How can you write when you’re so tired?

Penang, Malaysia

So, I haven’t published anything in a few months.

Partly it was my hectic schedule and the ensuing exhaustion. In August I was in Malaysia for our team’s first face-to-face event and team-building. September was spent catching my breath and catching up on things I missed while I was traveling.

In October, I was in training for most of the month. It would not have been so exhausting, since it was just six days, but those six days were spread out over three weeks, and they started at 7pm Manila time, ending at 11pm. Ideally, I would have been spared my regular tasks while I was in training, but given the nature of my work, that wasn’t really possible. I understood that the breaks between training days were intended to give the participants time to do homework, but that just meant I was working my usual hours in addition to attending training for 4 hours on the given days. I was so tired.

Marawi City

In addition to training, I had to work on-site for nearly a week early in October, as I had some colleagues who were in town for official business, and I was helping out. It was lovely to work alongside people whom I had only known online for over two years, to chat over lunch and between appointments. But it was incredibly exhausting to get up so early in the morning, just to book a Grab ride to the office. Then I would get home with just enough time for a bite and a shower before training started.

To top it all off, I had to travel at the end of October. I had the chance to attend a media workshop with one of our staff, and I decided to finally visit our project in Marawi before it closed. I was gone for about a week, and because it was a field visit, my days were long and full of travel.

And then November happened, and it was unbelievably hectic as well, from my birthday to my mom’s procedure (she’s fine!), a kiddie birthday party and a game day with my favorite nerds, and more training.

Next thing I knew, it was December, which meant preparing for my son’s and my mom’s birthdays, and cramming the Christmas shopping.

Without a doubt I am grateful for everything I’ve been able to do in the past few months, from traveling to new places and meeting new people, to learning amazing, useful and sometimes heartbreaking new things, from discovering new foods to making new friends, from discovering my own talents to recognizing my limits. But inevitably such a busy calendar means not only fatigue, but also stress, distress both physical and emotional, tensions at home and deadlines missed.

My travels were so taxing, be it the early morning Grab rides or the flight into Tropical Storm Paeng, the two-hour van to and from Marawi or the eight-hour bus ride from Davao to Iligan. My body suffered so much from lack of sleep, unfamiliar food and sheer exhaustion. At one point, I was just sobbing in the airport at Cagayan de Oro, and I really did not care who saw me because I was just so tired and anxious, and terrified that my flight would get canceled.

Bags to unpack, photos to sort, interviews to transcribe. Stories and scripts and photo captions to write, meetings and training that can’t be missed. Sleep? Rest? Impossible. Writing? I couldn’t even think about it.

But now I’m here, and I suppose I’ve recovered sufficiently. Fingers crossed I can write regularly again.

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