If I Can Pull This Off.

posted in: Day In The Life 1
Street view showing covered wagon, Elgin, IL, cir. 1885. Credit: J.M. Adams.
Street view showing covered wagon, Elgin, IL, cir. 1885. Credit: J.M. Adams. I’m the wagon.

I have been working 16-hour days for the past two or three weeks. That’s not a boast; it’s a confession. My mental state is nothing to brag about.

Even with the move, even with the St. Louis and Chicago side-trips, 16-hours a day, sometimes more. I’ve had to do this because I’m buried with auxiliary work projects that are all officially on fire. If I can make it to a week from right now, Saturday night, I’ll be okay. But there are miles to go in my lil’ covered wagon and there’s a lot to deliver — and on camera, no less. If I have ever wanted a magic wand or a fade-to-black edit, it’s now. Wake me up when all my sewing is done (and perfect), my shows are taped (without incident) and I’m back home in my new home in New York City.

Did I really do that? Did I really move to New York City?


I found some of my underpants, by the way. They were in Chicago. I’m in Chicago right now, too, with my underpants: I came here to collect materials for the shows I’m taping in Colorado on Monday and to situate my tenants and give them a tour of the building. (Check.) I still have a load of laundry to do, I still have a lecture to finish. There are objects in my condo I have no idea what to do with** and this pains me.

None of this is meant to sound like a whine. In fact:

In St. Louis the other day, I had a mini-revelation — mini because it didn’t necessitate me having to sit down. (Really big revelations will, as all my handsome and self-aware readers know.) My revelation in St. Louis was of the “stop-mid-chew” variety, which isn’t as major, but counts.

It happened when I was feeling overwhelmed and stressed, crispy and anxious about everything that needs done. It came in the middle of a conversation. You see, many of the women at the BabyLock event were having the same dialogue: I’m so busy! It’s nuts! Sometimes it’s like, can I get a vacation or a break?? I’m totally over-extended and dude! I know!

There’s no judgement, here: I was/am one of those women talking. The exchange is de rigueur. We all talk about a) how much we love to make stuff and b) how insanely busy we are. Everything else is details unless someone recently had a child, and then we’re all delighted to talk about the child. (I wish I had one, I really, really do. More on that later.)

My revelation was not pleasant, but I realized: I will be busy and over-extended and at my ever-topping-itself limit as long as I value the concept of building a career.

There is no break in the forseeable future. If I break, I sink. I lose the momentum. Period. I have no choice. It’s Saturday night oil-burning, or it’s over.

If I was fine with the amount of money I make, I would not take on more projects. If I was good with the level of success I’ve achieved so far, I’d pull back and have more time for spare time. If I felt like I could stop, I would. But I’m building a career. This is prime-time. I’m in my early thirties. This is when stuff starts really happening, right? So here I am, breaking to blog for a short time before returning to lecture-writing, here after 10pm on a Saturday night in whatever city I’m in and it would be great if someone would remind me which one that is? Again?

I’m an idiot for broaching this subject right now, like this. I’m not focused enough.

Surely, I’m offending someone. Surely, I am not making it clear that I prize achievement, that I value the entrepreneur as a the quintessential American archetype (second only to the revolutionary), that I love a working girl, that I love to work! and that my work ethic is as integral to my personality as my middle-childness or the fact my name is Mary.

But what’s it for?

I’ve cried a bunch of times in the past week. Yuri is like, “Honey, just hang in there.” I’ve been gross with him. And my tummy hates this. I don’t feel well. I’m doing my body a disservice, working like this. And so it goes beyond the water-cooler talk of, “It’s cray! I’m like, waaaay too busy right now” into the realm of not being funny. I know what it is to push too hard; I’ve felt that terrifying shift when my body plucks each of my mental fingers off the steering wheel and goes, “You are no longer in control of this situation; we are pulling over.”

I cannot wrap this up tidily. I’d like to — and I’d like to not sound like I’m making a statement or taking a position. Truth: I meant to write about the fabric line I want to design. #seriously

Usually, I try to come to a conclusion, even if it’s an open-ended one. But I’m done. I’m tired; if I’m going to wake up at 4am, per usual, I need to hit the hay. It’s up to you to continue the conversation.

Over and out, and already checked in for my flight to Denver tomorrow.

**Travel hairdryer, contents of liquor cabinet, several boxes of gluten-free flour that I tried to bake with once and rejected quickly on account of its epic stomach ache-inducing qualities.