For several months now, I’ve been aware that I’m not making enough time for relaxation and recharging. I’ve been running my batteries below zero and expecting them to kick back up to full after 6 hours of sleep. Of course, that has been about as successful as trying to refreeze ice cream on the sidewalk in full sun. It just ain’t happenin’.
It occurred to me the other day that my semantics have been all wrong. I’ve had the wrong goal and the wrong expectation. One does not ‘make’ time, one can only ‘take’ time.
So that’s what I’m attempting now, I’m taking some time to recharge and rethink. That’s my mission right now, to figure out how to balance all the go go go time with some time for sitting and pondering. And to really figure out what kinds of projects my efforts should be going into. What do I want to accomplish? What do I feel I’m here to accomplish during this part of my life?
Part of this pondering has included looking back and recognizing what shape my creativity and rest periods took in the past. For a long time, up until about 4 years ago, I had a creative cycle that would flare up periodically, with longer periods of less creatively manic time in between. On the one hand, this had the positive effect of balancing rest periods with the busier ones. On the other hand, I wasn’t pushing myself enough during the creative upswings and so I produced very little from them. My natural upswing would product a lot of ideas, which I would feverishly make note of, but I would tire (or get bored) too quickly and move away from that idea before it came to fruition. I became frustrated and a bit angry with myself for not taking better advantage of my ideas and energy, I started to build momentum toward making better use of those creative highs.
When I started this blog, I was in a creative upswing that corresponded with a sexual and gender identity rebirth. Pretty potent stuff and definitely a source of great creative and physical energy — amplifying the natural up-welling. This peak was destined to be higher and more sustained than the ones before, which makes sense because it was preceded by lower lows than I’d experienced in a long time. The low times were depressing and full of me wallowing in a lot of regret and feelings of missed opportunities. When the pendulum swung in the other direction, I latched on with both hands and decided I wasn’t going to give myself something more to regret. I was determined to take full advantage of the super-heated creative flow that was washing me away.
Butchtastic is exhibit A of what I did with that creative energy and determination. Another was a fresh perspective on my gender and a stronger sense of identity as I came to re-realize myself as genderqueer. A new-found sense of purpose as a non-binary conforming advocate and educator, another outcome. Equally as important as all of this, my identity as a writer stopped being theoretical and became actual, I began to believe in my ability to write interesting stories that other people wanted to read, and to believe I would see these stories published. I began to see myself as a strong, attractive sexual being again, after years of feeling emotionally and sexually neutered. That sexual rebirth led to a change in my primary relationship and the exploration (and colonization) of polyamory as the relationship style that suits me best.
Within the communities I was a part of, I became a leader, someone making valuable contributions, someone important and in some cases, crucial to the success of those communities.
All of these changes and signs of growth are wonderful and I am grateful for the opportunities I was given and the luck/ability/talent/determination to make that shit happen. The downside? I’m tired, bone-weary, creative-bank-account-over-spent and feeling like my muse is taking a leave of absence. I don’t blame her, I’ve been riding my muse pretty hard these past years. I didn’t always give her a good rub down and a turn in the pasture before saddling her up again, and again, and again.
This determined, relentless drive has brought me much success, enjoyment and love. It has also brought me to the very edge of being broken. Over the past 6 months, I’ve been getting more and more hints and signs that I need to slow the f* down and take some breaks. I got the hints, but didn’t take the hint, if you know what I mean. So now, instead of feeling a bit creatively sluggish, my creative drive and passion and inspiration have come to a screeching halt. Well, the passion is still there, I just don’t have the energy to do a lot about it right now. I need to recharge, to re-balance my mechanism. I haven’t been doing the maintenance required to keep me running at a high pace.
My plan is to take a some time to recharge and refocus, but there will be plenty of fears to overcome along the way. There’s the fear that if I don’t keep driving hard, I’ll lose my momentum forever. That if I don’t keep writing and posting and putting myself right out there in front of my readers, I’ll be forgotten. That if I don’t accept the offers and invitations that come my way to get involved in organizations and events, I’ll stop getting invitations. And the big fear that if I take more time, slow down, I’ll lose my ability to create.
The counter-argument, and what I need to remember as I struggle with those fears, is that if I don’t allow for down time, I might be forced into it. Landing myself in a hospital (physical or mental), isn’t going to do much for me either. I have been reminded repeatedly, by friends and loved ones, that recharging time is valuable time. I need to reset the way I see that time, I need to value it the same way I value those manic runs of creativity.
I need to find my balance between recharging and charging forward. I need to start seeing down time as productive time, equal in worth to the time I spend pounding on the keyboard, or pounding the virtual sidewalks of social activist land.
It’s a work in progress, I’ll let you know how it goes.
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