Way Past Closing

July 18, 2021

I’ve fallen and I swear I’m trying to get up.

I don’t know how to eat well, move, and be in spiritual alignment without it being an all in project. I go hard at everything. I liked running, but a little jog in the neighbourhood wasn’t enough- no I had to do marathons. I wanted to eat healthier so I became a clean eating freaking fanatic. I liked cooking so naturally I had to make croissants and chocolate silk cakes – from scratch, all the time. I don’t know how to do that balance thing really well. Once I get on a path I usually end up going so hard I tire myself out. The minute I decide, oh I should probably eat better and move more, it moves into scrutiny about my body and an all in approach.

I have not mastered that breezy way of just moving because I feel like it and eating well because that’s what I do.

This leg of the Covid journey has not made things much better either. Throughout the last 2 years I’ve gone from relishing in solitude, hermitdom (it’s a thing), and general ease to intense over-productivity. Yes I was a card carrying member of the whole sourdough craze club, followed by the baking frenzy, and then spending way too much at the grocery store and health food stores because – well nothing else was open. I mastered some recipes. I’m particularly proud of my danishes. My homemade noodles are pretty good too. Oh and I can’t leave out my Japanese inspired mushroom and sea vegetable broth. All of these great wonders came about because I had time and flexibility with that time. The two variables that had escaped me for many years.

And here we are now. I’ve gone through the landscape of interesting recipes to master, I’ve created a mighty comfortable nest for me to paint, write, meditate, and move in. So I should be good right? Not even close. Last summer I walked 1 hour 5 days a week and took cold showers everyday for 4 months. (I already warned you about the intensity thing.) I did yoga/pilates exercises almost daily and I cooked like it was my job. (It kind of is. That’s what my kids tell me. I’m not so sure.) Move ahead to this year. There are days (here and there) where showers may have had to wait a bit. I struggled to even get out there to walk, and I think I may have made an investment in Uber Eats with zero returns. I’m quite a mess to be real about it.

Not a flat out on my face kind of mess – more of a lying on my back on a warm beach without any desire to return to home, people, routine kind of a mess. I truly feel like I’ve been laying on the beach too long and the sun is setting and damn it, its time to get home. You know that feeling when you’ve over stayed your welcome at an amusement park? Like you get to the monster of a parking lot and it’s so easy to find your car now because everybody has left? Yeah that feeling.

I feel like I’ve overstayed my welcome with the “Covid normal”. I’m having so much trouble kicking my ass out the door and into the real world.

Well the real world kicked me back. The other day in my voice coaching session I felt so tired near the end. My coach checked in with me and I told her I was tired. I explained that I’m kinda strung out on being tired too. I want to get back to my high efficiency life. The 1 hour walks, the cold showers, the whole thing. But I’m tired all the time. And I hate it. I realized there and then that I was really pissed off at my body. Like how dear you not keep up with me and all the things I want to do. My coach asked if I could sing to the tiredness. So fine I did. It was more like a whine really. Like when a toddler is at the end of a tantrum and they start to puff out subs reluctantly? Just like that.

At the end my coach asked me to check in with my attachment to productivity. Why can’t I just accept that I’m tired? What’s the big deal? I chimed back that being tired means that I’m lazy and I don’t take care of my body. I described my mother who is the opposite of lazy. My mother only lies down to sleep or if she is really ill. Even then you can hear her vacuuming at 9:00 PM after she has worked a 10 hour day. She never seems to get so tired that she just drops out of life like I do. Sometimes I watch her go from chore to chore and wonder how this gene missed me. So back to my voice coach. She asked me to just live with being tired. Just accept that I’m tired. But what I couldn’t tell her is that this body has not always felt like it could afford to be tired. This legacy of over-productivity is so strong in my DNA that I struggle every day to claim rest and leisure.

Big, fat, black, female bodies are not given permission to be tired. We must always be pushing to extremes to prove that resources and opportunities are not wasted on us.

I realize that part of the reason I get so tired at times is because I go through months of doing what most people do in a year. I’m not good at pacing myself. I just keep going and hoping that I’ll have enough steam left. And when I find myself walking to that parking lot way past closing I am left with the feelings of exhaustion, shame, and loathing. I have no happy ending or solutions. (Sorry if you read all this way hoping for one.) But I do have comfort in knowing that the more I look at my relationship to productivity and self worth is the better I’ll get at reaching a state balance. I feel another project coming on. Just kidding. A little.