I struggle to write. Everyday my to-do-list grows longer with commitments that drag me out of the space where I can reflect, respond and report. When the work day finishes I’m zonked, wasted and useless; then onto YouTube and Kobo romances. And that’s my day.
Except that that is not quite the truth. Each morning I have between 20 and 30 minutes of clear-head-space. That’s when these notes are written. My record of deepening my life; responding to something more interesting than student reports.
And in the evening, for a time, I read something nutritious, before the sleeping tablets take me to sleep.
I’m a man, women have this worst.
The essay below from Brevity is crafted by Felicia Rose Chavez who explores her thoughts around this challenge; what feminists describe as the Mental Load. That’s the reality of having all-sorts of things to do: a family, a house and community, a man; and then the writing.
The essay, The Mental Load: Honoring Your Story Over Your To-Do, gives a writing mother’s point of view. She is right, when she describes the difficulties.
Now I’m a man, so I don’t face the full depths of distraction and socialization a woman has.
It’s not the same. But men suffer from mental load too. And, at least in my case, looking after my family, presents many of the barriers women face.
I find it impossible to write when my head is full of: two tests to write, twenty critiques to mark, lessons to plan, pointless random administration, and a minor crisis or two. That’s mental load! That shuts the brain down, makes it impossible to think, and I become a Zombie.
Except that writing is worth it. “It’s solid training in how to be present in our small lives, how to listen to our truth and the truth of others. We can write because we dare to, because it is healing, because it will teach us things we did not know about ourselves before we started to write“.
For me, slowing down; reading and writing a response that I publish here. That is my life. I feel present, alive and visible. Even if only two or three read my thoughts. To me, writing here is a commitment to a life lived. Not all of it. But an important piece of it.
Kia toa, Kia Ngakaunui.
Source: The Mental Load: Honoring Your Story Over Your To-Do List | Brevity: A Journal of Concise Literary Nonfiction