The Weekend

Where was I this weekend?

I was at my newest part-time job!  I’m working the season at Sherwood Forest Faire just outside of Austin.  It’s a Renaissance festival type of event and I’m toiling away as part of the kitchen crew in an Italian restaurant.  The hours are long, the food is yummy and the people watching is extraordinary.

I’ve always loved these types of festivals and I must say that it is interesting to be “behind the curtain” and get to know the work involved in making them come together.

Today, I’m back home and re-adjusting to my reality.  One of the best things (for me) about working and living there is the exposure to folks that are houseless, but not homeless.  That distinction was an eye-opener for me. I follow a lot of blogs about people who have tossed most of their personal belongings and live a nomadic lifestyle, but to actually see it first-hand is a whole ‘nother story.

I’m sharing my daughter’s “vardo” (renovated tool trailer) on the weekends and space is limited.  I only take absolute necessities and am finding that I need a lot less than I think.  Each weekend I take a little less.  Life is so much simpler in many ways.

I can’t foresee ever hitting the road full-time.  There are some “luxuries” I can’t imagine giving up – showering without someone singing in the stall next to me while enjoying ample water pressure of a consistent temperature of my choosing, for example.

Anyhow, today will involve catching up on real life and keeping one eye open for more stuff that can leave our home.

I’m really motivated to rid myself of mass-produced items in favor of the hand-made and hand-crafted.  Wandering the faire and seeing the work of artists and artisans has been significant as I’ve chatted with them and seen the sacrifices they make for their work.

I’m also feeling the need to get back into my studio.

Mainly I’m going to continue to seek more balance in my life – ridding myself of more of the unnecessary and filling my life with more of what brings peace and joy.

I think I will  busy today.

Where the hell am I?

Well, literally I am here, at home – most specifically seated at my computer desk typing this note.

But in every other sense of the word, I feel very lost.  This may possibly be one of those brutally honest posts – the kind where I throw punctuation and grammar to the wind and just write.  We shall see.

Where am I?

I am lost.

Lost in the realities of stressful everyday life.

There was never enough money and then my husband’s overtime was cut.  Shit.  I don’t blame him.  I feel badly for him.  He works so hard to provide for our family and I know that he’s blaming himself.

Lost in a vicious cycle of trying to get things done.

The house needs so much work.  We haven’t had the time or resources to do any of the planned projects.  The floor in our hall bathroom and laundry room need to be replaced due to a water leak.  We haven’t been able to recover the floors since we removed the carpeting.  The sub-flooring is so difficult to clean.  I so badly want to repaint the walls.  There’s been a lot of living done since we moved in 10 years ago.  It just feels old and dirty and worn-out.

Lost in a stupid battle of self-loathing and self-criticism that spews out on all of those around me.

….If I could just figure out how to make the money stretch far enough.  If I could just keep the house clean enough.  If I could just manage my time well enough to get things done.

A tiny little voice in my head says that I’m doing the best that I can.  The loud voices are yelling that I’m a stupid failure that isn’t good enough.  That it’s all my fault.

I’m tired and sad.  Probably more than sad.  I’m having trouble keeping my eye on the dream…Honestly, I’m having trouble maintaining any optimism or hope at all.

The “I want to” is bigger than the “I can”.  I want to make home-made nutritious meals for my family.  I’m lucky to fix boxed macaroni and cheese.  I want fresh sheets on the bed every week.  Even if I get them washed, they don’t always make it on the bed.  The dog hair on the floor is starting to look like really ugly carpeting.  I don’t even know where the broom is right now.  Let’s not even get into the art-making process. There is neither the time or energy for that.

I know that things will get better.

I just need patience – with myself, those I love and our situation.  I need to take more time to breathe and look for the joy around me.  I know it’s there.

I know that I need to start writing again.  The process of putting words on paper (actually putting fingers to keyboard) is a magical way to stop the racing mind and see things more clearly.

And I know from your kind comments that I am not alone in any of this.  Stressful lives, despair and hopelessness are not uncommon out there in this world of ours.  This difficult and sometimes scary world – this world that is also full of love and beauty.  We can help each other with sharing and kindness.

It’s so often easier to be kind to others than it is to be kind to ourselves – easier to see the hope for someone else’s life.

I hope that each of you can find some small measure of beauty, joy, peace and hope for yourself today.  I am off to find some for myself.


Stepping off the Hamster Wheel

So much time has passed.  With every day that goes by it gets harder and harder to write again.  The perfectionist in me knows that I can’t catch up and share everything that I’ve been meaning to write.  The writer in me just wants to put the words down and hit enter.

So, today we will let the writer, the artist, the imperfect work in progress win out and just start again…

What has happened?  A lot and nothing much.  The increased meds for anxiety did nothing to help the problem, but only compounded it.  I was so sleepy that I could barely stay awake.  In fact, while waiting at the outpatient surgery center while my sister had eye surgery, I actually slept curled up in a chair for almost two hours.  I’m really hoping I didn’t snore!  Because I was so tired, I didn’t get much done and that just made me even more stressed.

In trying to cope, I just jumped on the big hamster wheel of life and started running – trying to keep up with life and maybe make a bit of progress.  That never works out well.  All you end up doing is going through the motions without really seeing or living or feeling anything much at all.  Not much joy in that.

Wow, that all seems very depressing and that’s not the case at all.  It hasn’t all been bad, but it also hasn’t been very intentional.

Life has been okay – happy and sad, successful and unsuccessful, done and undone – just normal life.

But, I am searching for more than normal.  Today, I read something that made me stop running on that wheel and refocus:

To Declutter Any Room, Ask These Two Questions

I encourage to read the whole article, but in short, ask yourself, “Why do I have this?”  Such a simple question, but the answers are so important when making decisions about what to keep and what to let go.

Answers like “I use it”, “it makes me smile” or “I am working on an art project that I need it for” tell me that it should stay.

Answers like “I thought it would make the living room look better”, “I’m going to organize stuff in it” or “it was a gift” tell me something else entirely.

I’ve already pitched a big trash bag of stuff today and filled a give-away box.

The studio re-do is still in progress, but wasn’t completed in January like we’d hoped.  All overtime was cut at my husband’s job.  Ouch!  We can make it on his regular income and my part-time jobs, but that’s about it.  No extras.  Still, it’s progress and overall, much roomier and functional.  The dream and the plan are still in the works.  It will get done.

Now, I’m off to declutter, homeschool, and start an art project.  I think it’s time to play with some paper and glue!

I’m definitely going to take a moment to stop running, breathe deeply, take in the view and enjoy life!  I hope that you can do the same.