This is not going according to plan. Not that I had a plan, but still.
I say under duress because if I hadn't said I'd write every week for a year, I wouldn't write at all this week. It's Sunday evening, and I'm still burnt out. Maybe even more burnt out than I was last week, which is why I say this wasn't going according to plan.
My plan was to recover during Reading Week and leap—like a phoenix from the flames—into action again at the start of Week Seven. But the best laid plans...
I'm still kinda burnt to a crisp, to be honest. I feel like crinkled plastic in the remnants of a campfire.
I thought I could recover because I wouldn't be teaching, so I could concentrate on proofreading and editing for a week. But, as usual, that took longer and more time than I thought it would. I also worked when I needed to rest, worked harder when I needed to cut back.
It started well. I attended a free writing thing, and then another writing thing, and they were fun and I learnt a lot of useful things. I'll write them up when I'm not feeling so dreadful.
But then everything slipped toward the end of the week, when I still had a lot of work to do and, partly because I'm autistic and partly because I'm burnt out already, I didn't have the same kind of internal spare battery I thought I should have.
Then I dropped a mug on my head on Friday morning, which threw everything entirely and completely out of whack.
We keep the mugs on a high shelf and I'm a short person. I reached up to get a mug and then somehow there were three mugs falling through the air and my arms were up and my fingers were noodles and then I had a clung and one of the mugs dropped onto the top of my skull.
Neither of which broke. I can assure you of that. In fact, none of the three mugs broke, so I count that as a win.
But it threw me off. My plan for the day—therapy, go for a run, have a rest, attend a retreat—turned out very differently. For a start, I burst into tears.
I cried a lot for a long time because I've realised, aged 45, that all the people who said "Big girls/boys don't cry" were selling a bunch of bullshit. Kids don't cry when they fall down and hurt themselves because they want to win adult approval. They do it because falling down and hurting yourself hurts and is shocking and horrible.
Having a mug drop on your head at any age is also shocking and horrible. I had an instant lump on my head. A lump about the size of a grape. The adults who said not to cry were lying, but the Looney Tunes cartoons were not.
My entirely non-scientific take on the whole crying thing is that we cry because that's our way of processing something big and shocking and traumatic. Animals in the wilderness shake themselves off after an attack, or so Peter Levine says. That's how none of them have ulcers and long-term therapists.
I think we cry.
So I cried. I cried and cried until I felt better and we were able to joke about very much like a Looney Tunes cartoon character I looked. I sat in therapy with an ice pack on my head and it was okay.
A head injury, though, requires extra caution so I didn't go out for a run until I was sure I was all right.
Unfortunately, I'd also forgotten my editing quota was open on Friday, so I ended up editing as well when I wanted to be quiet and peaceful. I was due to do a retreat in the afternoon and evening. I probably could have done with an evening when I didn't have multiple Zoom calls but I got a lot out of them.
Then, to make matters worse, I worked about eleven to twelve hours on Friday to get the proofreading done. I have two courses with 69 (nice) assignments to mark as of Friday, so I needed to get the proofreading done and back to the author. The internet caved in and I wasn't able to do that, so I even got up early this morning to finish and send over the files.
It's been a time. It's Sunday evening as I write this and I still feel shoddy. My partner came in and informed me that the meat we'd planned to cook tomorrow is already over its date. I burst into tears. That's not a great response. I'm all tears all the time, which I'm going to blame on burnout and being perimenopausal.
No, I'm not going to hold back and put on a mask because I think all of that is actually bullshit. Forget this stiff upper lip nonsense, it doesn't help anything. It just makes it worse.
It's a good thing I hadn't even attempted to sign up for either Nanowrimo or Acwrimo or any of the other wrimos because there isn't any wrimoing for me this month. I've got some things I do want to work on, but I've got to get through all that marking first.
And once I've gotten through that lot of marking, another lot is going to drop. Plus, I'm doing a talk on Tuesday about necromantic skulls. I'm going to be doing that with a huge blue bruise on my forehead.
So yeah. That was my week. A mug fell on my head. As Mick Herron writes so eloquently in Spook Street, "there are omens, and then there are your basic illustrations."