Instead of Words

Sometimes the words escape me. I sit down feeling that I want to write, knowing I have thoughts to sort into words, yet the words themselves are just outside my reach. I am left with an empty white space on my screen, too tired to chase after the words. So I close my computer and let them go. I’m trying to be better about resting when I am tired rather than pushing to get things done. However I notice the accumulation of days with unwritten words. It is a symptom and the point of symptoms is to provide information about the status of the system. I’ve been a little bit broken this past week. The world felt heavy and I felt a little under the weather. Though, ironically, our weather has been nothing but sunny. We haven’t had a solid rain since mid-July and I find myself longing for one, water to clear the air and my head.

Instead of words, I place bricks in a pattern on top of sand that I smoothed on top of gravel that I poured in a hole that I dug. The pattern is nearly complete, patio finished. The work has been slow because I was making sure I rested when tired. The next pieces for my outdoor space will require funds instead of labor, so they’ll have to wait a while.

Instead of words I watch the inhabitants of my house, holding their moods and needs in my head. They are adults and custodians of their own thoughts, but the habit of tending flows strongly through me. I’m not sure how much of it I should attempt to unlearn. Some definitely, but not all. To stop care-taking would be to stop being myself and the world needs more care-taking not less. Despite that, I still worry that I do too much.

Instead of words I scroll through news feeds and posts. I scroll past the point of being informed, past catching up with people I love who are separated from me. I end my scroll and step away yet an hour, two hours, three hours later I am scrolling again. The day has not changed. There hasn’t been time for news to accumulate, but I check again anyway because somehow I feel like it has been enough time and something new will be there. I formulate plans for stopping the doomscroll, but when I am tired I forget them.

Instead of words I ship packages, fold laundry, answer email, wash dishes, write lists, buy groceries. My mind fills with the administrivia of keeping a household running.

Words are not my whole life, but they are how I make sense of the life that I have. I need to rearrange so that sometimes I am writing words and all those other things land in the “instead of” column.