Last Friday, something foggy and ill-defined tackled me around the knees and took me down like a sack of flour. I hit the ground with a thud, lay there a bit stunned. If I had truly been a burlap bag filled with milled wheat, you’d have seen a puff of white ripple through the air, then settle over my prone form like dust.
Simply put, I was exhausted. I whipped out my calendar, made a list of upcoming engagements and plans, then canceled them one by one. “Sorry,” I explained, “but I am being the canceling jerk, canceling our plans last minute like only a jerk would do.” A jerk, or a really fucking tired person.
I’ve been overextended for months, bailing each day like a sinking boat: pailfuls of work and family things and a kitten and household upheaval and so on. And, I kept afloat, until last Friday when at last I began to sink. My condition called for a hundred melodramatic metaphors, every cliché within in reach. And, it was a bit confusing, because nothing new happened to tip me from “maintaining” to “too much”. I have a cold, I haven’t slept enough lately, I have said “yes” too often and “no” too seldom, filling my schedule with nonstop commitments from day to day to day. But still, why burn out now?
I suspect this weekend’s burnout is linked to being sincerely exhausted, but I also suspect a little wedge of my heart was pumping out the last bits of crap and hurt, like squeezing the toothpaste, like wringing a sodden cloth, like shaking the last drop from a bottle, like ticking off the last cliché on the list.
And now, it’s finally done.