The past few months have been a struggle. As you know, my ex and I split this summer after 7 years. Over the past few years, I’ve come to rely on my partner to help me with household chores I find difficult because of pain. Being newly single has meant trying to handle those tasks despite my impairment.
The result has been varied.
Things like laundry, in particular, are difficult to manage. Between the actual motivation barrier imposed by executive dysfunction as well as ADHD, and the physical burden of carrying a heavy load downstairs, bending over to both pull out clothing from the hamper and to put it into the machines, transferring the whole thing into dryers, hauling it back upstairs, and then standing and folding – it’s been a hassle and a half trying to get it done in a reasonable time period. This week even, I had to ask for help in getting it done, since my back just couldn’t handle it.
Other things have managed to become a bit easier thanks to the help from my new roommate in making things more accessible.
For the past month, we’ve been working on trying to consolidate our things while still leaving enough room in the kitchen to actually prep food. This has meant countless hours, designing and building shelves, installing pegboards, trying to figure out appropriate storage containers for all and sundry. Because of my new roommates schedule, it’s been a strange mix of two days a week of being able to unpack and consult together, followed by the rest of the time being the only one home to try and make sense of things.
In addition to trying to organize and manage the common spaces, I am still working on my room/office. Trying to organize things so that I can easily manage by ADHD, work on writing, switch to artist mode, work on some home improvement task, and record videos, all while keeping in mind my difficulties with frequent bending, lifting, and also making space for things like sleeping and having clothes, has been a challenge. Trying to balance all that with still having to get things done involving my various art supplies, has been particularly entertaining to navigate.
I feel like I’ve been living out of boxes and mess for months, though I haven’t stopped working on cleaning and organizing in all that time.
It’s easy to forget that with my disabilities, overworking myself can mean I end up out of commission for longer than I otherwise would. It’s difficult to remember to pace myself when it feels like there is a mountain of work to be done, and less than enough time to do it in.
In addition to all that, I’ve joined Uber, in an attempt to replace the massive sudden loss of financial support that is the result of a separation. Not only do I no longer have a second income to help ease the monthly burden, I also am no longer a recipient of the spousal credit and so on. Uber has been an interesting experience, and it promises to be a big financial help – IF I can find the time to actually go out and do it.
Since so much of my time has been eaten up in a desperate attempt to get the apartment under control, I haven’t been able to get nearly as much writing, driving, or arting done as I’ve wanted. I have a stack of unwritten blog posts, stories, books, and more, just waiting for me to be able to devote more of my time. I have a list of paintings I want to try, drawings I want to finish, not to mention all the marketing I’ve fallen behind on in terms of promoting my writing. Less blogposts of course also means less money.
In a hilarious twist of fate, taking the time to organize things in such a way to be able to produce more of everything, and so hopefully make a more steady income to offset the monthly anxiety of – do I have enough to cover my bills, meds, food, etc. without going into debt – has meant that I’m taking big hit on the amount of money actually coming in. Add to that the increased expenditures that come from trying to create a system of organization, not to mention furniture, and it’s basically left me in a near constant state of near hysteria and lack of sleep.
Without a word of a lie, my life for the last several months has revolved around Pinterest. The ability to browse projects, hacks, ideas, and so forth, in a visually enticing way, that includes the idea to save the picture of the idea – has made it possible for me to pick up a variety of new skills, not to mention feeding me inspiration for how to make things accessible for myself.
I’ve built shelves galore for different spaces. I have one in my window- letting me grow some herbs and plants indoors. I have a set above my bed, which sits up higher than my desk, and also functions as a couch for when I want to have friends over and maybe watch a movie.
My kitchen is becoming a functional pantry in addition to a place to do my cooking. Once everything is done this week, and I feel comfortable showing pictures, you will be able to see my separate spaces for baking and cooking that let me have everything within easy reach. Many of the shelves are made from Cedar wood, which has the added benefit of repelling moths and others pests. Rubbed downs with butcher’s oil, the wood takes on a lovely reddish sheen, and the smell is just amazing.
I’m working on making myself my own wooden cutting board, complete with customized design, out of an older cutting board I was gifted off a Facebook Buy Nothing group.
One of my next tasks is trying to build a combination easel and drawing table for my desk, with adjustable angle. I wish I could afford to just buy a regular art table, but instead, I’ve been taking weeks to look up different design ideas, collecting the necessary parts, and finally, this week I will attempt to put the thing together.
In the last few months, I feel like I’ve become the queen of Value Village, Dollarama, and Michael’s. I’ve found Cast Iron cookware for cheap, upcycled countless storage bins, boxes, and so on to try and meld functionality with aesthetics. Take this storage shelf I found for $3 at VV and converted into my very own craft organizer – letting me keep things like glass bottles, wires, beads, feathers, and even candles and incense, all organized, while also looking pretty and creating a nice background for new pictures for my Etsy store.
I sit here now at 6:30 am, writing this post rather than sleeping, since my attempt to fall asleep for the last three hours has pretty conclusively failed. A pattern this last month, where I’ve found myself sleeping less than 5 hours a night more often than not, followed by a night of upwards of twelve hours of sleep so deep, I don’t even hear my cellphone ringing right next to my ear.
It hasn’t been on purpose. It’s not uncommon for me to find myself unable to sleep till the sun starts to rise, lately past 7 am. What has been odd lately however, has been an inability to fall asleep, even once I’ve hit my peak of tiredness that usually signals it’s time for bed. I’m pretty sure I know what it is. With so much left for me to do, just constant little tasks one right after the other – build this shelf, put together that table, write that post, go to that event, send that email, cut this wood – it’s been impossible to shut my brain off. Instead, it just keeps trying to make lists and plans and organize things in such a way to finally get things done.
What makes it even more awkward of course, is that in this state of almost manic productivity, I keep seizing on new projects and ideas to be added to the never ending list.
I finally had to give in, and post a pleading request for assistance to some of my neighbour groups – just to get a second pair of hands to help me with getting everything done.
I hesitate to say that I will finally be able to finish this month. It seems every time I make that promise, I disappoint myself. Instead, I will just hope that I will be able to have at least a somewhat restful holiday.
To that end, if you would like to help, consider buying something from my Etsy shop and giving me the occasional option of buying a ready-made product rather than having to come up with a way to make it myself.
I promise to make my long absence up to you all, dear readers. The various projects I’ve nearly completed, are sure to make interesting blog posts and instruction posts.