My life seems to have taken on a new metaphor.
I’ll need to use mixed metaphors to explain, please bear with me. Last week I was mired in the chaos of too many things that seemed beyond my control. I was on a speeding train, going nowhere. I woke every night in the middle and never returned to sleep, as my mind whirled with all the things I had to do, along with all the places I felt I was failing. It was ugly.
Last week was one of the weeks where juggling the many roles of Lisa seemed like an impossible task. I had no idea how I would keep all the balls in the air and make them work
Ball #1: As Dr. Kramer, Adjunct Theatre Faculty I was dealing with the final week of my Introduction to Theatre classes this semester. One of those has been, for the most part, a delight (except for my frustration with the women in the class who tend not to talk). The second has been the complete opposite. Last week both classes began presenting their final projects, an assignment where I encouraged and allowed them to explore the things that interested them the most, with some guidelines and expectations. The first class to present was the weaker class, and in general their projects made me want to deflate this particular ball and stomp it into the ground. Luckily, the projects from the other class were a major improvement. I still have to grade them all though. Sigh.
Ball #2: As Dr. Kramer, Theatre Arts Educator, I had to revise the three different scripts for my after school Literacy through Drama program called “In Our Own Voices,” incorporating as many of the kids voices as I could while making it flexible enough for the inevitable disappearance of the kids involved who decide not to attend the final performance/presentation. Then I had to get the kids excited about these scripts . . . a big challenge in at least one of the schools.
Ball #3: Closely related to #2, as Dr. Kramer, Program Head for this program, I had to deal with all the chaos caused by having an administrator with big ideas but little understanding of the complexities and details involved. This included coordinating a Saturday field trip to see STOMP which happened in the middle of the SCBWI conference, and for which permission slips went out late. The field trip was ultimately a success, but many kids didn’t come because it was a beautiful Saturday.
Ball #4: I suppose this should really be my first ball, the role of Mom, because it is the ball that must stay up even if I let the others fall. Last week, this role included: being a dance mom as I took Sarah to her first competition; homework support; long-distance consoling when I was at the conference; tickle monster; etc.
Ball #5: As wife/partner my main role last week was to make sure I didn’t dump too much on Nathan. I might have failed in that task when I begged him, on Thursday, to create some business cards for me. 😛
Ball #6: As biological being I had the extra fun of my yearly check-up last week, with all the stress that goes with that in a year when I’ve been dealing with mourning the loss of my father, escalating blood-pressure, and a the battle of the bulge.
Ball #7: This is the ball I want to fly the highest, the writer. It’s also the one that became very complicated. I got notes on a draft of Voices that I have yet to deal with, and still need to absorb (time constraints were the main issue last week). I also should read and respond to some of the other stories intended for that anthology. I found myself slacking on blog posts and morning pages. I was facing my first ever critique from an editor, along with the usual butterflies of attending a conference. At my first few moments of the conference I felt like I should just let this ball drop and roll away as I felt overwhelmed by the talent surrounding me and the cruel realities of writing as a career.
But here’s where things get interesting. A whirlwind has begun, picking up all those balls as well as a few more. I’m not trapped in the middle, I’m riding it and catching balls as they try to escape the vortex, only to throw them back in. All of the above balls are still in play, with additions like more grading and a final exam, elementary school art shows and music performances, etc.
As a result of the conference, I’ve even added a few more. Early Sunday morning, after the Saturday critique which left me pondering if I should even continue (it wasn’t that bad it was just confusing) and the drive back for STOMP, I found myself in my bed beginning a major rewrite of The Power of Words. I have a lot of work to do, I’m excited to get started. Then I drove back to the conference, only to find myself questioning this dream all over again. I returned home, exhausted, but suddenly found myself building a new website. On Monday, that’s all I wanted to work on, but sadly I had to deal with the less than pleasant class. However, my energy came out in a spontaneous high-speed walk in the morning. My joy expanded in the afternoon when I received a copy of TYA Today containing my featured article, “Let’s Talk About Sex.”
I may still be on a wild and crazy ride, but I’m excited to see where it’s heading.
What metaphor are you living today?
See where this metaphor led by buying P.O.W.ER, available now.