Burnout

A little girl is staring up at me. Her eyes are big and blue. She has heavy brown bangs and buckteeth.

She’s clutching 40 pages of a story she wrote and typed out herself.

That girl looks back at me when I catch my reflection in the mirror. I feel her waiting. The depths of that naive, full-throttle eagerness, throbbing in my head.

Somewhere deep, now.

As I sit at my desk, terrified, trying to convince myself I’m all right and on track, I feel the tug at my sleeve.

“Why are you stopping?” she asks. “Are you going to give up? Is that what happens to our story, in the end?”

She thought she’d grow up to be tough and brave. Hoping for something like a downright prodigy, a blazing success story.

But right now, she just has me. Trying. Choking on an intoxicating mix of burnout and intimidation.

It’s windy on the cliff’s edge, even if it’s somewhere I desperately want to be.

I’ve curled up into a ball. It’s not time to jump yet, with every possibility of turning back. And 8-year-old me is not understanding.

She’s angry and scared that I’ve even thought of turning back.

How dare you be finite, she screams. How dare you be weak and fragile.

Why are you like this? Why are you weaker than I was before? Why are you so old and tired within so few years? Why does your breath stick in your throat and your hands tremble when faced with everything you’ve ever wanted? It’s so close now. It’s yours to reach out and take hold of. So why do you sit there, useless and blank?

I thought you wanted this.

Could I have been wrong?

Could we have been wrong…

+++

A/N: I’m leaving for San Francisco in a few days. Burnout is still in full swing. I’m as overwhelmed by the prospect of picking back up as I was weeks ago, but now I must be busy and keep my appointments.

 

 

2 thoughts on “Burnout

  1. there’s a confession in Audre Lorde’s “Afterimages” that has stuck with me since I first read the poem: ‘I never knew it could be so hard. […] hard, but not this hard.’

    it’s okay to feel what you’re feeling. it may really suck on certain days but there is no need to rush to be a blazing success any time soon. in fact, there is no need to rush anything at all.

    sometimes it is enough to simply show up for the day, even if you don’t have anything spectacular to offer. and sometimes it is okay to take a rain check as well.

    lie in. let your soul breathe. as long as you keep moving in the direction of the goal, you will eventually get there. even if it turns out to be slower than you hoped. even if there are detours that you never imagined taking.

    so take heart. it is okay to feel fragile and weak. and also to make space for brokenness in your journey.

    1. Thank you for your kind and encouraging words. ❤️ It’s so easy to get caught up in a breakneck pace, and so difficult to honor the setbacks as well as the successes. I have a goal to actively make time to rest, and to have more grace toward my limitations. Got kind of out of practice these last few years haha

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