You know those nightmares you have when you are heading inexorably towards your doom (falling from a cliff, driving an out-of-control car, that sort of thing) and you can’t do a damned thing about it? You can’t even scream out because for some reason your voice won’t work. You can’t breathe, you can’t move, you can’t do anything to help yourself – you just watch everything unfolding, a sense of silent desperate helpless hopeless frustration gripping you. There is no escape.
That’s my life right now. It’s why I’m blogging, instead of marking the 60-odd essays, writing the 120 reports, and creating the two exams – Herculean tasks, all of them - that are due this week. Blog and be damned, because you can't do all that other stuff - there’s simply no way.
I managed to mark 30 essays today, after starting at 5am. Yes, it is Sunday. Somewhere in there I managed to cook 2 vats of soup so at least I will have easy-to-prepare, no-fuss food this week, rather than opening a bag of potato chips.
I give up. It can’t be done. My head hurts. I’ve cried this week, several times, out of sheer exhaustion and frustration. I teach such a full load that I barely have any free periods during the day. So - just about all my planning and marking has to be done outside school hours. Oh, but school manages to eat into that time as well. There's a meeting every Monday till 5pm and basketball training every Thursday after school. There’s a basketball game every Saturday, and last week there was one 7.30-6pm day and one 7.30-7.30pm day at school, so I didn’t really have much time outside school hours to do any of my school work then either. I can't run on adrenalin any more, coz I used it all up.
I am so tired by the end of the day that I can’t think straight. Mindless, I can’t even enjoy reading a good book before bed. Besides, if I had any mental energy left I would have to spend it on marking, not reading a book for pleasure. My eyeballs are full of sand. I wake at 5am with lead in my veins, and organise my lessons for the day so I can at least survive one day at a time. Still no time to do my marking. Did I mention my head hurts?
Shopping? I try to sneak in a bit of time for grocery shopping. A zombie shuffle along the supermarket aisles is almost therapeutic, except for the guilt induced by the fact that it's eating into my marking time. Last Friday, having run out of food and energy, I bought breakfast from *gasp* the McDonalds drive-through, on the way to school at 7am. Nice one.
My house is a pig-sty. My garden is overgrown and neglected. I spend my days and nights paralysed with tiredness and frustration, and have to conserve all my strength to get myself through the days at school, teaching one class after another in a relentless bloody grind. Mark your essays, I tell myself. Fuck off, says my overcooked brain, fighting for its life by retreating into avoidance mode – because that's all it can do - and the problem is compounded. My life is an endless vortex of overwork and guilt. It's hell on earth.
I’m living the dream all right. The one where I am heading inexorably towards my doom (falling from a cliff, driving an out-of-control car, that sort of thing) and I can’t do a damned thing about it. I just watch everything unfolding, a sense of silent desperate helpless hopeless frustration gripping me. There is no escape.