Thursday, 18 November 2010

Writer's Workshop: Why I'm burnt out

Why are you burnt out?

I am burnt out because I leave the house at 7am and get back through the door at 8pm.
I am burnt out because it takes me 2 hours to get to work and 2 hours to get home.
I am burnt out because I know where I've come from and I know where I'm going, but I'm not too sure what I'm supposed to be doing in the mean time.
I am burnt out because I have so many ideas in my brain that I'd love to come to fruition, and I feel like I'm supposed to be doing so much, but there aren't enough hours in the day.
I am burnt out because I put so much pressure on myself to be the perfect wife, friend, daughter, and yet I fall short every time!

I could list a million reasons why I'm burnt out, but in reality, I'm burnt out because I choose to let all these things get to me. I choose to sit under the feeling of being burnt out rather than rising above it and just getting on with things. Since when was my life so hard? I have a good job, an amazingly supportive husband who does his fair share, a nice flat in a great city in a civilised country. I don't currently have kids, I'm not a single working mum struggling to pay the bills or a dad who has to work far away from his family. I just have to worry about little me and my house and my family.

So the moaning stops here people! I might get tired, I might get frustrated, I might not be able to do all the things that I want to do and some of my plans might just have to be put on hold for now, but my situation is not bad. My pressures are merely the ones I put on myself.

On Sunday we had the Watoto Children's Choir visit our church to perform the Restore Tour presentation. These children were abducted from their villages by the LRA in Uganda, some as young as five, forced to become child soldiers, forced to witness the killings and mutilations of their families, forced to bear the offspring of their abductors. They were forced to walk hundreds of miles through the bush and jungle, looting, killing and maiming as they went, all the while never knowing whether they would escape their captors or die in the bush. And yet they did find rescue and along with it, hope for the future and forgiveness for their abusers. After going through their experiences at such a young age, you would forgive them for being a little tired, frustrated and angry at the world, maybe a little burnt out. Do they look burnt out to you?

I have no excuse.
Mama's Losin' It
Watoto - Restore Tour Trailer from Watoto on Vimeo.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Writers' Workshop: A Hair Disaster

When it comes to my hair, I'm normally a fairly happy-go-lucky kind of gal. I can grow it long or have it all chopped off and I don't really mind. My hair grows quite fast so I'll often have it cut a little shorter than it's meant to be so that after two weeks it's the perfect length.

For the past few years I've had a hairdresser who's also one of my loveliest friends. She is amazing. I sit in her chair and I can just say 'Do whatever you please' and I'll always come out with something I love. I trust her infinitely and she knows exactly what I like. So when my dearest Natani decided to move back to her homeland of South Africa, I was devastated - not only was my loveliest friend moving very, very far away... but also, where was I now going to get my hair cut?!

It was after Natani moved that this disaster occured. I had left my hair for months, feeling at a loss as to where to go or what to do with it, but a special occasion was fast approaching and so I needed to do something. I had returned to my hometown for the engagement party of my brother-in-law. It was a big deal, all the in-laws were going to be there, I had bought a new dress and shoes, but my hair looked a mess - all long and straggly and out of style.

So I decided to return to the hairdressers of my youth, they had always done a pretty good job and they were a local chain so I was pretty sure I'd get a good cut for a reasonable price. I sat in the chair and explained to the hairdresser that I wanted a choppy bob, just above my shoulders, with a side fringe. Pretty standard stuff, I thought, I'd explained that to many a hairdresser in the past and they had known exactly what I meant.

However, as the haircut progressed, I grew increasingly anxious, looking in the mirror as she chopped and chopped and chopped. 'Where are the layers?' I thought, 'what is she doing? Why is she going about it this way?' My fingers dug into the arms of the chair and I could feel my back getting stiffer and stiffer as I watched my hair take shape.
Then came the fringe. My sloping side fringe, which should start at my parting on the left-hand side and slant downwards to just above my right-hand eyebrow  - Natani would always cut it a little too short so that it had room to grow - this was how it had always been, you could tell from the way my hair had grown out that it had always been that way, and the hairdresser herself had the exact same fringe!

My finger nails dug deeper into the chair "It's not exactly a side fringe is it?" I asked through gritted teeth. "What do you mean?", the hairdresser asked, frowning slightly at the very level fringe that she had just cut, straight across, with no softening, just a straight line, kind of like the fringe I had when I was four.

I reached up and pulled my fringe to the side in a slant "It's supposed to slant from my parting to the right, in a sloping side fringe!" I said.
She pulled my fringe to the side and said "Oh it will stay that way if you dry it properly"
"But it won't," I said as my eyes stung with tears, "It won't if it's the same length from left to right, this bit on the left of my parting is supposed to grade into the rest of my hair, but you've cut it the same length as the rest of the fringe!"

"Oh", she said, "that's ok." and she whipped out a razor blade and started shearing off chunks like a mad woman in a bid to make it less harsh and grade it in. "A razor blade isn't going to help it become a sloping side fringe - it's the same length all the way along." I said. "Don't try and fix it, it's fine, it's fine. I'm done." My voice was panicked, desperate to leave before she could inflict any further damage.

I jumped out of the chair, grabbed my coat, paid the bill without speaking and stormed out, my husband in tow, without saying a word. I stopped at a bench outside and put on my jacket, bursting into tears. "What's the matter?" Jon asked.

"I miss Natani".

Mama's Losin' It