I know you have this feeling, too. I know you have it because everyone has it. Everyone talks about it. You’re tired. I’m tired. I get up in the morning tired. I have spent the last three days on planes, in meetings, working a regular job, supporting the avocations and institutions I care about, doing daily personal tasks like money management and reading emails, trying to plan my future and take steps to make progress, struggling to have fun, and then crashing into bed asleep. For five hours. Only to get up and do it all over again. Yes. I’m tired.
Then I traipse off to do it again and my phone rings. Someone who thinks I have wronged them dramatically screams at me on the phone. Another person decides something is wrong, horrid, and truly evil. They spend an exhaustive about of time trying to convince me to just say “You’re right,” through brow-beating me with words and the conviction of their supremacy in such matters. I am left shaking from the screamer and bruised from the bully. Oppressor to ruffian in a single swift slap. I want to crawl up in a small place, with some soft pillows and ear plugs and shut out the world. I find myself crashing into bed, asleep before the pillow is warm. Only to get up and have it done to me all over again. Yes. I am tired.
I find myself bewildered by the people who can’t shut up and think about how their reactions affect others. I and you and we… we are all buffeted by the ideals of society, culture, these people that surround us. I am pulled in myriad directions by the Frustrated Ones, at their least whim, explaining how their world, which because I’m in it is now MY world, should be. How their world should feel. How it should look. Their comfort is what is most important. It is now the most critical thing on my agenda for that day. Or week. Or lifetime. Or should be. Yes, I know I am not alone. You who crush may feel crushed. Glass walls shatter in an instant of disposable frustration. It is short-lived strife in their world, the ones who inflict. It may even keep them up at night. It’s only, simply that their tired is offensive. Not defensive. It must be hard to hold the reigns of so many human realities in your hands. Chafing, you know. It troubles the weary brow.
What mystery sits inside them that wishes them to conform my world to their needs? I do not mind giving to need, with whatever talents I have to give, whatever need there may be. I have struggled to learn not to complain about things – I am in control after all. I have struggled to pin my woes onto my own self, not others – I am in control after all. I have the right to say no, to say yes, to lay boundaries. Like a reformed ex-smoker, I get militant when others stumble into my view and then want me to pay homage to their own addictions. I worked hard to get rid of my garbage. I don’t need to take on more. Really. Thank you. Door number 2 is waiting for you. Over there.
It’s when my boundaries get overwritten in black Sharpie marker (tinged with the scent of napalm), much like the borders of Ukraine, that I get lost in glorious resentment. Like that country, I feel I so tired that I have no clear direction. My moral compass spins… Part of me wishes to take my smart bombs and grenades and rip my offenders to shreds. Part of me wishes to sit down, calmly, and discuss the situation to find a diplomatic solutions. Part of me just wants my cats. Like that sad, besieged country, I sometimes want America Dad to come and fight my battle or Germany Mom to make it all okay with a hug. I want all the militant Egoists to go away, to go back into their dark holes and…just. leave. me. alone. Yes. Really tired.
Yet, I know I can’t do that. I have to buck up and be an example. I have to work hard to find that calm locus, that place of peace, inside, that can turn the chaos into some sort of order. I need to find the time to say no. To find sleep. To move on. To fix my variances. To build strength. To seek beauty.
Someone said to me, recently, that anything that seems like it’s the most difficult to do is the thing that just needs to get done the most. That is, you have a hard thing to do? Well, being that good human being means getting it done. That is integrity. That is goodness. So, I will continue to fight and to find and to lay boundaries and to defend. I will lay down the will to support my personal gain and I will take the steps necessary to “make it work” – Thank you, Tim Gunn. I will push my ego aside and say, “Help me see your point of view. I submit to your fiery damnation.” Why? Because the selfish part of me also wants to be a better person. Letting go of me gets me there. And ultimately, that is my goal. You, nasty screamer and arrogant, emphatic dissonant voice – yes, you – I thank you for the opportunities you afford me. In the end, understanding your personal vendettas is my path to redemption. Taking on your force of ego, I become… better. Is that akin to eating the heart of your enemy? Perhaps I will feast quietly on the blood of your fury and in the end, I will be the stronger one. I take some solacement in that. This can be lonely, tried redemption.
But… can you, Master of everyone’s Universe, maybe, just take a moment before you suck in a breath to scream or argue? Can you step back, remove your “self” from the equation and then see if the sum equals the parts? Can you just, for a brief time, sit down, take off your shoes, and put on mine? Walk to the end of the week and back and see if it still feels right, taking it all out on someone else. See if it still feels right burying others in a load of garbage and excrement. See if, at the end of that long week walking, you might also say… “Yes. I’m tired.”
Fantastic piece. Spot on.