Running on Empty

The last drops of hair spray in the bottle. The two teaspoons of milk but you need a tablespoon. The I don’t think I have enough gas to make it to the gas station so I’m just going to coast down the hill in neutral and cross my fingers that I make it oh please oh please oh please.

I’m feeling stretched thin; like the hairtie that’s barely any elastic but it’s the only tie you have so you twist it up anyway and pray your hair stays kind of thin. I’ve read the platitudes. “You can’t drink from an empty cup.” or “You have to secure your own oxygen mask before you can help others.” Those sound wonderful, but words won’t fulfill my responsibilities. Memes don’t make phone calls and quotes can’t bake cakes.

I feel guilty for complaining. My life is rich and full. However, it feels like everyone needed something this last month. I managed, but now I need some November Me Time. I’m an open wound that’s trying to heal but someone needs that band-aid so here you go. No really, take it, I’ll be fine. (But I’m not. I’m kind of sore right now.)

I’ve lived under the impression that I’m not allowed to be tired or frustrated or finished. I have a lot of toppers in my life – the kind of people who will one-up your statement as soon as you try to express something that’s been on your mind. This leads to me not sharing what’s really bothering me, or allowing myself to put down the load it feels like I’m carrying alone. I know I’m allowed to have and own my feelings; my surroundings make it burdensome.

Trust me, I know I’m not alone. I have a support system and they are wonderful. I have everything I need and I appreciate what I have. I’m not complaining about anything important even though we’re all allowed to sometimes. I know I don’t need to explain why the cookies pissed me off. (They were SO EXPENSIVE. Who wants to pay a dollar for a freakin cookie?) I know what I’m experiencing is a result of things that could be categorized in “first world problems”. Acknowledging this doesn’t make my cup any fuller or my fat pants stretch any farther.

There are plenty of things I know will help. I love Yoga, but I’m tired. I like to crochet, but after dinner all I want to do is sleep. I have a stack of books I’ve been itching to read, but as soon as I open one, my eyes start to shut. I know what I need to do, I just have to do it.

But it’s ok to complain sometimes. This was my chance and I took it. So often when someone just wants to get something off their chest, we are quick to offer advice or a fix. I don’t want advice. I just wanted to vent. I’m tired. I’ll be back on my feet soon because I have to be. Thanksgiving isn’t going to Thank itself and Christmas with all the extra pressure is right around the corner. This was an important reminder to myself to feel what you’re feeling in the moment, ride the wave, and let it go. I won’t be permanently tired. This too shall pass. I’ll be full up again in no time, and I’ll be extra aware of my response when someone needs me to listen. I’ll look for the clues that tell me they just wanted me to hold something for them for a little while, or if they need me to carry it for them.

But first, I’m going to take a nap.

Karen Padden

Karen, Queen of the Paddens and first of her name. Teacher, Baker, Petter of Cats, Multiple Sneezer and Crocheter of Wubbies. Believes in kindness, always.

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