Doing Too Much

It is amazing how being sick makes all obligations fall away. With my feverish head in a toilet, when I’m puking nothing but stomach acid because everything else has already come up, there is only one thing I want: to feel better.
I spent last Wednesday trembling and queasy; Thursday I subsisted on graham crackers and water because I couldn’t keep anything else down. I called in sick to my internship, I canceled on my writers’ group, on a coffee date, on a friend who was to visit me in Santa Barbara, on Vegas, and on Palm Springs. The emotional breakdowns were clearly not enough, but this physical one I could not ignore. I am doing too much. This was a wake-up call from my body. This was my body taking charge and telling me to STOP. Trying to maintain two internships in separate cities, multiple odd jobs, and a social life (not to mention keeping that fiction thing goin) is not working.

            This has happened to me before. A couple of years ago I worked five days a week, unpaid, at the LA Equestrian Center (it’s in Burbank, which meant about a 3-hour commute each day, and my book-on-tape of choice, The Virgin Suicides, probably didn’t help) until, when I finally got a chance to rest during Christmas, my body revolted with a flu. Shaking, fever – I was so weakened, I would be breathing hard at the top of a flight of five stairs. In middle school, when I slept only five hours a night to complete the superfluous homework assignments at my private, preparatory school (to be fair, I was an overachiever), after a certain amount of sleep deprivation, I would just get sick. Completely incapacitated. If you just can’t get out of bed (or off the bathroom floor), you just can’t. There is not a chance of even thinking about all the things I have to do, let alone actually doing them.
            So when I was doubled over on the linoleum beside my toilet last Wednesday afternoon, I knew I had to do something about the way I was living my life. It is time to make a choice. The bottom line is, I cannot keep this up. I cannot keep going back and forth every few days. I physically cannot take the stress. And so –

I am leaving Santa Barbara Magazine.


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