Work is the great silencer. When I sit on my floor entering grades past 9pm, I run out of things to say. Or rather, I turn them into the soft whish of cars on Alemany drifting through my windows. My voice is not mine, but my employer’s. The effort feels herculean, unjust, and unhealthy. Perhaps I exaggerate, perhaps not. It’s not so much the work, as the reality that it won’t go away any time soon. I don’t have to go into work Thursday or Friday – but like many of you, I’m sure, this has no bearing on whether I have to actually do work. I just want to feel like I’m making progress.
According to Reverend Spurgeon, “As your days, so shall your strength be.” This flipped open in my quote book yesterday, and its been rattling around in my mind. The idea that challenges make you stronger is nothing new, and indeed, it seems to be the subtext of every argumentative essay I’ve graded so far this year. One of my favorite songs by Kanye is Stronger, but tonight, I don’t feel it. If these days are working me more than I’m working them, is it making me a stronger person? Will I be stronger for grading another 5 essays? Better? What is strength anyhow? What do I want to be strong for?
Above my bed is a painting I inherited from my Nana of Monterey Bay. For years I thought this was Stinson Beach, and felt a romantic tug at the place. Dharma Bums and whatnot. Only a month ago I visited both with M. We camped on Steep Ravine, and drove down to Marina the next day to stay in a cheap duneside hotel. It felt like a wind tunnel filled with glitter. It felt like a kiss from a coyote. Inside that time, I felt weaker than I’d felt in a year; and I wanted to live in that moment forever. That’s how it goes, you feel strongest when you don’t need to use your strength.
I have finished a good chunk of this data-entry torture, made a list of lists to make, and put off the holiday travel til Thursday morning. I am, it seems, strong. Suffering, however, is not strength. How do you feel strong? Give up. I give up.