Stop! Sucking! Day 11: (Not) keeping it to yourself

Most times, I don't really want to do x, where "x" = shower, work, walk, f*ck, sleep, cook and yes, write.


Relentlessly optimistic, workaholic, always-on me: most of the time, I'd just rather. . .not.

Because. . . ?

Because I don't like feeling like I'm obligated. I don't like feeling like anyone is the boss of me. I don't feel like I get enough "off" time so I rebel during my "on" time, which ends up being "most of the time."

And then there's that weird hangover from growing up the only child around many bright and interesting adults: I do NOT want to go to bed when I know I will be missing out on the best part of the party.

Over the past 12 or 13 hours, I did a lot of stuff I didn't want to do. Getting up, for one. (No earplugs + Snore-a-palooza + craaaaazy dreams = Poor Night's Sleep.) Walking the dog. Making breakfast, doing a bunch of Stupid Monkey Work I've been dreading, doing a last-minute job I didn't get until 7pm. (And for those of you reading in the far-off future, this is 7pm on a Sunday.) All fairly innocuous to outright delightful things. Whine, whine, whine.

I didn't actually whine, of course. (Well, okay, maybe a little, about the 7pm gig. Which I really shouldn't have done, because it was a nice chunk of change and helped out The BF, to boot. Hey, no one's perfect. And I did apologize. . .possibly. . .)

I used to whine a lot, which I actually considered a vast improvement over my previous modus operandi, aka "suck it up, bitch." There are times, of course, when we all must suck it up, but those times should not be all the time. Something will give, and it won't be the backrub fairy handing out free massages. It will be your heart or your colon or some other relatively important part of your functional anatomy.

And speaking of massages, just to prove my point, I will never forget the time when, after working on me for half an hour, a visiting shiatsu practitioner at the agency I was freelancing for told me in a gentle but very firm voice that something was going to go massively wrong if I did not seek some kind of ongoing professional help when I returned to Los Angeles. And I hadn't told her about my mom dying of cancer and my grandmother in and out of the hospital and my failing marriage: all she knew about were the ridiculous hours all of us high-wage slaves were pulling at the ad factory and the iron-like muscles in my scrawny neck.

So venting, my friends, is a good thing. Even better is to check in pre-vent, when the "ick" feeling sets in. As in, "Ick, I don't want to (your task here)".

Go to your mother-in-law's. Review the presentation one more time. Brush your teeth. To acknowledge out loud, and by "out loud," I mean quietly and to yourself, that there is some Thing you should do that you don't particularly want to.

Seriously. Just the act of giving it some attention can be unbelievably helpful. It is oddly comforting to (briefly) commiserate with yourself, both to acknowledge that you're undertaking something less than pleasant and to start to get an idea of how much stuff you're doing that you're resisting. For me, when I find myself saying it a lot, I actually begin to give credence to the idea that maybe it might be a good idea to get to sleep earlier, or to say "no" to the next thing that comes down the pike, or just to carry a spare pair of clean earplugs. As I said to a friend this weekend, when you're in a place that feels helpless, it's important to figure out where you can start to exert some control. And the place that starts is with voicing it. Getting it out there.

It's nowhere you want to live. But it can be an exceptionally refreshing place to visit.

xxx c

Image by walsh via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license.