I don't think I cracked a smile until Merlin passed by a neighbour's garden and slowed, lifting his head to nose at a large red flower.
After reminding myself to stop and smell the flowers, I grew contemplative.
I found old assumptions that have hounded me invisibly for years.
I always assumed I was cursed with some sort of chronic laziness, and somehow that shame stayed with me, even to this day. That I don't like work because I'm lazy, because I'd rather do nothing. I don't know who instilled this in me but it's not true. And I don't know how much this unconscious belief has led me to this moment. I'm not lazy so I work hard, harder than my mind has energy for. Whenever my work begins to slow or falter, I grow anxious, as if my horrible secret were about to be revealed if I miss one step: I'm a lazy do-nothing.
But I'm not. I don't think I am. I work hard, I do my job well.
After eight hours of this I get home and my brain feels like it's been run through an espresso machine: stuffed into a tiny space and exposed to tremendous heat and pressure until everything I am is squeezed out of me. I sit at the computer and I try to write my stories but everything I write is seen through warped glass: not good enough because I'm not good enough, because I'm not working hard enough, because I'm lazy and I will never amount to anything...
It's that kind of poison that takes over.
Then I think for a moment that I could go rogue, quit the job and live off my art, but no, that's a pipe dream, because lazy.
This feeling will pass, at least for a while, and I will feel better, but it's exhausting. By the time I pick myself back up in the evening, I'm still too tired to start anything productive.
I have a long-term plan. I'm cutting expenses left and right but it takes time. I just hope I still have my sanity by this time next year.