But, first…

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I began thinking about a nagging feeling on Sunday morning while I lazily drank my coffee. It wasn’t the first time I had felt it, but it was the first time I was able to snare it with words. Even as I write this, the feeling keeps trying to break free and elude me once more.

If we rewind, it actually began on Saturday. I was stuck in bed all day. I could barely muster the energy to get up and walk 12 paces to the bathroom to pee. At other times, I didn’t have the strength to lift the remote and re-watch episodes of Doctor Who. I felt sad being separated from my family. I wasn’t able to go to Family Day at Zoë’s preschool. I didn’t have enough energy to cry about it.
I was in bed because I hadn’t really slept the night before. Any fitful sleep I had was filled with dreams. In between dreams I would awake to toss and turn, marinating in hot and cold sweats. At one point Zoë woke me up by smacking her butt. She had gone potty and wanted help getting her undies and jammie pants back on. On top of that, I had spent the previous two days going whole hog on household chores. I knew I had overdone it the first day and was going to pay for it, so I decided to fly my damaged spacecraft into the mothership and take those sons of bitches with me. Although, in this case, those SOBs were laundry and dishes. Any spoonie will tell you that what I did was a bad idea. But I did it and paid the price on Saturday.

All of this left me feeling like getting out and spending time with my family on this gorgeous, fall Sunday morning. But, first, I needed to take shower.
Suddenly I realized that that was the frustration I’d been feeling lately. I always had things I wanted to do, but it always seemed that there was a But, first… requisite.

I want to spend time with my family. But, first, I need to rest so I can have enough energy.

I want to write. But, first, I need to clean up the kitchen.

I want to be able to put out pastry chef-quality desserts. But, first, I need to learn basic techniques.

I want to take off and travel, to experience the world. But, first, I need the time, resources, and a little courage.

I want to create an exercise program for people with chronic pain. But, first, I have to do the grunt work and dismiss the nagging fear of failure.

I want to break free from the reality of my broken body and monotony of suburban life and do something different, dirty*, and daring. But, first, I have to figure it what that something is.

I just want to sing!

I realize that a lot of this is standard white whine. Some of it is depression. And some of this is strictly reality, and I need to suck it up and accept it. I don’t have any answers for how to deal with the frustration, nor a way forward. I can’t just break free of it through sheer force. Pulling with all one’s might AND winning the tug of war just leads to stumbling and falling. I have to get it to let me go. I knew that, as I experienced these feelings, I was going to have to battle them and quit ignoring them. But, first, I had to be able to name them.

*as in messy and complicated, not naughty

2 thoughts on “But, first…

  1. I feel you so hard. I am a card carrying member of the “but first” club. It sucks, but I have no idea what to do about it.

  2. I think we all get caught up in this feeling, I call it the “shoulds” as informed by my therapist. We put all the things we think we “should” do above the things that we really need or want to do. Don’t worry about the kitchen, it’ll be there later. Ask yourself what you really want to do in that moment then do it, if it means the kitchen doesn’t get cleaned, or that maybe you don’t spend as much time playing with the kids because your energy runs out, it’s ok. At least you did spend some time with your kids. If we keep putting off things because we feel we should do something else first, we may never get to the really important things in life. http://countingmyspoons.com/2014/04/fibromyalgia-the-little-engine-that-should/

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