Lies I tell myself lately

Monica Benevides Avatar

My nails have been chipped for two weeks. Every morning, I wake up and I tell myself: you’re going to take this polish off before you go to work. You’re a writer and a reporter and an editor, you need to take care of your tools, take pride in your tools. You work with the public and your exterior, unfortunately, matters.

Two days ago I went so far as to file my nails without removing the three-week-old dark blue chips, reasoning that this was the very least I could do, that this was probably actually more important than anything else. And although I don’t know if I did, if this makes any sense, I felt as if I had saved myself so. much. time.

Last night, I ate a frozen pizza for dinner. It was thin crust, pepperoni and sausage, Newman’s Own. You probably know the kind I’m talking about. I ate half of it, hunched over my computer and drinking a diet Mountain Dew before Nate even got home.

For months, I’ve spent Friday nights roasting chicken, spiralizing zucchini, baking peanut butter cookies, opening bottles of wine and marinating chicken fajitas. Dinner is a production. I watch silly romantic comedies with predictable endings on loop as I chop, rinse, dry my hands for the umpteenth time, stopping occasionally to answer texts from friends who are also staying in but doing I don’t really know what. By 8:30, we are full, exhausted, wine-lazy and falling asleep on the couch, contented. I feel moderately decompressed.

Last night, Friday, driving home from work, I bought a gingerbread coffee from Dunks. Medium, hot, almond milk. I was feeling that buzz buzz buzz in my brain, that slippery energy that leaves as quickly as it comes. I’ve got a project ongoing and I was slowly, every sip down Rt. 190, resolving to go home and work on it. I envisioned the frozen pizza sitting in our freezer, the one I specifically asked Nate to pick up in the event that we were too lazy, too tired, to low on time to cook.

By the time I was done letting our dogs in and out of the house and the pizza was done and Nate still wasn’t home, it was 6:30. Between mouthfuls, I scheduled tweets and I checked analytics. Nate came home. The dogs went wild, stayed wild for a while.

8:30 comes around like it always does and we’re on the couch, all four of us, dogs included. I talk a lot about what I want to do, sending goals out into the world and into someone else’s ears, giving them a trajectory, I hope. We’re scrolling on our phones and I’m playing strange songs I find online, one after another, and my eyes droop and, before I know it, I’m asleep and it’s 12:30 and we’ve got to get up and go to our bed because my arm fell asleep with me sleeping like that, all twisted up on my side, smooshed.

I suppose I did a few things but really I was just caffeinated in the evening until finally I wasn’t and then the sky was turning light blue and I was letting the dogs out again. I didn’t make dinner really and I didn’t decompress, I just gave myself more things to do.

I’ve never saved time and I’ve never made time but it’s all I’m ever working on. The day stretches onward in front of me with all the tasks I won’t be able to finish but which I set out to complete anyway, regardless. And then 8:30 comes around and I’m falling asleep and trying not to log the checks I didn’t tick and I hurl myself out of bed before the sun, ready to make this the morning that I really, finally live up to my own expectations. And I’m not saying that it’s bad to think this way necessarily but I’m definitely lying to myself all the time lately and I think that it might just honestly, really, be the only way to get anything done at all.

The alternative, I guess, is being “realistic” but that’s an orientation with a reference point I’ve never been able to find, and besides, my nails are still chipped and if anyone cares, they haven’t said anything, anyway.

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