Tag Archives: burnout

Burnout

6 Nov

I’ve been thinking a lot about this blog, and why I have it, and what I want to get out of it.

A lot of what I’ve written here has been political. Much of it has been my own small attempt at affecting change, and there have been times that I’ve felt pretty positive about what I’ve done. Like the whole Gap Manifest Destiny debacle – I’m fairly certain that I helped mobilize the effort to have that t-shirt pulled. I feel like I did something good there, you know?

That sort of thing is what the internet is amazing for – it can help coalesce individuals into movements, or bring together like-minded people to fight for causes that they care about. It can be crucial for organizing protests, keeping people engaged, and giving minute-by-minute updates on what’s happening. The internet can be really fucking amazing. It can also be pretty terrible. There are times when interacting with people online feels like swimming in a giant sea of negativity. No matter what you have to say, no matter how nicely you say it, there are always fifty people ready to shout you down; there are always people who are more than happy to tell you how wrong (and ugly) you are. For the most part, those are people who are legitimately engaged in the discussion; don’t even get me started on the disgusting crap put out there by the trolls.

And yeah, before you say it, I know that I need to grow a thicker skin. I know that I need to just learn to ignore them, hold my head high and carry on about my business. And I’m trying, trust me, I’m really trying. You know what, though? It wears on you, it really does.

Part of my problem is that I’m a people-pleaser. I say yes way too often. I smile and nod a lot. I want to make sure that everyone is happy, all of the time. I have a hard time standing up for myself, and when I’m challenged on something I’ll often back down, concede defeat, or, most shamefully, burst into tears. I just want everybody to love me all of the time, even though I know that’s impossible, and even though I’m not willing to extend the same courtesy to everyone else.

I’m trying to be less of a doormat. I’m working on it, seriously. I want to be someone who stands up and fights for what’s right; I thought that having this blog would help me in that.

I wonder, though, if this is the right way to go about it. I mean, I’ve used this blog as a platform to be pretty damn vocal about what I believe in, and it seemed like that would be to the greater good. It seemed like I would be getting into the trenches, fighting the good fight. Really, though, what am I doing here?

Let’s be honest: most of the time I’m preaching to the choir. While I might occasionally educate some of you about some random fact, for the most part I’ve been trying to convince you guys of stuff that you already believe in. That’s not to say that there aren’t people who disagree with me – there are, for sure. But let’s be honest here: I’m not likely to change their minds, in the same way that people who are anti-abortion, or anti-caesarian, or prefer “equalist” to “feminist” are unlikely to change mine. And some of those who disagree with me are my friends and family; some of those are people I love.

Sometimes it feels like what I’m really doing here is alienating people that I care about, just because they believe in different things than I do.

Lately I feel really bogged down by everything. It seems like there’s so much going on in my life, and I can’t figure out how to get a handle on any of it. I feel like for every one thing that I accomplish, there are ten more things still left to be done. I feel like the things I write here are half-baked, badly considered and not well thought out; my only excuse for that is how little time I have to devote to researching and writing my posts. I wish I could say so much more, go so much more in-depth, but I just don’t have time. I’m doing what I can with what I’ve got, though. In fact, it seems like my motto these days is, I’m doing the best I can. I say it to the people I work with, I say it to Matt, and, above all, I say it to myself. I say it as if it will somehow get me off the hook for all the things I’ve left undone, all the things I’ve half-assed or bailed on or otherwise not given my all.

You know what, though? That’s just a bad excuse for not doing all the things that I’m supposed to do. It’s really no one else’s problem that I’m doing the best that I can, and it’s definitely no one’s problem but mine that my best just isn’t cutting it. Either I get my shit done, or I don’t. Either I succeed, or I fail. Or, to quote Yoda, “Do, or do not. There is no try.” Black and white, here, people.

I’m trying to come up with some kind of brilliant ending to this post, or a beautifully constructed sentence that will wrap everything up in a perfect cohesive bow, but I’m drawing a total blank. I don’t even know why I’m posting this – is it in the name of honesty? Or do I want you all to pat me on the back and tell me I’m doing a good job? I don’t really have the energy to try to untangle what my motives are. If I’m being honest, I would probably say that it’s a combination of the two, with a good dash of wanting to know that it’s possible to create some kind of change in the world.

I guess I just really need to know that I’m not running myself ragged for nothing. When I say that, I’m talking about more than just this blog – I’m talking about working and teaching and trying to keep my apartment somewhat clean and, most of all, being the mother that Theo needs. I need to know that all this shit I’m doing is going to be worth something someday, you know?

I’m just so burned out right now that I can’t see how anything I do could ever be worth anything.

Abandoned Halifax Infirmary – photo by Angela Carlsen

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