[just a warning it gets a bit serious about halfway through]
Today I went to connect group (Bible study) and then I rested all day. I’d had a big couple of days, filming, editing, hanging out with my brother, and running around doing things. Tomorrow will be another filming day. And I’ve had a bit of a heavy emotional load over the past week. So I decided to just not do a single thing and not to give it a second thought.
It was very freeing! To have actually factored in that time and decided deliberately how I was going to use it was very empowering somehow. To identify what I need and to take it…unheard of!
Having tracked my work over the past month or so and looked at activity patterns, I’ve realised I can do about 10-12 hours’ work in a week before I start fraying. On top of that is volunteering at church, my music commitments, and women’s connect group. Though they don’t require as much effort as my paid work, they still need me to put energy in. I guess it’s good to know your actual limits instead of guessing at them! And that time is an improvement on the end of last year, so that’s encouraging.
Also encouraging was to have done some video work this week and to be proud of how it turned out. It’s the first video stuff I’ve done since I left my job (with a much nicer camera), and I was a bit worried that I’d be out of practice or discover that my work was only good because of the gear I had access to at the School. I find it so hard to accept that I am actually good at what I do, but I think I’m getting better at carving out my niche and staking a claim. I always struggle with thinking I have to be all things to all people, but I’m starting to remember that I just have to be me. Yes, many people do the creative work that I do, but no one does it in the same way that I do. And that’s good.
My medical certificate for Centrelink must have run out, because I’ve started getting texts telling me I need to fulfil my jobseeker requirements even though I’m not sure what they actually are. I had a couple of phone appointments with Centrelink people who said they were going to set me up with someone who understands about depression and limited work capacity, rather than having to do the standard apply-for-eleventy-billion-jobs thing. Hopefully someone gets in touch soon.
The heavy emotional load I mentioned relates to a lot of the things in the news in the past few weeks about various sexual assault cases and about the toxic sexual culture among teenagers (specifically the way boys treat girls at private schools in Sydney’s Eastern suburbs). You may or may not know that there were a few things in that realm that happened to me in my late teens and the seemingly relentless recent stream of news on this topic has only served to bring up a lot of it. So added to the usual levels of depression, that’s just a biiiig blob of darkness sitting on me.
I’m okay, and I think I’ve dealt with these things as best one can, but these things being in the news reignites those feelings of helplessness in the face of power; the feelings of just not talking about things because you might not be believed; the guilt and shame worrying about your own complicity; the anger when you realise that complicity be damned, those things shouldn’t have happened; the rage when you consider the power imbalances at play in these situations…And the fact that none of it has changed.
I look at young women I know and my heart aches for them, thinking about the world they have to navigate, thinking about the scars that will be or already have formed on their beautiful souls. I read of women facing public judgement and scorn and gaslighting just for being brave enough to speak about their reality, and it makes me feel so tired and sad. The only thing I can do for self-preservation is to turn off the news, to stop reading about it, even though part of me wants to bear witness somehow (I know that’s not my job, but that’s how I feel).
The only solace I have is Jesus. I know to those of you who don’t believe that might sound convenient, or pat, or even ludicrous. But I trust in him. I trust that he will put things right one day. I trust that I am made clean in him.
Sorry that got a bit heavy. If you need help, please seek help. Be gentle with yourself. I’m trying to do the same. Deep breaths, everyone.