let me first say, I'm not going to lie. I am *totally* looking forward to being done with this challenge. I feel like I am out of ideas on hope and yet .... every day I can find some way to recognize the hope in my life and then coherently translate that to all of you. But I will be ridiculously glad when the 31st is here. But that doesn't even mean I get a break because November is NaNoWriMo!! And I have my story idea fermenting!! Just took my first notes on Yarny this FANTASTIC website I found through the goodness of the NaNo site and maybe Twitter, I forget. The degree of love I have for Yarny rivals what I might feel for a boyfriend. Seriously. If a guy created Yarny and if that guy was single I would TOTALLY date him. I'd probably stalk him for that matter. So I'm a little excited about NaNo. A lot excited about being done with these 31 days. And inspired enough to share today's thoughts on hope with you. (side bar, if you have any desire to encourage me to write or help things like NaNo keep running, since they are non-profit entities, click on over this site and on the righthand side is a box you can go "sponsor" me. Monday can go directly to NaNo. Give it a shot. I'll give you a cameo in my book! You can even tell me who you want to be! hee hee hee.)
Some days functioning is the max you can sustain. You have no extra. You have no room or space or excess. You go to work, you are mostly productive for most of the day, you come home, and on really good days you can do something productive at home before you shut down. Tonite I did my dishes. They weren't ridiculous, but I was out of bowls and travel coffee mugs. Plus, I'm home tonite, may or may not be home tomorrow night, won't be home thurs, probably will be gone fri and .... I'm tired of rinsing out a bowl for the next morning. Somehow that seems gross, although I can't quite put my finger on why. But, I digress.
As someone who has struggled with depression for a long time I only now recognize how hard it can be to function. I told a friend today, a friend who has been through more these last couple years than I have, that to be honest I'm surprised neither one of us is curled up in the fetal position in a closet. And when I consider the major blows of this year and the stress levels I've had for a few years and the ups and downs of relationships, mostly friendships, but guys too, I amaze myself a bit at how strong I (apparently) am. I shrug even as I type that, I don't know any other way to be. But I am coming around to a point of appreciating it. Appreciating who I am and how I have been created. Appreciating that there is value even in the tasks that are "just functioning."
My bathroom got cleaned three weeks ago, I think it was three. As did my floors, a bit of dusting and vacuuming. Before that ..... the toilet got swished a few weeks before that. I don't remember when I last vacuumed or mopped up my floors. And I refuse to dust on principle. There is hope in doing my dishes. It means I haven't given up entirely on life yet. I haven't given up on the future. I still have a sliver of hope, at the least, that tomorrow can be different. Or maybe just that tomorrow is a new day. Or maybe even just that today is over and I can crash if I need to.
We don't give ourselves enough credit. We spend too much time comparing ourselves to everyone around us and not enough time considering how far we've come. Or giving ourselves a point or whatever for getting that one thing done. So what if the "to do list" is as long as your arm or fills half a steno pad. You got that thing done, didn't you? So what if the dishes will start piling up tomorrow? You got the ones that were there done today, right? So what if you didn't wash that last knife because you didn't find it til you let out your water. You have other knives.
In a lot of things we compare ourselves to those around us. But, sometimes, we compare ourselves to our family, how a parent did something or how you were raised to do something. But who gets to say what is right?? I don't do weekly cleaning. I'm just not a "clean" person, I don't care. And because I was raised with weekly cleaning I absorbed the idea that you cleaned everything once a week. So, as an adult I despise cleaning. I don't want to do it all at once. It's overwhelming to me. But, swishing out the toilet every week or two isn't overwhelming. Sweeping the kitchen when i've dropped one too many things on it, isn't overwhelming. (confession moment here ....... are you ready???) Keeping an extra toilet brush inside my shower so I can swish out the tub after a shower once in awhile, isn't overwhelming. But we don't give ourselves permission to make our own rules. We don't give ourselves credit for the steps we are taking towards continuing to function. We certainly don't recognize that underlying all of that is a sliver of hope. Because if you have truly lost hope, then there is no need to do the dishes. There is no need to clean the toilet. There is no need to change the sheets. So, if you are still functioning, give yourself credit for what you did. Even if it was only to get up and go to work. You still get credit for that.