For the last couple of days, I have felt like utter crap. Vaguely queasy stomach upset, a chronic never-goes-away-entirely headache, neck muscles seized up like rebar (which leaves me alternating between hot and cold compresses, whichever feels better at the moment), and to add insult to injury, the plantar fasciitis I developed during my misguided efforts at completing a triathlon, has flared up again. For the past few mornings, I’ve crawled out of bed, ignoring the excited spinning and barking of the German Shepherd, and hobbled down the hallway like an old woman. The excitement level of the dog, in anticipation of breakfast, is almost too much to bear and I frequently end up bellowing at him to shut up. Meanwhile, he thunders down the hall herding the cats into the laundry room, where he knows they eat breakfast. He does this because this is how things are done at my house. This is the routine.
Recently, however, there have been some mornings when I haven’t wanted to get up at all. Fortunately, animals don’t allow you to curl up in bed and say ‘screw it, I’m done.’
I know that a good bit of why I am feeling crummy at the moment is because I haven’t been very strict with watching what I eat. As in, I haven’t made an effort at all. Work has been very stressful and I’ve resorted to eating on the fly–food that usually disagrees with me, and far too much candy. Yes, I know that women resort to candy when stressed. If I planned my meals a bit better, and packed more nutritious things to take with me, I’d probably have a little more willpower to resist the pounds of bite-sized candy my co-workers have tucked all over the building. However, when you are working flat out, putting out fires left and right all morning, never a moment to sit down at the computer and check out LOL Cats or George Takei (Hey, they are my mood boosters! I *need* them at work), eating a sandwich standing up while you return phone calls or check the IV fluid rate on the sick puppy…yeah, candy seems like the way to keep going. When every place I work has its version of the candy/snack stash, then eating that apple instead of the candy is hard to do. Especially, as a friend recently pointed out, since carbs are portable and have a long shelf life without spoilage.
The broken window on the car hasn’t helped. I can drive it short distances, but the exhaust comes in so badly, even with all the windows down, that I don’t think it is very safe. So, given the fact that the funky odor in the fridge stemmed from the rotting bag of greens in the salad drawer, I think it is safe to say that for the last couple of days, I’ve been living off tiny boxes of Fruit Loops purchased from the local Mini-Mart within walking distance.
This morning, after I took a handful of aspirin and walked out the fasciitis to the point that it wasn’t killing me anymore, I found myself semi-seriously making plans not to see the boyfriend for the next six weeks–time in which I would drag my ass back to the pool, the hiking trials, the stable, and get this damned 20 pounds off of me. When I realized I was not entirely kidding, it was a bit of a shock. Was I really contemplating putting my life on hold until I got my weight down to a level I could tolerate? That is how bad I feel about myself right now. So bad that I don’t want to be around the person I love most in this world until I’m not so disgusting to myself anymore.
While waiting for the glass guys to come and repair the window on my car this morning, I spent a little time on the internet. I came across two articles that made me sit up and take notice. The first was titled The Only Advice A Writer Needs. You should read it–it’s an excellent article that addresses some things I’ve been feeling for a while now–that my compulsion to check out/subscribe to/purchase information to help me become noticed as a writer is not nearly as important as writing the next story. I’ve even blogged on this subject before, but somehow in the last year, it has become easier to focus on the smaller tasks of self-promotion (which I still loathe) and networking (which can be fun but distracting) than on writing. Spinning the next tale has gotten hard lately. It used to be easy. It used to be fun. Now it is something I have to pull from within me. I think the solution lies within me as well. Let go of the idea that maybe, just maybe, writing stories will make my life easier. Go back to doing it because it was the best part of the day.
Shortly after that, I read this post by Kristen Lamb. What struck me the most (aside from the airline travel horror stories) was the the story she related about a stranger asking what kind of people lived in a certain town. Read it on her website–but the gist of the story is that you’ll find people to be the way you believe them to be–and this made me blink and think about the kinds of things I’ve been posting lately. ‘Gloom, despair, and agony on me’ kinds of things. Deep, dark depression, excessive misery.
“You reap what you shall sow” never made more sense to me.
Sure, I’ve never been one for quantum mysticism. That ‘believe and it will come’ stuff of Field of Dreams, or The Secret, or The Power of Positive Thinking. I’ve always thought that people had taken a certain amount of truth (that you tend to create the reality that supports your mind-world-view) and filled it with a lot of crap to sell books and movies. But Lamb’s post made me wonder if I haven’t been peopling my little corner of the world with Eeyore viewpoints just like mine. So yeah, something else to work on.
Which made me realize that I’m the only one that can fix these problems. The weight gain, the feeling crappy because I don’t take care of myself, the lack of energy to enjoy my life and the things that I love. It won’t be easy, either. For far too long, I’ve been pointing to the stress of my daily life as my excuse for not addressing these issues, but in fact, indulging myself even further. Realizing that you’re on the wrong road doesn’t get better by staying on it. Continuing down the same road, even when you know you need to turn around, is stupid. You shouldn’t keep going in the wrong direction in the hopes you’ll eventually find the way home. So yeah, I have my work cut out for me.
It means that while I will still post and promote and network, I will have to get smarter about it. Set a timer–allot myself so much time to check Facebook and my other social feeds and then move on to the main business of the day–the current/next story. Engage in conversations but remember most of them will keep until the next time slot available–I don’t have to answer every email when it hits my in-box. Go through my digests and feeds and eliminate the ones I never read. Pare everything down to the core and get back to work. Stop comparing myself to others. There is only one me. No one else can tell the story I have to tell in the exact same manner.
Write the next story.
Shut up and write.
Do it for myself and no one else because the stories are clamoring to be told.
Just do it.
I’ve got book reviews, blog hops, and promotional tours coming up in the next few weeks. But today, I have a story to write.