Yesterday evening, I went to wash my hands to start preparing our dinner. Only a small trickle of water sputtered out of the faucet, slowly dribbling into nothing. Apparently, our neighborhood’s water had been shut off to repair a water main break on the street. Bulldozers and trucks converged on the problem, city workers stood around and watched as a portion of the sidewalk was dug up, mud piled to the side, cracked concrete dumped into another truck until finally they had access to the problem. This morning, the mud is packed down where the sidewalk used to be, orange traffic cones and yellow caution tape square off the missing sidewalk and our water is flowing again.
I have been sitting here in this chair for an hour now managing to do many things other than write. I feel a great compulsion to be writing, that I should be writing, that the weekend excuses of kids and tasks and family fun are gone, that the quiet morning is here, ready to be seized, and yet all I am seized with is paralysis. My fingers typed and deleted many things. The work in progress stalled mid sentence since Friday, I am unable to complete whatever that thought is. And so I am here. Where typically the words flow. A thought takes root and blooms into something. Some kind of stream of consciousness thought that allows me to find the words and keep working.
Today? Even that’s empty. I have started (and abandoned) two posts already and now I’m here on this now semi-blank page and hoping this one sticks, but I just won’t know until I hit the publish button. Jury’s still out.
Like my faucet yesterday, there is nothing coming. As much as I twist and turn at the handles, there is only a small trickle easing its way through the pipes, an insufficient amount to fill the tub of creativity. Where is all that water? Where is my leak?
Honestly, the water feels lost in the mundane repetition of the rest of my life. There are some weeks when the chores take over. When the laundry and the weekly meal planning and grocery shopping and straightening become too much. When having to determine what to do with one more piece of paper or come up with one more healthy meal to make or pick up one more errant sock languishing in the hallway for who knows what reason seems to suddenly not be just tasks to accomplish but the only things I actually accomplish. I am the keeper of the things, the executor of the schedule, the organizer of the home. And somewhere, in all of that, I let too much of myself leak into the chores bucket. Too much leaked into the domesticity column. The chores haven’t increased. I do the same amount of housework and child care as any other week, but when I get this irritated about it, as opposed to simply realistic about things that need to get done in the care of our home and family, it’s because I’ve been ignoring other things. I’ve been ignoring self, perhaps, ignoring personal needs, yup. I’ve been letting the chores and the schedule dictate too much of the reward, which is frustrating when the reward is simply another week of paper pushing, grocery procurement and baseball carpool.
I think I need to shut off the water to make repairs. I need to reset the meter, allow for water to reach all my buckets. Even just typing this makes me feel lighter. I will take the pressure off and give myself an assignment to plan an outing this week that isn’t related to an existing commitment. Perhaps it will be to finally make it to yoga this week or work at a coffee shop between volunteering and carpool on Wednesday or maybe a more ambitious excursion to a museum or garden on Thursday when the little guy stays after school.
I let the creativity bucket leak and so the other buckets were too heavy. Before I am forced to do some serious repairs, I need to take a break, shut off the water and recalibrate. Then, I can carry all the buckets and let the water run free.
After all, I certainly don’t want to end up like Liza: