I am not worth it.
Like you, I was born to this world with a body.
A vessel. Skin, bones, hair, and blood. A bright heart. An open mouth.
And yet for most of my life, my primary concerns were how body looked and what it could do for me.
Like my devices and car and appliances, I expected it to work on demand. I expected it to boot up in the morning when my alarm clock when off and plow through the tasks that I set before myself each day.
I expected it to look good. I expected it to show up. I expected it to work without failure or hesitation.
There is always something more important that requires my attention.
This vessel requires more from me than ignorance of hyped up expectations if it is to remain full, vibrant, active.
While I plow along, I borrow against myself, against my energy until I am left with none.
I know what it is like to be left with none.
It is eyes open and heart racing. The consuming feeling of self-doubt that never leaves like a veil between me and the world. The harsh no I don’t have time for you today to my lover. The hunger that is so deep it feels like it will eat me alive.
When I am left with none, I have no inner resources to give anything or anyone my attention. I am fragile like a crumbling shell. I am angry with my body for not showing up, for not giving me more to work with.
But, even though I am the decision maker and the permission granter, I forget to be angry with myself.
Because a body is build to perform without fail, right?
When I’m tired I often treat myself to the pseudo-rest of scrolling through social media or binging on Netflix, but often it leaves me feeling lacking and dissatisfied.
I ache for it, but I whisper to myself that I will need six weeks off or $20k to feel rested. I will need a calendar with nothing on it. I will need a permission slip from my mother | boss | partner allowing me to put down this heavy load.
But, since I can’t have that, I will settle for what I “can have.” I will lie in bed and scroll. I will watch these 153 episodes of the Gilmore Girls (again), because if I am sitting up my guilt is assuaged. I will settle for this partial rest.
But what if rest was redefined? What if, instead of a horizontal activity, we stretched it to include engaging in self-compassion, permission to be human, and activities that restore our energy?
What if all that it took to replenish your vessel was to allow yourself to move at your own pace and prioritize the things that you really love to do?
Could I have that?
Could I let myself have that?
I would rather do something else with my free time.
Like an exhausted three year old who refuses the nap she so desperately requires, I know that this is true. I know the drum of frustration of wanting more for myself than the unique boredom of tending to my needs.
But this life is an ecosystem. It isn’t a machine to be started up and sent out to do it’s job, coffee and sugar and praise from others as the ultimate fuel.
In this ecosystem, the more that I give to myself, the more that I have to give. The more that I surrender to rest, the greater my capacity for fun. The more I say no to what I don’t want, the more that I have space for hearty yeses and wild adventure.
In this ecosystem, I am the tender steward. I am the maintainer of balance.
It may not be fun but it is necessary, this work. This is the work of staying alive.
I rest and I rest and I rest, but I am never restored.
I am a deep abyss that cannot be trusted. For years I have shoved my needs in the closet, opening the door just a crack and slamming it quickly so as to avoid the impending avalanche that I tell myself is just on the other side of the door.
I want to throw up my hands. I will never be refilled. It’s too late. All I can do is make the best of what I have and keep moving forward, redbull in hand.
I rest but I haven’t stopped to take myself into consideration. Again, I am frustrated with this shell of a body. I want to shout in frustration, I GIVE YOU SO MUCH AND STILL YOU ARE TIRED. I want to punish my sweet body for its human vulnerability.
I want the energy without the attention and care.
I want the outcome without the time spent tending.
I cannot rest when so much remains undone.
I am allowed to proceed in my own right timing.
I am allowed to not be the first one to the finishing line. My achievements still matter even if I took my sweet time getting there. They don’t have to be achieved perfectly in order to be worthy of praise.
I am not responsible for the world.
I am allowed to reclaim this space here for myself.
I am allowed to meet my own needs first, refilling this vessel. This is how I will best be of service. This will make me a better partner, employee, mother, daughter, friend.
I am allowed to be boring without being forgotten.
I am allowed to spend time becoming, dreaming.
I am allowed to find out what makes me feel truly restored.
I am allowed to prioritize my own well-being.
I am allowed to trust that my hefty history of unmet needs will be undone slowly, with love and tending. I am allowed to trust in my own ability to become whole again, in my own regenerative spirit.
I am allowed to rest.