Welcome to 2018 I am exhausted already

by Veronica Foale on February 20, 2018

in Navelgazing

I need to bake. This is what my life is lately, I work and I bake, and I work some more. Soap, cookies, soap again. Muscle rub, cake, biscuits, lip balm. Around and around and I am never still, not even when my body isn’t moving, because my head spins spins spins.

Stop.

I don’t know if it’s my mental health playing up, or my physical health, but I am discombomulated. Stretched too thin and feeling all of this energy leaking out out out and nothing coming in to recharge me. I am stressed and tired, and my bones slide around under my skin, refusing to stay in place. My eyes prickle with tears and exhaustion and probably hormones, but there are so many feeeeelings and who cares why they’re happening, I just wish they’d stop escaping from my eyes.

My children are back at school and remarkably, this increases my work load because now there’s no excuse to stop and sit. To watch a movie with them, popcorn and two hours with my brain turned off.

I never would have believed it, five years ago, mother to very small people, school makes more work, not less. You’d think children out of the house for eight hours a day would be peaceful, but there’s no peace. Just a spin spin spin in circles, when your body can’t keep up with the to-do list and you feel the weight of waiting for them pressing down on you.

I need to bake, because the cake squares in the freezer are running low, and we’ve no sweet biscuits left, and I put my foot down. No more muesli bars to languish in a lunchbox with one bite removed. No more bought treats. I am done with the waste and the whining and you can make your own bloody lunchboxes from now on (except you, yes I know you’re too little and no, I will still make your sandwiches ever day even when you don’t eat them oh my god) .

BREATHE. And bake.

I worked on Sunday, at a private event. Stand there, smile, make people feel good. I enjoy it, I do, but it’s so much work. There’s no time for breathing, in between hurried bites of sandwich and making sure you’re looking socially acceptable and pleasant for every customer ever. They just appear in front of you, and my mouth is full of sandwich crusts and coughing and drink and breeeeathe.

“Hi, how are you today? Good! Are you having a good day? Enjoying Tasmania? Is this your first time here?”

I love this, trust me, I really do. Being the point of contact, smiling, engaging with people. I like people. They’re interesting, and I like talking to them.

But two days later I’m still playing recovery. There’s nothing of me left. Spread too thin and washed too well. The car is still full of market boxes needing unpacking and the job is beyond me. I need a shower, and I’m waiting on the builder, and we need to fill out Official Forms and submit them back to the surveyor, start dates, end dates, builder numbers, do we need to apply to be owner builders, or is our favourite local contractor registered for us? No one knows until I can ask him.  Building makes me feel stupid, like I’m three steps behind everyone, and they’re all speaking a language I don’t understand, my breasts getting in the way of my brain. Apparently.

I am counting down the hours. If I start baking now, I have four hours until my children are home, getting off the bus in a swirl of complaints and discussions, X said Y and Z needs X and K wants Z and oh my god, child, breathe. With me now, breathe. Unpack lunchboxes, dirty clothes in to be washed, clean clothes ready for doing all of this over again tomorrow. Have a snack, not too much, I’m cooking dinner, seriously, stop eating marshmallows, god, what is for dinner even.

Spin.

Spin.

Spin.

It will be okay. I will recover, and smile, and ask people if this is their first time in Tasmania. I will liase with customers, and make beautiful pretty things, and I will breathe breathe breath again.

But right now, I am tired. Bone tired. Emotional tired.

Too much of everyone else and not enough of me. I need things to just be easy for a time.

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The most depressing day of the year

by Veronica Foale on January 16, 2018

in Navelgazing

January 15th is meant to be the most depressing day of the year and I think, maybe not? Maybe not in the Southern Hemisphere, where we have light long lazy days, summer and water filled, warmth and beauty. When our gardens are full, and if there’s snow on the horizon, it is confused snow, and hilarious in its ridiculousness.

Yesterday was the 15th, the most depressing day of the year for my northest northern friends, and yet, there I was, with a garden and a book, and summer sunshine. My children are old enough to walk to the creek alone, and explore. They found wild-gone cherry plum trees dripping with fruit and picked buckets full. Apple trees fruiting in readiness for Autumn, and a space where platypus play.

My tomatoes are green, but changing, my weather is Tasmanian-confused, but the days are warm. Mostly.

I love this time of year, where even if my heart is heavy, then I know it’s a chemical reaction of exhaustion and school holidays grinding me down to bone and dust and dirt. When I just need five godforsaken minutes of silence and stop talking at me please.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve done summer depression and boy it is the worst, but it isn’t a day or a date, it’s oxygen refusing to fill your lungs and a desire for everything to just stop and let you off this stupid rollercoaster ride of broken brains and broken hearts. Amongst other things.

And I will never forget how terrible awful it was, to be stricken with PND and be unable to even appreciate the smallest things, like how my baby probably wasn’t dying, how the summer paddocks smell at dawn, how the light paints the hills in shades of purple and blue when the sun goes down.

(Spoiler: My baby wasn’t dying, which was good.)

I don’t know. It just seems so dismissive to mark a single day of the calendar as the most depressing day of the year and call it good, call it even, call it done, like that’s it, you can’t feel any worse than you do on the 15th of January, off you go, bootstraps pulled up. Suck it up sweetheart, it’s the 16th now, you’re all good, move on.

Maybe I’m overthinking this.

Ask me again how I feel on the 15th of July. Maybe I’ll have changed my tune.

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The same old song

by Veronica Foale on January 10, 2018

in Uncategorized

I have almost forgotten how to do this. Sit down at the computer and bleed from your fingertips.

I read through my archives (briefly) and I’ve been singing this same song for three years now. Exhaustion, kids, business, soap, work. Mental health (up and down) physical health (down and up). Round and round we go, with the chorus playing the same melody over and over.

We’ve got foster kittens, and kittens of our own. My work room and desk are full of broken soap display ladders. There is music playing to drown out the sound of school holidays, which sounds remarkably like TV and whining. One child is sick in bed, and when I tried to read a book earlier the dog vomited everywhere, which is pretty much how my days go now.

Who has time to be introspective and bleed bleed bleed all over the screen.

But oh my soul hurts. I’m like an old ballerina, sadly telling everyone she used to be beautiful, used to be amazing.

I used to be amazing.

I used to write and drip emotion and now I’m hiding in the cracks as all around me the chaos reigns and I try to remember how to pick this back up again.

 

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Pining for sunshine

by Veronica Foale on June 14, 2017

in Life

It has been a long week. Long like I’m moving through treacle and the tired has hit me. Slammed down, there’s a weight in my shoulders. My feet are heavy with the kind of bone tired you only feel in winter, when the temperatures stay low and you wake in the morning with the world frozen solid. Winter white and sunrise through the fog. It’s beautiful but you’ll freeze to death watching it. Or maybe you won’t, but I might.

We went away for a big market in St Helens, and it was amazing and exhausting and brilliant and it nearly killed me, but I’m still going to do it again next year, because fuck it. What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger, right? Or maybe it makes me bendier, but hey, who’s counting that part anyway. We chatted to customers, both returning and new. I got to rave about my products, because I honestly love what I do, even when the cold is in my bones and I am hurting, I love how my soap smells, and how the hand cream feels, and how I feel when I share that with people. I love brightening people’s days, knowing that something I made with my two hands can make them happy, even if it’s only a little bit of happiness. It all counts, adds up, means something. To me at least.

Winter is in my bones, and it’s June again, which is always a month of remembering, of hospital rooms and death and funerals. Nine years on, you’d think it would be better, but it’s only different. Some things stay with you, like the trauma passed down through our DNA, making its mark on us all years later. Muddy boots on white carpet, you can clean it up, but you’ll never erase the memory of what happened. Nothing is ever gone, which is both blessing and curse really, love and loss, light and frost, the strength you get from putting one foot in front of the other.

My children are sick, and so there’s the incessant whining of “Muuuuum! I’m huuuuungry!” from the smallest one, and it’s inside my head. I hear it when I’m sleeping and it makes my shoulders bunch, because you. just. ate. five. fucking. minutes. ago. and if you’re hungry, maybe eat your damn crusts, and have a glass of water, and you can get your own yogurt out of the fridge, there is a whole fruit bowl available, why can’t you make your own sandwiches yet?

Then I feel ungrateful, because I am so lucky to have these small fragile creatures relying on me, but five minutes without needing me and get your own spoon, is it too much to ask? Really? I am not your slave, pick up your own toys, come and get your sandwich I am not a waitress and fortheloveofgodstopfuckingwhining.

Four is an interesting age, and it’s not my favourite, but it’s not my favourite in a slightly better way than 18 months old was not my favourite. Maybe. I’m not certain. So much of babyhood is foggy and lost now.

I am tired. Worn down and worn out.

[“Mum, I need a drink.”

“You can reach the tap, go and do it yourself!”

Heavy sigh. Huff. Stomp.]

And I remember this feeling from last year, but each year is a little worse, as I get a little older, as my collagen fails a little bit more, and I hold out hope for a short winter and the return of warm sunlight. The solstice is a week away and I am pining for the sun, for the light, for the warm.

I have filled my house with seedlings, in hope and new beginnings, in the germs of new life. I am hoping it helps to watch peas twine towards my roof and parsley grow wild on my kitchen bench.

We’re so close to the solstice tipping point I can taste it, as we slide down into the darkest bit of winter, the coldest bit, the hardest bit. August drags, but not in the same way June does.

One week left.

 

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Writing as self indulgence

by Veronica Foale on March 11, 2017

in Navelgazing

I stopped writing, and I have a thousand excuses for why I stopped, but none of them hold any weight anymore. Not when the words press down on me because I’ve lost the habit of dropping everything here (or there).

There’s no quiet inside my head any more. No space, no peace.

My youngest baby started school /where does the time go/ and here we sit, with a pile of school clothes to wash, and market boxes to pack neverending. Soap piles up everywhere, along with paperwork, and wholesale clients, and joy and I love it. I love bringing something tangible to people’s lives, something real, with the power to make them smile.

But.

I miss writing.

(So do it more, you idiot, just start again)

My children grew up. The mummyblogging died in a haze of advertorials and sponsored trips. I was tired, so so tired. Tired of justifying myself, of the side-eyed-glances at the school gates, of talking about my feelings. I just wanted to write without having to mention it ever again. Cone of silence. I don’t want to talk about my latest blog post, jesus christ, I wrote it, you read it, isn’t that enough?

But no, it was never enough. Everyone wants more. People want to know why you don’t mention anxiety/dislocating joints/pain in public, and it’s like, I have to live this. I don’t want to rehash it over and over. I just want to send things out into the ether and have them disappear. A weight off my shoulders. Gone.

“I didn’t know you felt like that.”

I didn’t know I felt like that until I typed it out and there it was.

This then, is the damage done when you write under your own name. When there’s nowhere to hide. When you just stop instead of finding a new tribe. The RSS feeds die and no one knows you exist anymore. When there’s too much criticism and not enough acceptance. When your children grow up and can’t be fodder for the stories anymore.

This is what happens.

The odd dichotomy of wanting to be listened to, and wanting to fade away into silence under the weight of everything I can’t talk about any more. Stories which aren’t mine. Stories which are.

I used to be funny and poignant and sad. Now I’m just tired and anxious, buried under a stack of paperwork and a need to make something real.

Who am I? What do I even want.

God. So self indulgent. Yet here I am still.

Is there anyone out there anymore?

 

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