5. Victory coffee

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On Sunday morning, I made coffee.

It’s not a big deal, you’d think. But the process of actually making it and deciding what to have for breakfast at the same time (always, always the breakfast issue) was just a little too much for my fragile state. Before actually making the coffee, I sat at the dining room table (we have an open plan kitchen) and pondered the coffee-making process for about two hours.

When my friend Elise and I met, I’d invite her and her kids over for playdates. Our children got along wonderfully, and the two of us would sit in the kitchen while I cooked one or two main courses, at the same time baking dessert and cleaning the kitchen. For years, I was unstoppable. Tired, yes, but unstoppable. Cooking and baking are two of my passions, and I’d cook at least two meals a day, plus something sweet on most days.

Two years ago, I was already stretched thin, but I carried my tiredness around like a badge of honor. Yes, I had a family and a job (in research—part time, still mentally demanding) but I wouldn’t just sit and let my body get flabbier. It was bad enough as it was. So, I dieted and started ballet, which helped bring my body to a halfway acceptable state (body image issues feature prominently in my life story, but let me go on with the more serious subject). Ballet did wonders for my mental health, too. But then I remembered I’d always been a language nerd, and I hadn’t even attempted to learn a new language in years. That wouldn’t do! When Arabic was offered in our local Volkshochschule, I enrolled.

So, are you keeping score? Arabic, ballet, diet, a mentally demanding work in research, while keeping track of the kids’ activities and tasks for school and kindergarten, shouldering the mental load of the household, including managing everyone’s schedule, and handling the emotional load of Urban’s dysfunctional family, while cooking and baking on a daily basis. And then I took up writing.

Yup. Those were the days.

So, where was I? Ah, Sunday morning, I made coffee. I was chatting online with Stevie, asking him what to eat (I did mention the overwhelming difficulty of breakfast, didn’t I?). He said, “eat the first thing you see.” I saw apples, tomatoes, and cake, so I supposed cake would be the sensible breakfast option.

And I made coffee.

Two hours into my day, that was my victory. By afternoon, I was exhausted, and had to ask my friend—who had kindly visited to see how I am—to leave, because a face-to-face conversation was just too taxing.

Strangely, writing is the only thing I can easily do.