Catherine, the cappuccino machine, has been a wonderful assistant. I am limiting my intake so I don't become a twitching mess, but even with a couple of caps a day, I feel a boost in energy and focus. So grateful to have found a way to have coffee that doesn't get my gut. Today I have a little sprinkle of nutmeg on my froth, and it is delightful. School starts an hour later this morning, too. Ahhhh.
Yesterday would have been a perfect art day except for the fact that I woke up very late, and most definitely had an incoming headcold and/or RA flare up. I fought the dead-tired feeling all day, only managing to get the small piece I am making for the Quilters' Connection show auction quilted and to start backing the big pot I made last summer. Hardly a stellar day.
With RA the fatigue and pain bouts are so common I try using the "rest and rally" approach. When I "hit the wall" (and we've all hit that wall, whether you have RA or not. But with RA you are surrounded on all sides by it and sometimes seemingly hit it just by getting up and breathing.) Rather than give up completely and go to bed for an indefinite period of time, which is what your mind and body screams to do, I lay down for a short time - 30, 45, 60 minutes - and then get up and see if I've stored enough battery juice to do something. Anything. Toss in a laundry, empty the dishwasher, clean something. Often I still don't feel well enough to tackle an art project, though, and usually home stuff is needing attention first. Then, it is either back to bed for another R&R session, or I can plow through. Miserable state of being. I can completely understand why my dad spent so many of his days after the age of 50 laying in bed watching tv and moving in and out of sleep.
It is days like yesterday, when I stand surrounded by a studio filled with all the tools and supplies I will ever need to create all the ideas in my mind, that I question whether I should even bother trying. I accomplish so little these days, and feel like a person who "talks the talk" but doesn't produce the work to back it up. Literally every day I think of a new piece that I could make, a new direction to explore, a new medium to incorporate. Yet nothing happens in the studio because I can never seem to get there when the energy is available. I've considered whether this is a psychological block of some sort, as in being afraid to try new directions or being "stuck", but don't think this is the case. I *should* be happy that my hands work at all with this crap disease, and that I can get anything done despite it, but I don't. I feel like my inner expectations and external output never match up, and it is a very defeating feeling.
My good friend is writing a book right now and has been struggling with the permanent feeling of "I should be working on the book..." for a couple of years now. She HAS been working on it a lot, and it is nearing completion. She *should* be proud. Instead, she too is feeling the effects of continual stress of not doing enough every day. We discussed whether feeling this driven is part of being a woman in the age we grew up in. The message we received was "Do it! Do everything a man can do (professionally) and also be a woman! Provide for yourself and be independent! And enjoy it, dammit!"
So independent that functioning alone is the normal reality and the 24 hour day isn't ever enough to wear the many hats we've selected, with good intention, to wear. Teacher, pet mama, friend, home owner, artist, and chronic illness patient (though I didn't choose that one) hats all sit atop my single head and I feel like none fit right. Maybe if I were married it would be different -- I wouldn't be trying to do it all on my own. Maybe I have too many "children" (oops.) Maybe I need to take my physical limitations more seriously. These days, though, that isn't really an option. As single middle aged women we are also indoctrinated to "not need a man" or relationship, as saying you'd like to be in one is often seen as a sign of weakness as opposed to a genuine wish for connection with another person, which I truly believe is not a bad thing.
I am not sure where this rant is going. It seems to have accompanied the steam the frothed my cappuccino. Temporary. Within hours the teacher hat will be securely in place, the inner artist hat folded neatly away until that rare time the stars align to provide the time and health to create something, and the nagging pain of RA as I thump around school on crappy feet and legs absorbing a good percentage of my energy. I guess I should be happy I have so many hats to wear, at the end of the day, and appreciate the fact that I can still wear them. Seems like so much less than it should be. Potential is scary word. Cheers.