Over the last six years of my life, I’ve noticed a dismaying pattern (well ok, the pattern itself is probably par; what’s dismaying is that I haven’t any intentions of meandering out of it): I will mope, and roll around in my mopey soup, for a period of time (weeks, months, a year), inch my way out, and then Burst with the Fiery Fierceness of Change for a probably different length of time (weeks, months, a few years), burn the fuck out, and be flat on my ass in mope soup without remembering how I got there.
I wish I had any sort of wisdom about this.
The truth is that I don’t and am actually both surprised and proud that I noticed I had a pattern at all. I suppose that what with having a chronic disease, being a goddamn classical musician, living in the Deathcrack, and rarely having any sense of security in my life (most of this is due to my own barrel of ridiculousness – this last feature is not meant to passively assign blame anywhere), it could be viewed as fairly predictable that I would frequent mope soup. But if those things were the reason(s) I frequent the area so routinely, then it would also stand to reason that I wouldn’t have much incentive to leave it, as am still: insisting that music trumps everything, saddled with a befucked immune system, and wedged in the Deathcrack with a half-cocked conception of what real security should be.
Thusly, I attribute my plight [pattern] to my character, the trademarks of which are as follows: I am vaguely obsessive compulsive in that I latch on to random procedures and ideas and then create all sorts of shenanigans about them, stubborn, prone to extreme emotions and drastic conclusions, and over-imaginative to the point of self induced lunacy.
Six years ago, my diabetes was horribly controlled (fun times, more on that elsewhere), my attitude towards music was relentlessly bitter, and I genuinely disliked most people. It was a pretty solid burnout. I realized (all my endings to burnout usually start with some tutti-fruity lightbulb moment) various things about how lucky I was/am, decided to embrace only the amazing in my life, and proceeded to do so. In under a year, I’d gotten my sugars remarkably stable, dropped 50lbs, established a steady circle of friends who eventually became my chosen family, and adjusted my feelings towards making music professionally. Of course, four years later, I spiraled right back into burnout, and had to do the same thing (well, it was 10lbs this time, but still) all over again. If I wasn’t Sumatra personified, I’m pretty sure that something else could be my lot. If I one day find some hidden facet to my insides that enables me to possibly have some other lot instead, that will be fantastic, and I will write about it, and rejoice with much alcohol.
As it happens, this entry finds me at the very bottom –but still beginning!- of another climb towards Not a Jiggly Puddle of Whine. The only deep thought I have about any of it is: one fucking step at a time, but do please set yourself a schedule.
Burnout residents avoid schedules, as they are the root of all evil [productivity]. Goals aren’t even threatening, because without a schedule, the mere idea of one is simply humorous and nothing more. So the only two things that get me off my happily slacking ass are daily (maybe weekly) schedules and One Step. Schedule in the sense that there is a loose but still binding arrangement of events that must happen by a certain time; not extra-achievement oriented. Work is a good example of a schedule item. Running errands and paying bills are good schedule items, too. And by One Step, I actually mean One Fucking Step. Like, today your job is to eat a salad. Not kidding. I do the one step, and it counts as a good day. Even if I stall like a jackass till 10pm that night, if I eat the salad, my day is a success. The next day, I take that same step. I take that step until the step becomes habit, and then I take another step (so, one day, I’ll eat a salad, and workout…). It is a Very Slow Process. But every time I’ve tried to go two or three steps at a time, I fall immediately, further, faster, and have to start over more frequently and for even dumber reasons.
Of course, the One Step is probably harder because I’m fucking 33. Which means, I can’t just skip out on work whenever I feel like it (as a freelance musician, that would actually mean not eating or getting medical things for a good chunk of time- not to mention not getting hired again YAY) in order to more efficiently safeguard against future burnouts. So all the things in life that trigger the burnouts (not cause – we’ve already assessed that I am the cause… with a bajillion triggers) keep happening, whether it’s a good day, bad day, come near me and I will eat your face day, or some in betweenish quality day that feels like it doesn’t deserve any steps, in any direction, at all.
Regardless, today was a 2 Step day. I ate celery and worked out. Never mind that practice was negligible, that I cooked nothing, ate way too much cheese, felt borderline sick all morning, and taught my poor students in a disorganized and chaotic fashion. I did my two steps, and I did them all the while absolutely and fervently not wanting to do either. One of my teachers used to tell me that the best time to practice was when I didn’t want to. He probably figured that I never wanted to practice, and was just covering all his bases by saying that. He was right. He was right about everything, but he was so crucially right about that: when you force yourself to complete a task while everything in you resists, you are conquering the part of you that wants to stay the same. And I’m pretty sure that staying the same is not only fear based and boring, but also what eventually kills your soul. So yeah, today was a 2 Step day, and now I get to go to bed smiling about myself. GLOAT!