“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” Audre Lorde
I'm tired. I mean like physically, and emotionally exhausted. I feel run down, run ragged, and run over. I'm not as young as I used to be, and the effects of living a nonstop go life are finally catching up to me. Things that came effortlessly in college are little bit more arduous now. I have to be more cognizant of the ways that I exert myself. I also just so happen to do one those jobs that almost exclusively emotional intelligence, and interpersonal relationship building. Maintaining connections is hard. As an introvert, I use every last ounce of energy I have to be accommodating, welcoming, and warm to others at work. Constantly having to smile, be friendly, and genuinely show interest in other people takes a lot out of me. I love people, but I find interactions draining. Then I go home, sit in silence for a bit, read books, watch excessive amounts of TV, play video games, cook, write letters, and study - all alone. I think it's the reason I have yet to prioritize making friends. See what I did there; take ownership for my active choice to neglect establishing a friend base. I don't feel like I'm missing out because I have not made room for anything else. I'm currently in a situationship with the love of my twenty-something life also known as my work. What's even more odd is that I'm aware of it. I don't know how people my age have the capacity to get dressed, uber about, knock a few back, party, sleep, brunch, and repeat week after week. I mean to each their own, but even making pancakes Matilda style seems exhausting. Prioritizing work can be problematic.
As someone new to the "professional" world and a millennial through, and through, I have been combating some serious impostor syndrome mixed with an incessant perfectionism. I just want things to be a certain way, and spend an exorbitant amount of time trying to ensure it is so. What I am learning to do is set limits, time myself, and be proud of what I am able to accomplish instead of only offering critique as to how I could do things better. Learning to rationalize away self-deprecating thoughts is a lifelong process. Overcoming impostor syndrome has meant taking to heart knowing I am where I am because of the opportunities I was afforded, and the preparation I was able to acquire. I deserve to be here. I am qualified to be here. I know what I am doing. I get to be confident in my abilities, opinions, and decisions. Those affirmations have been exactly what I have needed to take control over my self-perception. I don't have to prove myself. I am already here. I have arrived. Its not a competition, and I do not have to be the best at everything. It's okay just to be adequate, to be above average, and to be enough - as I am.
That need to be good at everything, I think it is rooted in a childhood basing my entire identity of my of intelligence, mixed with immigrant parents, and the black tax. It seems to be a common issue for more and more people I come into contact with. Spending much of life avoiding things that potentially could lead to failure has meant missing out on opportunities for growth and development. Life is not meant to be easy, and while it might feel good in the moment to thrive in things I've become well-acquainted with, the challenge of learning something need is well worth any potential discomfort, perceived or real, with failure. Coming to understand that I do not need to be at everything, cannot be good at everything, and will not be good at everything is one of those practical realities that I've just had to embrace. Ambiguity is part of my life, relishing in it instead of deflecting from its inevitability, has made a world of difference. I'm learning to let go, to be okay with not being in control, to trust other people and their talents, and to look forward to figure it all out along the way. There's adventure, spontaneity, and surprise in being flexible.
Self-care is non-negotiable. More and more, day after day, I cannot stress how important take care of yourself is. It has to be us that puts ourselves first. Nobody else can know what we need unless we advocate or model it ourselves. We have to take the time to learn our needs, the remedies to fulfill those needs, and the recurring timeline the whole process runs on. Then we have to actually do the things that help us feel full, whole, and revitalized. I know for me, it's anything that I can focus on without distraction from anything/anyone else. It can be as intentional as listening to music and blogging, like I am right now, or writing letters to friends. It can be as passive as spraying all the colors of my dress shirts before I was them, cooking a meal, doing my full nightly hygiene routine. Everybody is different, and getting to know what you need takes time. Anything that brings you joy, purpose, or peace is potentially a self-care outlet. Self-care needs to be daily part of our lives instead of an afterthoguht for when we we burnt out. Emphasizing self-care as a tenant of our lives integrates it into said life as a critical component. We don't have to burnout if we learn to steady our glow. X