I usually write from places of light and inspiration. Today I am writing from a place of deep, deep exhaustion. I read somewhere that getting ready to open a school in a pandemic can be likened to trying to put together a puzzle when you don’t even have the picture of what it will all come to in the end.
Not only do you not know what you are building, the rules change in the middle of the puzzle, people sitting on the side of the table tell you what to do, take it back and contradict each other. And sometimes you end up doubling up on doing something that proves useless only a day later. You make a plan and you got sleep one day thinking your work has meaning and you wake up the next morning to twenty emails dismantling everything you’ve done because, of course, every innovative solution comes with five reasons why it is either too hard or impossible to do.
If your body doesn’t fail you, your mind starts to soon enough. After all, it has been months of a worldwide pandemic and recession and everything that is coming your way every day now is just a bonus to the negative. Everyone who is out in the hallway chatting and laughing is a jerk because you have not had time to go to the bathroom yet and it is after 12 and it looks like they have. Snippets of personal life come into your day as you remember you forgot to call your own kid and ask how being home alone for the past several hours is going, how online school is going and has he eaten? When did the morning get to be afternoon??You realize you’ve been wanting to call your mom, see how she is doing and convince her not to go back to teaching in the middle of a pandemic, but the office phone rings and then it’s time for the next zoom call. Before you know it, it’s a week later.
My partner and I share the same levels of responsibilities in the same work place. The last time we spoke about something else other than work was … I am sorry, I can’t remember. I feel so blessed to be able to talk to someone and receive compassion, love and understanding. My heart goes out to the people who don’t have that at home. Right now, it is my only fuel. And yet I have this vision of the both of us helping each other to only droplets of whatever keeps us going because none of us has much any longer.
I keep reading about taking care of ourselves, taking time, shutting devices down, meditating, being present and all that jazz. It has started to look like mockery to me, honestly. Lately it has been, wake up at 4:45 start the day, go one hundred miles a minute to do as much as it is humanly possible, eat in front of the computer, come home on autopilot and collapse at 9:30 after faking half an hour of talking to our son about … something, I don’t actually remember what, to be honest. I was thinking about school signage while he was talking.
There is so much talk about supporting teachers and I get it, they are now frontline workers, just without the PPE. I am the daughter of a teacher and I hold all of the people with the teaching gift in very high regard. Let’s just not forget their support system, the people who are daily there to lead, create systems and schedules, manage computer systems and create the most out of this world apps, forms and platforms, clean, repair, drive and get the short end of the stick in parent relations support. And all of that without an ounce of that magic refilling power that our amazing students have. At the end of the day, you’re just waiting for another problem to fix. After all, you’re “support”.
My partner and I are now sitting across from each other, too fed up to continue talking about work, too exhausted to start on any other subject and between us, nice and quiet, lie our two marvelous four-legged companions whose walking time passed 50 minutes ago. They are probably the only ones who are just satisfied with our presence and want nothing from us but that. And get the least.
It’s a daunting time and the main pressure I feel is that there is no end in sight. Depleted and still battling the headache of the past many days I found myself saying… I almost hope I get COVID … that way I will have to stay home … I hope I don’t get my wish but still, a pretty low point …