The other day the six-year-old sass-master who I babysit told her grandmother that I am a very qualified sitter. Specifically, she told her this is because I know how to properly toast blueberry bagels. Oh. This made me stop for a second and think about how the skills and qualifications that I have been listing on my resume for years have changed a bit in the past few months now that I have a six-year-old boss. They’ve gone from “data administration and organization,” “fluent in Microsoft Office,” and “Dean’s List” to “Beanie Boo organization,” “fluent in the Kidz Bop version of every pop song,” and “ability to list all characters in Frozen.” (For those of you who don’t know, Beanie Boos are just today’s sexier Beanie Babies, and I do mean every pop song.)
It’s been a while since I’ve written anything here for a few reasons. One has been self-criticism and doubt. Putting myself out to a large group of people and talking about the things that drive me into both self-punishment and into connection and hope does provide a sort of high, an energy that makes me feel really great. Those feelings of empowerment and relief are what have motivated me to open my computer to write on multiple occasions. But what leaves me hours later with only a blank word document, and maybe a clever tweet that no one but my sister will favorite (thanks, Maura), are thoughts about potential judgement from that new person I’ve just become friends with on Facebook, about how I don’t have the time or the energy to find the perfect words to describe my thought processes, or about how something similar to whatever I am going to write has inevitably been expressed before in some form. What’s the point? That's the same old story I've written about a lot, doubt I have to fight through by talking to others, listening to myself, and believing that I have something worthwhile to share. Same old, same old.
But there’s also something else. I’m kind of just fucking sick of addressing these concepts all of the time. I’ve spent the past four years talking about my problems with food or my emotions (usually both) every day. Some of that time has been in residential treatment, focusing on them for every moment of the day that I am awake. It’s exhausting, can be boring, and is definitely depressing (no surprise there, am I right guys?).
For a long time, my life has been centered around eating disorders, anxiety, and depression, and quite honestly, not much else. I haven’t had the time or the energy to develop too many passions or interests unless I can access them by logging into my Netflix account. That has made it so easy for me to step out of my life whenever I feel like it, choosing treatment, or maybe just my bed for a weekend, over anything else.
Things feel the tiniest bit different now. I’m starting to care about activities that don’t have to do with analysis of my mental state. I’m working on projects and connecting with people that challenge the way I think in a completely different way, and, wait for it, make me laugh. I’m not entirely sure what will come of all of this but I know that right now I have people that count on me and right now I really don't want to let them down. I guess I don’t have time to step out of my life, or maybe I just don't want to. I started babysitting so I can have the time and money to work on all of these things, and now a six-year-old counts on me, too. Oh? But honestly, she can count on me much more than any of my old coworkers could, when I constantly had to take extended breaks because life was simply too overwhelming and too unfulfilling (and was that salad I ate for lunch too big?)
I really like sharing my history and being open, but I just don’t want to do it all of the time. My life has other parts now. My mental health and relationship with food are still on my mind a lot and part of my daily conversation whether I like it or not. Just today it took me an hour to pick out what to eat for lunch, and I had to spend part of that time explaining to someone else why fried chicken and pizza still scare me. I guess I could write an entire blog entry right now about fried chicken, but I’m going to question your judgement if that’s something you’d really want to read all of the time.
Oh, but make sure to tune in next week for my tips on the perfect ways to toast a blueberry bagel.
Peace and love,