Rest

“Rest is a requirement, not a reward.” I read that sentence the other day on some random, encouraging Instagram account I follow and I realized that this is what I’ve been trying to convince myself of for several weeks now, but it’s actually a really hard thing to do. To convince yourself that you need to rest. That it isn’t you shutting down or not dealing with things, it’s actually a requirement for life. Why is it so tough? Especially for women. Probably because we tell ourselves if we are resting then we aren’t productive. And if we aren’t productive who will get all the things we’ve convinced ourselves that needs to get done, done?

I haven’t been sleeping. At first I thought it was because, you know, life, but when I mentioned this aggressive non-sleeping that’d I’d been having to my Rheumatologist she said, “Oh, it’s the medication.” Turns out some of my medication can cause this to happen. It’s considered an “adverse side effect,” as it’s not terribly common, but can happen to some patients. So she promptly took me off of it, and said it might take a couple of weeks to get back to normal. I felt immediate relief.

I don’t mean I started sleeping better, rather I felt relieved to know there was a reason. I found it easier to give myself a bit of grace when I felt sleepy in the afternoons and went to lay my head on the pillow because it wasn’t “my fault.”

Last week I was struggling with the idea that when I did this, when I relaxed, even if it was just to curl up on the couch with a book (a book I was assigned to read for school) I still felt like I was just being “lazy.” That’s what I told my therapist Patsy it felt like, laziness. But the truth is, it’s not laziness. I just have to work on shifting my mindset.

I don’t need a reason to not sleep, so why should I have a reason to sleep? To rest? To read a book? Why should I make myself fill bad for giving my body and mind something they need when it’s been working overtime lately. Between a global pandemic, an MFA program, a pre-teen, two rambunctious dogs, a partner, a house, a newly-diagnosed autoimmune disease, a shocking family realization, more grief to top it all off, and the pressures of you know, everydayfuckinglife, I can cut myself some slack sometimes. And you can too.

My friend dropped a book off to me the other day that one of her friends wrote. I haven’t dug into yet, mainly on account of all the required reading I’m doing, but I have skimmed it. It’s full of beautiful poetry, but more importantly it’s full of encouragement. Encouragement to give yourself permission to do the things that you need to do in order to keep going. And it sort of sings to me.

So go easy on yourself today, y’all. Let your mind and your body tell you what you need and listen, damn it. No hard feelings toward yourself.

I hope you have a lovely, love-filled weekend.

❤️

M.

Tuesday Reminders

I know it’s been a couple of tough-ass weeks, y’all. Couple months. Couple years? Decades? Centuries? Depending on the color of your skin, I suppose. The point is we are all dealing with a lot right now. A lot. Patsy (that’s my therapist, for all you new followers) likes to remind me that on any given day we are dealing with a lot. Then you throw in a global pandemic, a crippling economy, having to stay inside, a sudden, urgent need to advocate stronger than ever for our BIPOC friends, protesting, keeping other people accountable, learning how to unlearn what our culture has trained us to know, not to mention that we are inundated with violent videos of police officers murdering and attacking Americans, well it’s a tough place out there. And no one has the answers. That’s the icing on the cake. The uncertainty of it all. No one knows what our world looks like on the other side. Having said all that, here are some gentle reminders to keep in mind as we move forward.

1. We don’t have to have all the answers today. The thing about learning and growing is that it takes time. And some of us need to remember that. (Raising my hand here!) On the fourth day of protesting last week, Jerimiah and I flopped onto our bed and looked at each other in total loss and confusion. We were tired. Really tired. Mentally more than physically, emotionally more than mentally. We realized we needed a rest. We pushed too hard too fast and you can’t do that with a revolution, it’s an ongoing process and we are here for the long haul.

2. You are not alone. Man I know it feels like it sometimes. It feels like you’re the only one in your family or friend or social circle who thinks this way or that way. You’re the only one who has thought that one thing or who wants to say that other thing. You’re not. We always think we’re exceptional in our original actions and thoughts, but more often than not we are merely exceptionally average. A lot of people are feeling what you are feeling right now, wanting to say what you want to say, but they are unable for one reason or another. Just keep the conversation going, they will find you.

3. You are loved. Even on days when your brain tells you that you are not loved, you are. Look around. Look out your window. Call your mom, or your best friend. Write a poem. Listen to your favorite song. You’ll feel it again.

4. We learn from mistakes, which is good ‘cause we’re gonna make them. We grow from them too. And if you think you’re too old, or too stubborn, or too whatever to learn and grow, you’re wrong.

5. You’re gonna be okay. We’re gonna be okay. Maybe not today. Probably not tomorrow, but one day life will feel better. And when it is, we will have these days to look back and reflect on. And we will see how far we’ve come.

I know as the weeks go on, and things get tougher, we’ll need to rely on each other more and more to do the heavy lifting. So ask yourself today, are you the kind of person that can hold another up when they are low and you are high? Are you ready for the heavy lifting? If not, that’s okay. Rest today. We’ve got you for now.

M.