It seems I have two modes I live in, one in which I ping-pong around all energized and happily eating up life, doing the things I love, immersing myself in my wide and oddly random array of interests (this would be happy, loving, peaceful Kelly), and one in which I workworkwork and tear through project after project, busily filling the needs of coworkers and performing wild circus stunt type uber-learning experiences to the delight of my students, but leave myself drained to the point of lumbering around during non-work hours in a sort of zombified numbness (this would be morose, blank, grumpy Kelly).

I used to believe that I was a sort of super woman ultramultitasker that could do it all.  And hell, maybe I was.  Perhaps I can blame this switch on age.  It seems to become increasingly easier to blame just about anything on age... in the past I could work 10 hours, runningrunningrunning all day, solving problems and leading a team on to victory (huzzah! huzzah!), then go home, whip up a tantalizing dinner, get some housework done, read to children, and stay up half the night playing video games.

I can't even remember the last time I sat down and played a video game.  That makes me a little sad.

Lately, I've been in full force work mode, and it's left me with little else to give once the work is done.  Or perhaps more problematically, the work never seems to be done.  I bring oodles of things home with me, and yet the piles of things to do rarely gets smaller, and each night, I'm toting more and more and more things home.  Papers to grade, new learning methods to examine, a little research here or there, always looking for a better way to teach this or that.

True, this is the time of year that things tend to spin hectically out of control -- TAKS tests looming in the not so distant future, expectations from admin and parents become a little more in your face, and those kids that are just bordering on success haunt you in your dreams.  There must be something else, I say to myself like a broken record, there must be something I'm not seeing.

And so, my personal life becomes a shadow, and the time I had for toying around with my camera, writing here or working on the story idea that I've been playing with, and all the other small things that make life interesting fade away, for the time being.

Worse still -- and I truly wish I could pinpoint how the hell this happens -- I basically cocoon myself protectively into my wall of goal-oriented data-driven know-how, and find myself a little emotionless towards everyone and everything around me.  I don't mean to turn into a brainless drone ... but then, there it is.

And finding the switch back into being a real girl is not always something I know how to do.  It's as if my emotions have gone on vacation, not left a forwarding address, and will be back just as soon as they damn well please, leave a message at the beep, k, thanks.

Even writing this now I am thinking about the work I should be doing instead.  But at some point, isn't enough really enough?  I feel somewhat like an 80's self help guru chanting mantras about being good enough, gosh darn it, but I think in order to wrench myself out of this funk I am actually going to have to make a date with myself for at least 15 minutes a day -- to write, to read (non-work related stuff!), to play with my camera, to snuggle with my husband.  I wish I could add gaming to that list, but 15 minutes of rpg'ing awesomeness would just be salt in one of my zombie wounds!

Perhaps those minutes, few as they are, will help me sweep away the cobwebs and find my "real girl" switch once again.

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