“So what’s up with the blog?” she asked curiously. “I thought the plan was to use this time to grow creatively and work on all that stuff?”
Plans are fickle things. You start something new and you have the plan in place, at least, that’s how I operate. There is a plan, a way, and things will go accordingly. I will work hard and keep my head down, and soon, very soon, the plan will come to fruition.
But life…life is strange. And just when you think you have it all figured out, BAM, it knocks you sideways and you’re left shaking your head wondering what the hell happens next. It’s confusing and disorienting.
I have learned so much in the last year, there is no way to gather it all into one blog post. But probably the most important thing I learned in the last year was I cannot function without self-care, and sometimes self-care doesn’t fit into one’s plans. For most of my life, I have ignored those signs that most people see easily. I was constantly busy, a fury of check lists and unread emails and calendar appointments. Most days I wouldn’t realize I’d missed lunch until around 4 p.m. I consistently got around 4 or 5 hours of sleep per night, so proud that I could sustain myself on such meager rest.
“How do you do it all?” they’d ask. I’d coyly smile and give myself a silent pat on the back for my amazingness. I was *almost* enough. If I could just finish that assignment or blog post or project, I’d really be a wonder woman! I chased that status like I’d die if I stopped for a sip of water or some fresh air.
The problem with living like that, especially for such an extended period of time, is it’s extremely hard to stop. It’s mind-bogglingly difficult for someone like me to sit down and rest. And it’s compounded by the fact that I have surrounded myself with people who think the same way. Friends, family, colleagues…they are all massive overachievers of the highest sort. So when I tried to stop or sit or breathe, I looked at them and felt guilt. Shame. Less than.
Here is the catch, and the thing I really learned in the last 11 months:
I am enough. Just as I am. I am enough with one blog post every 10 days and I am enough with 5 a week. I am enough with crisp, edited photos and I am enough with a quick iPhone capture. I am enough with late nights working and I am enough with a cup of tea and a good movie.
It’s okay to take care of myself. And it’s okay to be afraid of doing so. For me, it is scary, and I had to learn being scared wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. I was so afraid if I stopped, and took a breath, I’d find out I was a fraud. All the spinning around in my hamster wheel was a way I could avoid looking at what I was doing, and if it really made me feel good. When I finally did stop, I had to cut it all off in order to see if I missed it…to see if writing and photographing and creating was truly what made my heart sing.
Turns out, it does. I love to write. I love capturing people and moments in photographs. It makes me feel alive. There is poetry in my life again. I feel it. It’s a good thing.
I saw this commercial a while back, and I felt my breath stop, then slowly start again. A creative mind is sometimes a hard place to live inside. My brain isn’t rational…it seeks life and love and joy. It does not spark with items crossed off a list. Which, honestly, is why I believe I felt so lost for so long. I was forcing it to think in a way that wasn’t how it was built. Now, instead, I’m letting it go. It’s scary. But scary things can be very, very good.