I’m pretty sure my to do list is an ever-expanding universe gathering dust and making stars from it. It’s an endless caterpillar that grows legs faster than they fall off. It’s a black hole I throw my time into like a carnival game addict, just fifteen minutes for a toss.
I’ve been scowling at it for ten minutes now and nothing has changed about its accrescent flowering. It just, bloomin’, sits there.
But, well, if I’m being fair, despite its annoying longevity, it is a good list. It takes care of the people in my life. It protects me. Despite the crumbling world and uncertain times we’ve all found ourselves in, I have become the greatest danger to myself.
Yesterday, or sometime just before —(time isn’t real anymore, be free!)— I pulled my phone off the counter and scorched my finger on the burning plastic of the case.
“Why is my phone so hot?” I thought to myself, before the sparking bits of plastic on my countertop told me it was on fire.
“On fire! How did it get near fire?“
But, aha! The mystery was solved by yours truly after a minute or two. It was in fact– (dun dun dunnnnn) — the detective herself who committed the murderous attempt on the phone’s life.
I set my phone down on a tealight candle. A very-obviously-burning tealight candle. A tealight candle I had lit minutes before setting my phone down on it.
I’ve become a very good detective in the sense that I always get to the end of the mystery. Stylistically, I’m a detective of the doddering variety because it never– (never!)– occurs to me that I am the most likely suspect despite the fact that I’ve been playing the role of my arch nemesis for some time now.
Who filled the microwave with a pile of instant coffee? And why?
Who erratically placed tape all around a lotion bottle? And… why?
Where did I lose the bottom of my shoe? And how long have I not noticed?
Where are all my literal spoons?
For that matter, where are all my metaphorical spoons?
For those unfamiliar with spoon theory, I’ll catch you up.
Spoon theory is a metaphor that is used to describe the amount of mental or physical energy a person has available for daily activities and tasks. The theory was developed by Christine Miserandino as a way to express how it felt to have Lupus.wikipedia
Essentially, you only start the day off with so many spoons, and each activity depletes your spoon supply. Living with chronic illness has always made spoons relevant, because some days just feeding myself takes half my spoons. I can either chop off caterpillar list legs, or eat. Not both.
Since the strokes, I find myself exerting spoons on things that were never even important enough for the list. It takes a good deal of energy to make sure your phone is okay after you lay it gently into a flame.
So –(trigger warning: light mathematics)– let’s say I have 10 spoons, but my list needs infinity, and I already used 3 spoons pulling tape off the lotion bottle only to realize the cap was broken as it poured over my pants that now need washing. (I must have taped up the bottle thinking it would help the cap in some way. It almost makes sense.) Let’s say I’ve been in spoon deficit for months and so I need to use at least half of my 7 spoons to catch up on things due a long time ago. So that leaves 3 spoons to do my daily basic necessities, which, based on my energy levels today, leaves…
Just kidding, there’s no math needed. The answer is always the same.
I’m negative spoons, always.
Because of this, in an effort to treat myself as gently as I try to treat others, I write things on my infinity list in fragments. I don’t write “[_] Send a postcard to Frodo”.
I write [_] Chose Frodo’s postcard, [_] Write return address on postcard, [_] Write postcard, [_] Stamp and send postcard”.
It manages the spoons I currently have, but it feeds the black hole which subtracts from the spoons I have to start a day.
So in an effort to get ahead of this, I push myself on the days I can.
Like today, where I slept a decent amount, and already had food made to eat, and could reasonably skip a shower.
But then what happens is, it wears down my still-healing-brain until StrokeBrain is all that’s left. StrokeBrain that isn’t sure how to spell any word you’ll find in this post and has had to look them all up. StrokeBrain that shakes my hand so badly that I cannot write anything legible and I need to brace my arm to type.
StrokeBrain that took all my literal spoons out of the drawer and put them where?
Day 11 of 30.