I recently met with a friend, and she asked me how I am. Leading me to share how done and exhausted I felt that day. That instead of working on my to-do’s and exercising, I sat on the sofa with tea and a book as I felt so drained, nothing left. And that I felt okay about that!
And she was stunned and said something along the line of “wow, you always come across as so strong, always doing something and having it all together!”. Believe me – I don’t was my first reaction. But on second thought, I do have it all together and am mostly feeling strong, but perhaps in a different way than most people assume “having it together and being strong” means.
I have it “all together” because I am owning them all – the strong days, the weaker and the nothing-left days. It’s a long time ago that I faked it, hid how I felt when I was exhausted to the bones. But not anymore. Because faking it til you make it can lead to faking it til you…break. And getting up from that “breaking” is so much harder.
So, what changed? I accept the not-so-good days more open-heartedly and talk about them. I do not feel bad about myself anymore. With almost 49 years, 3 kids, and several moves under the belt, I am okay with not functioning every day. I am sporty, and exercise is usually my go-to, my energizer. Still, even there, I reached the point that I have days on stretch with “no-go”, and I am not beating myself up over that any longer. My body and mind need to rest, and that’s what they get. Over the last months, I saw a rhythm of how my energy level ticks, and let’s say that next to “life happens” and age, all this peri-menopause stuff plays a big part in it all, too. But knowing it’s coming, stopping to fight it and – most of all ! – accepting it made it much better. In fact, “stopping” makes me feel stronger, physically and mentally.
No, I might feel anything but strong in body and mind on some days, but talking about it, and sharing it, makes it less heavy. And it opens up some fantastic talks and discussions and creates connections. You – and the person you are talking to – quickly realize you aren’t the only one, but too many of us are faking it to make it. So then I wonder, to make what?
We aren’t robots that are programmed to go go go – and come on, even they run low on battery or overheat at times and need to recharge! No, we are human beings. And to “be” – to me – means to let our body and mind be, too. Some days it all thrives and runs smoothly, and exercising, healthy eating, good sleep, fun, and engagement is high up there. On other days, I stay at home, take myself out of conversations, and disconnect with a (meanwhile) good conscious. I “be” the way it feels right that day.
I often stumble over the hereafter mentioned text. And it makes me wonder what has become of us that it seems we always have to be “busy” and, at times, even lie about it. Taking time for myself isn’t being busy; it’s about slowing down. I don’t want to fake being busy when I am not; I want to freely say, “I need time to slow down”, without being judged or frowned upon.
“I lied and said I was busy.
I was busy;
but not in a way most people understand.
I was busy taking deeper breaths.
I was busy silencing irrational thoughts.
I was busy calming a racing heart.
I was busy telling myself I am okay.
Sometimes, this is my busy –
and I will not apologize for it.”
― Brittin Oakman
Let’s stop faking it but embrace it!
Let’s normalize saying, “I need to slow down”, and scratch the “busy” when we take care of ourselves.
Are you in?
I hope you are finding your ease wherever you are