Most of my life has been themed by some state of overwhelm. I’ve congratulated myself for the ability to spin too many plates at once and not drop a single one.
One of my trademark superpowers growing up was intense distractibility. My father used to admire my incredible inability to finish a single thing I started. I’d leave jobs before they could fire me, relationships before they could leave. I didn’t know it back then, but these are the fairly typical behaviors of someone who has experienced trauma. Control is not optional, and distraction is key.
Unfortunately, survival doesn’t leave much time for reflection. So, instead of focusing attention on all the internal forces and fear that demanded control, I simply demanded it. In an attempt to control as many outside influences as I could, I set unrealistic and absurd expectations and for myself and other people.
I set aside the fact that control is, in and of itself, an illusion. I shrugged off the idea that the details hold only as much significance as I place on them. If you had been through and seen what I had, you wouldn’t question my need to detach.
I had not yet discovered the power I have to control my own mind in the midst of emotional chaos. Back then I was a victim, unarmed with the tools necessary to cope with the unbearable amount of grief I was handed before I could speak.
Once I found my bearings, I set out to prove to the world that I was enough. I tried to drown out the sound of my own heart beating to the rhythm of nothingness. I attempted to talk and think my way into right action, instead of acting my way into right thinking, and somewhere, I became a slave to “too busy.”
The lines between ‘have to’ and ‘want to’ became incredibly blurred, and I began to crumble under the weight and pressures to prove myself worthy. I jump down the rabbit hole, full speed.
Pay no attention to the woman behind the curtain, she’s… “busy.”
I began to view self-care as a luxury, instead of a need and convinced myself I was far too “busy.”
Blinded by all the things, and fueled by my need to to be needed — to prove I was worthy, I believed the lie. I wasn’t hurting anyone. On the contrary, I was helping people. Who would ever dare challenge or question my desire to save the world between power naps and cheese sticks?
The answer is both simple and complicated. It is equal parts infuriating and relieving. The longer it takes me to recognize the power behind the question, the longer I can avoid the answer.
It is the people who love me.
I will never be enough for people who choose not to see my limits. I could spend the rest of my life trying, and there are still times I forget and fall back. Luckily, I am surrounded by love and forgiveness. I am blessed with a tribe that refuses to let me settle for less.
Because there is no time to enjoy of all the work I’ve put into this life, when I’m trapped in an energy vortex created by my desire to matter in the lives of people who keep taking. There is no value in the relationships that matter to me, if I can’t break free from the relationships that don’t.
Sometimes you need to drop a plate; to refocus attention on the shit that really matters.