In many ways I’ve chastised myself for not being like my mother. In truth, I am like my mother in the belief that I must give to my very last. This has taken a toll on me. At work, at school, my body felt exhausted for years.
With curiosity, I’ve been looking at my life. I say yes when I want to say no. For example, in an attempt to be as seemingly kind as my mother I say yes to tasks I want to say no to. For example, picking my cousin up from school or helping my boyfriend write his college papers. Sometimes, I don’t feel like spending time with him while he smokes pot and plays video games for hours, leaving me feeling starved for affection and neglected because he made a decision for himself that I bombed not cuddling or spending quality time with me despite wanting me to be I’m the vicinity almost all the time.
At work I overextend myself at work when I tried to remain on day shift so as not to appear lazy when in fact I just hated the feeling of being busy. I overextended myself when I try to do everything myself and not ask for help at work. I overextend myself when I opted to commute over one hour each way to work three times a week for people who ill-treated me. Money was not incentive enough.
Sometimes, I try to go at a pace that at times is too fast for me. For years my body asked me to slow down but I thought that would be lazy of me. I still had life in me. My limit was death.
I have found that over the years I have gained weight from overeating and undersleeping. Last term my mind felt like it was constantly racing and I was constantly under pressure as I took on too much responsibility. In the span of two months I acquired a boyfriend, a dog, a new job, a difficult with difficult and demanding subjects, and family members who wanted me to help them more. I was exhausted and felt crushed. I had some common migraines and tension headaches. In addition, I failed a class (with a B-) and now have to retake it.
I understand the meaning of the words “slow down” now. I understand the importance of conserving one’s time, energy, money, and resources for oneself. I am learning what it means to matter to oneself. The same things I have expressed to my mother about her overextendimg herself, doing too much, not letting people carry their own weight are the same tips I need to give to myself. It is truly important in order to lead a happier life. I am learning what it means to say, ‘I matter!’ Because I do. Because my life depends on it. My happiness and well-being depends on it.