There are busy times and there are not-so-busy times, for all of us. This past month, for me, has been a busy time. I started back at my summer job, which is full time. I was still in school for a bit. Voluntarily, I am the Secretary of one society and one of five busy directors of another. I have part-time design clients. I write this blog. I have a partner and a relationship. There is an hour’s drive between my home in North Sydney and my job in Baddeck. My mother’s house in Baddeck is welcoming and nice to stay in, but it is not Home anymore. Sometimes I stay there, and sometimes I simply must return to my own space.
And then I said yes to another part-time job. What was I thinking?
I think I was thinking, “I can do that, sure!! I would love to impress these people, too!”
I wasn’t thinking, “The empty space on my calendar isn’t there to fill, necessarily, but to leave empty and have as quiet space.”
When my Major Depression happened, six years ago, I had to learn in a big way how to say no to things that drained me. I did, and I recovered, eventually.
Each time the cycle (of panic, of exhaustion) comes around again, now, at least it is a little less urgent, and I cotton on to the need for down-time a bit quicker.
I feel like an asshole quitting things. It doesn’t feel good, that’s for sure. I feel like I’m letting someone down, making them think less of me, tarnishing my reputation. I don’t want people to say behind my back, “Oh, that Leah, she’s ok, but she’s blah blah blah.” Whatever it is people say behind other people’s backs.
But, having “been to the bottom of fear and self-loathing” (as Old Man Luedecke puts it in his song “Just Like A River”), I at least know that that feeling, of letting people down, is infinitely preferable to the feeling of wearing myself out completely.
And if I need more convincing, I turn to my ‘bible’ and read:
“Lay a blanket over the banging gong that cries for you to infinitely help this, help that, help this other thing. It will be there to uncover again, if you wish it so, when you come back. If we do not go home when it is time, we lose our focus… There is a saying, “You can’t go home again.” It is not true. While you cannot crawl back into the uterus again, you can return to the soul-home. It is not only possible, it is requisite.”
“For how long does one go home? As long as one can or until you have yourself back again. How often is it needed? Far more often if you are a “sensitive” and are very active in the outer world. Less so if you have thick skin and are not so “out there.” Each woman [person] knows in her heart how often and how long is needed. It is a matter of assessing the condition of the shine in one’s eyes, the vibrancy of one’s mood, the vitality of one’s senses.”
— Clarissa Pinkola Estés, “Women Who Run With The Wolves.”