I turn 34 today. So that’s happening.
I didn’t accomplish anything on my to-do list for 33, with the exception of numbers 12, 28, 32 and 33. Except 12 and 28 probably don’t actually count, since those technically fall within the portion that was all a dream.
But I did them, anyway, for extra credit. Since there’s not a lot else I can take credit for.
Okay, I’ll just say it, I wasted another year.
I was going to do things. Some responsible, some purely because I wanted to. But I did nothing instead, because that was easier, and my hands are full of too many balls, so easier usually wins out these days.
Quit snickering. I can explain.
I’m sure many of you are familiar with Christine Miserandino’s Spoon Theory method of describing day to day life with disability and chronic illness. If not, well, there’s the link right there.
The first time I heard it referenced, it was like some golden beacon of understanding and wisdom had cropped up on my horizon. I sought out the original post immediately and read it again and again. At a time when I was still struggling to explain to my family and my superiors at work why one stupid gland in my body refusing to do its job was taking me out of commission so damn much, it very likely spared me a nervous breakdown.
But the longer I live with this piece of shit thyroid and the douchecanoe prefix and suffix that have turned it from a useful organ into a motherfucking moocher couch potato, the more I feel like the spoon idea just isn’t doing it for me like it used to.
The trouble is, spoons are so passive. So innocuous. So utterly lacking in perilous pointy edges. You don’t have to arm wrestle a spoon into letting you eat a bowl of soup; at least, not unless you’re trying to steal the spoon from someone with better biceps than you or you’ve welded it to a Shake Weight or something. I don’t know why anyone would do either of those things, but if the internet has taught me anything it’s that reasons are apparently overrated when it comes to people doing/making weird shit. Seriously, if you don’t hit on something that makes you go “The fuck…?” or “DEAR GOD WHY?!?” in the first five result pages of any Etsy search, then your internet is probably broken.
Anyway, my point is that sure, it’s miserable that you start every day with a limited number of spoons and have to prioritize what to spend them on, but what I don’t think is stressed enough is that following through and spending those daily spoons on what you said you would is also really fucking hard. Harder than doing anything with a spoon has any business being. Your spoons don’t just vanish upon use like single-serving genies. You have to fight to expend each one. You have to bend it and warp it and cram it smaller and smaller until it’s a twisted little lump of silvery carnage, and then you have to point in a random direction and say, “That’s a funny place for a credenza,” to distract everyone’s attention as you surreptitiously shove your misshapen Franken-spoon pellet behind the sofa, because fuck it, good enough.
And the day’s spoons aren’t always just sitting there in your pocket for the taking. Sometimes you have to paw for ages through all the sharp, dangerous things in the silverware drawer and nearly grate your fingertips off just to find one. There’s a whole lot more blood, sweat and tears involved than a pretty, shiny spoon has in it to convey.
And yes, I know Christine was just using what was at hand and that the spoons in question aren’t literal spoons, but these are the kind of stupid thoughts that come to you when you’ve apparently spent the past year doing fuck all other than waking up from dreams that won’t come true, swearing, and stuffing your face with black forest cake while occasionally giggling.
I know, you’re still wondering (and snickering) about the balls. I’m getting to them.
You may have noticed I’m not doing the A to Z challenge this year. That’s because I’ve only managed to publish a whopping one blog post per month since 2017 waltzed in the door, and writing each one of those posts was like pulling teeth, and I can recognize a pattern when I see one.
Despairing that I would ever manage to think of even one thing to write about for the entirety of April, I appealed to Twitter to name my next blog post in the hopes that someone else could come up with a more interesting jumping-off point than I was currently capable of thinking of myself.
Predictably, owing to my limited following plus the Twitterverse’s general attitude of not giving a fuck, I received only two responses.
…thanks, Gina. Tell ya what, you can keep that title, free of charge. I guarantee I want to read your story a lot more than whatever I would’ve tried to come up with.
And then there was Option 2:
Okay, these are clearly my people, but am I allowed to hate them a little anyway?
Just a smidge?
I was actually kind of pissed off, because this was something I had honestly been planning to take seriously. But despite my repeated pleas to the Twitter gods for mercy, no more suggestions were forthcoming.
I swore a few more times, for good measure.
I contemplated deleting everything and pretending it never happened.
Except, the more I thought about Ballpit_Gangsta‘s suggestion, the more I realized it solved my problem with the spoons.
Because I don’t feel like I start my day with a pocket full of spoons, not really. I feel much more like I start my day with my hands full of too many balls. Which I’m already juggling at peak height and momentum before I even convince myself to crack open my dark-circled insomniac eyes.
And let me tell you, I’m crap at juggling. I know, shocker. But it’s true. I can’t even do it with two of those dumb little trainee bean bags, let alone with an entire host of adult concerns and responsibilities. And yet that’s exactly what it feels like I’m trying to do, every day, constantly. I wake up with my hands full of too many balls, and even though the rational part of my brain knows there’s no way my sluggish hypothyroid fingers can keep them all aloft all day, damned if depression and anxiety don’t still inevitably snatch up the first opportunity they see to swoop in and each whisper in an ear that if I drop even a single ball, I’m the worst piece of crap failure in the world and I’ll never be whole or happy again.
But of course that’s still too simple. Because they’re never all just regular balls, are they? Sure, putting on underpants and brushing your teeth and making a cup of tea are all light and smooth and and easily handled, like a Nerf ball or a Silly Putty egg. But what’s a real juggling act without some chainsaws, or flaming torches? Will your dexterity be up to the challenge when life starts pitching you cinder blocks and broken bottles?
Maybe you get to work and your boss hits you with an anvil and a bucket of hot coals by deciding to once again completely break down and reforge all the office protocols you and your colleagues just finally got used to. You catch them, barely, but the anvil cracks a plastic egg mid-air and the coals melt one of your Nerf balls into a hunk of neon sludge.
Maybe later, once you escape the office, you stop by the walk-in clinic looking to discuss your medication dosage, but instead of finding a listening ear you’re suddenly lobbing syringes and a blood pressure cuff around just to convince His Smartassery, M.D. that your last lab results falling within the so-called “normal” range doesn’t mean you still aren’t painfully, debilitatingly symptomatic. As he shoves yet another basic lab requisition that will accomplish nothing into your hand, one of the syringes punctures a water balloon which, until that moment, had been one of the easier things to keep in the air.
And then maybe you get back on the road only for one too many asshole drivers to suddenly cut you off in rush hour traffic. Custom rims, flying at you like Frisbees; think fast!
Maybe finally getting home and doing your taxes and being reminded of just how much money is not going into your own pocket after all the anvils and hot coals you’ve had to put up with – and calculating how much of what did go into your pocket now has to come back out again, because apparently the CRA hasn’t finished looting you yet – is a cartoon grand piano that crashes down from the heavens, breaking your fingers and smashing you flat.
But don’t forget to keep a smile plastered on your face the whole while, because god forbid you make the people around you have to juggle a wet blanket on top of their daily quota.
J/k. Resting Bitch Face ftw.
Normally I would apologize about all this whining, but today I say fuck it, it’s my party and I’ll write a thousand and a half snippy words about balls if I want to.
I also don’t apologize for using “snippy” and “balls” in the same sentence.
I took today off work, because fuck anvils. Likewise, any ball or piece of crap masquerading as a ball that doesn’t directly contribute toward a) my basic survival or b) shameless self-indulgence is getting dropped like a hot potato and kicked down the nearest sewer grate for the next 24 hours, or longer should I somehow manage to belatedly fulfill #1 on last year’s list by winning all the lotteries.
I can worry about doing a better job of being 34 than I did of being 33 tomorrow.
In the meantime, happy birthday to me. And good riddance to my balls.