Pushing elephants up the stairs

There’s an REM song I’ve been listening to a lot lately with the phrase “I’m pushing elephants up the stairs.” That’s how I feel these days.

I have yet to write my part of the sermon for tomorrow and I’m not sure it will get done before 3:00 a.m. tomorrow.  So be it.  I’ve been overwhelmed lately; overwhelmed and overrun by the urgency of everything–as if it matters.

Thing is, I just realized as I drove home in tears last night, wrung out by the urgency of more things than one person can handle, I’m still, albeit partially, living out of time.

I came back from my father’s funeral to a medical emergency with my husband to a string of work-related “have-tos” some of which turned out to not be all that necessary or urgent.  Work has spun out of control and I am not in any way able to face the music of all that I have not done, let alone all that I HAVE done in the short three months since my father died (tomorrow, it is 3 months, I realize as I type this).

I feel as if I’m being pushed to care about stuff as if it matters when my heart is still in a place that reminds me, it really doesn’t.  It may to other people’s goals and desires, but, in the end, and in the grand scheme of things, it does not matter. 

Still, being who I am and responding to external pressure the way I do, I have been rising early and working until it is time to get dressed and go to the office.  And then I put on my jugglers uniform and toss priorities in the air, then leave when I need to come home and be present with the people who love me best, then tuck into my chair with my laptop and work until my eyelids close. 

Through it all, I am pretending to be in control at all times.  But I’m not, and that came across in an encounter with a co-worker yesterday, with behavior on my part for which I am deeply ashamed.  Behavior, I might add, I would not reveal in front of the anyone higher on the food chain.  Behavior, I’m sure, I woud not reveal to anyone at work, at all, were I not just plain-ass worn out. 

I’ve lost things and forgotten things and things have just been pushed to the last minute.  I admit all of this.  I do.  And some of the things I’ve done lately have been flat-out wrong.  I’d say my head’s not in it, but that would be wrong.  My head is in it, but just not fully engaged.

Where do I go with this because it isn’t going to ease up at all for at least three weeks.  There are a few hours here, where I can do laundry and pretend things aren’t urgent, but these will be short-lived.  I will tuck into these hours right now, and do laundry and penance for things done badly or not at all.  I’ll acknowledge my sadness and my grief in a way that is healthy.

And I’ll rest a bit before the next elephant needs pushing up the stairs.

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About TinaLBPorter

I write poetry and blog at www.tinalbporter.com. And I'm thrilled to be writing with you.
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8 Responses to Pushing elephants up the stairs

  1. A new phrase for me: “tear porn.” How perfect, sometimes. Thanks, LE!

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  2. uuMomma says:

    Oh, God, LE. I have been listening to that! (its on the retrospective with the elephants song) It’s one my husband used to slow dance with my eldest when she was a baby and out of sorts. Love it.

    Thanks for chiming in. And thanks for all those beautiful videos!

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  3. Lizard Eater says:

    The grass on the other side can be browner, too. I can’t –won’t– imagine what you’re going through. My father is 78 and I know I’ll have to face it at some point … but I can’t give too much thought to it. Too excruciating.

    Sometimes, you need to deliberately throw a pity party. With good food and drink. And a big box of Puffs Plus with Lotion. Sad movies, if you need “tear porn.” (I do, sometimes.)

    And then listen to another REM song — Everybody Hurts. Better yet, watch the video.

    Hold on … hold on …

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  4. I remember feeling like this – we’re coming up on the anniversary of my father’s death – and how unfair I felt it was when blindsided by grief at random times. Acting “as if things matter” & pretending to be in control. Yup. Been there. Arrive there again, periodically. Ebb & flow of life, you know? (((hugs)))

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  5. uuMomma says:

    Thank you, all three. Just thank you. Today, I just needed to blow it all out my ear, as it were. And that’s what happened here. I’m better. I’ve played in dirt and written. What more do you need? But still don’t have that sermon written.

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  6. MIME says:

    For now, lower your expections…for others and yourself.

    Allow yourself to be sad. Three months is nothing, compared to the lifetime you had with your father.

    This is your new reality…many things don’t really matter, so save your energy for those people and circumstances that do. Mediocrity will have to do for awhile.

    Forgive yourself. And if it makes you feel better, when you think you let people down, ask them for forgiveness.

    Don’t ask so much of yourself. Instead, take care of yourself.

    ME

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  7. Play hooky with me some evening in FL. I’ll buy you a drink & we can just be…

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  8. mskitty says:

    Oh, dear Momma, I am tired for you! Do snatch rest where you can find it and joy whenever it erratically shows up. You are loved out here too.

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