On this third day straight of feeling physically exhausted I am beginning to lose the peace I experienced by simply giving into it. It is fascinating to observe. I can see that it is not actually a choice (at least not in the way that deciding to fix a sandwich for lunch is one). After doing my best to rest for a few days (while still exercising and working) I find that my body is more listless; my head, sleepier.
I feel drunk and stoned but I did nothing save sleep for 9.5 hours after having two simple days of being present and content. I want so badly to leave the house and go for a walk right now but I honestly feel like it would be dangerous–like someone walking after swallowing a few Xanax pills. I suppose the anger I feel over this is something akin to: Really?! This is my reward?! Feeling like I’m on drugs for no reason whatsoever?!!
The last month has been a time of experiments for me. First I took a vacation. It was a helpful vacation. That is to say, I enjoyed it and did not fall into any significantly collapsed state of being. My first and second week back from work, I tried to stay with myself more in my sessions. To “hang back”, as it were. I also tried to set more boundaries in my private life: if I was tired after work I would say goodnight immediately after my final client; if I was not ready to listen to a long message I waited until I was. In short, I did everything I set out to do. But when last Wednesday rolled around, I could feel that I had reached that familiar place of exhaustion; that I was one step away from falling into numbness and then….rage? collapse?
But again, I decided to try yet another experiment: I let myself be exhausted. I didn’t apologize for it. I surrendered and the surrender led me to a peaceful place for just under two days. Content. Simple. Easy. Why not stay with something that was clearly so helpful? I don’t know. It was there when I opened my eyes this morning.
I woke up today at 9:15am. My first thought was, “What the fuck?! Why are you so tired after taking care of yourself for three days?!” I breathed. I began to dawn on me (again) that I cannot avoid falling into this place. That this is my life. Work. Work. More work. Tired. Do my best. Survive. This is the life for the majority of people in this country. In that sense, I am not special. But at the risk of incurring judgment (and dear reader, this is one time where I would not judge you for being judgmental of me): I’m too sensitive to live this way. But I do. And I will.
I often do not give myself enough credit for the life force it takes to persevere through this. So much of my life force gets drained through my work. And my experiments have allowed me to see that even when I avoid working like an “empath” and even when I try to stay true to myself…I end up here.
So what does giving in mean now? What does surrendering mean at this very moment? I’m not sure. And I feel too foggy to answer it. So give in to the fogginess maybe? Then what? What happens Monday when I am not afforded the luxury of giving in? When I have to caffeinate myself through another day?
To those out there who go through a difficult work life without this much anguish, I salute you and send you a lot of respect. To those who drag themselves through their work: know that you’re not alone. And to those who do not need to work this much (here I am of course not counting those who are underemployed or unemployed through no choice of their own), please appreciate how luxurious it is to live your life on your terms. And I will try to appreciate how I live life more on my terms than many others in the world. I’ll try.
As I was about to finish this up (this is definitely one of those times when I couldn’t give a shit about editing) I realized that I have a gift that….sometimes feels like a curse. Well, I have a couple of those. But the one I’m referring is my ability to make do even when essential things are missing from my life. Whether it be love, sex, affection, financial security…I find a way to feed myself. Sometimes it’s messy and I choose a dark path that only drives me further into collapse. But for the most part I find a way to feel accompanied in life. I find a way to be loving. I’m resourceful. But I suppose what I lack (and I’m not saying this is a good or bad thing but I know it would make me sound less whiny) is a “stiff upper lip”.
There are certain players in sports who are known for being both tough and whiny. It sounds like a paradox, but bear with me here. These athletes are ones who play through serious pain and injury but who cannot help but share that they are in pain. In the toxic masculine culture of men’s athletics, they are frowned upon for not hiding their suffering. Though some of them might be attention seekers, I would hazard a guess that the majority of them are just too sensitive to keep it under wraps. That is me: you wouldn’t know it to look at me (overly sensitive, mercurial, child-like at times) but I’m tougher than nails.