Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Getting to Know My Toes

Last Wednesday, this was my schedule:

wake up, do second job work, go to a meeting, grade papers, go to another meeting, grade papers, do second job work, practice French, grade papers, send emails, grade papers

Pro tip: DO NOT DO THIS TO YOURSELF. I was a wreck. I was trying to get all my students' Writing Project II's graded before midterm grades were due to the department. Never again. It's not worth it.

I've been trying to take better care of myself this semester, and that day I definitely failed. Recently someone pointed out to me that I participate in an amount of activities that could be considered excessive; this is true, especially considering that I read for Witness, and that I am a member of both the Neon Lit committee and the Emerging Writers Series committee. I would like to drop some things from my schedule--the trouble being that the very activities I wish to drop are the ones I absolutely cannot. 

I want to stop teaching composition. I am constantly tormented by daydreams of all the interesting things I could be doing if I didn't have to teach my students and grade papers. Unfortunately, I need to do that in order to get my stipend. I also wouldn't mind dropping the second job work, but again, that's what pays the bills. All the other stuff with which my schedule is packed: Neon Lit, EWS, Witness, studying French, and especially writing--all that is stuff I want to do. I am actively interested in it, and it makes me happy. 

And thus I arrive at the timeless question: why won't people just pay me to do the things that make me happy?

Recently I've been taking a mindfulness and meditation class, since I vowed to take better care of my mental health this year. It's lucky I got in--they don't accept that many people. Everything pop culture tells you about meditation is a vicious lie. It is not relaxing. It is not even supposed to be relaxing. It requires intense focus, and training your mind not to wander--and yet, not scolding your mind for wandering, either. The not scolding part may be the hardest. I am often inclined to scold myself for doing things poorly. I am a bit of a perfectionist. Not in all things--anyone who has seen the messy state of my bedroom can attest to that--but in many areas. 

We have to do this 40-minute body scan meditation daily. It's excruciatingly slow. Think about your toes. Think about your toes some more. What's going on with your toes? How do your toes feel right now, as they are? Your big toe? The one next to that? The middle toe? The toe next to that? The little toe? Do your toes feel cold? Do your toes feel warm? Do your toes feel tingly? Can you feel your sock against your toes? That sort of thing. On and on, for every part of the body. It's a frustrating exercise, because when you're busy--the way I was last week--all you can think is that this is taking up forty of your precious minutes to get work done. You are neglecting serious shit to focus on your goddamn toes! And when you're not quite so busy--like I am this week--all you can think is that it's taking up forty minutes of your precious free time. I could be reading a book! For pleasure! Please leave me alone, body scan!

Apparently it's supposed to be good for you, though. Or something. Hopefully my body will eventually discover and reap its benefits.

The other night, at about 1:45 a.m., I had the strange, overpowering urge to acquire a pet bird. I was googling cages and everything. I've decided to wait and see if this urge actually persists before I make any big decisions, but I was thinking it might make good story fodder. We shall see.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please say hi.