Gritty Details

Friday, February 17, 2017

Tonight's Poet Corner: Introspection

You guys ever heard of a mukbang, or meokbang? It's apparently this online trend where people eat on camera for their fans. I'm not exactly focused on the actual substance of a mukbang, though - I just freaking love the word.

I love language, guys. I love wordplay and semantics and colloquialisms and prose and poetry. I love the way vocabulary has expanded and changed throughout history and across cultures. I love how we incorporate words from other languages into our own dialect and just go to town. The slang, the regional phrases, all that - it just reminds me of why I love writing and speaking and music and performance because language is a part of all that. It's what separates us from every other living creature on this tiny planet.

I guess what I'm trying to say here that I'm really tired, guys. I'm exhausted. By everything.

This week was really long, and really difficult to get through. I'm not going to get too into the political bullshit, but let's just say seeing a goddamn tweet from the so-called president calling the media "the enemy of the American people" makes me wonder if I'm living in a third-rate dictatorship rather than a democracy these days. Mostly what's been affecting me is my job: I work fairly long hours some days, and it requires a lot of dedication and curriculum writing on top of actually teaching my students. Sometimes, when I come home, all I can do is update this blog, have dinner, watch some Youtube videos, and then crash.

Guys, I absolutely love teaching. Don't get me wrong on that. I love teaching, and the school I work at is a joy to be a part of. But there have been moments in which I've been very worried about physical - and emotional - burn-out.

To be fair, one form of self-care that can have an immediate positive effect on me is restricting my online media reading. It's safe to say that I am at least somewhat addicted to following the news these days, since for all I know, the next headline could be "ORANGE MAN NUKES NORTH KOREA AND ABOLISHES THE FIRST AMENDMENT." What holds me back from disconnecting is my gut desire to be informed - and leading into that, my desire to be active. But as my sister said to me tonight over the phone, it doesn't do any resistance movement any good if I wreck my mental health too much. So, yeah, maybe having relevant information filtered to me by friends and loved ones, rather than clicking on countless articles myself, might alleviate some of my weariness quickly.

As for my creativity, yes, I do have an issue with balancing my work life with my writing and artistic endeavors. Not only do I like teaching, but I also need to teach enough in order to pay rent and, you know, live comfortably. After years of low-paying part-time work and time spent back at school, I am now the main breadwinner in my household. Yes, my wife is working, but I am the one bringing in the most money, which we need. That being said, my number one passion in my life, sadly enough, is taking a back seat to my career. I am absolutely a teacher by nature and would not want to take any other job. I am also, at my core, a writer. And neglecting that side of me can be really damaging.

While I have been editing and tweaking an earlier project, I have not written anything new outside my entries for this blog. I have attempted to practice self-care by walking and hiking more (though that's been difficult lately due to the crazy weather we've been having), and I do socialize and see friends and family when I can. However, I have also found myself ignoring my guitar playing, my interests in performing, and any potential storytelling projects away from My Cardboard Balcony. While I know that re-prioritizing my life in order to put food on the table is obviously necessary to live comfortably in this state, I actually find it kind of heartbreaking that I no longer have the chance to write the way I did back in 2012, back when I completed not one, but two novels in the span of three to four months.

Of course, that might only be for now. I'll try to manage my news intake and try to tamp down my anxiety - neither of them being easy tasks considering the precarious circumstances in a country that's struggling under a wannabe authoritarian. I'll continue to teach, and don't worry, any coworkers of mine reading this: I'm okay, and I will continue to be okay. I just need to take care of myself, and I will. Maybe after I settle a bit and regain some energy, I can reconsider how to balance my work with my creative aspirations. Here's hoping for some equilibrium soon.

Have a great night and a great weekend, everyone.

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