I’ve spent the last 4 1/2 days in a bathrobe in my room. Not talking to anyone or doing anything productive. Just reading books and watching Netflix and napping. I just could not. Could not think of anything related to my business, could not think of anything upcoming, could not focus on anything that wasn’t right in front of me. I wasn’t necessarily sad, just detached, hermit-like and interestingly enough, really present.
Today I’m starting to emerge from this state and I realize now that the way I’ve been conducting my life is not sustainable. I’ve understood for a long time that I’m introverted and that lots of socializing and interacting with others drains me and I need solitude shortly thereafter to balance out. I’ve also long understood that I love connecting with people, love to dance, love music, love living a full life and doing all the things. What I’ve come to understand now is that in order to do what I love while still honoring myself I must be much more strategic about the placement of all of the things. When I’m in action it’s all good. But burnout is real. I don’t enjoy feeling like I’ve hit a brick wall.
Around this time last year I wrote about erring on the side of NO which explored choosing not to move forward with projects or commitments that didn’t elicit a full body Hell Yes! and I think I’ve done a pretty good job with that. Now I understand I must acknowledge the fact that enthusiasm and the desire to create, even under the best circumstances , when not balanced with stillness and rest will still lead to a feeling of complete burnout. I also understand that my innate quality of rapid implementation (quickly moving from having an idea to putting it into action) is usually beneficial but in some cases it isn’t. When I have a creative idea I want to move on it IMMEDIATELY! While I pride myself on being someone who is “bout that action” it’s become clear to me that I don’t consider if I can sustain the action needed to complete said project. Key word: sustain.
There’s nothing I love more than to go out and hear good music and dance. I also enjoy supporting people here in the community who produce art and events locally. I understand now that those activities are best done in a vacuum. I’ve been stacking stuff on top of each other. ” I can go this show, than pop up and support this event and then teach my class the next day, I’ll be fine!” And I feel great, dancing at the show. I also feel great being an invested member of the community and showing up for things. I feel the greatest giving my full energy to my class and seeing the participants feed off of that. But when it’s all over I realize that while everything was so damn great, there is nothing left for me. I am depleted.
I have a whole ass family that comes before all of this stuff and I want to be present with them and have the energy to support them in whatever way they need. I’m still gonna be doing all the stuff. Just much more strategically and with more thought given to the effects on my well being.. A part of me feels wack even writing this. “Aww poor baby introvert girl needs her special quiet time” is what I hear in my head. I acknowledge that I am privileged to be able to sit in my room for 4 days while I figure this out. I acknowledge that I have a group of friends I can share with and that don’t take it personally when I’m on silent mode. I acknowledge that I have a partner who holds it down and encourages me to take whatever time I may need without me having to worry about bills getting paid.
During the course of writing this it occurred to me to go back and listen to a reading that I had gotten back in April. I’m so glad that I thought to record it. “Go somewhere and get quiet, that is your 2019. Those moments are gonna be hard to come by. Whatever it takes for you to zone out and connect to your higher self, that’s what’s gonna push you through”
It’s not always about what you can gain, but what you can sustain.
The Marathon Continues!
Don’t take anything personally. It’s the second agreement from Don Miguel Ruiz’s classic book The Four Agreements. Ruiz writes “Whatever happens around you, don’t take it personally…Nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves. Even when a situation seems so personal, even if others insult you directly, it has nothing to do with you. What they say, what they do, and the opinions they give are according to the agreements they have in their own minds…Taking things personally makes you easy prey for these predators.”
In other words it ain’t about you boo! We all have the propensity to hate on someone else. It’s not often a real hate for another, it’s just a bit of envy or a splash of jealousy. As women we tend to compare ourselves to each other and we all know comparison is the thief of joy. Maybe you feel slighted, or you haven’t tuned in to the fact that you are projecting some insecurities outward onto others. Whether it’s throwing a slight bit of shade or spewing full on hatefulness, here are 10 things to do before you make that shady comment, type that nasty text or badmouth someone. Like most things, it could just be a matter of prioritizing self care!
- Drink a big glass of water – You may just be dehydrated sis! Sit yourself down with at least 10 oz of water and see if that shadiness doesn’t pass you by.
- Grease your scalp – Again, dehydration…no one is nice when their scalp is itching up underneath a weave, wig, or protective style. Go head and put some tea tree oil on there and see if you feel better.
- Read a book- Maybe you’re too caught up in your own life, your wheels are turning nonstop and you just need a brief distraction. When those twitter fingers start itching try picking up a novel and get lost in someone else’s story.
- Have an Orgasm- You may just need some good quality D. If there’s none available, take matters into your own hands, but walking around with pent up sexual frustration is guaranteed is sure to bring the pettiness out of you. Handle that.
- Meditate- Sometimes we just need to silence the inner chatter. The inner voices that tell us we are not enough, that people are out to get us, that that we are undeserving. When we have a clear channel to connect to the Most High, we can recognize our own divinity and use our energy to express gratitude as opposed to using it to tear down someone else.
- Take a shit- No really. When all you feel like doing is talking shit it might be because you’re full of it!
- Admire yourself- Sit down in front of the mirror and really take a good, hard, long look. Spend time exploring and admiring your most beautiful features. Get so caught up in self-love and appreciation that your mind doesn’t even have space to consider the next chick and what she is or isn’t doing.
- Go for a run- You may just have a lot of stagnant energy you are holding on to. Sometimes you need to move things through your body. Get that ass up and jog. Get some endorphins pumping and watch all those insecure feelings fade away.
- Spend some time in nature- Admire God’s creations. The majestic sunset, the birds in flight, the ocean waves….it’s harder to hate when you are in a space of admiration for all living things.
- Count your blessings- Everybody is #blessed right? Don’t just hashtag it, embody it. How can you be counting #blessingsonblessings and still be concerned about anything anyone else is doing?
I was not one of those little girls who loved baby dolls. I didn’t have any younger siblings and my one attempt at “watching” my little cousin ended with him falling into the coin fountain at Marketplace Mall. I reluctantly became a Red Cross certified baby sitter at age 13 because my mom thought it made sense. I remember being worried because talking in that high pitched singsong voice people use with babies and kids didn’t come natural. When I decided to have a baby I wondered how a person like me who didn’t feel an urge to play peekaboo with infants in the grocery line and didn’t kneel down to get on eye level when speaking to toddlers would fare with motherhood. Fall in love, get married, have a baby, that’s what you’re supposed to do right? I was on the right track, or so I thought. My ego was lit up when my then husband told me he wanted a daughter who looked just like me. I now see that comment for what it really is but at the time it was fairy tale living.
We got married in June, I stopped taking birth control in December and got a positive pregnancy test in January. As I went through my pregnancy I became increasingly concerned that becoming a mother would mean saying goodbye to myself. If I’m being honest I was having a baby because it was what I viewed as the next step in the trajectory of my life, not because I had an overwhelming urge to become a mother. I wondered if I could still be a good mother without motherhood taking over my whole being . My worst nightmare was becoming one of those mothers who couldn’t hold a conversation about anything not pertaining to kids and child rearing. I decided then that I would not become that mom.
Fast forward to present day and me chaperoning my 11 year old 6th grader on her field trip. I surprised her with the news that I was coming on the field trip and while I’ve been going on her field trips in 6th grade its different. It’s no longer cool. She protested and got all dramatic about me coming but once I was there I could tell she was happy her mama was there and I was glad to be present in that moment for her. As I look at her and realize that the days of chaperoning field trips are numbered and hoping that she looks back on this period of her life fondly, it hits me that maybe by loving and caring for her while continuing to make space and time for the things that make me feel like alive, she is learning what self care looks like. I hope she holds all the memories of birthday parties, summer camps, activities and trips but it’s more important to me that she recalls fondly the way we lived and interacted with each other on a day to day basis. I hope that the stability I strive so hard to create for her empowers her to be bold and take risks.
Motherhood is hard as shit and I haven’t even hit the teenage years yet. It can shine a light on your worst character flaws and force you to examine your behavior more closely. I was so worried about being a different version of myself when in reality I’m a better version. There is delicate balance of protecting her and at the same time allowing her the space to explore and make mistakes. Of passing on knowledge without projecting my perceptions of the world onto her. Of seeing her as my reflection and honoring the individual she is. I think it would be much harder to navigate all of this if I hadn’t made a commitment to continuing to work on myself in the midst of motherhood and it’s already quite hard as it is . I still feel like I’m failing a lot of the time and I still laugh to myself like damn you really don’t know WTF you’re doing do you? I still call my mom for parenting advice. Bottom line is the shit isn’t figured out. As a mother you really just are doing the best that you can every day.