Saturday, November 19, 2016


I have reached peak overload.

I realised this about 30 minutes ago when the two base cakes I had been cooking all morning, for my Dad's birthday cake, fell apart coming out of the pan.

I completely lost it. I screamed at the cakes. Berated the oven. Jabbered incoherent nonsense at my 13yo. Hyperventilated. Felt like (but have not yet) bursting into hysterical tears.

If you are thinking that this sounds a wee bit like a toddler meltdown, well, you're right - it's exactly like that. And, like a toddler, my meltdown was triggered by stress, frustration, exhaustion, and a sensory overload burden that I can no longer process rationally.

I am, however, not two and a half, so it is less acceptable for me to break down and throw my toys over what is undoubtedly annoying but not life threatening mini crises. My extreme anxiety at the failed cake sitting on my kitchen bench and my sense of utter catastrophe arising from it is disproportionate and exaggerated. So why am I in this state? How do I dig up?

Well, it doesn't take a psychiatrist to spot that this really isn't about a disintegrating cake at all. Cake is the trigger but not the cause of this emotional tsunami.

I have been operating at 150% for months now, between working long hours, parenting and householding, and making some big changes to how we structure our house that will be much better in the long term but are very stressful to actually implement. I am also becoming steadily less well as my underlying conditions move out of alignment and my anxiety ramps up. (Stress is a big factor in both of these too). I am feeling utterly overwhelmed and it has caught up with me and kicked my arse HARD.

Dragging out of the meltdown I am still fighting (my chest is tight, my throat closed, my eyes awash with tears, and I have told the kids to please not speak to me unless it's urgent) is going to be damn hard. If I was two and a half I could relieve myself somewhat with a screaming jag and throwing a few blocks - but I am not and adulting carries some responsibility to handle yourself differently. (Damn adulting).

Right now I can't think of anything I want to do less than go out to friends for dinner tonight or to my parents for birthday lunch tomorrow, but I know that opting out of these things will be sad for my kids, so I need to put my big girl pants on and do it anyway.

But oh boy. I sure don't want to. And I have started crying now at the thought of making another cake.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Found Poem: Poets in the Sky

This is a found poem dedicated to David Bowie, Leonard Cohen, Prince, Umberto Eco and Elie Wiesel. 2016 has been hard on us, here on planet earth. I feel like the words of these lost ones have something important to say to that. (Most phrases from the writings / lyrics of the five, with some linking phrases from me).

All collective judgments are wrong.

Oh yes:

It's too early for the rainbow, too early for the dove
These are the final days, this is the darkness, this the flood
And there is no man or woman who can't be touched

the sun that pins the branches to the sky
bleeding all over the future as it daily dies

Battle cries and champagne just in time for sunrise
this world dominated by disorder and decay

The poor stay poor, the rich get rich 
That's how it goes 
Aristocrats on a mountain climb
Making money, losing time

I wish there was a treaty we could sign
It's over now, the water and the wine
We were broken then but now we're borderline

Fear prophets and those prepared to die for the truth
Is it true you betrayed us? The answer is Yes.

And yet:

even though it all went wrong.

little scraps of wisdom spark the heart
tiny shadows gesturing at a new start

times are changing

It's time we all reach out for something new

Hope is like peace -
we want it so much we will it here

A dream is a scripture.
Sometimes, the truest one.

I have tried in my way to be free:
To show not what has been done, but what can be

There are victories of the soul and spirit
to be prised from hands of ice

This is the faith from which we start:
Men shall know commonwealth again
From bitter searching of the heart.

The sun, the moon and stars
Don't seem as far as they did yesterday -

- Kathy, 16/11/16

Friday, November 4, 2016

A November without a writing challenge

I am feeling a bit flat.

It's November, and every November for as many years as I can recall, I've done a writing challenge. I've done NaNaWriMo three times; I've done a Month of Poetry a few times; I've done NaBloPoMo (blog every day) at least four times. I've even done a Month of Non-Fiction twice when working on long academic pieces coming out of my thesis.

This year I am not doing anything, and it's for good reasons - I'm up to my eyeballs in paid work, I have a heavy month with family commitments, I am quite fatigued - but I still fell a bit disjointed. I'm so used to November being The Month of All the Words ... it feels strange, a bit wrong, to be not trying to make something this year. Especially after enjoying NaNoWriMo, and the production of my verse novella Theory of Mind, last year so much; this year does feel like a letdown in a lot of ways.

I do have plans to catch up creatively - I'll be doing Month of Poetry with my poetry group in January again, and I am hoping to sign up to do Camp NaNo in April. But I won't lie: a November without a driving creative goal feels peculiar, and I really wish things were different for me this year.