I am tired a lot. Worn out, exhausted. Not all the time, but often depending on the week.. One would assume it’s because I work two 40 hour a week jobs. Of course that is part of the reason. I am blessed with roomies that help me by managing the house, doing the accounting, sharing the chores etc etc, but that much work can wear anyone down. But this idea.. that maybe work isn’t the real reason that I’m tired.. That maybe a big part of my energy drain is in not being myself. That I’m wearing myself down on an almost constant basis by pushing down who I am inside like trying to keep a beach ball under the water..
True, then, that the work is tiring on my body, but maybe not necessarily for the reason I was thinking. Lack of sleep between shifts sometimes, yes, but what about all the time I spend, all the hours I work, trying to be “appropriate”. Trying to belong in the workplace with all the other people. Trying to fit in, so work feels “easier”.
“I used to think the true self was hard to find, that it required a lot of blood, sweat, and tears to unearth, like buried treasure on a rocky beach. Now I know the opposite is true. The true self is like a beach ball we push beneath the surface of our lives. The true self is designed to float—it wants to rush upward and outward.
The effort to keep it pushed beneath the waves can wear us out.”
Revealing self is a hard thing to do when you learn at a very young age how to be a people pleaser for protection. It’s not a conscious effort made to be false. I’m not trying to be fake. I’m just trying to feel safe. My arms have become so accustomed to the work of holding that beach ball down that they do it without me even trying. Sometimes I let a little of it surface, the parts that I think people can handle.. the parts that maybe won’t be rejected. But it’s scary. It’s part of why my besties are people that I’ve known for about 20 years. They’ve been a part of my life through more than half of it at this point. They’ve seen me at my highs, at my lows, broken, inspired, in love, abandoned, running away. They know more about me than anyone in my life and they’ve been by my side as we’ve grown and expanded together, becoming people today that our 20 year old selves would likely not even recognise.
They are two people who I know I can trust. Who I can put my faith in. And who I know love all of me, even the parts they maybe don’t always like. At least with them I don’t have to fight to keep that beach ball buried. I can feel safe being all of my self.
How do I bring that to the rest of my life? Obviously, I’m not saying that I should just reveal everything about myself to every person I meet. But it would be nice if I could just be authentic. Maybe I can’t reveal everything, but I could start with peeling off the manufactured layers weighing it down..
“We confess because when we cage up a part of us, it’s exhausting. We confess because there is joyful relief in letting the beach ball rush to the surface. We confess because parts of us need to float, to be seen, to be known.”
italicized portions from “Why It’s Exhausting To Hide” by Dr. Kelly Flanagan, which inspired this post.