Not one of my favourite topics in the world. Mostly because it makes me break out in hives.
I never have enough of it. I wish I used it better. It never seems to be there when I need it. And I am so trying to avoid my relationship with time that I even keep distracting myself from writing this post with things like Twitter, and CommentLuv and lord only knows what else, just so I don’t have to write it.
See? I just opened Facebook.
Okay, okay, I’ll focus now.
Lately I’ve been trying to redefine my relationship with time because it’s just so tangled. It’s so tangled, that I even denied there was a problem at all. Except I’m a workaholic who feels guilty if she works less than 12 hours a day, and has a to do list the size of her leg every day and then gets pissed off when she only finishes 5 of the 38 things.
So umm, yeah. Me. Time. It’s not pretty.
Less is more.
Or so I’m told. But really – are you sure less isn’t still just less?
I have a terrible habit of trying to complete everything by the end of the tonight. I never have a sense of accomplishment or celebration. There’s usually just self berating and panic – omg, I didn’t do everything in 12 hours! What will become of me?
Really though, that’s a good question. Why exactly do I feel as though I have to get everything done by tomorrow? Especially when what often happens is I just get in my own way and I never finish anything let alone everything.
I’m young. I’ve got tons of time. This whole complex about needing to get myself together by tomorrow is a little distorted (to say the least.) So the question is – what am I afraid of? What do I think will happen if I don’t do everything today?
I’ll run out of time. I’ll fail. I’ll disappear. It feels so frantic, so hectic, so panicked. I’m trying to catch up, but with what, I don’t know.
And there is a part of me that, just because I’m writing this, is having a complete meltdown, a total hissy fit. She does not want me to notice that my relationship with time is out of whack. She needs us to continue at this breakneck pace.
So the question is…
What does that part of me need? What is she trying to accomplish by lashing the whip and making panicked whimperings all the time?
I’m going to do something kind of wacky for a second here, so bear with me. I want to give her the keyboard and see what she has to say:
I’m afraid of failing. I’m afraid of everyone thinking I’m a failure. I’m afraid of oh…almost everything. I’m afraid we’ll be too sick tomorrow and we’ll never do what we wanted. I’m afraid we’ll never catch up with everyone else whose healthy and accomplishing a million things. I’m afraid we’ll never do enough to be accepted, to be loved, to be enough despite our problems. I just wanna be normal, I just wanna be human, I just wanna be enough. I’ve got to catch up to everyone who already is enough. We’re just not enough. We’re already years behind everyone else. They all went off to college and we were still at home, finishing high school. They’ve all got jobs and money and these new lives and we’re still stuck. Stuck, stuck, stuck. We’ll never be as good as them or have enough as them, or be anything like them. They’re just too far ahead. We’ve got to rush around in the hopes that maybe, just maybe, we’ll catch up. We’ve got to try at least. It may never be enough, but we’ve really got to try. I just want to be enough. I just want to know that my hardest, my best, was enough. But I feel like I’m forever going to be punished for being sick, for not getting it done on time, for not being able to keep up, to keep going, to keep doing. I spent so long resting and sleeping and not being able to keep up, that I’ve got to make up for lost time. I’ve got to make up for those lost years of my life.
Well. That was a lot more than I’d expected. Who knew it was all my old insecurities from high school that have been running the show?
All the way through school, I felt like I couldn’t keep up because…well, I couldn’t. And sometimes I was punished for that, however unintentionally, by teachers not understanding that I needed more time and students thinking I was just being a lazy bum. And I felt like no matter how hard I tried, it was never enough. And then I dropped out of school at 18, watched all my friends graduate, and go off to college and it was two more years before I finished high school.
Looks like I still feel like I have to play catch up.
So what’s next?
A lot of gentleness. A lot of noticing. A lot of hearing how panicked this part of me is. And a lot of negotiating, as I try to find new ways to be productive and help her feel like we’re getting stuff done, as well as giving myself time to rest and recuperate and maybe not work 12 hours a day.
But just being able to see the panic for what it really is has given me some space around the stuck. I’ve got some breathing room that wasn’t there before, and that feels really good.