I’ve been having a run of bad days that have been ceaselessly piling up on top of each other. I can track the most recent and notable ones back to about October 2016, and the bigger, even more obvious ones indicating something was not on the level at about February 2016, but the discreet events themselves don’t matter much anymore – it’s the aggregate damage that matters now.
The short of it is that I’m almost an extreme introvert – the only thing that would bother me about living out in the sticks in backwoods BFE would be my desire to do NEW things that are generally NOT where I am, and the fact that homesteading is a lot of damned hard work. I’m not lazy, but I’m also not that motivated, either.
My need to be alone and quiet and recharge was a daily thing when I worked in an office, but the NEED was not as bad as it is now. When I worked in an office, I could put on headphones and ignore the people outside my cubicle. So long as my work was completed in a timely, detailed manner and I responded to my phone, few people saw fit to bother me. I still avoided after-work activities unless I was REQUIRED to attend, but I could still gather enough “away time” that I could present a normal functioning human mask most days.
I don’t get that as a mother. I have to be always on, all the time. I thought when the kids would be at school I would get the downtime.
Nope. There’s always something. Especially when the husband is gone most of the time and you’re stuck manning all the fronts. All the time. By yourself.
Oh, quit whining, Katty. You’ve got it good.
True. I do. But when I started having bigger and bigger coping problems (culminating in the last 2 weeks), I realized that one (of the several) problems was the lack of “away time.” Away from everyone time.
I don’t get it, Katty. Aren’t all authors introverts? If they can deal, so can you, right?
There are different levels of introvert. The best way I can explain mine is to take a monologue from Iliza Schlesinger’s Confirmed Kills and alter it just slightly from what it’s like to be drunk immediately after the party to what it’s like to be an introvert:
*You scooped yourself into your car; your crowning achievement of the evening is that you didn’t die.
And all introverts have had that moment. Anybody who’s an introvert – you’ve been out, it’s been people – people talking, people laughing, people requiring that you respond appropriately the whole time. It’s been a crazy and exhausting three hours.
All introverts have had that moment of solitary, overstimulated serenity where you get in the car and you shut the door and for the first time in hours IT’S QUIET.
And you think, “Oh, thank God. I made it.”
Followed by, “I’m gonna throw up.”*
Now imagine experiencing that every day because you must, by necessity, socialize with your family in a manner that may not be true to what you’re really thinking or feeling. Compounding this is the simple fact that you, as a parent, are practically required to put aside your need for solitude and endure more social stimulation on top of normal, daily family time. Scouts, sports, dance class, birthdays and so on to give your children a positive social experience and role model.
It is intensely draining.
There is a necessary recovery time for an introvert. As long as it takes for you to fully recover from a hangover (without the use of pain medication, pedialyte or any other treatment) is about how long it takes for me to recover from a social event. The more you drink, the bigger the hangover. The bigger event you go to, or the longer you stay, or the more you have to interact with people, the more wrung out you are the next day.
Some people are heavy drinkers – I’ve seen men who can handle five yards of beer and walk a straight line with no aftereffects the next day. I’ve seen people do two shots of whiskey and they’re curled up in bed, weakly praying for death for the next whole day. The same goes for introverts – some can handle an all-day experience with a group and only need a few hours of alone time to recharge. Others crash for two days after spending 3 hours with 4 “close” friends.
I’m what you would call a lightweight – I’m in the second category these days.
“Crashing” is me, on the couch, staring at science documentaries because it doesn’t require as much thought as other shows (in which I’m constantly trying to dissect the plot clues). To listen, even with half an ear, to a piece of mindless fictional entertainment I know by heart, is far too exhausting to contemplate.
No books. No crafts. No cleaning. No working out. No errands. No cooking. No planning. The best I can hope for is the energy to stand in the shower and not fall because I expended all of my energy and my reserves the day before, smiling and chatting and pretending I wanted to be wherever persona I was required to present to the world at that time.
Some days, there is no energy to even care about taking a shower.
If it takes me 12 hours to recover from a pleasant evening with a group of friends in which we ate dinner and then played a novelty card game, imagine what life is like the day after playing cub scout den leader for 1 hour because we don’t have one anymore (hint: I’m down for nearly 36 hours because I’m having to keep children engaged and parents who don’t want to be engaged but want their kid in cub scouts), compounded by the fact that there is no other adult in the house to do adulty things – like make sure children eat regularly, do their homework, have clean clothes, food in the house, and so forth.
Every day, I’m running on fumes.
And no one truly gets that.
Everyone I know seems to think that because I’m a SAHM, I live a life of indulgence with 5-6 hours a day of alone time.
Nope. Some days it takes everything I have to stay awake for most of that time. Most evenings I write the next days To-Do list using a large marker on a regular piece of paper in letters that average 1 inch high because it prevents me from adding too much to the list. I max out at eight things. If I get half of them done, it’s a good day. If I know I’ll have to go out this week for errands, I try to do it all in a single day – if I’m gonna get spun up and wrung out afterwards anyway, I may as well get the most I can out of a goodish day before I crash into oblivion for the next.
More and more things that are important to me (but not critical to survival) get sacrificed. Knowing that I’m going to be crashing for at least 24 hours every week until at least the end of the school year in order to support my son in his activities forces a radical readjustment of my schedule and my thinking of how I will plan to do other things.
Yes, it sounds like I’m whining, even though I’m trying not to.
I suppose I’m trying to give you the baseline to understand I’m not lazy.
I just can’t hold my social liquor worth a damn.