Never Can Tell


Work. Not housework or busy work, but real honest to god work where someone else is depending on you doing a good job. I slipped back into that world for a few days doing these powerpoint presentations for my teacher. It’s easy for me to remember the pressure of a job, the office politics, the day to day sameness that made me lose my mind (kidding; it was already lost when I began).

What I forgot was the satisfaction of doing a good job. The pleasure centers that get activated in my brain when someone tells me thanks and that I’ve done great work. The sense of being needed to get something done. The compounded joy of helping out and being involved.

It’s been a real eye-opener.

Time no longer sits so heavy on my hands. I wake up with purpose, with plans. The work on the presentations was just easy enough and just difficult enough to keep me entertained and amused. For the first time in this kind of situation, I worked at my own pace. I didn’t rush because someone else was waiting on me. I took my time. I even stalled for several hours each day before sending out the files I finished because I didn’t want my teacher to think that I was superwoman, capable of doing 12 presentations in one sitting.

And a switch that says ‘Nederlandse taal’ has been flipped in my brain. I’m not TRYING to form sentences in Dutch anymore. They’re there. They’re there BEFORE the English is there.

Just like hitting that first domino in a line, a bunch of stuff came with that switch flip. Fuller understanding of words and phrases. Better listening skills. Better reading skills. Better everything. It’s been so full on Dutch that I’ve been annoying my bro with it.

Speaking of my bro, he came home yesterday with a real treat for me. A set of DVDs featuring the best from Saturday Night Live – for only five euro. The REAL SNL, from the early 70s. Got a whole disk of the legendary Jim Belushi. Ah, Jim. The world is a less funny place since you died. You could make me laugh ’til I peed with just your eyebrows. Gods, I miss your humor. Saw the original appearance of the Blues Brothers. Man. And all the Samurai skits.

That’s great. Humor is needed right now. While my life seems to be on an upswing, my friends’ lives aren’t. And I’ve been neglectful, not emailing like I should. I’ve got half a dozen people I need to check in with. Selfish. That’s what I’ve been. Selfish. Caught up in my own world. A bit afraid to check in with everyone because I know they’re not doing well and I don’t know what to say to any of them. Saying I wish I could make a difference in their lives is just inadequate. These people haven’t broken up with their boyfriends and girlfriends; they’re facing do or die situations. They’re half way around the world from me. I can’t even give them a hug. I can’t even send them some extra money because I have no extra money. I’ve got to watch the budget so I can go and buy a couple of T-shirts that don’t have holes in them. It’s a helpless situation, and I hate feeling helpless. So I’ve been avoiding it.

Like I said: selfish.

And yeah, it’s odd how I can feel like I’m finally getting out into life and participating yet being VERY selfish at the same time. Maybe there’s a truth in there: get too involved in the real world, the big stuff, and you end up neglecting your inner life and the small things. Or maybe that’s just my problem.

I’m a balloon that needs tethering. That’s what it feels like. I’m all set to fly out into the world, throw myself into everything – helping my teacher, learning Dutch, the theatre group, exercise. I need to keep anchored or I really will go off and lose myself again.

Hm. Can we say mania? When did this sneak up on me? Or is this just ‘normal’? I never can tell.

I never can tell with a lot of things.

I never can tell that what I’m doing makes any difference in the greater scheme of things. That bothers me. No one wants to believe their life is worthless and goes unnoticed. I never can tell if my exhaustion is a result of my RA or from depression. Standard answers aren’t going to work in my case. I still say if my body wakes up after 8 hours when it needs 12 I’m in manic mode. I never can tell if I’m going to ever achieve any sort of ‘success’ with my work. That’s a real bugger. At this point, I’ll be more than happy with paying the rent through my art. To hell with fame.

Been feeling soaked in emotion lately. Hyper flight highs and deep, hurting aches of loneliness for more people than I could have imagined. It’s like J’s visit made me feel for other people again, and now I can’t stop it. I’m feeling for everyone. It’s a bit overwhelming, and I understand why I worked so hard to stop it in the first place. Spending my afternoons sobbing because I’m far away from someone I care about or my friend is in trouble isn’t the way I like to live. And it doesn’t help anyone.

Balance. That’s what it always comes down to for me. Bleeding balance. And my balance sucks, figuratively and literally.

Ah, well. I’ll keep trying. You never can tell.


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