The COVID 19 outbreak forced me to stay home from work every other week. It was exactly what I needed.
For years my sanity had been walking a tightrope. On one end of the rope, my 40-hour work week pulled steadily and on the other, my responsibilities at home and to my family. Special doctors’ appointments for my Autistic son, school projects, broken down cars, child custody and legal issues, oh wait, the rest of us are supposed to see doctors too, and dentists. We should be eating healthier and getting more exercise.
I couldn’t allow slack on either end. I gripped my balancing pole tightly (my sense of duty) focused on staying the course, keeping it all together. I couldn’t let go of the pole. The rope must stay tight.
About once every three months, I would hit a breaking point and for maybe one hour, I would let everything go and fall in a slump on the floor heaving with deep sobs and tears. My husband would have to patiently listen to my complaints and allow me to stain his shirt with tears. He would hear these phrases often enough to be able to recite them with me by now.
“I just don’t have time to think about anything I want to think about. Every moment is filled with thinking about what other people need me to think about.”
“There just isn’t enough time in a day!”
“I just want to do something that makes me feel human.”
Humans are by nature, curious beings. We want to explore and discover new things or ideas. I love reading books and writing what I think about them.
Eventually the release of crying and the uplifting words of my husband would set me back on track again. Back to the train track. Chugging along.
Are the kids exercising enough?
Did you feed them healthy food?
You didn’t get your 8 hours in? Work longer.
You didn’t get the promotion? Work harder.
Be a machine.
No time to be human.
I tried to throw as much responsibility as I could to the hands of others to make room for myself. I ordered our groceries online so that I didn’t have to take the kids to the store. It seemed as though we would end up going at least 3 nights a week. Someone forgot something. We ran out of milk. There was that thing they needed for school.
I hired a cleaning service. Maybe I could free up some weekend time by doing so.
Both of those helped. But it wasn’t enough.
For the first few weeks I stayed home from work due to the COVID outbreak, I caught up on tasks that had been nagging me, like little trolls dancing around my feet shouting “Pick me! Pick me!” with one hand frantically waving for my attention at any moment it wasn’t already taken. The small garden had been neglected. There was that jar for coffee beans on the kitchen counter that hadn’t been washed in… I didn’t want to think about it. There were still a few holiday decorations that had not been put away.
There it was all done. Now… what do I want to do? What do I want to think about.
Then I saw this...
With this open time
You do not have to write the next bestselling novel
You do not have to get in the best shape of your life
You do not have to start that podcast
What you can do instead is observe this pause as an opportunity
The same systems we see crumbling in society
Are being called to crumble in us individually
The systems that taught us we are machines
That live to produce & we are disposable if we are not doing so
The systems that taught us that monetary gain takes priority over humanity
The systems that create our insecurities then capitalize off of them
What if we became curious with this free time
And had no agenda other than to experience being?
What if you created art for the sake of creating?
What if you allowed yourself to rest and cry and laugh
And play and get curious about whatever arises in you?
What if our true purpose is in this space?
As if mother nature is saying: We can no longer carry on this way. The time is now – I am reminding you who you are.
Will you remember?
I laid in bed this morning, just thinking, for a couple of hours. There was a lot of clutter in my brain to filter through as well. I decided to get up and read a book. I touched base with friends. I hadn’t had time for friends since starting full time work.
I needed the job to get out of a bad marriage. Working full time and being a mother wasn’t originally my goal. I have been working for almost 8 years now. I haven’t had time for friends. I haven’t just sat to watch and listen to the rain… or birds… or night noises… in eight years.
Where is the humanity? Where is my humanity?
I have something to offer the world, the rest of humanity. Something more than feeding mouths, doing chores, keeping the bank account in the green. Writing is my first step to finding what that may be.
In addition to this blog, I have been working on a memoir about finding my way out of and abusive and controlling Christian church and marraige. You can learn more about "Trust & Obey" on the book release page.
The "Explore Ideas" page hosts my blog covering books and thoughts on society and humanity on from a different perspective. Why do we do things the way we do now?And what should we be doing? What is best for humanity?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kate Smith currently lives in the Washington D.C Metro area with her new, wonderfully loving and supportive husband where she has a successful government career.
Two of her children live at home with her and two of her children are grown
and starting their own adventures. Kate holds a Master's degree
and hopes to pursue a career in writing.