Have you noticed that everywhere you turn these days there is a “motivational” or “inspirational” meme about how you have to seize the moment, push hard, strive bigger, drive yourself with MORE passion, more work, more effort, less fear?
Well I noticed. And I nodded my head in agreement. YES!!! I thought. I am creating my business. I am juggling 3 young kids, being a military spouse without family or help nearby, and “building that empire” brick by brick.
You see after years of illness, some of which kept me bed-bound and housebound, I had this motivation, this drive, (this pressure) to become bigger, badder, and MORE than I was before. I needed to make up for lost time, when I felt like I wasn’t enough. In a world where sickness = weakness, it became clear that I had to prove myself, that I had value.
And so I found this “hobby” in the realm of real food recipes, it was a multi-faceted passion. I made food that helped heal my body, I had a creative outlet where I could produce something interesting and different, and I used it as a tool to connect with others who were sick and needed help. I started feeling so fulfilled, content, and also found a drive I had been missing for so long. As a Type-A it seemed like the perfect niche for me, a place to call my own while still doing my “momming”.
I became so driven in fact that before I even put my work on social media, I turned to my husband and said “I am going to write a book. I don’t know when or how, but I am going to make it happen”. He nodded and probably thought I was crazy but knew well enough not to squash my grand plan.
Well guess what this crazy a$$ did? I got my book deal within 6 months of posting on social media, knowing absolutely NOTHING about what being a published author really meant. And then I decided that I should push even HARDER and *really* seize the opportunity and I wrote a total of 4 books in one and a half years. Because somewhere in that mix, I felt like doing more equated to having more value. That if I wasn’t “doing it now” then I was wasting my life. And hadn’t I already *wasted* so much of it being sick after all? Now was my time to make up for all that “laziness”. Where did this message come from? And what have I been doing to myself?
Last weekend, I ended up in the ER with acute onset intestinal bleeding, following a 12 day migraine. My body was breaking. Again. It was failing me. Did I bring this on? Am I to blame? And more importantly, DO I NEED TO PLACE EVEN MORE BLAME AND SHAME ON MYSELF?! After years of feeling like I wasn’t enough, do I really need to now blame myself for getting sick again?
I am home. I am resting. I am doing whatever I can to rehabilitate a body that has been pushed too far. Even if I did the pushing to myself, it has been exceeding its limits for awhile now. I do not value “Busy,” in fact I believe “Busy” to be far from an accomplishment; more like a symptom. Yet in the same sense, I was “busying” myself with work, with trying to push harder, strive bigger, be worthy.
And now I realize that I am going to have to have worth as I am, despite my level of production, even if I have a couch day (which I always fought for fear of being lazy), despite the fact that some days I will create nothing. In the end, it may be those *unproductive, meaningless, lazy* days that hold the most importance in my healing.
And if you too are in a position where you have been pushing, fighting, and going beyond your level of comfort so that you can *be somebody special*, realize this: YOU ALREADY ARE ENOUGH. YOU ARE ENOUGH EXACTLY AS YOU ARE. AND SO AM I.
A lot of this resonated with me. It’s the self-blame that kicks us hardest when we’re already down. I wish I lived near you so we could give each other help and community. From afar, I think you’re amazing, passionate, smart, talented, and you’ve already made things just a little bit better for a lot of people. It’s clear how loving and devoted you are to your family. Where there’s shame, there’s pride, since everything is in equal parts, and you have a lot to be proud of. Sending you love.
This post held some profound weight for me. You took a personal hidden struggle of mine and gave it a voice. (Struggling with productivity=value/worth and fearing couch days) This stirred some big emotions for me and has ignited some good introspection. Thank you for being vulnerable and sharing. Praying for grace and healing in your journey as you recover and continue to grow in wisdom. Much love! -Abbey
Thanks Abbey 🙂
I can not believe the timing of your post. I am almost in tears because of how close to home this is for me. You are helping me make a big decision (postponing Grad School) so I can take care of myself and my chronic illness. You don’t know how big an impact you’ve made…I have to allow myself to rest and take care of me .
Wow, so glad to hear this! Yes to rest!
V Capaldi says
That is how I became disabled. Pushing and pushing. I built and sold over 10 companies from the age of 21 to 37. Today I practice the art of doing nothing which produces so much more goodness in life than any other work I have ever done. Creating space for life to unfold are where the miracles happen. If you ever want to chat or looking for one on one support I am here anytime. Stay in love with your definition of YOU. Namaste my sister. xo