A close friend called yesterday and complained about how unavailable I have become. I didn’t give excuses, I just agreed with her. At the end of the call she said, ‘you know you told me you’re doing you this year, so I can’t even show up at your place just like that.’ This is correct, I am doing me now; I am teaching myself to take care of me first before I take care of others.
While having a different conversation with another friend, we both agreed that we need to slow down and decompress. He said he needs a vacation, time with himself, time to refuel. I didn’t say what my plan to decompress is, because I don’t have one. I just shared these words:
“ People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself. ”
— MARCUS AURELIUS.
I don’t have a decompressing plan because I don’t know how to do that. For a long time I depended on someone else to tell me it is time to decompress. I waited on someone to notice that I am almost burning out for them to stop me right in my tracks. I always knew that they’d hold me back from plunging into the raging waters because the waters appeared calm to me. Talk about codependency.
For so long, I have been a culprit of not taking of myself. I have been busy being nurturing other people; I spend each waking moment figuring out who is the next broken person I am going to fix. Who am I? Olivia Pope? Don’t get me wrong, I am philanthropist (a lover of humanity): it gives me so much joy to learn that the words I speak give life to some dying soul; that the smile I wear gives someone hope; and that the minute I spent inquiring about someone’s day makes them realize that they are worthy of living. Life is hard; and harder if you have to face it alone.
Today. I woke up feeling low, the fire in my belly was slowly dying. I tried all I could to fan the dying embers, I stoked using positive thinking. Nothing. The fire died, naturally. At that exact moment I remembered Mel Robbin’s words, Motivation is Garbage, It Is Never There When You Need It. No amount of positive thinking was helping my situation and I chose to conform. I let the moment take me over; the sense of no direction, boredom, and confusion.
Only one thing have I decided, it is okay.
It is okay to be tired. It is okay to be bored. It is okay to be confused. It is okay to lose direction. It is okay to lose my grip. It is okay that the fire in my belly died. It is okay not to be composed. It is okay for someone else to take care of me. It is okay to shut down. It is okay to lose my mind.
I pray that someone will see my struggle and remind me this everyday. More than anything I need external aid to bring me to my senses because all I know is to keep going. All I hear around me is screams about grit, willpower and consistency.
For my sanity to be, I need my environment to be kind to me in my most vulnerable moments. I will not ask for permission to cry when I want to, I will not feel ashamed about sleeping in, I will not for one moment explain why I made the ‘wrong’ decision. Some days, all I have are these vulnerable moments, and they give meaning to my life.