The Sunday Struggle

I woke up early yesterday morning with  good intentions. Before I got out of bed, I made a list: yoga, writing, laundry, errands. The blank canvas of the day stretched before me, and all I needed to do was fill it in. For most people, perhaps, the fact that yesterday was a Sunday free from work constraints or any social obligations would have bean reason to believe I was set up for success in completing my to-do list. But, for me, Sundays are a struggle, particularly yesterday. For whatever reason, I’ve started to dip down into feeling more depressed over the last 48 hours, and that feeling, coupled with the reality of Sunday—what, for me, is the most depressing day of the week—is a bad combination.

I don’t think it’s always been this way. But sometime in my 20s after I broke up with my boyfriend of five years, with whom I was used to have a routine of Sunday brunch and food shopping and napping together before we got ready for the week—sometime after that break up was when I started to hate Sundays. People talk about the ‘Sunday blues’ as a phenomenon induced by our not wanting to return to work on Monday. For me, it’s more about having no structure. And, for me, for whatever reason, it’s on these Sundays, not Saturdays, that I find myself ruminating about being 34 with no husband or children or dog, even.

So yesterday I got up with those good intentions I was talking about earlier. I made myself a healthy breakfast and read the paper. Instead of going to morning yoga, as I should have done, I climbed back into bed to write in my journal. Fell asleep. Didn’t wake up again until noon. I wanted to accept myself and not criticize myself for going back to sleep, but that I’d slept that much more in the morning seemed absurd, especially since I’d taken a four hour nap on Saturday and slept nine hours the previous night. All I could think was, what is wrong with me? What if I ever wanted to have children? How would I survive? I lay in my bed, unable to extricate myself from the self-criticism. Because of the work I’ve been doing with my thoughts, I tried to separate myself from my thoughts. This didn’t work particularly  well, but it helped and I did get out of bed. That felt like a victory.

I showered and got dressed and packed a bag to set out for the day. The weather was perfect, but I had no plan except to work on some writing. The problem was that when I feel like I did yesterday I have no confidence. If I could have given in to my desires, I honestly would have gone back to bed. During this thought process, phone dinged and it was my brother-in-law. He and my sister were in the neighborhood. Was I home? I thought about responding ‘no’ because I didn’t want to see anyone, but I replied that I was, and just a few minutes later they had arrived with the stroller and my smiling nephew who teetered around the apartment, pulling “Man’s Search For Meaning” off my lower shelf as if it were a board book he wanted us to read him.

“I haven’t even left the apartment yet,” I told them.

“You should walk back across the back with us,” my sister said.

So I took my bag and walked with them back to the Upper East Side. I felt a bit better, but mostly anxious that I hadn’t done any writing. Also that I hadn’t been to yoga. My nephew giggled in his stroller, and it was hard not to take note and try to say to myself: You need to lighten up. You just have to stop taking everything so seriously. After they went back to their apartment, I walked North with the intention of writing in a coffee shop. But when I got there I just didn’t want to sit down. I don’t know why. So I left and walked back down to 86th street and took the cross-town bus back over to the West Side. I checked the yoga schedule. At least, I realized, I could go to yoga. I’d missed the 5PM class, but there was a 6:15pm restoration class. I hadn’t brought clothes with me, and I didn’t have time to go home. I felt as if I needed to go to yoga—were I to just go home back to my apartment I would simply start sobbing. So I went to Lululemon and spent way too much money on yoga clothes I didn’t really need, and then I went to the restoration class.

I’ve never been to that kind of yoga class, but what you do is basically prop yourself up in various resting poses and relax, or in my case, attempt to relax while worrying about the myriad ways you’ve failed over the course of your day. The teacher was wonderful, and she kept saying that the restoration practice was about  being vs. doing. We were to work on simply being. If the mind started to wander, we should just observe it.

I bought some groceries, and I walked home. I tried to write this blog post, but my eyelids became heavy. I said to myself, how could you be failing like this!?!?!? You said you were going to write one blog post a day and you can’t even do that?!? And then I stopped to realize that the voice inside my head saying these words was not me. It was just the mean voice inside my head. I closed the computer, and I went to bed. This morning, I woke up, and I wrote this all down for you, whoever is reading this. I don’t know if you can relate to what I’m saying, but if you can than it make me feel less alone. And, I suppose my point here is that we know we’re not always going to have good days. Instead of beating ourselves up about it, we need to do our best to accept it. Yesterday came and it went and the lesson I learned is that, beyond all the doing and the lists and the goals, I guess I needed to just do my best to ‘be.’ 

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5 thoughts on “The Sunday Struggle

  1. “I find myself ruminating about being 34 with no husband or children or dog, even.”

    Boy can I relate a lot to this. I mean, not exactly, but close. I find myself ruminating about being 46, divorced for 16 years and now being quite alone, living in my mother’s condo. My little bit of money comes from a monthly SSDI check. How the heck did I get here, and why the hell can’t I get out?

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  2. I can totally relate. But what I took away from your post was this: You were writing about feeling so “ugh” that you didn’t accomplish your list. Your mean voice was after you all day and all you wanted to do is sleep but… read what all you DID do! You made yourself a healthy breakfast and read the paper. You got out of bed. That’s a victory. You went back to bed and slept, which tells me you needed the sleep. Still feeling “ugh” you got up again and did even more stuff. You socialized! You chose to. You could have hid from your relatives. You went out. You went to a new event. And so on.

    Gawd girl, you accomplished a lot on a dark day. You did more in that day than I have done in some weeks of dark. I see what you did as a heroic victory, not as a failure because a few random items on a not-set-in-stone list didn’t get done according to some arbitrary mean voiced drone.

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  3. Thanks for sharing. I agree that sometimes the most productive thing you can do for yourself is to just “be”. We can only push ourselves until our human limitations allow.

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  4. I may not get around to writing more, but if I don’t respond right away I often don’t respond at all. SO, this is just to say that I read your post. And I enjoyed reading it. And I have had many of those exact kind of days. So you’re not alone. And I like the way you write. It’s fun to read. You say it well. Painting the picture with words… still chuckling about your nephew mistaking “Man’s Search for Meaning” for a board book~ ha ha!

    Thank you for sharing.
    It made me feel more at peace with myself.
    I hope you do too!

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