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Like salve on a wound

Lately when I sit down to write I don’t know what to write about.  But if I’m sitting down to write at all that’s a big deal, because lately I can barely even get myself into my writing chair.  It took me two days to write the last post.  Two. Days.

It’s agonizing.  Last month I was an addict, shooting up every chance I could.  Everything else slipped away while I showered my thoughts on the keys.  My fingernails on the keyboard sounded like machine gun fire in a tiny miniature war.  This month my fingers ache.  They hover uncertainly above the keys, each word typed tentatively, second-guessed.

Mike’s in his cave.  Did you ever read Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus?  I read it when I was sixteen.  I’ve always been interested in relationship how-to stuff.  How to make your relationship stronger.  How to communicate better with your partner.  That kind of thing.  According to that book when men are under stress, or if they’re upset about something, they need to be left alone, to sit in their proverbial cave and sort things out, uninterrupted.  I understand that.  I’m giving him space.  But women need to talk it out, women need attention, women are from Venus.  I feel shut out and alone.

We tiptoe around, offering help.  He walks the dogs and I do the dishes, he takes out the trash, I empty the litter box.  We’re overly polite.  We apologize for being in the way, for forgetting the mail, for talking.  We send little text messages throughout the day, checking in.  Making sure.  It’s as if we’re waiting for a bomb to drop, disaster, chaos.  We handle each other like sticks of dynamite.  Keep the fuse far from flame.

But at the end of the day, shaking rain from our coats, we pause.  Eye to eye.  He opens his arms and I press my face into the curve of his neck, I breathe.  He smells like home.  I press my ear to his chest and listen to his heartbeat.  Neither of us talk.  We stay like that, his hands in my hair, head to heart, hip to hip, toe to toe, until our arms ache from the embrace.  It’s the best part of the day.

Balancing Act

It’s Friday night. Mike is in his art studio [read: the corner of our living room between his bookcase of school books and my bookcase of plays, where he keeps his easel and paints set up over a tarp on the floor so he doesn’t have to worry about spilling paint. It is my favorite corner in our apartment] and I have, so far, spent my entire evening wandering aimlessly, nervously, unable to sit and write even though it is the only thing I have wanted to do all day. See, I had a schedule today. I started out my week with a precise schedule that I had written to help me manage my time. There are only a few things in life I really care to spend my time on, but there are lots of things I am obligated to spend time on. I need a schedule to help me trudge through the have-to things so I can spend more time on the want-to things.

I’m going to have to go way back to the beginning here, because you probably have no idea what I’m talking about.

Shortly after Christmas whirled past, (really? Has it really been weeks since Christmas? Because I still have a stack of un-mailed, un-written Christmas cards) I decided I was absolutely done feeling like there aren’t enough hours in the day. I finally learned how to be punctual, and oh my goodness, it feels good. Now I wanted to learn how to manage my time. So I created a schedule that includes an hour a day for yoga, an hour a day for writing, time to prepare meals and walk the dogs, time to primp, time to read, time to work, to every season, turn, turn, turn. (Name that song and I’ll give you a high-five.)  By writing out, hour by hour, all the things I want and am obligated to do in a day, I proved to myself that there really are enough hours in the day to do it all. My goals were not too steep. I decided to start living this schedule the first Monday after the New Year.

That was this past Monday. Not a single day have I managed to follow my new schedule. Monday came pretty close, except that I over-worked and by the time I came home I was so exhausted I couldn’t do anything that required moving my butt off the couch. Every day after that I over-slept in the mornings, over-worked all day, and came home too tired to move. I fell asleep in front of the television every night this week, slept terribly, and couldn’t get up in the mornings. Then when I finally found a few hours to write tonight, I spent most of them wandering aimlessly around my apartment unable to focus.

How do you do it? How do you balance work, chores, exercise, romance, and play? Because I can’t figure it out.