I need to clean. I have clutter everywhere and dishes are piled up, waiting to be deposited in the dishwasher. I have mail to sort and data to process. My trash needs to go to the dump. I really should vacuum.
I’m tired. And hot. And rather cranky for some reason.
I had to be in early this morning for an experiment. Chienne pranced around, eager for a walk, and I sighed and calculated how many minutes I could spare. I woke at 4AM, worried over something that caught my attention, then finally found sleep at 5:30. When I woke at 6, I’d been dreaming. I don’t dream of Grandma often and for some reason I hate to lose time with her, even if my subconscious is imagining it. She was giving me beautiful flowers in this lovely red vase. I didn’t want to take it because I wondered if someone else needed it more – all I wanted was to stay with her. Young and safe and loved.
But as the light creeping past the blinds grew brighter and more insistent, I dragged myself from comforting dreams and gulped coffee to coax my mind completely awake. I clipped a leash on my dog and sighed impatiently as she paused multiple times to sniff. I was sweating just from standing on the curb and walked for no more than 5 minutes before turning around to come home.
“If you can’t walk like a good girl,” I lectured loftily as she trotted beside me, confused, “then we have to go home. Plus, I’m hot and need to get ready to leave.”
I feel like too many things are upsetting lately. Not devastating or overwhelming – just bothersome.
“Does this need to be here?” Someone asked today. She was helping with a portion of the experiment and started something when I wasn’t looking. I have the reputation of being flexible, which is good. But there was a reason I wanted one thing done a particular way. She could get as snippy as she wanted on this point – I held firm.
“Yes.” I said calmly and watched her struggle to fix the problem. She huffed and puffed and made sure I knew how very hard her job was.
I didn’t feel badly at all. I could have fixed it, wanted, in fact, nothing more than to ask her to get out of my way. With her continued expressions of exasperation, I wasn’t even slightly tempted to bend. I needed this particular piece done my particular way. And eventually it was. I also got more data that I expected from this patient.
I returned to the office to drink coffee until my hands shook and efficiently ran through initial analyses. Everything looks good so far. Pleased with my progress – I have lots of data in a useful form – I came home.
I ordered brush cleaner from Sephora and it waited on my front porch. I adore Bare Minerals and have noticed my fancy brushes aren’t as soft as they once were. Using my special shampoo, I massaged the applicators and watched the froth turn beige on my fingers.
I couldn’t see that they were dirty before, I mused, rubbing gently and tipping the brush toward the drain as I began to rinse it clean. I could, however, feel that something wasn’t right. It wasn’t blatant or disgusting – just not quite right as I swirl-tap-buffed powder on each morning. My house isn’t filthy either – it just needs a bit of attention to clear out clutter and remove trash. I'm not sure why I don’t just work at it instead of napping and reading and…I don’t know. Hanging around, I guess.
I need to present my study twice next Wednesday – Boss and Quiet Mentor are pleased with the prospect of data and would like their respective departments to see what I’ve done. Which involves clearing away some of the mental and physical clutter and deciding what I actually want to do with all this pretty data. Yet I feel unsure and irritable and itchy with the need to do mindless cleaning instead.
The inevitable question in both presentations will be to move forward (and if so, with what money) or change directions. And I don’t know. While I have gained confidence enough to insist upon my choices when I’m sure they’re right, I have many moments where I just don’t know. This is one of them. My hesitation in beginning with some of the many ideas that I have indicates that, in some sense at least, I don’t want to know.
In the event that I have hidden guck in my life and brain – metaphorical make-up and moisturizer and dust – that needs to be washed out and rinsed clean, I should work on that.
I am taking better care of myself. I drink some sort of V8/juice amalgam on the way to work. It takes of orange and…tomato. The latter is vague, but I still taste it. It’s bearable though, so I sip juice instead of soda on my morning commutes and remind myself that I don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables. I take my anti-depressant each night. I’ve been making it to work more often than not (this week, anyway). It’s really OK.
Yet I had to walk away from the post to clean a bit. Pick up trash and gather laundry and place cat toys in a basket and dog toys in bins. I took care of dishes and did some thinking.
“Oh, no.” I moaned in sympathy last week when Friend told me one of her labmates hit a wall. He tried his last idea and it didn’t pan out. “I won’t do that.” I confided. “If I can’t think of two ideas, I won’t try my last one – I want something to inspire hope.”
I think that’s it. I want the project to work. I want to be happy and healthy. I find myself afraid of sacrificing the current status – mediocre yet hopeful – for something different, even if different is better. I don’t want to know that my methods failed to yield anything useful. That my hypotheses – vague as they were – are wrong. That returning a call from a new therapist I might meet won’t end up making me any better. That even if I were thin and lovely, I’d remain less than lovable.
Luckily, there are people who force the issue. Boss keeps prodding me to talk about progress, offering continuous encouragement and motivation. Friend will gently ask about a new therapist at some point. And I grew overwhelmed with the need to pick up my house. Incremental progress counts, I think. But I also get the feeling I’m becoming unstuck. Even if it’s a bit painful, I hope that’s the case.