Shock me like an electric eel.

I’ve been feeling weird lately: restless, dissatisfied with the way I’m living, ashamed of how I never get anything done…and also completely exhausted. It’s not a new feeling and it’s not a rational feeling; after all, I hold down a job, pay my bills, take care of my animals, and I’m in a loving, committed relationship. What more could I want?  Should I want more? Am I being greedy? Am I being too hard on myself?

But I guess I do want more. I want to be healthy – I don’t think I’ve been truly healthy in a long time. I need to have my tonsils removed, I’ve gained weight since I started the Citalopram, my diet leaves much to be desired, and I’m alarmed at how addicted to caffeine I am. Seriously, I don’t think I’ve gone without at least one cup of coffee per day in months. I don’t even like the way I feel when I drink it anymore.

Furthermore, I want to be financially stable, but I don’t want to be totally reliant on this job, the way I am right now. I’m fortunate in that it’s not a consistently demanding job – obviously I have some free time at work – but I’m also coasting along not really doing anything, either. Compliance isn’t fulfilling, interesting, or…anything, really, to me. It and answering phones are the things I do around here so that they’ll let me stay and keeping putting a little bit of money in my account every two weeks, and frankly, it doesn’t feel good. I have free mornings Monday, Wednesday, and Friday right now (on weeks that I don’t need to cover for anybody). If I could find some people who needed their dogs walked, I could do that in the mornings, make a little bit more money, get some exercise, and meet both new people and dogs. Those are all good things. I would like that. And I’m uniquely fortunate right now in that my job does give me the time to do things like that. I need to take advantage of it.

The other thing that’s sort of vaguely stressing me out right now is writing. I haven’t felt like a writer in months. I know it’s not supposed to be about how you feel, but I’m just so discouraged. Everything that I write feels like utter tripe. I can’t create interesting, compelling characters, I can’t come up with coherent plots, and I can’t even describe anything very well. I don’t know what happened, but…words have become a mystery to me. Even my grammar and punctuation are horrible now. I don’t understand it. I used to be so convinced that writing was what I wanted to do, what I was supposed to do. I used to feel like I had a measure of control over my ability to put words together. I was enthusiastic about it, and sure that eventually, if I kept trying, things would click and one day I’d be able to actually finish something. You know what I’ve finished in the last six months? One short story. One. And it sucks. Being published no longer seems like even a remote possibility.

I think I’m just one of those people who thought they could cut it, but didn’t have the guts and the drive to see anything through. And frankly, I don’t think I’m smart enough to write. Everything that I’d want to write is so far about my head, subject-matter-wise, that even if I did finish a novel, I have little faith that any of it would make sense. Right now, just thinking about writing or looking back over past writing makes me feel like my brain is made of lead.

I know that all sounds very pessimistic, but I wanted to say it so that I would have something solid to start trying to solve. And to that end, here’s an incredibly ambitious list.

These are my goals for June:

1. Make some dog walking fliers and get them posted around town. Don’t worry overmuch about rates or anything complicated. Those can be determined as I go, and frankly, I doubt that I’ll have so many people interested that the more complicated parts will even be relevant.

2. Get my application in to the Animal Behavior College.

3. Wean myself off of coffee/caffeine.

4. Consistently keep the kitchen clean so that making fresh meals doesn’t seem like too much work. Cut my processed foods intake by about 50%. Work on smarter grocery shopping.

5. Rearrange the bedroom, get rid of all unused furniture, get rid of all unused clothing, and go through the high cupboards. Find a place to hang the planter.

6. Attend Scalzi’s book signing in Minneapolis.

7. Walk at least 1 mile with the dogs per day.

8. Get the cat in for his check-up.

9. Save money for the wedding. [Goal: approx. $2-300]

10. Meet all of my Compliance review goals at work.

11. Write. Work on rewriting Atlas City. Don’t be overwhelmed by it. Just do some writing. Maybe try out http://750words.com/.

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One response to “Shock me like an electric eel.

  1. Hey hey! It’s been a while since I’ve caught up with this cause of the moving back home thing and then my bookmarks didn’t copy over from the laptop to my desktop and it was just TOO MUCH EFFORT to turn on the laptop to get them again. Then I remembered, oh, right, her blog has a really easy address to remember, so here I am.

    Hmm, reading the opening, I’m already dreading you having a baby a little bit ONLY because you sound exactly like me, and I bet you’ll be JUST like me with the overwhelming guilt from day one that I should be doing more around the house, I should be writing in his baby book, I can’t believe I’m letting him crawl around on a floor I only vacuum once a week, I should be giving him even MORE vegetables with his meals, and many more silly things like that. Basically the good thing about all of those annoying things going through your mind is that if you’re thinking them, that kind of proves that you’re a good person/mom because a bad one wouldn’t care and wouldn’t want to improve. And usually there really isn’t anything to improve. Maybe we read too many novels and are shooting for a perfection that just doesn’t exist.

    Ok, I’m feeling like a crap crap crap cousin for not reading your story yet, you know, the one that I BEGGED you to send me. So tomorrow during toddler nap time, I’m going to say screw my own writing and I’ll read that instead. My three adoring fans can wait a bit longer for an update 😉

    So this is from a couple weeks ago, so how are the goals coming? Especially the writing. I’ve been getting hung up lately, not able to write because I’m scared it won’t be “good enough.” I’ve found if I just say screw it and write like no one will ever read it, it usually ends up being fine. But if I think about, “Oh, the first four chapters were SO GOOD and this one is going to be such a dud!” then I usually end up chickening out and finding other things to do like wasting time on Face-soul-suck-Book. Ummmm…I don’t know what else to say. Improving your diet is always good, but that’s freaking easy for me to say with Bonnie and Zach basically cooking for me. It’s insanely hard to eat well when you’re in charge of cooking AND clean-up, on top of already being exhausted from working all day. I can’t remember what I ate when Zach was deployed, but I bet a lot of it came from a can or the freezer.

    Have you and Nate ever looked into joining a CSA in your area? It’s a thing where you buy a share of a farm’s crop before the harvest, then you get various produce when it’s grown. I know people around here who do it, and Zach and I are thinking of doing one next year maybe. It might be a good, cheapish way to get more healthy local food into your diet.

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