There was a time when I was critical of people who, in my perception, wasted time on trivial things. This was always in conjunction with them complaining that they had no time for seemingly more important tasks. Taking 30 minutes to cook a meal, for example, was declared to be impossible. Reading was a luxury they didn’t have enough hours in the day for. But in the next breath they invariably talked about how many hours they spent binge-watching Netflix, playing an MMO, or just dorking around on social media. I would like to offer my apologies. Sincerely. I was not aware that in holding those views, I was enabling the harmful myth of the ableist supermen.
A few days ago a well-known writer in my publishing niche tweeted out that he was tired of people saying they can’t find time to write. When he was starting out, he worked 70 hours a week. He got up at 5 am every morning and went to a coffee shop. That’s how he wrote his first two books. The post was tone-deaf, cringey, and incredibly condescending . The implication was one familiar to all of us with physical or mental health issues, or just complicated life situations: you’re lazy. You say you can’t, but you only need to try harder. It was easy for me, so I don’t understand why it’s so difficult for you.
I’m Trying to Be Kinder
It’s been a while since I’ve regularly posted about my daily word count and such. I realized that I was making some people feel bad. This is my full-time job. While I do have to deal with depression, anxiety, and executive dysfunction, I get to allocate a significant number of spoons to writing. Working from home I have the luxury of going and taking a nap if I need one. Being self-employed, I can flex my work schedule to suit my needs as long as I meet my deadline. I recognize that this is a privilege. It is unreasonable for most people to be a prolific as I am, because I am in an incredibly fortunate situation.
As my own issues have progressed, I have also learned to be less judgmental of how other people spend their time. If there are days when all you can manage to do is play Mario Kart, or stream a whole season of a show, or eat frozen pizza, well, I get that now. It’s almost noon as I’m writing this, and I’ve been up since 6 am. Six hours and three cups of strong cups of coffee later, I’m still groggy. I’m pushing through, but it’s not easy and it’s not fun. There are days when I can’t do more than stare into space, trying to focus. I fear that a time will come when I won’t be able to do this any more.
Rise of the Ableist Supermen
Teddy Roosevelt nailed it in two quotes. First, “Comparison is the thief of joy”. Hey, if you can work the equivalent of two full-time jobs and still have the spoons to get up before dawn to work on your book, good on you. That’s not me, and I’m not going to be shamed for it.
The other quote is “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are”. I try to optimize my schedule for productivity, but a lot of my bullet journaling, scheduling, and note taking is just an attempt to be baseline functional. Find what works for you. Recognize your limitations, because we all have them. Make the most of what you’ve got, but don’t beat yourself up if that varies from day to do. Love yourself, be proud of your accomplishments, and don’t let the ableist supermen get you down.