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Donnelle's World

LJ Idol Week 38: Open topic

LJ Idol Week 38: Open topic

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Me 2015
My insides are made of fear and inadequacy. I bolster the walls with chocolate, but sometimes they leak. Tiredness wears them down; frustration and hormones wash away at the foundations. I plaster on a facade of competence, slapping flaking layers on top of flaking layers, keeping it together.

In the towering mess, my creativity lives in the cellar. To get to it, I have to scale the battlements, fight my way down through hordes of slavering self-doubts, and fish around frantically through a tiny grate, hoping to find something, anything to write about. It's exhausting. It often takes an emotional breakdown, and at least three glasses of gin.

Week, after week, after week.

I tried to, this week. I couldn't even get past the battlements. My facade crumbled, and took the walls with it. I didn't just leak; I flooded my entire world. I gushed fear and anger and self-loathing. I spilled a history of self-sabotage. I drowned in exhaustion.

Glub. My daughter was still awake two hours past her bedtime, again, because she doesn't know how to go to sleep without her thumb in her mouth, and she has to stop sucking her thumb. She spent every moment of the week throwing tantrums, from the moment she woke up, until she finally fell asleep in exhaustion. Every moment. She's hurting, and unsure, and doesn't know how to regulate her emotions without that comfort.

Glub. My eldest son's drama teacher emailed me. She wants to kick him out of the class because another parent complained about him being off-task. I was distraught, sobbing in the bathroom at work, until I realised that it was her responsibility to deal with it before it got to that point. She doesn't like him, and that made me cry all over again.

Glub. My youngest son wanted to wear the dress his sister gave him to school. I worried about him all day, though he was of course fine, filled with a self-possession and confidence that I don't understand, but cherish beyond words.

I wanted to quit. That's that self-sabotage again. I'm not good enough to do anything well, so if it looks like I might do something well, it's time to stop. I said I didn't care, but of course that was a lie.

My champions stood around me. They threw me a line, again and again: you can do this, you're too hard on yourself, it'll be okay.

And I ignored them. Ugly and weeping, I floundered around in the swamp, my nice familiar swamp.

They threw me more lines, and more and more, until it didn't matter that I wasn't catching them. They filled the water until I was pushed out onto dry land, whether I wanted to or not.

Then my champions stood me up, shaky and exhausted, and started to rebuild my walls. There's not much there yet; a few stones gathered in a circle. In the centre is that rusty grate. Maybe my creativity is there, waterlogged, drowned and shriveled. Maybe it washed away. Maybe it found a cranny to take root, and will soon spring forth in an explosion of growth.

But this week I'm too frail to check.
  • My champion is octavia_blue, who is one of the people who has stood me back up repeatedly over the last few days. Her entry is here: http://octavia-blue.livejournal.com/442.html

    The rest of you know who you are, and I hope you know how deeply it is appreciated.
  • This was extremely difficult to read. I am worried about you. Your life is FULL with so many things and most of those things are AMAZING things. It sounds as though you're in a low spot and hormones don't help, but the added stresses don't help if they can't be dealt with or relieved. I hope you find relief soon.

    You obviously are a writer. This is a medium that calls to you, speaks to you, and that you have a voice to answer with. Don't be so hard on yourself. Writing is a gift, but it is a skill. A learned and practiced skill and those who become great work at it constantly. Most writer write in a vacuum...Idol can be misleading insomuch as the amount of feedback that it garners. You must write for yourself first, practice your art, take notes when you're not writing, sign up for workshops, read read read, and don't let yourself get stretched thin over things that are out of your control.

    And cherish these years. They fly.

    • I'm okay - just too tired to be able to write. This week is not so bad. Thanks for your kind words, though I'm not sure I will do any more writing once Idol is over one way or another!
      • Glad this week is better.

        Sorry to hear you feel that way about writing. :( I'm not sure why it's so hard on you - is it the writing or the competitive aspect which is making you so on edge? Do you consider yourself a competitive person?
        • Me, competitive? Never. *coughcough*

          It's just the relentless deadlines. It's hard for me to let go of worrying about all the other things I should be doing (and there's a lot - house inspection coming up soon) enough to get in a place to be creative.

          Or sleep, for that matter...
  • I'm halfway across the world and I feel for you. Make sure you don't take on too much. There's no rule where you have to do everything, be everything, all you have to do is love them.

    This piece was a plea for help and an incredible metamorphosis happened. It was glorious.

    • Taking on too much is pretty much who I am. Mostly I manage. Sometimes I break. *shrug*

      I get it from my mother, who works more than full-time as a teacher (in the school's first e-learning classroom), plays bass clarinet and bari sax in two bands, goes hiking / biking / gym / swimming and last year climbed Mt Kilimanjaro a few days after completing a half-marathon through a safari park at the age of 62.

      • Yes... but did she do that when she had you lot at home with her? LOL

        Just take care of you too, ok. I take on more than my ffair share also, so it's pretty much a pot/kettle situation. :)
        • Haha, no, that all came along after we left. She only started doing any exercise things about 8 years ago, and music was about 12 years ago.
  • Oh my goodness.

    You're too hard on yourself. You do such an amazing job here at Idol. You comment on everyone and you're brave and honest enough to leave concrit, while turning out pieces of your own, WHILE being a parent in the real world. You're awesome. Never forget.

    (Also, your eldest son's drama teacher sounds like a prick).

    • I've never been awesome, and I don't intend to start at this advanced age! :P

      She kicked him out of the drama production last year, which I went along with because he was exhausted by the up to 12 hours of rehearsals a week. Yes, he can be intense, and disruptive, but there is no way she should have let it get so bad that someone complained about him. She's young and I think she just doesn't know how to deal with kids who are outside her expectations.

      But she can damn well deal with it an hour a week in a class that we have paid for.

      I have told her that if he's disruptive, give one reminder, and then next time just ask him to sit at the side quietly until he's ready to work with the group. Even if he sulks all session, that's still a lesson for him. He'll do better the next week.

      I hope it works.
  • This was raw and wonderful and I too like to "bolster my walls with chocolate," which isn't always a good thing for a diabetic, but it is what it is. You've got lots of folks rooting for you, and I just want you to know that I'm one of them. *hugs*
  • Wow, this almost felt too personal to read. I hope your walls are back up and strong soon!
    • Getting there.

      A weekend of mojitos and reading (and the kids getting along for once) helped :)
  • At the risk of sounding really flippant, you did at least get a good entry out of your pain. And boy is it painful. The frustration and exhaustion really flow out of this piece--so much so that I feel exhausted, and I don't even have children or a tuba.
    • Thanks. It got done in 20 minutes on the last morning before I went to work, in absolute desperation (part of the problem with the deadline being at 2 or 3pm my time). I... just had nothing, otherwise.

      I'm scared about this week. But it will be what it will be.
  • Wow! Sorry you had such a rough week! You write about it in a very evocative way.
  • This is so deeply honest and raw. It's told in such a beautiful way. I agree with bleodswean's comment--don't be so hard on yourself. You've got so much to bring to the table and it's a pleasure each time you share.
  • i've thoroughly enjoyed everything of yours i've read for lj idol - because seriously, you're really good and so many of your entries are really inventive and interesting in their interpretations of the prompts - and i'm so sorry it's so hard for you. altho you have a lot going on! and it's impressive that you can write as well as you do, as often as you do, with everything else in your life. plus, as crisp_sobriety pointed out, you take the time to not just comment on everyone else's entries but also offer some gentle critique. you definitely deserve some chocolate.
    • Thank you - I really appreciate that.

      I think I'm chocolate deficient. I've been trying to eat much better since the New Year, and exercise more, and arrgh it's just all more stuff to worry about. Chocolate!
  • until I realised that it was her responsibility to deal with it before it got to that point. She doesn't like him, and that made me cry all over again.
    I know why that's unsettling. As a parent, you want everyone to like your children-- more than you've ever wanted everyone to like _you_. That she used the excuse of another parent's complaint to try to pull the plug on your son is even more cowardly.

    I know you went back to work, after a long period at home with the kids, during Idol, and I'm sure much of this has felt like drowning. It hasn't come through in your work, until this piece, but I can completely understand why it has felt that way. I hope things begin looking up, and grow a little easier for all of you.
    • Thank you so much. We're still building our routines - seemingly simple things like when Daddy picks them after school, their shoes have to go there and any notices have to go here, to stop mornings being madness. It's hard. Kids are hard. Adulthood is hard. Blargh. We'll get there.
  • Very heartfelt and full of an energy that tells me that you aren't content to simply be despondent; I see you moving forward despite the oncoming arrows. And you are to be commended for that! An excellent way to literally make something of nothing, and a well-written something at that.

    As you know, I empathize entirely, as I had to push past a hundred family/school/work problems to get my story cranked out barely on time myself. Adulthood blows sometimes. :)
    • Adulthood blows sometimes.



      I know this is temporary; I went through much worse with PND after both my eldest and the twins. That experience gives you a bit more perspective. One of my biggest triggers is lack of sleep, and with everything I've been juggling (plus hubby having a cold and therefore snoring worse than usual) my sleep debt has been building. I'm consciously trying to catch up, though sometimes it feels like just another entry on my "To Do" list (which I then lie awake worrying about...)
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