Mar. 29th, 2016

It's been a tough few weeks. Not in a terrible sort of way, so much as in an overwhelming and draining sort of way. I've been working a challenging (but surprisingly enjoyable) part-time coding gig at an office downtown, juggling the workload coming through my own studio, doing my best to be a good captain and a dependable athlete for my team, working towards being a more present friend, and trying to squeeze self-care somewhere in there.

The self-care part, well, hasn't exactly been on-point. Shoehorning an extra 10-20 hours of work into my week has been overwhelming, to say the least, and there's been Life Stuff that's been happening, on top of that. There've been more days than I care to admit where I can barely muster the energy sit and watch television, at the end of the day. I've been allowing myself to rest when I don't feel well, and actually delegating the occasional task, but I also haven't been eating or sleeping particularly well. I physically showed up to everything I could, but only mentally showed up to... maybe half of those things? That's probably being generous.

Last Wednesday, I went to scrimmage, and I showed up. Maybe it was finally catching up on lost sleep, maybe it was the extra cup of coffee in the afternoon, but I felt fully present and excited to play. I'd almost forgotten what that was like, heh. In the following days, I started feeling more energized about a lot of things, and was ready to jump into my Monday, refreshed and ready to tackle everything that comes my way.

Then, my dear old friend Insomnia decided to show up. I laid awake for hours, slept fitfully, and woke up yesterday feeling like garbage. Again.

I looked at my calendar, and it was mostly empty, except for a little lunchtime music show that I'd written down. I was so tempted to just not go, because I felt so exhausted. I was so sure that nobody would miss me, if I didn't show. But, then I thought, "who knows when this will happen again?" And at that point, I decided that I didn't want to make another excuse to not do something. Not today.

So, I went. I brought my camera. I mainly just listened, because I wanted to enjoy the moment, but
I did snap a few photos. It reminded me that I really love watching creative people work. One of my favorite things about taking photos at random events is the opportunity to take a longer look at the expression, the intensity, the love and attention that goes into what they do. Sometimes, you see a flash of bashfulness or disbelief in their face--they're so mentally and emotionally invested in this THING, but they're never quite certain that it will be loved by others, and it feels like a wonderful surprise when it is. It's a moment of honesty and bravery. Seeing that always renews my faith in humanity, at least a little bit.

I cried for a little while, after I left. The sleeplessness, the overwhelm, all of the feelings that I'd been trying to process during the in-between moments finally piled up high enough to break the dam, I guess. I suppose I like to think of myself as the calm center of a given storm--even when things get crazy, I keep that cool exterior, and hope that being calm will let those around me relax, too. I don't often feel moved to tears, but if ever there was a trigger, music is certainly it. I never stop being surprised at how easily music can influence our emotions, if we let it.

I guess this is a note to myself that a big piece of Kindness Without Excuses is to choose those No Excuses moments mindfully. And, perhaps another piece is to remember that I don't have to be cool with everything all the time. My emotions are worthy of space, and sometimes I'll have to make a bit of extra room for them.


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