Sometimes Productivity Looks Like Rest
We live in a time where results have become the accepted measure of success. It is a time where we are more concerned with evidence of your accomplishments than with how or why you tried in the first place. We care about output, not quality; product, not process. We get so focused on producing a quantifiable result that we don’t enjoy the process of creation. And creation is the fun part.
May is always an interesting month for me. This is the month of my mom’s birth and my father’s death - not to mention Mother’s Day, friend and family graduations. Traditionally, May has shown itself to be a month of incredible highs… But that low, the loss of my father, affects everything, which makes this month an emotional rollercoaster.
The thing that always surprises me is how tired I am. I don’t realize it until I’m struggling with day-to-day functions, but this emotional upheaval is exhausting. I constantly find myself in situations where I have to pretend everything is ok. I have to feign joy when I feel pain. I feel like I need to look happy for others when inside, I just want to be quiet and alone. The effort to appear as though nothing’s wrong is draining and feels endless. But I do it because if there is one message that I’ve heard throughout my life, it’s the multiple versions of hide what you’re feeling i.e. “never let them see you sweat,” “fake it till you make it,” “never show weakness,” etc.
And I do it. I hide in plain sight. I pretend everything is fine when it isn’t because it’s easier than sharing my pain. It’s less risky than exposing my vulnerability to someone who may not be equipped to handle it. It’s safer than giving some random person access to my softness. The world has shown repeatedly what it will do with my softness and it’s not pleasant. Hell, I was once written up two months after my dad’s death for “looking too sad” in the office. So I lie to the world and exhaust myself trying to be what others expect instead of what I need.
It’s catching up to me. The good thing is that I figure it out sooner and sooner each year. This year it is a true struggle. I’m actively transitioning – I’m writing more, seeking places to publish. I’m working to create content for multiple online outlets. I have changed my convention experience to be a content contributor instead of only attending. These tasks take effort that requires a lot of my personal time. And it’s a choice. I want to do this, which makes it especially difficult to say, “I’m tired. I need downtime. I’m not producing anything for a while.” In fact, I’m actively failing at that right now.
I am going to try, though. I’m going to cut back on a few activities and let myself get some rest. Okay, I’m already lying – I just thought of three things I think I need to do first. Ugh.
So annoyed with myself right now. But I’ll get there. I have to. Eventually my body won’t give me a choice.