Loud voices

When I knew I finally wanted to get serious about starting a personal blog, the first task was organizing all of the ideas that appear to me randomly as “squirrel thoughts”. So one night, when I couldn’t sleep, I leaned over my bedside, grabbed my journal, a pen, and made a list of topics/themes that I ultimately wanted to write about. This topic is on that list. And in the fury of capturing ideas at 3AM in the dark, I titled it: “Loud Voices (people pleasing/identity)”.

So here we are.

It’s Sunday night and lately my life has been in what feels like a constant state of change. And as I look at my calendar for the upcoming week, it’s packed. Big work projects, obligations every night single night except one, lunch dates, breakfast plans, an apartment that needs packed up so I can move but yet has to be clean because they’re showing it, and well you get the idea. It’s going to be a busy week. Another busy week on the heels of what feels like a constantly busy life. And I felt myself sigh. I’m tired already and Monday hasn’t even arrived.

But I do this to myself.

And if I am honest, I love a busy schedule. It is part of who I am and I can’t turn it off. If I sit too still, sit too long, or just plain sit, I get antsy.

But I also know that sometimes things end up on my schedule because I am not the greatest at saying “no”. I am a people-pleaser to a fault. I want to help, I want to show up, I want to be the girl-you-can-count-on, and 99% of the time, I believe that I truly can do it all and I want to.

But then the spinning stops. And it’s Sunday and I realize today was the first time in almost two weeks that I have been home, in my own space, for more than two waking hours. And I had the audacity to be surprised that I am getting sick. That’s when my mind whispered, “If you don’t choose to slow down, we will force you to.” So I waved the white flag. Instead of sticking to my plans to be up early, go to church, go have lunch, help someone with computer issues, and meet up for afternoon coffee, I slept.

I talked to myself kindly and reminded myself of these things:

  1. It is OK to take time for yourself
  2. It is OK to say “no” to others in order to say “yes” to yourself and your health
  3. It is OK to be still

So tonight, as I sit in a bed of fresh sheets and blankets with a cup of hot tea, I am practicing being still. The only light is a lamp, the only sound is my fan, and the only thing on my to do list is to rest (and remember to blow my candle out before I fall asleep). It’s a learned art for me to be still, but I know it’s necessary. It’s the calm before the crazy and come Wednesday, I’ll be craving these still moments. These moments that while present can feel like psychological and emotional wrestling matches, but are a true recharge for my mind and body. These moments are precious and they shouldn’t be far and in between.

I know I can do better job of prioritizing peace and I am betting you can too.

Here’s three questions we should all ask ourselves when the crazy kicks in:

  1. What voices do I need to turn off so that I can listen to my own?
  2. What things/people do I need to say “no” to so that I can say a much-needed mental/physical health “yes” to myself?
  3. Where can I carve out time to be still this week?

And remember, we’re all trying to figure out this thing called life, so above all else be kind to yourself and others this week.


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