I am sitting here, thoroughly exhausted, and still thinking I want to keep my commitment to publishing a post a week. It isn’t a commitment to an audience, but to myself. There is something very grounding about being able to keep a commitment no matter what, even if everything else falls apart. I can stop exercising, stop maintaining a healthy diet, but I still want to keep on writing.
What should I write about? I have several themes swimming in my mind – what it feels like to be leaving a place and people I loved so much, a piece on learning to appreciate art that I have been wanting to write for the longest time now, and also another on friendship. I don’t think I am cognitively capable of being able to express anything complex and intricate at this moment, which the above themes require in order to do any justice to their expression. It is always challenging to express thoughts or emotions in their truest form, because words can only say so much – picking the right ones, putting them together in the right sequence, in an attempt to convey what I really mean. It feels like trying to find the right shade of blue to paint the sky.
I will try to write about the current state of my consciousness instead, a slice of how I am feeling right at this moment.
I am in a state of perpetual exhaustion and anxiety. On the surface, I am just moving back, but I am also letting go of structures that held me together for the past few years. Going back to the painting metaphor, it is like I have spent years trying to perfect the detail of one painting, and just when I am about to finish it, I realized even though I loved this painting with so much of myself, I want to try carving a marble sculpture instead.
It is like I have been painting all my life, and it is so comfortable, so familiar, kept me feeling so safe, rewarded me so much and yet I have this irrepressible urge to tear it into shreds and go searching for a piece of marble I have no idea where to find, much less carve it into something that resembles anything like a sculpture. I don’t even know how to hold the tools. I comfort myself by thinking that ancient people didn’t know what they were looking for either when they decided to explore new ground. They went on these journeys knowing full well that they could die.
It is like a seed was planted some time ago, and if I didn’t try to nurture this seed, the seed would die, and I, would die along with it. Death follows me around, for better or for worse.
I have been running on empty for a long while. I think I spent a lot of energy trying to mentally push myself to be a certain way because I had a certain ideal of who I was. I take most of the responsibility for burning out. For not recognizing early signs of burnout, for diminishing my own feelings when I felt terrible, for letting other people’s feelings take precedence over mine, for putting work above myself, for not being aware enough of what were the values that were the most important to me, for constantly invalidating myself.
It wouldn’t have really mattered what I did or didn’t do, it would have been the same result as long as I continued not to see myself. By the time I realized, it was too late to reverse the damage my neurological system has taken. I knew I had to go for a full system reset, whatever that meant.
But there is a gift of being completely broken, and that is the opportunity to re-think how I want to put myself together back again. I think everything is inter-connected, and despite my immense exhaustion and anxiety I am looking forward to reimagining the way I want to live, the person I truly want to be, learning from scratch what it means to love myself and people, assuming in the most optimistic hope that I do recover most, if not all of my full capacity.
I am worried, because I have known people who have over-exerted themselves so much that they had to live with chronic conditions for the rest of their lives. But like people who had lost their sights gain extra sensitivity in other senses, I remain in hope that even if I am never to be the same again, other channels of expression will open up to me.
I am hanging on to every last bit of energy I can muster just to finish the last bits of whatever that is left to do, including the difficult goodbyes I have to say and all the annoying logistics I have to deal with as part of a move. I am barely making it.
In truth, I cannot wait to lie on a patch of grass under a clear blue sky, and not have anything hanging over me, for as long as possible, until my body starts breathing normally with my soul desiring to create, once again.