If We Were Having Coffee // Overworked and Unsatisfied

Hello, happy Sunday, and thank you for stopping by for a bit of caffeine and catching up.

Wake up every morning just before 5:00 AM like clockwork but after a late night of binge-watching The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina over a couple of drinks and too much dessert I found it hard to leave the bed and lost another 3 hours to sleep so fitful it wasn’t even worth it. Thank God for the invention of coffee, a drink that con correct for all those sleep probelms plaguing the modern world, right?

So, please, pull up a chair and grab yourself a cup. I’ve got the usual blond roast beans ground course for the french press and I’ve started addding a generous pour of sweet and silky vanilla oat milk over top. Don’t knock it ’til you try it! Let’s talk about last week.

“Often whole days pass without my speaking to anyone, except to ask for dinner or coffee. And it has been like that from the beginning.”

― Vincent Van Gogh, Van Gogh in Arles


If we were having coffee, I would tell you that this past week was only slightly less stressful than the week before. I’m working in different departments and hardly getting a break let alone a lunch in between. To make matters worse I don’t feel like anyone sees or appreciates my efforts but I’ve realized the only one I have to blame for being so overworked and unsatisfied is myself.

I enjoy the challenge but I don’t know when to stop. I like being useful, respected, important, but I forget that I am not, in fact, being compensated to do more than one person’s job. I enjoy being a part of the action but I forget that I need time away. I forget that I can take time away, that I need to take time away. So, I will.

I am still training the new class of employees but this coming week the ones who made it through will be released and I will, hopefully, finally get a little break from the chaos and settled back into my regular, boring schedule. I plan to make myself scarce and to work no more than the hours I have to and do only the tasks assigned to me. Once I feel a little more like myself, a little more stable and strong, I can try ambition and initiative again.


If we were having coffee I would tell you that I am taking it easy this weekend.

Friday night I decided to unplug and get out of the house for a change. I took my wife out for a date night of dinner, drinks, and a movie. She’d been wanting to see Jojo Rabbit for months now and there was one showing at our favorite movie theater. I had just enough time after work to rush home, change, and head back out. The movie was amazing and I highly recommend you see if you haven’t yet.

Saturday was spent much like today will be, doing nothing at all. I had planned to help some friends move to their new house but it turns out they were too excited to wait and did all the moving on their own. I had thought about going hiking but I didn’t have enough time to clean my gear and buy snacks. I thought I might do some shopping or head downtown, but my body protested and the bed beckoned and the opportunity to rest felt too good to pass up.

So, I’ve been home and though part of me is lamenting the wasted hours part of me knows this is just what I needed.


If we were having coffee, I would tell you I’m still not feeling 100% health-wise though compared to just a month ago I have improved beyond recognition.

I’m nearly off of the steroids which feels great emotionally but physically it’s causing me so many problems. The withdrawal is causing terrible headaches, fatigue, and continued mood swings. I’m out of patience and snapping at coworkers. I’m irritable at home and struggling to give my best self to my loved ones.

I got a call from the doctor’s office informing me that my medication would be changed and I would need to set up my next four appointments for infusion. My doctor and I had discussed the changes but I hadn’t realized that we’d moved from discussion to decision. It’s what I wanted though so I’m moving ahead and in just over two weeks I’ll be back at the infusion center again trying something new.

I’m super nervous about it. Not the infusion itself since I was on another infusion medication before and know how the process goes, but with a new medication comes the threat of new side effects, new complications, new worries and new fears. My wife has promised to stay with me the whole time (just like the medication before) to make sure I’m okay and that helps but I’m still freaking out a little.


If we were having coffee I would tell you that with the busy work schedule, my fatigue, and general bad mood I made very little progress through my reading and had no time or motivation for writing.

I did manage finish two more Penguin Little Black Classics, As Kingfishers Catch Fire by Gerard Manley Hopkins, a collection of poems celebrating nature, the human condition, and God, and The Saga of Gunnlaug Serpent-tongue by Anonymous, an Icelandic tale of two high-born poets competing for love.

Both were surprising and rewarding reads. That’s what I love about this set, each book is something I probably never would have chosen to read on my own but each so far has proven worth the time. I’m reminded there is good work outside of what I am typically drawn to and encouraged to continue branching out even after I work my way through these 80 short works.

Now I’m reading the intriguingly titled On Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts by Thomas de Quincey, a satirical essay on exploring murder in an aesthetic light. I’m still slogging through Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez but I’m just not enjoying it as much as I thought I would. This week I’m going to try to make as much progress as I can. The best way out is through, right?


If we were having coffee I would tell you that I’m actually looking forward to next week. The chaos should finally start dying down again and I’ve already said I’m going to do my best to take at least a half-step back from optional job duties but more than that I’m looking forward to using that time for personal pursuits and passions again.

I’ve been missing my old split shift schedule with hours and hours between in which I could pop my ear buds in and type away about nothing at all. I miss my long lunches spent lost in my books. I miss having time to learn something new. I miss having time to think. I miss having time that belonged to me.

Next week is that last one before February begins and I would like to end it on a more fulfilling note that I spent it. I have post drafts I’d love to make progress on, more books to finish, a newsletter I’d like to send out, and collages and found poems I want to make and share. I’m looking forward to time and space to spread out in.


If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the sun has moved on to the west windows and it’s time for me to start looking toward the coming work week. It’s time for chores and preparations. It’s time to go enjoy what’s left of the weekend too.

I hope you had a good week. I hope you haven’t been feeling too stressed or depressed. I hope you’ve had successes and if you haven’t I hope you aren’t too hard on yourself. I hope you’re ready to say goodbye to the first month of 2020 and that February will find you rested and ready to begin again.

Until next time.

Sunday Blues // Julianna Townsend

Written for the #WeekendCoffeeShare link-up hosted by Eclectic Alli.

Photo by Dmytro Davydenko on Unsplash

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This has been the longest short week ever and even though I’m so happy to have made it through to Friday and even though I can see the light at the end of the tunnel growing brighter by the minute, I know that this day is going to be a hard one to get through. All my favorite coworkers are out, the ones who make me laugh, the ones who have my back and I’m left feeling a little lost and overwhelmed.


Today was just as hard as I knew it would be. I feel overworked and worn thin. I feel empty and on the verge of tears and I feel angry at myself for being so weak. It shouldn’t be so hard to just work the same as everyone else. Of course, I have to remember I’m working at a deficit in body and in mind, and in addition, I’ve had to give up what little energy and focus I have to things I don’t love with my whole heart. Doing that, day after day eats at the soul.


It’s date night tonight! I finally made it out of work and I’m rushing home now so I can quickly change my clothes and head right back out the door. I need a night of good food, a stiff drink, and some time away with my wife. We’re heading to our favorite movie theater for a showing of Jojo Rabbit, a film she’s been pressing to see but I one have doubts about, but it doesn’t matter because I’ll just be happy to be anywhere at all with her.

Update: She was right, Jojo Rabbit is an amazing film and we should have seen it months ago!

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As predicted, another poor night’s sleep has me dragging my feet and snapping at everyone around me. I wish I could do us all a favor and isolate myself but with all the work I have on my plate through next Monday at least I have no choice but to subject all of us to my unpredictable moods.

Coffee is helping and there have been moments of peace I can lose myself into and come out again like the Lisa they all no and love, it’s just that she can’t stay very long.

I have to get back on track with my workout. I really think that will solve so much of my problems with sleep and energy. I’m like a dog wound up too tight with nervous energy. I need to exhaust myself every day to keep those little worries from getting stuck in my head. They get stuck in my head like bits of songs and play on a loop for hours growing louder and louder until my alarm goes off and it’s time to start another day.

Thankfully, the weather is already beginning to warm and this feeling of being cooped up, of boredom and restlessness will pass. Every once in a while I swear I catch the scent of spring in the air. Early yesterday morning it was rain. This afternoon I smelled flowers. Soon nature will return and, in turn, welcome us back to the world with promises of breathtaking beauty and adventure. I cannot wait to be rid of this winter and of who I am in it.

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A decent night’s sleep had turned everything around. Now I just need a few more nights in a row like it and I should be back to my old self. My hopes aren’t that high though. I never sleep well more than a night or two at once. I suspect tonight my mind will be back up to it’s old tricks and by tomorrow I’ll be my old lethargic self.

But for now, I feel good. I’m in the mood for work, for people, for trying hard and making progress. Unfortunately, my return to sociability has made painfully clear that my poor mood and lack of patience over the course of the last couple of weeks has burned a few bridges, but that’s okay, they weren’t ones I was eager to cross back over any way. What I care to repair I will and to be honest I only care to repair relationships with people who understand and need no explanations or apology, anyway.

And maybe the time for making up and making things right isn’t while I’m still in the middle of trying to get well, to get off my medication, and to just make it through each day with my self worth and enthusiasm for life intact.

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I was on my own today but instead of being angry for the lack of support I’m choosing to be proud. I’m proud that I can count on myself and come through for myself when no one else will. I proud of myself for being so capable and courageous. I’m not perfect. I made mistakes today and I won’t pretend I was my best self, but I showed up and got the job done.

I’m proud of me but underneath it all I can’t help feeling a little bitter too. I wish I didn’t have to be so capable and courageous. I wish I could count on more than just myself.

If I’m honest, it’s not really so bad as I make it seem. I’m not usually on my own like this but I can see now how fragile the safety net is, on many levels, and that scares me, and that fear, that is what pushes and exhausts me. It’s exhausting to have to try so hard all the time because I know there’s no guarantee that there will be anyone there to catch me if (when) I fail.


The doctor’s office called today to set up my infusion appointments for my new medications. I didn’t even know we were going forward with the medication change until I got the call! It’s a good thing but part of me still hoped that everything would get better so that nothing had to change. But it’s a good thing. I just have to keep reminding myself of that. It’s a good thing…hopefully.

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I had thought today would be spent doing absolutely nothing, but this weekend has already been so much about me, my needs, and my self-care I felt it was time to dedicate some time to taking care of my home and other obligations. So, today is about cleaning, completing projects, and getting ready for the workweek.

While I’m in the kitchen washing and meal prepping my wife is busy about the house hanging art and making this place feel a little more like a home. The walls have been bare for years but it never really bothered me. I just figured there wouldn’t be much difference either way so why spend the money or put holes in the walls? But seeing the rooms with even just a few frames and pieces up I get it now. A home isn’t a home until you give it personality.


As the evening wears on I continue to improve. I didn’t realize how low I had sunk last week or quite how long it would take to pull myself back up, but I did it. I’m ready to face the world again tomorrow and to make sure I don’t let myself get so overwhelmed again. I’m going to do a better job of holding myself afloat from now on.

If We Were Having Coffee // Comfortable in My Skin Again

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.

Blue World // Mac Miller

Written for the #WeekendCoffeeShare link-up hosted by Eclectic Alli.

Photo by Julien Labelle on Unsplash