My dear friends,
If you’re seeing this then you must certainly be a FAWMer who has clicked over from my FAWM profile page. Thank you for indulging me!
For both 2016 and 2017’s FAWMs (my first FAWM was in 2015), I had expressed doubt as to how much I’d be able to participate but then actually ended up doing a decent amount. In 2016 I gave over 1500 comments (I can’t remember the exact # but you’re not reading that wrong – it was really around 1500!) and I also managed to “win” FAWM that year. In 2017 I gave fewer comments but still a decent # (around 400 or something like that?) and only four sets of lyrics. But something amazing happened with one of those lyrics which is that nine different people wrote music to the same lyrics! Every year I’ve participated in FAWM something awesome has happened and that was definitely the highlight for me last year.
For this year, I’m again saying – but this time with certainty – that I won’t be able to do much. I definitely won’t write any lyrics, that’s for sure, and if I can manage to give any comments I’ll consider even just 50 to be a big accomplishment.
The key difference between this year and previous years is available ENERGY. For years now, I’ve had far less energy than most average people (click here if you’re curious to read a short summary of my chronic illness). But even though I was too disabled to work in both 2016 and early 2017, I at least had flexibility in how I used my time. And for the month of February during 2015, 2016, and 2017 I chose to spend a big chunk of my time/energy on FAWM, largely because it was so helpful to my mental health and morale.
However, in April of 2017 I was offered part-time work. I wasn’t feeling physically ready yet to go back to work yet, not even part-time, but by that point in my life I couldn’t afford to say “no” (my disability case was getting turned down repeatedly despite multiple appeals) and the opportunity was too good to pass up. Most importantly, the company that would be hiring my services was very understanding and accommodating of my personal situation – far more than most companies would be.
In the sense that I was now earning some money, at least enough to get by, it was a wonderful thing. But it came with a pretty heavy price which is that I had to spend ALL of my available energy on the job. It’s not even that I was working so many hours (quite the opposite); it’s just that I had so much pain and fatigue that once I was done with my job duties I just had nothing left – nothing at all. Not even for the smallest, most mundane things like answering a phone call or writing an email. In some ways, this period was even harder than when I was physically sicker.
Towards the end of 2017 my workload by necessity increased due to project deadlines. So I was working more and really pushing my body and mind to do more than it felt capable of doing. Based on past experience, forcefully pushing my body always comes with serious consequences in terms of the effect on my both my physical and mental health.
And this isn’t even to go into the whole story about how in 2017 I became in charge of handling the logistics for a big international move for my mom from South Korea to the U.S. Such a big move would be stressful and tiring for even healthy people; you can imagine the toll it took on my mom and me given that we both had our medical issues going on. The combination of this plus the part-time work was such that I was constantly on the verge of collapse both physically and mentally.
The good news is that my mom’s big relocation is mostly finished and I can finally take that huge burden off my shoulders. But work is still busy and I’m still just hanging on as best I can. Since food and shelter must necessarily come first before fun and creativity, I must unfortunately sit this year’s FAWM out, creatively speaking.
However, if I can manage to muster the energy I’ll try to pop in here and there and see how my favorite FAWMers (that’s you!) are doing. I’ll even try to give some comments, if I can. Like I said, if I can manage even just 100 comments I’ll consider that amazing given my situation.
But enough of that. There are far worse things going on to so many people these days, and I really can’t complain given how lucky I’ve been to find the part-time work I’m doing now, and also how understanding the people in my life have been (even if I haven’t been keeping in touch with them). I just wish I could have a little less physical pain and a little more energy so that I can inch a little closer toward at semblance of a “normal” life. Staying in touch with friends, engaging in creative pursuits and hobbies, doing more charitable work… stuff like that.
Good luck to all you wonderful FAWMers!!! FAWM is still one of my absolute favorite “places” in the world, real or virtual – all the more so given the fractured, emotionally hostile state of our American society (those of you in Canada, Australia, European countries or elsewhere, lucky you!).
Love to you always.