and I did my best to be cheerful and useful. In turn they cheered me too. I need to get out of the house and among people more often than I have the energy or inclination to.
Tomorrow I’m off from work for the holiday and though I will be thinking of the great Dr. Martin Luther King and his legacy, I am also going to spend the time thinking of myself too.
I need a day outside of time (as I call those scattered Mondays and Fridays marked “closed” on our school year calendar) to forget work, and errands, and chores, and goals, and to just be happy doing nothing but living and loving. I’m going to get out, see the sun, and go buy something nice for myself. I’m going to eat something bad for me, drink a beer in the middle of the day, take a nap, then do nothing at all for the rest of the evening and feel not one shred of guilt for it.
If we were having coffee I would tell you that I was too busy this week to do much of anything outside of work and sleep but I did find time to read since my Penguin Little Black Classics box set arrived yesterday. I’ve already finished book one, Mrs. Rosie and the Priest by Giovanni Boccaccio, which was quite a salacious set of stories for Penguin to begin with, but I’m taking my time with the second, a small book of startlingly beautiful poems by Gerard Manley Hopkins.
Each book in the set is only around 50 pages long and I felt that sticking to my original reading goal of 30 books for the year would have been far too easy now. I felt too much like cheating so I raised it to 50 books for 2020. I may raise it further considering not only that I can read many of these in one day but that a few of them I have read already. I’d love to add the whole set, all 80 books, plus the 30 novel-length books I had already planned to read, and hit an even 120 but the end of December.
In addition to the set, I’m also reading Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez. I read One Hundred Years of Solitude last year and fell in love with Márquez. He has taken my breath away once again with his prose but the feminist in me is again screaming that though he writes beautifully there is so much suffering, oppression, and mistreatment of women and children underneath it all.
I can, of course, still enjoy the story and the writing but my principles will not let me overlook the pain. It’s so frustrating to read these classics as a queer woman of color and see so much that men miss in the way they write about experiences outside of their own. I can see how much they forget, how much they don’t see, how much they don’t care and when it’s a writer you really love, it hurts deeply.
If we were having coffee I would tell you that the coming week is going to be another busy one, unfortunately. The class had to be extended due to the long holiday and that means more days spent working long hours and pushing myself hard to get through the week. I’m thankful it will be at least one day shorter and there is a chance it may be two since I’m technically off on Friday too.
I meant to spend it helping a coworker and friend move along with another coworker and friend but the coworker and friend who was going to help too won’t be able to come and since I already have the day off I have the option of taking it anyway or going in to avoid the guilt. Staying home sounds like the more enjoyable choice but there is so much work to be done and my chances of reaching working enough to reach “time and a half” are already looking slim.
It only one day but living in a capitalist society makes these choices hard. I hate to let my team down, to leave work undone, to be unproductive, or to turn down the money, you know?
If we were having coffee, I would tell you that though I am enjoying the late-night chat too much coffee for too long into the night starts to impact the quality of the next day to come. There won’t be enough coffee in the world to correct for what I take from tomorrow today so I have to be off to bed now and salvage what I can.
I hope you had a good week. I hope you aren’t feeling too stressed or down. I hope you spent time with people you love and that you made time for yourself too. I hope you are reading something good or that you’re making something simply because it feels good and right to make it. I hope you have something that is yours alone and if you don’t I hope it finds you soon.
Until next time.