WearinessBy Emma Pearson
January 28, 2023
10th September 2019
Megan Devine Writing Your Grief Prompt: “Weariness” by Hannah Arendt. Where do you find yourself in this piece? Can you write from here, whether in her style or her tone? For today’s writing, copy Arendt’s opening lines: evening falling – a soft lamenting…and go from there.
It’s the title of the poem, “Weariness” that most compels me to write today. For I am so very weary.
Tired, aching and exhausted in bone, muscle, ligament and mind. And soul, sometimes that too.
Pooped. “Pooped as a pooped thing” was one of Mike’s expressions. I think. Or perhaps it was one of mine. Sometimes I don’t remember what started with him and what originated with me.
There’s not a lot of soft lamenting in the early evenings. Though last night there was some barely-concealed anger as I tried, in vain, to be empathetic for a short while. I had been listening to someone tell of how a friend of theirs is struggling at the moment, due to what feels to me to be minor reasons. I don’t have the tolerance, the patience, and certainly not the emotional bandwidth to express empathy where it won’t make a difference, is mis-placed or redundant.
Or more specifically where it empties me further of vital ingredients for my own well-being. Making me feel so very weary.
My emotional bandwidth, my capacity (or not) to truly listen with deep empathy, has been a reliable warning system for some years now. When it’s compromised it’s a sign that I need some deep and rich self-care. It alerts me that it’s time to extricate myself, or change the subject. My teeth grit, my nostrils flare and pinch, and my belly hardens. Signs that I am full up. No spare capacity. Unable to take on anyone else’s worries or shit or concerns or anxiety or fear.
Sometimes I wonder if people assume that because I appear to cope with so much, surely I can also handle hearing about their xyz drama as well? But no. It doesn’t work that way. I need you not to assume that you can shovel your xyz drama onto my day – unless you ask first if I care to listen, which by the way, sometimes I do because it makes for a nice change to hear others’ woes instead of face my own griefs.
And wouldn’t it be lovely if you could take some of my zyxwvutsrqp drama off me? Just for a little while? Or say that you wish you could. A friend wrote to me just today saying, “I truly wish I could hold your pain, just for a moment”. It was soothing balm to my battered heart. Even though I know she cannot. This is mine to carry. But just to hear someone acknowledge how hard it must be, always, every second and minute and hour and day. That’s healing balm.
I too wish for some reprieve. Not to feel so constantly weary and pooped. Not to be so perennially lamenting in my body and soul.
No additional dramas please, unless you can also contain any anxiety it generates in you on your own.
Instead, send me your wishes and healing balm. And perhaps one day they will combine to make a difference and lift some of the load.
And I will feel less overwhelmed at no longer being able to hold what I have loved and lost.