The earliest time you get home that week is around 12am, and that is on the day of the opening. You spend most days supervising the installation, making purchases around town, and calling people to make sure they do their jobs. Some days you drive home in the early evening only to have to drive back at night. And that’s how several pieces of clothing end up on your armchair, with you too tired to allow for the two/three hours it usually takes you to try to fall asleep. You take two Ambien tablets every night, shower and fall into bed, only to wake after four or five hours and repeat the cycle.
Tuesday is a lesson in adulting. You had planned to be on away on an Island but had to cancel the trip weeks earlier. You put your phone on silent even though it’s your 27th birthday — there’s work and the calls are distracting. But there’s also ice cream cake and wine and the best, who has flown in for your birthday + the opening + other sundry business. The CFF too. You are grateful for people who let you be what you need to be in the moment. Who are fine with sitting in silence. Your bicycle leans against the living room wall, reminding you how little time you’ve had to feel the wind or forget life.
Early on Saturday, you get a call and you go out without taking a shower. There’s still a lot that needs doing before 4pm. You rush back home around 2:30pm, shower, get dressed and get back in your car. An empty can of power horse joins two more on the floor mat in the passenger’s side. While you sit in traffic, you wet cotton wool with polish remover and get to cleaning your chipped nails. It’s past 3pm and the fuel scarcity has made it harder to get around quickly. You start to line your eyes and brows. You worry about not making it back in time for guests to start arriving. You play three songs on repeat: Ghosts | Laura Marling; Wonder | Emeli Sande; Hello | Adele.
You remember how the week had started with chaos.
Have you ever had to tell someone to stay away from you many times because you think they’re selfish and impact your life negatively? Yet they keep returning even though they know that this causes you distress. So this person who has first hurt you by being unthinking, tries (selfishly again) for months to take more from you — your peace, your time, a connection they miss, conversations, love or whatever. This person who can’t do a basic thing like not do something that affects you negatively, wants you to be unselfish by continuing to allow them in your life.
You don’t mind people being selfish, so long as they don’t try to take and take from others. You think people shouldn’t ask of others what they cannot give them and shouldn’t do to others what they cannot take. That should be simple, right? Apparently not. You get so tired of saying “leave me alone” and hoping they won’t ruin another week during which you need to be as stable as possible, that one night and one extra wine glass you vomit your unfiltered thoughts about them. To them.
You hate being mean to people, even when they deserve it. And it’s not even because you try to be a good person; it’s because your capacity for vindictiveness scares you so you try not to go down that path. You are really quick to apologise to people — if you don’t, it feels as though you have given yourself permission to hurt them in any way possible and that scares you. Anyway, you apologise and, in this case, reiterate that you’d just like to be left alone. It’s not that hard is it?
That was last Sunday. It is another Sunday, the day after the opening, and your flat is a right mess. Not your usual organised chaos but real chaos. You’d been too busy running around town during the week and no one was home to let the housekeeper in on the two days she came by.
It’s Monday evening and you walk in to shiny floors and fresh sheets and a table that no longer looks like a paper war zone. It makes you really happy. Instantly. Sometimes, especially when you’re trying to plan your finances, you wonder if you really need things like a housekeeper for the apartment or if you really need your assistant. Then high-pressured days or weeks show you how much they make your life better and eliminate things you would otherwise have spent time worrying about or spent time doing instead of focusing on the core of your work.
Sometimes self-care is taking time out in a crushing week to get a pedicure or it’s eliminating smaller tasks that drain you further physically and/or mentally.