I know, I know – blog posts that say things like “I intend to update more frequently” are usually a death-knell for any future updates. I hope to avoid that; I just migrated this blog to a new hosting service. But in order to combat the forces of vocational awe (Ettarh, 2018 (and earlier)), I also wanted to give some info on why I slowly stopped blogging in 2016 and 2017.
Until recently, I’d’ve told you that it was just that I got too busy with work. But until recently I didn’t realize how sick I’d been. “Sick” is a bit of a weird word for it, because I wasn’t dealing with a disease or injury or an infection or anything. I’ve had fibroids for years, and they had been giving me increasingly heavy periods, and by fall of 2017 they started literally interfering with daily life. So I did a minimally invasive procedure that winter to treat them, with some benefit, but things just got worse again. Then I had a hysterectomy last summer, and immediately felt a lot better. In fact, I thought I felt all the way better by early fall. But round about January, something just clicked, and the only way I can describe it is feeling like my brain came back online.
I’ve mentioned this to co-workers, in the process of apologizing for dropping so many of the balls I was trying to juggle, work-wise, in the last few years. (I’m a realist: I’m still gonna drop balls – my back-online brain is still pretty poor at lots of executive functions.) But according to most of those folks, it wasn’t obvious to them I was offline. Heck, it wasn’t obvious to me until the magic moments of a few months ago, when I suddenly could do stuff like -remember things- and -complete more than three complex tasks in a day-. (I am pretty sure that most of my brain/energy dysfunction was iron depletion, but because my hemoglobin levels never dropped below normal range, we didn’t discover my ferritin levels were very low until way late in this whole game. There was also a lot of physical dysfunction, mostly in terms of core muscle function, that I didn’t really realize until it started feeling better, but that was pretty fine by September.)
I did plenty of work during my out-of-it time (some of it even good), but it was slow and slogging. Getting stuff done at work -inevitably- meant not getting stuff done at home. I stopped cooking for myself, I lost clothes in the laundry (I have machines in my basement – I just couldn’t keep track of loads.) I had less and less energy for protest and political work (though I did keep doing that – it was just always a tradeoff with work and home function.) I stopped doing as much socially, stopped biking as much, lost track of a lot of craft projects I wanted to do but couldn’t sustain attention for. I was under a lot of pressure at work, often communicated in those weird indirect ways that library folks communicate, to step it up on things like tangential newsletter communications, when I was barely able to stay on top of my (heavily increasing throughout this period) consultation requests and project work. I definitely felt guilty for not doing as much work as I “knew” I could do, including for just not ever getting around to blogging.
But I was totally wrong about how much work I could do! And there was no way to know that until I felt better. Even “tired” doesn’t really describe the difference between how I felt then and how I feel now. And heck, everyone is tired!
There are so many things that affect our lives, and the lives of others, that we may not know. And work and “productivity” are so very much not the most important things in life. The current pandemic is driving that home for a lot of people, and how much we can and should still do more to value our own lives (not our work) and the lives of others (not their work) more highly.
I may write more here in the future. As always I have lots of thoughts, and my brain seems to finally have the cycles to want to express them a bit more. But political action, and gardening, and even just sitting on a chair with my cat are also pretty important. So maybe not.