pâro and home remedies

Somewhere in the 13th hour of the workday, I hit a wall. Words were swimming on the screen. “Why can’t I ever get done?”

Defeated, I got up from my desk and headed to the shower, armed with the new lemon-sage body wash and shower gloves that Amazon had just left at my front door, the only thing I’d had to look forward to in days.
No time for anything else.

I don’t (entirely) blame my job. I’ve always struggled with boundaries. Perfectionism and anxiety and a touch of obsessive compulsion. Toss in a pandemic. Sprinkle liberally with racial unrest. Place in the pressure cooker that is public school education. Set timer to “uncertainty”, and voila!


pâro

n. the feeling that no matter what, [what] you do is always somehow wrong—as if there’s some obvious way forward that everybody else can see but you, each of them leaning back in their chair and calling out helpfully, “colder, colder, colder…”

The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows

Perhaps I could shower it off. Lemon-sage the negative energy away.

But it was when I emerged from the bathroom that I knew, all at once, that I already had all I needed.

My freshly-turned-6-year-old had set up a spa for me.

Maya’s Magical Meadow Spa

Classical music playing.

Pine-scented candles burning.

A glass of ice water garnished with cucumber.

She bowed at the waist, something she’d seen on tv, and directed me to the smoothed/over bed for my massage.

She clambered up behind me and proceeded to push and pat at my back. Gently, her tiny fingers tapped out a message just for me.

I held back tears. Just barely.

“How’d you like your massage, Mommy?”

It’s perfect.

Status

I’ve decided to get off social media for a while. I don’t know for how long. I do know that it had become a terrible time-suck and source of emotional self-flagellation. You see the posts. You read the comments. You click the links. You watch the videos. You hate everything. You “like” other things. Repeat cycle.

I want to get off this train.

I don’t trust myself anymore. 

What I hope this time and this journal writing experience will be is a return to center, to full honesty. And, if I’m honest, I don’t know that I will write every day. I know that I want to write every day. That will have to be enough.

I want to keep track of how I spend my time and what thoughts I allow to linger. Keep tabs of all that I take in. It is supposed to be a more curated life, isn’t it? Not just a whirling, floor-dropping shitstorm. I want to love life again. 

So, where do I begin?

I’m sitting at my desk, still in my robe and the pajamas I’ve had on the last 2 days. I did brush my teeth and wash my face, but other than that, no other physical maintenance. Instead, I have plopped myself down in front of my laptop and second monitor to try to “catch up” on work during these two days of school closure due to the threat of Hurricane Laura. 

She skirted by Houston without so much as a “boo”. She focused all her considerable energy on points east and north, plowing through Lake Charles, LA and the surrounding towns. Leveling them. I assume. I haven’t actually looked at much of the post-hurricane damage footage. (No social media). 

It was strange waking up this morning to a world ostensibly untouched. There had been so much news coverage, so much hurricane prep and panic buying, so much sky-watching. And…nothing. At least for us. 

There was something disappointing about it. Maybe I was looking for an excuse to not do things. Another reason to interrupt regularly scheduled programming. As if the pandemic itself, and the racial tensions and protests, and politics of re-opening schools haven’t been enough. So much upheaval. Why not throw a hurricane on it? I wanted a reason to pause and try to catch my breath. It’s so hard to justify doing that without an excuse that everyone can clearly see. 

“Hey, I need to take like a week – 6 months off because life has been too much, and I’m about to lose it” makes you look weak. Your job and the people counting on you just want you to keep doing the things. They say they care (solidarity and such), and yet…somebody needs to do the things. Also, bills.

So, I don’t take the time off. I feel too guilty. That’s why I needed the storm. It’s ridiculous, I know.  

Yet, here we are. No excuse. No pass. Just having to face the music. 

So what do I do with that?

I need to dig at this workaholic-procrastination-perfectionism thing, examine what makes me feel so damn unaccomplished all the time, so annoyed with myself, and work on that.

That’s it. 

That’s the status.