And when the day has all but ended
And our echo starts to fade
No you will not be alone then
And you will not be afraid
Rob Thomas, “Now Comes The Night”
I have four freelance deadlines coming up. Commitments I’m trying to honor pack my weekends; playing catch up during the evenings by working on articles or the blogs or trying to find inspiration for my writing leads me well into the evenings. I try to go to bed by 10:30 so that I get enough sleep for work the next day, as without caffeine, sleep is pretty much all that keeps me functioning.
But things have been hazy lately. Judgment is cloudy, logic is foggy, and my emotions are running high. This evening, my mom asked me to fulfill a simple request. I responded by breaking down into tears.
I don’t know how to do it. I watch friends follow this same routine seemingly effortlessly — staying up well into the night while working a 40 hour day job, juggling life and love and work and play seamlessly.
I wish that I could. For awhile, I thought I was. It seemed like all of my hard work was finally paying off as I welcomed the opportunities that resulted, so thrilled and grateful for them. But what I’m struggling with now is something more difficult than the workload.
I’m pushing myself too far, not knowing my limits — or maybe not wanting to admit them — so that I’m becoming a jumble of nerves and stress, emotions running rampant. I’m finding that the more I try to hold things together, the more I try to take a deep breath and schedule and prioritize, the further frayed everything becomes.
I’m trying to do it all, trying so hard to be a good daughter, a good sister, a good friend…I’m working so hard to be a professional, a writer, that I’m forgetting what it’s like to be me.
I’m forgetting how to be.
I don’t know how to find that peace again, that strength. I keep a purple post-it note on my cubical wall at work with a simple reminder of where I’ve been and where I’m going. One word, one simple word, used to be all it took to remind myself of my purpose, my worth, my strength. One word, one place, was all I needed to remind me of how much I have grown and changed and learned. “Remember France” became my mantra, and that was all it took to remind me of how far I’ve come.
It’s been almost a year since that journey. And while so much has changed, I fear, now, that so much has still remained the same. I wonder if I’m not back to that same place I was before I left, before I experienced all that I had. I find myself second-guessing decisions, second-guessing my abilities, second-guessing myself.
Any trace of that confident, even, dare I say, empowered woman has vanished today, in this moment. Instead I’m left with a feeling of too much, and maybe not enough. There’s too much going on, and yet I’m still not working hard enough. I have so many opportunities, and yet I should be doing more. I have people around me who love me, and yet I’m not loving them enough.
I feel so mixed up right now, in this moment. It’s a moment that I’m sure will pass — it’s the reason I write and blog, after all. But right now, my stomach lies in knots as the stresses of life take hold. I don’t quite know how to sort it all out this time, how to quell the impatience and irritation I feel towards people, even loved ones…especially loved ones. These negative feelings are so foreign to me, and the guilt I have for them makes it ever that much worse.
Want to know a secret? What it took me this whole, long blog post to figure out?
I think I’m afraid to stop pushing myself so hard, I’m afraid to give myself a break because, I think, I’m a bit afraid of being forgotten.
Of being left behind. Of missing out on opportunities, possibilities, chances. Of being of the “out of sight, out of mind” variety.
I’m not afraid of losing at something. I’m afraid of losing that something — the people I care about most. I’m afraid that if I’m not there for them, they won’t be there for me. I’m afraid that if I’m not the best daughter/sister/friend/professional/writer/whatever, they’ll move on to that something better, something more.
I push myself so hard because I’m afraid of not being good enough. And I’m afraid of the day when I’ll have to watch someone figuratively or literally, by choice or by chance, leave me again.
It’s all up to me to combat that. I need to cut myself a break, I know. And it’s no one’s fault but my own; I really do know that, too.
But I still don’t know how to face it.
And so, instead, I pretend it’s not there, pushing myself even more, even harder.
Neglecting myself, subconsciously protecting myself, so that others can’t have the opportunity to do it first.