My staycation is winding down and while I didn’t exactly go swinging from the chandeliers, it turns out when you aren’t functioning as the court jester, air traffic controller and official problem solver you can actually think not only about your current reality but a myriad of thoughts. The type of thoughts that frankly it’s hard to get to when you are going through the motions of life with very little time for being selfish and just thinking about your own desires.
A few days ago I had lunch with a dear friend; she is the first real friend I made in Maine, a Black woman originally from New York who has called Maine home now for close to 15 years. In some way she is the big sister I don’t have as she is about 8 years older than me and as she so eloquently put it over our three hour lunch she is starting the dance towards crone-dom. Yet the crone is not the withered old witch many would have us to believe, nope she is a wise sage and let’s just say my girl asked me a simple question that turned me on my head. I was venting about all the shit in my life and she quietly said “Instead of giving 100% of yourself to endeavors that tax you, what about giving 75% or even 50%” She went on to explain that constantly giving 100% of myself to people and endeavors that don’t support or nourish me is bad for my mental health…duh. Fucking light bulb moment indeed!
Since that lunch date I have been asking myself why I give 100% when 80% will do. In my case I think a lot of it has to do with how I entered adulthood, as I have shared before in many ways I did it backwards having the husband and kid first. So by the time I got serious on a career trajectory versus a simple job, somehow I told myself I didn’t measure up so I have always felt like I needed to give more for what I perceived I lacked. Once upon a time it was I didn’t have enough experience, a degree, etc…yet at this stage in my professional life I have all those things and more importantly a proven track record. But I still give in to feelings of inadequacy at times and allow myself to be pushed when I need to say sorry no thanks.
I realized that until recently this behavior extended into some of my personal relationships where I did all the heavy lifting and supporting yet never had reciprocity with certain people. I am happy to say a few months ago I made the painful decision to terminate those relationships including one that spanned almost 30 years.
Nope, I am done with feelings of inadequacy and have officially shed that skin instead choosing to embrace my inner wild woman. Many years ago I read Clarissa Pinkola Estes Women Who Run with the Wolves, to be honest that first reading made no sense. I thought what type of psycho babble is this woman talking about…women and wolves sharing similar traits? Yet in the past year or so this book has called to me and each time I read it, I walk away with a better understanding of myself. I won’t even begin to try and quote this book but I will say that for most women if we struggle with feelings of dryness, fatigue, depression, confusion, gagged, muzzled there is a good chance that we have not found our wild woman that lurks beneath the surface. To quote Pinkola Estes “ A healthy woman is much like a wolf: robust, chock-full, strong, life force, life giving, territorially aware, inventive, loyal, roving“. Wow! That’s where I want to be…no, that’s where I must be.
Have a great weekend!