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Let it be guilt-free
The beginning of this year has already brought much change and growth.
I’ve performed at poetry readings and been waitlisted for a writing residency, I’ve received a publication acceptance and worked to earnestly pursue boundary-setting. I feel stronger and more flexible than I have in a year, and I am reluctant to choose a “word” for 2023, but I will say that progress has been leaving my lips most often lately. I feel blessed as I am seated in my personal power right now.
I can’t say why I haven’t written but I imagine it’s a combination of the cold and the curse of wanting to write but believing nothing will come. I don’t do morning pages, and centuries of writers echo that consistency is the thing but I have always believed that pushing myself to sit down and write would only make me bitter and so I try to remind myself not to force it.
This last week has been a meditation on the importance of rest.
Earlier this month I was diagnosed with ADHD, and barring the reductive nature of a diagnosis, I agreed to begin a medication that could help me with the symptoms: debilitating bouts of overstimulation, and difficulty focusing which had begun affecting my (professional) productivity. The meds began to quiet my mind almost immediately, but as a side effect I have barely slept in over a week and ultimately my body and mind has suffered. It is getting marginally better, and today I felt compelled to write which is a big step in recouperation.
So, rest time looked like a lot of tea, layering and an abundance of blankets. Naps when I could grab hold of them, but otherwise a great deal of guilt for lying around.
When I was young, rest was not modeled for me. From what I remember, my mom was always so busy I barely saw her eat, and rest wasn’t something that was regularly practiced as a process of leisure — I could better describe it as exhausted collapse. I happen to know she still operates that way, too busy taking care of everyone because that is her way. It has taken years for me to realize that I do not want to end up there. I want rest to factor into my life as a gift I offer myself: a slow opening, or unraveling, sometimes a hibernation or even protection from/of.
The hardest part is reminding myself that rest is okay, that it isn’t something to feel guilty about.
I also happen to know I’m not the only person who struggles to reach this place.
Ultimately, you need time to rest. If you don’t make time or space, how will you rest? You say
“I’m supposed to be…”
scooping the litter box /
writing and responding to emails /
opening my mail /
“so how can I rest?”
Well, if you don’t do it now, your body will collapse later — or let you know in another way, probably a desperate way, that you needed rest a while ago.
To make matters worse, determining the precipice of overwhelming exhaustion is terribly difficult.
Why doesn’t anyone show us the way?
We do not rest and so we are weary.
Are you overworked?
Are you eating enough?
I plan to cover this very soon.
Are you drinking water right now?
The truth is that by denying ourselves periods of rest and leisure, and instead settling for daily collapse after the workday, we are becoming increasingly unwell. Without unapologetically claiming the rest we DESERVE and tabling the guilt we feel for doing so, we are not taking care of ourselves — period.
Doesn’t a nest of blankets, a cup of hot tea, and a movie sound delightful? Or maybe your rest looks different. A walk in the park, a picnic, a swim at dawn.
What does your version of rest look and feel like? I’d love to hear.
Whatever you do, offer yourself some rest this weekend. Guilt-free.
I know I plan to — and away from the city, thankfully. Although this weekend is to be crammed (taking a mini-trip West to visit my partner’s family) their home feels entirely apart from the city. A divine green space. A restful space to be sure.
With love and warmth,