This Monday afternoon, as my husband brought home the shopping and placed the whole, raw chicken that I’d asked for in front of me, I felt a shiver coming on. Cutting up? Butchering? There really isn’t a nice way to describe the fowl process of seperating the bird into parts, it’s by far the worst thing I ever have to do in the kitchen. Usually though, I can push through the nauseating raw meat smell and the lightheadedness that comes with it, spurred on by the promise of delicious homemade stock, but not this week. I just stared at it, then let it sit in the fridge for two days hoping that it would still be fresh by the time I’d recovered more energy.
With the chicken out of sight and out of mind, I resumed my day of doing nothing and didn’t give a second thought as to why I was too exhausted to do my usual jobs. It was only when my husband asked me to go for an evening walk that I realized that I hadn’t left the house in around 2 weeks. Once I really thought about it I wasn’t sure how that had even happened. I used to have an unbreakable routine of a weekly shop on a Monday, which always included the dreaded chicken preparation, and 1 1/2 hours of exercise every day before an evening walk around the village.
I had gotten ill recently, and without thinking about it, I had started to become less and less active. At first, it was something simple, like ‘Oh, the hoovering can wait till tomorrow.’ Then maybe ‘Oh it won’t matter if I take the day off from exercising just once.’ I started asking my husband to walk to the local shops instead, I started to break my exercise routine more frequently, and eventually, my poor husband became the one getting the weekly shopping too. He’s a lot stronger than me but I still feel guilty thinking of him carting kilos of potatoes, carrots and rice around the town like a weighed-down donkey, just because I wasn’t taking care of myself properly. I can see now how it happened. Although I wasn’t ill anymore, I still hadn’t got my energy back yet. I’m sure all the caffeine and sleep problems I mentioned in a previous post didn’t help, although I never imagined it would spiral until I was too tired to leave the house.
Thankfully now that I realized there was a problem, it was easier to act on it. So although it was something small, I went on that evening walk, and surprisingly, I didn’t feel fatigued like I expected to. For the first few minutes I was sure my feet and legs were getting sore, but once I relaxed a bit, I felt a lot better after being outside.
This morning, I was late to get up and when I did, I felt pretty bad about it. I thought about the last few weeks and just felt lazy and ashamed. I had made the choice to try and do more, and it seemed like I’d already messed it up. I couldn’t give up though, that chicken was still in the fridge, taunting me and my lack of motivation. it was also edging closer to going off, as were a few kilos of homegrown green tomatoes on the kitchen table, waiting patiently to be made into salsa.
Thinking of my homegrown food going to waste was the last straw, and I intended to try and get the day back on track at least a little bit. So I got up, no matter what time it was. Once I got downstairs I made a beeline for the tomatoes as the first job, they seemed much more welcoming than raw meat.
After that, as silly as it sounds, I needed a rest. I wanted to power through the day like a whirlwind, but slow progress was better than nothing. My husband had seen my disappointment and tried to encourage me. He made the suggestion of taking our dinner outside to eat in the park. I used to love doing this, and in the end I actually managed it. We enjoyed our risotto while a baby seagull watched on, I even felt a bit of a boost from the fresh air.
When we got back home, I felt like I’d done a decent amount of things for the day. But there was one more. My husband promised that leaving the chicken for one more day would not make me an awful person. I agreed, but then I opened the fridge. It looked at me, I looked back at it, the decision was made.
It was late at night, I was tired, the raw smell was unbearable, and I had to sit down half way through. But I did it. No longer does that bird tease me, and no longer do I feel guilty for wasting a few days doing nothing.
Although it might not seem like it, all of this does relate to my writing in some sense. I would’ve thought that I could get lots of writing done when I wasn’t exactly doing anything else all day. But that wasn’t the case at all. The tiredness was a lot more than just physical and every time I looked at the screen it was hard to focus. It was so important to start taking care of myself properly, and my overindulgence in relaxing had done the opposite.
I suppose like with most things, a balance is the best, since today, when I had a moderately active day, I managed 400 words in a row. Not bad compared to the big fat 0 from the last week!