Weekly Check In – 10/14/2020

Sixty five weeks out from surgery, and here are the numbers I care about:

  • Weight: 234
  • Blood Sugar: 104

Up 1.7 pounds, but once again, I’m not being as active as I should be. You know what’s interesting? In typing that last sentence, I initially wrote the word “productive” instead of active. It’s interesting because I’ve once again been grading nonstop and I end every day thinking I should’ve done more than I did.

You know what? Let’s do something different this week. Here’s what’s going through my head right now:

  • I’ve told a LOT of students “no” this week. I’ve refused to grade essays for a third time, I’ve refused to accept essays that were due a month ago, I’ve refused various other things (I’ll bend over backward if you’re communicating with me regularly, but when the first time I hear from you – ever – is in week EIGHT of the semester, the answer is probably “no,” regardless of the question). I don’t like telling them no, I hate it, but some boundaries / structure are a good thing, and I also have an obligation to take care of myself. Teaching, apparently, is a job that can literally take up every moment of your day, if you let it, and when you’re riding out a pandemic from home, it can become all consuming. I’m going to be reevaluating my ideas about everything I do as a teacher for the remainder of the academic year, and I think I’m going to need to refine my approach to the work of teaching once things go back to “less plague-y.” Some boundaries and structure are a good thing (for me).
  • I started shaving my head a few weeks ago. I’m digging it. There are a lot of comments about saving money on barbers, but that’s bullshit and here’s why: When you shave your entire head and you’re walking around showing off that much skull, it’s really easy for the skin on your head to get sunburned and/or dried out and/or flaky / scaly / gnarly. You can have dandruff with no hair at all. And I have dry skin to start with. So anyway, to prevent this from happening, I’ve purchased: non-lathering shave cream, pre-shave oil, and post-shave balm; all of it with moisturizing ingredients, none of it with alcohol. This is in addition to the new razor and cartridges I’ve purchased (I feel ridiculous purchasing razors with five blades and a lubricating strip, but not as ridiculous as I’d feel walking around with a thousand nicks and cuts publicly displayed on my noggin #NoCranialBloodBaths2020). This is also in addition to the increased usage of moisturizing sunblock. Anyway, the point of all this is the following: The other day I got out of the shower, applied the pre-shave oil, then the non-lathering shave cream, and was two razor strokes into shaving my head when I was stopped by the thought, “Why the fuck have I never taken this kind of care of my face?” I mean, it’s not like my face is my money maker, but…it’s my fucking face.
  • Also a few weeks back I wrote something about calling Kaiser and asking them for the happy drugs. I’ve avoided anti-depression medication my whole life, subscribing to the belief that if the depression isn’t crippling you, it’s probably okay to just be sad for a little while and grow from the experience. And I still think that’s a good approach, and I still think anti-depression medications are over-prescribed, and I’m now admitting publicly that I didn’t know what the fuck I was talking about. Because there’s a difference between going through a hard time, and not being able to work on the things you love and care about. The third volume of my book should’ve already been released but it hasn’t been, because I’ve been “revising” it for four fucking months. Even these weekly updates – including this post – are late on an increasingly frequent basis. Writing is something I love, something I live for (when I realized I hadn’t written this yet, my attitude was “ugh” and now that I’m this far into it, I’m feeling more positive than I’ve felt all week), and I’ve spent four months creating reasons not to do it. That’s a fucking problem. So yeah, anti-depression medication might be over-prescribed, but here at the end of the most corrupt, most damaging presidential administration in our country’s history, in the middle of a pandemic that’s killed a quarter of a million people (and likely more according to an article I recently read), in an election that has objectively proven how unpopular critical thinking is…I’m fucking depressed. And while I might be functioning well enough to do my job (because “make it go away with work” is how I roll), I’m not functioning well enough to show up for other obligations that matter just as much.

Iā€™m good. I’ve been slowly consuming news again, because it’s important to know what the monsters are up to when you’re not looking. I’m doing my best to avoid political conversations. I’m a middle-aged, cisgendered, able-bodied white man. But so many of my people are not, and for them this shit isn’t a hypothetical, and some of them are terrified. No hyperbole, legit terrified. And if you’re dismissive of that? If you think they’re overreacting or worrying about nothing? You’re white. And fucking clueless. And I’m currently incapable of tolerating your ignorant, shitty worldview.

Here, have a graphic: