I'm Passionate and Exhausted | From a Distance

Thursday, April 23, 2020


There are days where I lack the strength of being a person. In these days, I don't answer calls, I hate seeing people, and I'm stuck with a bad case of impostor syndrome.

Only a week earlier, I had been painting, writing, finishing books, and doing my assignments diligently, believe it or not. It felt miraculous, and surreal – cooking new recipes, getting up in the morning for a walk or a jog.

These are the hills, upon which I seem to fall in love with life over and over again.

But with every hillside, there's a valley.

There are days where I rise above. There are days where I scrape the surface of rock bottom.


To tell you the truth, I've always struggled with it. With or without quarantine. It's even more intense as I enter my early 20s, dipping in and out between two polar opposite states of being.

It's no secret that I stretch myself rather thinly.

At any given moment, I'm trying to stay on top of uni work, hold a job, serve in church, and act as editor in a student magazine. And then a friend wants me to do a podcast, and then another invites me on a photoshoot. All while trying to figure out what I want my career to even be. I haven't come to a conclusion in months, and I shouldn't be so surprised.

I'm still immensely grateful for this, so much so that if not in gratitude, I always live in disbelief. But I do find this overbearing, which isn't a good thing, but it happens! As a consequence of building a life I love so much that my hands get too full in the process. Torn between multiple things to do and to be, I'm always left with either a nearing meltdown or a short attention span.

So in turn, some days can chain me to my bed, and I feel an unbearable weight of realities and thoughts that overwhelm me. I repeat one song 13 times. I curl inward. A pile of dishes is left in the sink and a work desk is left untouched.

If I don't look out for myself.

---

The biggest misconception would be that I give out advice on self care because I'm great at it — I'm obviously not. But I put such emphasis on looking out for yourself because you can either be everything for everyone, or be everything for one person.

(That's you. You're that person.)

It's easy to submerge into work and productivity thinking that once we sink, it'll be the thing that pulls us out of the trenches. I love my work, but that's not what it does. It's me – I do that stuff.

I'm messy and crazy and neurotic but I bloody make sure to show up for myself. One of my favourite quotes comes from Glennon Doyle, "Be messy and afraid and complicated and show up anyway." That's the only way we ever become our own hero, even while still bursting at the seams.

I'm passionate but exhausted. No – exhausted but passionate? Maybe I will always be this complicated, so might as well be that, and show up anyway.

So I sing praise about journaling your feelings, I encourage people to go on walks, on having hobbies they suck at, on writing clich̩ poetry Рbecause love builds strength. Having things you love builds strength. Don't you get it? Making sure you still love your life isn't a luxury. It's a survival tactic.


I'm still exhausted. Fantastic. (It's the 21st century, Jo. Everyone is!)

And I have a feeling I will always be like this – both passionate and exhausted, only on different amounts.

But the least I can do is make sure I'm exhausted for the right reasons. I don't want to be tired bearing the weight of other people's expectations. I don't want to be tired moulding myself into what the world wants me to be. No, honey, if it's not from me, and if it's not from God Almighty Himself, it's a call I'm just not taking.

I only want the tired that can go away with sleep. Choosing your battles is also self care.

I will not be tired crawling under fear of rejection, or of letting people down. The best I can do is my best. And I will be tired on the way towards that best. But then I'll sleep, and I'll have energy to try again the next day.

---

My last postcard for you today is a mantra that keeps me afloat. You know how I said we have to be strong enough to throw ourselves that life jacket? Well for me, this is that life jacket.

It's inspired by Amber Rae's 30-day journaling prompt, and it goes something like this:

With all these challenges, what's the path of least resistance? 
In everything I have to do, what is a way to do this that feels light?

I read this in late March, but it's been on my mind since. "The light way is the right way," Amber wrote, "What feels light and easeful for you to offer right now? Great. Do that." 

This isn't about turning lazy and complacent. It's meeting yourself where you are. It's been a life saver especially for when I'm in a dark place, and I feel overwhelmed by how much I need to spill from myself. The freedom to choose what is light, rather than what is perfect, gives me enough strength to just take the first step.

I don't do New Years' Resolutions anymore, but what I have been doing recently is New Years' Themes. Every year, I look for a theme to fall back on. The guiding compass, if you will, for my decision-making and wellbeing. For last year, it was courage. A year of saying "yes" and taking the brave route.

This year, I'd now decided, it was ease

In every moment, I ask Amber's question, How can I make this easeful?

For example, when I hit a creative block and can't progress on any of my ideas: What feels light? Something routine. Something laborious but not thought-inducing. So I do the dishes. I fold my laundry. I clean up. Then suddenly the idea strikes when I'm arranging the bookshelf.

I'm stressed about a task. How do I make this easier for myself? I ask for help where it's possible. 

It's eye-opening, to see the number of decisions I've always defaulted to not for productivity, but as a subconscious form of self-punishment. Decisions like finishing a project overnight, or taking up a heavy workload that could've easily been divided to two.

These are times that will strictly test our mental and emotional resilience. Extreme fluctuations. Steep hills and valleys. So continuously, I suppose we'll climb.

Tell me, Can we make this climb feel light?

---

On an unrelated note, the blog hit 500 followers on Bloglovin without me even realising (which is so small but also so great at the same time and I'm allowed to feel giddy about the smallest of achievements, right?) I'm so grateful for you, readers. I'm astonished, again and again, by how many of you still visit and read these words. 
Our numbers are small, but I've always loved smaller parties.



And as everybody else, I, too, am waiting with a handful of wavering faith. In the world, and in humans.

I see the ugly for what it is, and I cling to the good when I see it.


That's all we can do for now.



Hope you're well. Talk to you soon.

Next up on the blog: My favourite Modern Love essays. (Very excited about this one.)

I hope you have a revelating week.

Signed,
Jo


---


From a Distance is a blog series documenting life in the social distance. Paper airplanes flown out my window, hoping to reach yours. For connection. Companionship. A little human-ness in this very strange time. My hope is to make you feel a little less lonely. If you are. Whoever you are.

Website | Instagram








2 comments

  1. Wow... This was such a beautiful read, especially, when you said "because love builds strength." I feel like I completely understand what you're saying especially with all the uncertainty however I like to believe one day it will all fall into place.
    https://sputniksweetheartn.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  2. Dear Joanne, you are not alone. You like many hidden folks are exhausted only from being too present with their feelings, its a beautiful gift, but can be a curse when you use it according to the lie that is been ordained by mainstream society and especially when we live out the lives of other's unconsciousness. I really admire you being brave to put out your thoughts. Know that you attract what you are, and as you work towards self love you will find it. The journey is hard, because anything meaningful is meant to be difficult. Easy come, easy.. you know, hence do not worry, do not despair, you are hedging towards a universal truth that will set you free very soon God Willing to a life of abundance emotional freedom and cognitive certainty. Amen

    ReplyDelete

© with risa. Design by FCD.