Navelgazing

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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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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Six long years.

by Veronica Foale on June 23, 2015

in Navelgazing

I spend the day in bed.

A mild virus, combined with the middle of winter blues, and a shoulder injury all conspire to see me feeling shitty and getting shittier.

I spend the day in bed, a warm toddler snuggled at my back and crappy TV on my netflix. I cry, and cry some more. My shoulder hurts. My soul hurts.

Death anniversaries are always hard, but this one is hitting me harder than I expected. Maybe because I didn’t expect it. Maybe because after six years (six long years, tomorrow, six years, six years, it’s a litany over and over in my head) I expected to be okay, finally.

I am not okay, and everything is not okay.

June is hard. The puppy chews all my books, stealing them delicately from the bookshelf and shredding them while we’re out, while we’re distracted, while we’re sleeping. She pulls out the books I like most and destroys then. Roman Mythology. Alice in Wonderland. Zombie Survival Guide. They’re all dead and I am so so tired as I pick up pieces of my books from all over the floor.

It is hard enough I had to pack away most of my books to make room for business, squishing down the pleasure of reading all day, of researching and learning and writing, in order to work and make money, in order to improve our lot in life, without a puppy chewing all the favourites I lovingly left in the few remaining bookshelves which do not hold soap.

There is shredded paper everywhere and I spent the day in bed, pretending tomorrow isn’t the anniversary of anything, pretending my shoulder is not damaged, pretending everything was going to be okay.

Tomorrow will come, stay, and pass, like it does every year. Like every day before it, and every day after. I will try to distract myself, but my broken shoulder is making it hard, and I suspect I will spend the day in bed yet again.

Six years. Six years and so many missed milestones and events.

The sharp knives of grief might ease, but the missing never truly does.

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Spinning in circles

by Veronica Foale on March 29, 2015

in Life, Navelgazing

I am spinning in circles inside my house, around and around. Kitchen, office, bedroom. Kitchen, office, bedroom. I keep forgetting what I’m doing, but it’s okay, there’s always a child available to shout at me when I forget their drink/clothes/lunch.

“Make it for me, Mummy! MAKE IT!” the two year old implores as I look at her all curly haired and strangely angelic as she stomps her foot and demands a bottle. “Make it! I tired! I lay down. Make my bottle Mummy! Make it now!”

Around, and around.

No one sleeps for days, least of all me, and I am a frazzled nervous wreck. We’ve got markets on the horizon and stock is coming ready but where’s the time to pack and sticker everything when there are three children who need to be fed and clothed, and more soap needs making so we don’t fall behind.

The overwhelm is high and I’d rather just crawl into bed with a book, or netflix, both of which are ruining any productivity I may have had.

And so I spin, around and around. Was I making a cup of tea? Where is my notebook, has anyone seen my spatula, hey kids where is the puppy, god I think I microwaved a cup of tea an hour ago.

My sugar scrub refuses to thicken seven hours after I melted the blasted oils and I tweak the recipe on the run before deciding it’s probably the weather, the sunshine, the heater which has been running incessantly in my house because the eldest child is fighting with an eating disorder and spends all her time cold and getting colder.

Winter is coming, winter is coming. The rain has ice in it and the sunshine feels like a blessing from the Gods when I can stand in the sunbeams, silent and remembering to just breathe. Right before I remember the tea in the microwave and the oils in the mixer and the puppy tries to kill a chicken.

My calender is full, but we need another market because money is tight. Starting a small business is a labour of love, blood sweat tears all streaming down my face as I count the dollars and wait anxiously for tax time and the relief of bills paid and everything caught up on.

Until then I am spinning in circles, surrounded by the confetti made out of a thousand lists and chewed to pieces by a puppy and a toddler working in tandem while I look in another direction.

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